« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
While the cock is crowing aloof!
Till the stars shine through the roof! It's O! to be a slave,
Along with the barbarous Turk, Where woman has never a soul to save, If this is Christian work!
Till the brain begins to swim;
Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
Till o'er the buttons I fall asleep,
"O! men, with sisters dear!
O! men, with mothers and wives, It is not linen you're wearing out! But human creatures' lives! Stitch-stitch-stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt; Sewing at once, with a double thread, A shroud as well as a shirt!
"But why do I talk of death?
That phantom of grisly bone?
Because of the fasts I keep
Oh, God! that bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap!
My labor never flags;
And what are its wages? A bed of straw,
That shatter'd roof, and this naked floor,
A table-a broken chair;
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank
From weary chime to chime, Work-work-work,
As prisoners work for crime! Band and gusset and seam,
Seam and gusset and band,
Till the heart is sick and the brain benumb'd, As well as weary hand.
In dull December light,
When the weather is warm and bright—
While underneath the eaves
The brooding swallows cling,
As if to show me their sunny backs
"Oh! but to breathe the breath
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet
With the sky above my head,
And the grass beneath my feet,
For only one short hour
To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want
And the walk that costs a meal!
"Oh, but for one short hour!
A respite however brief!
No blessed leisure for Love or Hope,
But only time for Grief!
A little weeping would ease my heart-
My tears must stop, for every drop
"With fingers weary and worn,
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
Would that its tone could reach the rich!
She sang this 'Song of the Shirt!""
We annex part of an article from Jerrold's Magazine, which draws quite as clear a picture of the condition of the English poor, and points out the only feasible remedy for the evils of that condition:
THE ONLY REMEDY FOR THE MISERIES OF THE ENGLISH POOR.
BY A PHILANTHROPIST.
Whoever is unprepared to cast aside not only his prejudices, but many of what may be considered well-formed opinions, had better not attempt to peruse the following few pages. I must demand of my reader that he come to the perusal, the beau ideal of a juryman. No infor
mation that he has gained elsewhere, no feelings that he has cherished as virtues, no sentiments that he has cultivated as noble, and no opinions that he may have formed as infallible, must interfere with his purely and simply receiving the following arguments on their own cogency and truth alone.
The writer considers he has made a great discovery in moral and political science; and elevated by his subject above all personal influences, he commits it to be worked out by others, without the ostentation of recording his name, or deeming that the applause of present or of future generations can add to his sublime delight, in discovering and applying a "panacea" to the varied and bitter ills that beset three-fourths of the poor inhabitants of the "United Kingdom."
As some account of the means by which a great discovery has been arrived at is necessary, in order to prepare the mind for its reception with due respect, I shall give a brief outline of the process by which this all-im_ portant truth was elicited.
Born with natural sensibilities, I early learnt to shrink from pain endured by others, as if felt actually and bodily by myself. Thus constituted, what a scene was dis played to me when I came into the great and moving society of mankind! What mighty heaps of misery did I discern! What details did the records of the various courts of justice disclose! What regions of squalor, misery, and degradation did my travels reveal to me in every city, and every hamlet, I visited! The bent of my future avocation was soon fixed, and I became a philanthropist by profession. Not to make a trade of it at
monster meetings, or fancy fairs, but as a pursuit to which I felt myself called by a spiritual voice, as distinct, I should say, as that which ever called a theologian from a curacy of fifty pounds a year to a bishopric of twenty thousand.
It is not necessary to recapitulate the horrors I have witnessed in the regions of poverty. It is said that the eras of pestilence and famine are passed, but so will not those say who have visited the dwellings of the operatives of our great manufacturing towns, when the markets are glutted, and the mills and manufactories are closed. Pestilence still rages fiercely as ever, in the form of typhus, engendered by want. In the mission I have called myself to, I have stood upon the mud floor, over the corpse of the mother and the new-born child-both the victims of want. I have seen a man (God's image) stretched on straw, wrapped only in a mat, resign his breath, from starvation, in the prime of age. I have entered, on a sultry summer's night, a small house, situate on the banks of a common sewer, wherein one hundred and twenty-seven human beings, of both sexes and all ages, were indiscriminately crowded. I have been in the pestilential hovels of our great manufacturing cities, where life was corrupted in every possible mode, from the malaria of the sewer to the poison of the gin-bottle. I have been in sheds of the peasant, worse than the hovel of the Russian, where eight squalid, dirty, boorish creatures were to be kept alive by eight shillings per week, irregularly paid. I have seen the humanities of life desecrated in every way. I have seen the father snatch the bread from his child, and the mother offer the gin-bottle