THE CRY OF THE OPERATIVE.
Look down upon Thy suffering poor, oh Lord!
And hear the cry of hunger-bitten men,
Of women pinched by want, and wrung by care,
Whose half-fed children ask for food in vain.
When will the days come round, the eager ask,
That we shall win again our daily bread,
Nor let ourselves, and those we hold so dear,
By the scant hand of charity be fed?
When will our silent mills again resound
With the loud hum and welcome din of yore,
When will these wasted forms be strong again,
And briskly ply their willing tasks once more?
Oh, mark our attitude! How steadfastly we stand,
Ready to fight with every coming woe,
Like soldiers on the awful plain arrayed,
With brave hearts waiting the advancing foe.
The wintry wind howls round our cheerless homes,
And tells that greater ills are still in store;
Soon many who have bravely fought till now
Must leave the ranks and give the struggle o’er.
Our feeble frames, worn down by fastings long,
Will poorly second the enduring will,
When northern blasts out quivering limbs assail,
And fiercely bid the fluttering pulse stand still.
‘Twas hard to battle with the hungry fiend,
When summer breezes played among the flowers;
But gaunt disease, with winter cold, will come,
And soon may lock its shrivelled hand in ours.
All human actions are in Thy control,
Oh, lift in our behalf Thy powerful hand,
And make the direful conflict cease to rage,
That bars prosperity from our suffering land.
Wigan, Nov. 5, 1862. WILLIAM CLARKE.