Oh, mercifullest one of all,
Oh, generous as dear,
None lived so lowly, none so small,
Thou couldst withhold thy tear.
How swift, in pure compassion,
How meek, in charity,
To offer friendship to the one
Who begged but love of thee!
Oh, gentle word, and sweetest said!
Oh, gentle hand, and first
To hold the warm delicious bread
To lips burned black of thirst.
After A Spanish Proverb
This is a particularly sharp piece from Dorothy Parker. I expect all of us have had the experience, with ‘lips burned black of thirst’, of being offered ‘warm delicious bread’ or other equally unhelpful aid.
However, I think the proverb she was thinking of was probably: