Think’st thou the line a poet’s fiction? – then
Go look abroad upon the ways of men!
Go ask the banker, with his golden seals;
Go ask the borrower cringing at his heels;
Go ask the maid, who emulous of woe,
Discards the worthier for the wealthier beau;
Go ask the parson, when a higher prize
Points with the salary where his duty lies;
Go ask the lawyer, who in legal smoke,
Stand, like a stoker, redolent of “Coke,”
And swings his arm to emphasize a plea
Made doubly ardent by a golden fee;
Go ask the doctor, who has kindly sped
Old Croesus, dying on a damask bed,
While his poor neighbour – wonderful to tell –
Was left to nature, suffered and got well!
Go ask the belle in high patrician pride,
Who spurns the maiden nurtured at her side,
Her youth’s loved playmate at the village school,
Ere charging fortune taught the rigid rule
Which marks the loftier from the lowlier lot –
Those who have money from those who have not.
Money King and other Poems.

Title:Those Who Have Money and Those Who Have Not – Money King and Other Poems


Publication:The Blackburn Times

Published in:Blackburn

Date:February 2nd 1861

Keywords:class, poverty, satire


This anonymous radical poem relating the inequalities of British society is remarkable in the breadth of its attack of the religious, legal, and medical professions for their avarice and neglect of the poor. Published just before the Cotton Famine, it is an example of the type of poem published less and less frequently as the crisis progressed, for fear of stoking social unrest during times of economic hardship and perceived political instability. Although some angry satires were published during the Distress, they tended to be more metaphorical and less direct than this, suggesting that editorial policy at least considered poetry to have a possible effect on the opinions of a newspaper’s readers. – SR S