Withered and gray as winter; gnarled and old,
With bony hands he crouches by the coals;
His beggar's coat is patched and worn in holes;
Rags are his shoes: clutched in his claw-like hold
A chest he hugs wherein he hoards his gold.
Far-heard a bell of midnight slowly tolls:
The bleak blasts shake his hut like wailing souls,
And door and window chatter with the cold.
Nor sleet nor snow he heeds, nor storm nor night.
Let the wind howl! and let the palsy twitch
His rheum-racked limbs! here 's that will make them glow
And warm his heart! here 's comfort joy and light!
How the gold glistens! Rich he is; how rich
Only the death that knocks outside shall know.

More verses by Madison Julius Cawein