Christian! buckle on thine armour,
See thy foes in bright array;
Meet them on the field to day;
Rest to-morrow.
Christian life is one great warfare –
One fierce fight with hell and sin;
Foes without and foes within.
Rest to-morrow.
Would’st thou win the conqueror’s laurels,
Wear the victor’s honoured crown,
Lay not yet thy weapons down.
Rest to-morrow.
Hark! the bugle calls to battle;
Onward, then, thy foes to meet,
Lay them bleeding at thy feet,
Rest to-morrow.
Rouse, shake off thy sluggish nature;
Now’s the time to act for God;
Time for rest beneat the sod.
Rest to-morrow.
Forward! forward! Christian soldier;
Draw thy sword, make bare thine arm;
Force the battle, brave the storm.
Rest to-morrow.
While upon this stage of action,
Bravely, nobly do thy part;
Labour on with hand and heart.
Rest to-morrow.
Labour while the sun is shining,
Soon will come the shades of night,
Work to-day with all thy might.
Rest to-morrow.
Indolence has slain its thousands,
Be not thou to this a slave;
Rise, be vigilant and brave.
Rest to-morrow.
Up, and battle hard with error;
Truth the weapon thou must wield;
Go at once and take the field.
Rest to-morrow.
Onward! brother, on to victory!
Dread no foe. however strong;
Right must triumph over wrong.
Rest to-morrow.
Go, and like thy Lord and Master,
When this lower world he trod,
Point some wandering soul to God.
Rest to-morrow.
Lo, the fields are white to harvest,
Go and work with heart and mind;
Grow not weary, thou shalt find
Rest to-morrow.
Angel bands are watching o’er thee;
Faint not till the race is run;
Stay not till the goal is won.
Rest to-morrow.
Scorn to rest while others labour;
Use the powers thy God hath given;
Toil on earth and rest in heaven.
Rest to-morrow.
Rest is sweetest to the weary –
Those who toil and struggle hard;
Work, and gain this rich reward.
Rest to-morrow.
Rest when all thy toils are ended;
Rest when all thy work is done;
Rest when life’s short race is run.
Rest to-morrow.
Christian soldier, be thou ever
First and foremost in the fray;
Labour, suffer, die to-day,
Rest to-morrow.

Title:Rest To-Morrow

Author:Samuel Laycock

Publication:Ashton and Stalybridge Reporter

Published in:Ashton-under-Lyne

Date:August 6th 1864

Keywords:morality, religion, work


This ostensibly religious poem by Samuel Laycock is addressed to a representative ‘Christian soldier’, at first urging perseverance in the good fight. But after a few stanzas it shifts its focus to workers, suggesting that if they work today, they will earn rest tomorrow. In the context of the surface meaning of the poem this promise refers to the afterlife but it could also be taken as an encouragement to enjoy future fruits of labour. Written towards the end of the Cotton Famine, when the re-opening of mills was imminent, poems such as this reflected the worry that cultures of indolence had formed in the labouring-class population during long periods of unemployment. The fear was that enforced inactivity would take root in communities and that they would be less able to benefit from and contribute to the economic upturn. – SR