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An angel hovered all one day
Close by a wretched cottage door,
Would raise his wings to soar away,
Then gently fold them down once more,
And wait and listen anxiously
To some sweet sound it seemed to hear;
Would raise its eyes devotedly,
And clasp its hands, and drop a tear,
Then smile again, still ling'ring near.


What was it held the angel there,
And his pure heart so deeply stirred?
A poor old woman in a chair
Sat reading from the sacred Word.
Left all alone, with none to care,
Reading on from page to page,
Would pause, and raise her heart in prayer,
And, though her voice trembled with age,
Would in a sacred song engage.


Poor and needy and sick was she,
Living alone in wretchedness,
Depending on man's charity.
Though hungry oft, she still had this,
On which her heart was fully stayed,--
God's holy book, she loved so dear;
And when she read and sang and prayed,
The angel often paused to hear.
She did not know he was so near.