The Guests at the Inn

THE Princess came to Bethlehem’s Inn:
The Keeper he bowed low;
He sent his servants here and yon,
His maids ran to and fro.
They spread soft carpets for her feet,
Her bed with linen fine;
They heaped her board with savory meats,
They brought rich fruits and wine.
The Chieftain came to Bethlehem’s Inn,
With clash and clang of steel;
Into the wide court swift strode he,
And turned on armed heel.
舠Room for your lord ! ” he cried aloud.
“He brooks no long delay!”
The Keeper and his servitors
Did his behests straightway.
The Merchant came to Bethlehem’s Inn,
Across the desert far,
From Ispahan, and Samarcand,
And hoary Kandahar.
Rich Orient freight his camels bore:
The gates flew open wide,
As in he swept, with stately mien,
His long, slow train beside.
The Pilgrim came to Bethlehem’s Inn :
Wayworn and old was he,
With beard unshorn and garments torn,
A piteous sight to see !
He found a corner dim and lone ;
He ate his scanty fare ;
Then laid his scrip and sandals by,
And said his evening prayer.
The Beggar came to Bethlehem’s Inn :
They turned him not away;
Though men and maidens scoffed at him,
They bade the varlet stay.
“ The dogs have room : then why not he ? 舠
One to another said;
“ Even dogs have earth to lie upon,
And plenteous broken bread ! ”
Maid Mary fared to Bethlehem’s Inn:
Dark was the night and cold,
And eerily the icy blast
Swept down across the wold.
She drew her dark brown mantle close,
Her wimple round her head.
“ Oh, hasten on, my lord,” she cried,
“ For I am sore bestead ! ”
Maid Mary came to Bethlehem’s Inn :
There was no room for her;
They brought her neither meat nor wine,
Nor fragrant oil, nor myrrh.
But where the hornèd oxen fed
Amid the sheaves of corn
One splendid star flamed out afar
When our Lord Christ was born!
Julia C. R. Dorr.