(ORIGINAL.)
THE OPERATIVE’S HOME
BY WM. BILLINGTON.
I can easily fling
Common cares to wind,
For every hearth hath its grief,
And merits the sting,
Every soul having sinn’d,
But mine may not hope for relief.
I am loth to complain,
Though I might have had cause,
For hunger is hard to endure;
Yet I will not arraign
Either Heaven or the laws
Of my country, because I am poor.
I have battled with Want
For a terrible term,
And been silent, till silence seemed crime;
Yet I mean not to rant,
But will yield you a germ
Of plain truth in an unpolished rhyme.
My health – that is good;
My family – few;
Accustomed to labor withal
One would think that we should.
Keeping these facts in view,
Neither starve nor be stinted – but call
At the cabin I live in
And see for yourselves;
The walls and the windows are there;
But the fire has ceased giving
Its light, and the shelves
And the table are foodless and bare.
These walls were once hung
With the triumphs of Art,
This pantry with plenty was stored,
And Happiness flung
Her rich light on the heart
Of the dear ones who sat at this board.
Those dear ones are dead ---
Though it cost me a tear
To tell me how they drew their last breath ---
Be it so! – want of bread
Brought on famine, I fear,
And fever and famine brought death!
And now my lone heart,
Like a plummet of lead
That is dropt in the sea’s sullen wave,
Droopeth far, far apart
From its owner; its bed
Is down deep in our little ones’ grave.
The loud-prattling tongue,
The sweet simple look,
Little feet patt’ring over the floor,
To the past must belong,
And the heart that must brook
Their deep loss is indeed rendered poor!
Long years may roll on,
Good times may return,
And life seem as sweet as of yore;
But out loved one are gone,
And their beauties will burn
In our desolate dwelling no more!