1．"Come in, little stranger," I said,
As she tapped at my half-open door;
While the blanket, pinned over her head,
Just reached to the basket she bore.
2．A look full of innocence fell
From her modest and pretty blue eye,
As she said, "I have matches to sell,
And hope you are willing to buy."
3．"A penny a bunch is the price,
I think you'll not find it too much;
They are tied up so even and nice,
And ready to light with a touch."
4．I asked, "What's your name, little girl?"
"'T is Mary," said she, "Mary Dow;"
And carelessly tossed off a curl,
That played on her delicate brow.
5．"My father was lost on the deep;
The ship never got to the shore;
And mother is sad, and will weep,
To hear the wind blow and sea roar."
6．"She sits there at home, without food,
Beside our poor, sick Willy's bed;
She paid all her money for wood,
And so I sell matches for bread."
7．"I'd go to the yard and get chips,
But then it would make me too sad
To see the men building the ships,
And think they had made one so bad."
8．"But God, I am sure, who can take
Such fatherly care of a bird,
Will never forget nor forsake
The children who trust in his word."
9．"And now, if I only can sell
The matches I brought out today,
I think I shall do very well,
And we shall rejoice at the pay."
10．"Fly home, little bird," then I thought,
"Fly home, full of joy, to your nest;"
For I took all the matches she brought,
And Mary may tell you the rest.