WE wish, and we wistfully wait for some happier state;,
An age that with marvellous joys and rich blessings shall
When with beings of heavenly mould we poor mortals shall
In the visions of slumber behold we the guests at the gate;
We wake – and it is but a dream.
For day by day destiny sleeps, and humanity weeps,
And the world goeth on from one cycle of woes to a worse;
And the poor man sinks lower and lower in poverty’s deeps;
And the rich man piles hour by hour his riches in heaps,
‘Till its care growth into a curse.
Implicitly deemeth our youth that life’s glory, in sooth,
Is manhood; towr’d manhood we evermore yearn with a
feverish rage;
And though manhood, when reacht, surely tells us much
terrible truth,
‘Tis vain; our dream onward impels us, aye, e’en when the
Of decay is consuming our age.
Enthusiasts tell us the gloom will soon pass, and the bloom
Of this halcyon era across the broad universe spread;
But so long we have walked in vain for its glory to loom,
That we think, as in sorrow and pain we go down to the tomb,
That the day will not dawn ‘til were dead.
Yet oh! it is blessed to hope, though at present we grope
In the midnight of evil, nigh drench in a torrent of tears;
Thought of good yet in store makes us strong with ills present
to cope,
And helps us more gently along the steepening slope
Of joyless and profitless years.
And so we will patiently wait for some happier state,
And make it the watchword of labor, and poesy’s theme;
For the battle is aye to the bold, in the conflict with fate,
And what we may never behold we may help to create,
So the good time so often foretold, though it lingereth late,
Shall not be forever a dream.
Blackburn, Oct., 1862.


Author:W. A. Abram

Publication:The Blackburn Times

Published in:Blackburn

Date:November 1st 1862

Keywords:poverty, religion


This poem by the prolific local poet W. A. Abram encourages the poor to be patient in their wait for times to change but also includes criticism of the wealthy for amassing profit in times of working-class misery. Although published at the height of the Cotton Famine and obviously relevant to its effect there is no specific reference to the crisis, and indeed poverty is represented as part of a ‘cycle of woes’. There is a fatalism here which appears to undermine its main message. – SR