Famine, Fever, And Frost. (From “Punch.”)
WHO will open England’s purses,
Till their golden stream
Flows where smokeless chimneys shadow.
Engines lacking steam,
Where from million eyes is glaring
Hunger’s wolfish gleam?
Who unto a head will gather
[4 words illegible]
Stirring toward helpful action
England’s heart and mind.
Bind them by united purpose
Give them course defined?
“I,” said Famine, and she set her
Sternly to the [hest] ;
Sucked the strong man’s life-blood from him,
Drained the mother’s breast;
Stripped the room and cleared the cupboard –
“There – I’ve done my best.”
Still the purses would not open,
Nor the gold-streams flow;
Still blind motions, scrambling efforts,
Wavered to and fro;
Famine, with her forces baffled,
Must the task forego.
“I,” said Fever, and she mustered
Grimly all ther train,
Fiery tortures spreading madness
Through the blood and brain;
Famine was a faintheart – Fever
Will the Victory gain.”
Still the purses would not open,
Nor the gold-streams flow;
Still blind motions, scrambling efforts,
Wavered to and fro;
Fever, with her forces baffled,
Must the task forego.
“I,” said Frost, and ere their season
For the work arrayed,
Chills that nip man’s life and nature’s
In the blood and blade.
Famine, Fever, may be baffled,
Frost was ne’er gain-said.”
Still the purses would not open,
Nor the gold-streams flow;
Still blind motions, scrambling efforts,
Wavered to and fro;
And now Famine, Frost, and Fever,
Rivalry forego.
Working hand in hand, if haply
They may open wide
England’s purse, and send her riches
In a golden tide
Over the wastes where toil sits pining
At a cold hearth’s side.