A Prayer.

Kind Father of the human race,
Oh! listen to a nation’s prayer,
And if it be thy holy will,
Assuage our grief and dry our tears.
Grant that ere long the welcome news
May cross Atlantic’s billowy waves,
That peace at last has been proclaimed,
Brothers are friends and none are slaves.
Do thou in all thy boundless love,
Again permit our ships to come,
Laden with necessary wealth
To start once more our idle loom.
For these are times of deep distress,
Thousands are needing daily bread,
Thousands who willingly would work,
By charity alone are fed.
They say the poor have nobly borne
These sad long months of want and woe,
That they keep bravely struggling on,
Though still no ray of hope doth glow.
But if the poor have borne it well,
The rich have had their part to do,
And they have nobly lent their aid,
Their counsel, time, and money too.
Oh! has not England justly cause
To feel a pride in all her sons,
For those who having wealth to spare,
Have kindly helped the stricken ones.
Grant Lord! that tho’ the road be long,
And rough and thorny be the way,
We still may keep our trust in thee,
And help each other day by day.
Until it is thy holy will
Our trouble and our want to end,
Oh! may we leave our cause with thee,
Our heavenly, our unchanging friend.

Title:A Prayer.

Author:E. Coe

Publication:Cheshire Observer and General Advertiser

Published in:Chester

Date:March 7th 1863

Keywords:poverty, religion, war


This poem, framed as a prayer, is unusual in that it calls for the end to the American Civil War, the end of slavery, and the end to the economic distress caused by the conflict. Often, pacifist poems or poems calling for the return of cotton ignored the issue of slavery, but this work is staunchly pacifist, religious, and abolitionist. It might seem strange that these straightforward moral imperatives were rarely expressed together in poetry of the Lancashire Cotton Famine, but the complexities of the situation often led poetic commentators to focus on one subject whilst neglecting the others. – SR