Though you sit in warm mansion, secure from the tempest,
Nor feel the keen storm, as it drifts on the moor,
Yet shut not your door ‘gainst the wandering stranger,
But learn from your blessings to pity the poor.
When the cold northern wind blows chilly and rudely,
And the rain patters hard at your windows and door—
When you hear the blast howl, look around on your comforts,
And plan some good thing for the indigent poor.
Oft lift up the latch of chill poverty’s dwelling,
Explore the sad chamber where care sits obscure,
When you see tears of want wash the withering bosom,
Then think of your Saviour, and give to the poor.
Cold Winter presents a foreboding dark aspect,
In clusters the icicles hang at the door;
Red berries may grace the brown thorn for the songster,
But you must relieve the hard lot of the poor.
Remember that soon we must go to that dwelling
Where riches no sort of distinction procure;
For that leveller, Death, and the grave, our last mansion,
Shall mingle our dust with the dust of the poor.
-The Sunday Magazine



Publication:Preston Guardian

Published in:Preston


Keywords:charity, poverty, religion


This poem is republished from the Sunday Magazine, and is typically moral in its tone, with a brief mention of divinity on its mention of the ‘Saviour’. Several poems in the Victorian period shared this title, or similar ones such as ‘God Help the Poor’, and the phrase was a kind of liberal rallying cry for the moralistic middle classes, inspired by narratives by Dickens, Gaskell, and many others. In this context, the poem is published after the Cotton Famine, as work is returning to textile towns like Preston, but the after-effects of the crisis were still being felt across the region, and particularly at this time of the year, November, as the winter months approach. The poem exhorts the well-heeled to recognise not just their responsibility to the poor but also their ultimate human connection, with the striking image of the mingling of posthumous dust in the final lines. – SR