No viewless angels by our side,
With wings, but women sweet and good;
“These Three,” indeed, with us abide,
True types of womanhood.
Yea, I, in turn, have reached a hand
To each one of the blessed three
In one fair group, I’ve seen them stand –
Faith, Hope, and Charity.
My Faith hath misty hair, - and eyes,
You cannot fix their changing hue,
But all the world within them lies,
And all the soul looks through.
Her voice doth make divinely sweet
Each song of sorrow which she sings,
And saddest wisdom fills replete
With heavenly comfortings.
My Hope is ruddy with the flush
Of morning joy, that keeps its place,
Though day has darkened, and the rush
Of rain is on her face.
Her clear eyes look afar, as bent
On shining futures gathering in;
Nought seems too high for her intent,
Too hard for her to win.
My Love hath eyes as blue and clear
As clefts between the clouds of June,
A tender mouth whose smiles are near
To tears that gather soon.
Her best and loveliest she takes,
To light dark places; - wastes of life
She sows with precious seed that makes
All richest blessings rife.
Earth, when my soul in darkness dwells,
Shall sing her song throughout the night,
For each new effort life compels
Hope’s clasp shall nerve with might;
Love shall divide each grief of mine,
Share every joy thus doubly given,
With each in turn life grows divine,
With all it tastes of heaven.

Title:These Three

Author:Isa Craig

Publication:The Bolton Chronicle

Published in:Bolton

Date:January 21st 1865

Keywords:charity, morality


This devotional poem by the popular author Isa Craig personifies the figures of Faith, Hope and Charity in familiar tropes and reiterates many of the moral qualities which were generally valorised in Victorian Britain, and specifically during the Cotton Famine’s associated relief efforts. Craig was instrumental to one of the most famous charitable efforts during the crisis when she edited a poetry volume whose profits went towards the relief fund. Poems: an Offering to Lancashire, was published by the female-run Victoria Press in 1863 and included poems donated for free by Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and the MP and writer Richard Monckton Milnes. – SR