THE SILENT MILLS OF LANCASHIRE.
Ye hives that swarmed with industry, whose hum
World-wide proclaimed a nation’s wealth and power,
What terrible convulsion strikes you dumb?
Why those [portentous] clouds that o’er you lower?
Once were ye resonant with joyous strains
Of labour’s voice, from honest hearts that rose;
Now brooding desolation grimly reigns,
Dread silence, eloquent, full-charged with woes.
Your stillness tells of forms gaunt, hunger-worn,
Of blighted hopes, fair visions wrapt in gloom,
Homes miserable, husbands, wives forlorn,
And children wailing, sinking to the tomb.
Yet shall ye tower, when happier days shall spring,
As temple that most godlike virtues shrine,
And to our souls the choicest memories bring
Of patience, meekness, sorrows made Divine:
High monuments of fortitude, which bore
Deepest affliction; hushed each murm’ring tone
In agony could Heav’n’s pure will adore,
And recognise the hand of God alone.