SIR – I am not much addicted to letter writing, but these hard times will sharpen the sensibilities of any rustic, and if there be any merit in these lines pray print them, if your valuable, impartial, and out spoken paper and you will oblige one who has been fasting for lack of bread for a couple of days. – I remain yours, truly,
Woe! woe! to your revel and rout,
Ye men of the golden brain,
Who are scourged for your sins with the hideous gout,
Say, will you not need us again?
You water the streets, what for?
We fear not the dust, should it rise;
To nature’s acts we never demur,
But you fling the dust in our eyes.
Yea, you swill the streets from the spring,
You had better be [carting] bread;
And drown the knell of the passing-bell,
Tolling some starveling is dead.
You care not for [starving] worth,
‘Tis as nauseous to your nose
As the [moth] that rusts, or the dust of the earth
That spoil your princely clothes.
The penniless poor are used up,
For ‘tis you who have taken the grist;
And you give them far the bitterest cup,
When your overseer tells them to “list.”
We have toiled for the knaves, it is true,
Who have left us but empty dishes;
And who can say but they may yet rue,
Who have stolen the “loaves and fishes.”
Give golden ware to the “roughs,”
Dead [shots] of the hearthstone braves ---
Give silver trowels to civic muffs,
But what do you give to your slaves?
They hatch you your golden eggs,
And they spin you the fibre fine
For the trellis and frills round your dear one’s legs
And their air-blown crinoline.
Woe! woe! to your revel and rout,
Ye lords of the earth and the main;
Ye may wallow in mire like a herd of swine,
But you’re certain to need us again.