(Original). The Cry Of The Crowd. – No. II. By W. Billington.
WEALTH, hast thou got eyes to see?
Look within this house of gloom!
Wealth, hast thou got heart to feel?
Mark these minders of the loom!
This maiden pale –
O! list the tale
That she will briefly, truly tell;
And keep thy [1 word illegible],
And drink thy wine
In peace; if thou canst, then ‘tis well.
Why that blind and fireless grate?
“Not one scrap of coal or wood;”
Why that blank and empty shelf?
“Nought wherewith to purchase food!
The papers say;
Is torn with an [internecine] war
From North to South,
Hence hand and mouth
In England here now idle are.
“Well we lived when trade was good –
Independent, though not proud;
Labor failed, and Famine fell
Stalked among the stricken crowd:
All we could spare,
Both book and chair,
Were sold when we had nought to do;
And, one by one,
Till all were gone,
We parted with our pictures too.
“O! that I had never lived
To see my mother’s likeness go!
Better, when I kissed her corpse,
T’ have shared her grave than felt this blow.
The Evil Power
Was strong that hour
Which saw her sacred portrait sold,
Yet sacrifice
Of higher price
Is asked for by the tempter – Gold.
“Men of England! honor bright!
Wives and daughters you have got;
When a sister claims your aid,
Give her gold, but tempt her not,
Nor deepen so
That world of woe
Which weighs upon the weaker sex.
But O! forbear
To spread the snare
Which needs must vitiate or vex.
Ye that go through Grandeur’s gate,
Mark the language of this lass!
Proud ones who with Plenty dine,
Days on golden pinions pass –
With such as you,
Ye favored few,
Who on the heights of fortune stand,
Now’s the time
To cancel crime
And lend the poor a helping hand.
Blackburn, May 12th, 1862.