THE BEGGAR’S LAMENTATION.
(Written expressly for this paper by G.G.N.)
Title:The Beggar's Lamentation
Author:G. G. N.
Date:November 2nd 1861
This broadly dactylic poem of five quatrains is written in the narrative rhyming couplet style. It is in the voice of a male beggar and serves to humanise him, suggesting that he is worthy of ‘relief’. The beggar declares that his wife and child have died and that it is ‘eighty long years since my youth’. Importantly, the man states that he has never and never would resort to theft. Published at the beginning of the Cotton Famine in a cotton manufacturing town, this poem both reflects and pre-empts social conditions which required a sharp drawing of moral lines in relation to the provision of economic relief. If people were going to help the poor, the poor needed to be worthy of it, and honest in their claims. These kinds of poems were aimed at potential donors.