The Lancashire Famine.
Then And Now; Or Past And Present.
Then, Or Past.
GOD made man to work, and we
Gladly take the lot of man,
Cheerful through each day’s swift span
Toiling, that we may be free.
No cowed slaves of toil are we,
But free men with heart and hand,
Working in a freeman’s land –
Working for we will be free.
Free to speak, and free to think,
Free to act our spoken thought
Holding by our labor bought.
Founts of knowledge, whence to drink.
From the morning ‘till set of sun,
‘Tis for this, in crowds we fill,
Ev’ry ever-whirring mill; --
Father, mother, sister, son.
All will labor, all will be
Helpless in the common task;
None from us for help must ask,
Save they labor to be free.
All, from the child to aged sire,
Like the ever-whirring wheels,
‘Mid the ever-spinning reels,
Toil for ever – never tire.
Thus to earth’s most distant land,
Thus, to southern sea and isle,
Thus, where tropic flowers smile,
Send we products of our hands.
And, in torrid grove and dell,
Swarthy maidens, as they roam,
Talk of that grey island home
Where the busy workers dwell.
Tell us not our lives are naught,
Well we know the life we live; --
Know, that only toil can give
Freedom to our act and thought.
Freedom from the pauper’s dole,
Freedom from the beggar’s curse,
Freedom from the rich man’s purse,
Binding, bending, heart and soul.
Whirl then, ever endless wheels;
We, within the crowded mill,
Do your ceaseless bidding still,
‘Mid the myriad circling reels.
Workers on through life are we;
Workers, whilst we breathe this breath;
Workers, till life end in death;
Workers, for we will be free.
--------- NOW, OR PRESENT
Empty now the crowded mill,
Hush’d the ever-whirring wheels,
All the life is dead and still,
‘Mid the myriad circling reels, [comma in original]
Ah! what dreadful change is here?
Ah! what frightful shapes have come?
Sobbing woe and sullen fear
Sit within the workman’s home.
Bare the walls and bare the floor;
Cold the hearth and gone the bed;
Wrested from each nook and door,
Household gods bought daily bread.
See that young girl’s faded charms,
See that workman’s dull glazed eye,
See the children’s long thin arms,
Hear the wasted infant’s cry.
See that mother’s dire distresses,
For with shuddering heart she knows
That the babe she fondly presses,
Day by day still lighter grows.
In all homes are thin pale faces,
In all hearts are boding fears,
In all streets are tott’ring [paces] ,
In all eyes are bitter tears.
Where are now the workers free?
Where are the men, whose busy hands
Sent by river, rail, and sea,
Fruits of toil to distant lands?
Work has fled, and toil is dead,
Labor died within their hand;
And for want of daily bread,
Faint-eyed thousands starving stand.
Think ye, brothers, we can see
You who, brave in heart and head,
Patient, toil’d but to be free,
Perish for the want of bread?
Oh, no so, our God hath taught us.
Here dear brothers, eat and live,
By the Christthat saved and bought us,
‘Tis no pauper’s dole we give;
But free gifts to great and small;
For the faith that in us lives,
Tells us God, who feeds us all,
Loveth him who cheerful gives.
Take, then, brothers, eat and be
Firm of heart, and high in hope,
Love shall make you brave and free, --
Strong with other ills to cope.
Eat, then, sister, let the glow
Of full plenty on thee rest;
Thou shalt see thy baby grow
Plump and soft upon thy breast.
Courage, brother, strong is love;
Heaven still helps the helper’s plan;
Brighter gleams the realms above,
When man helps his brother man.
Courage, brother, strong is sorrow,
Binding heart to heart in pain;
Ye are suff’ring, but the morrow
Will bring joy and peace again.
Soon again the whirling wheels,
Whirring in the crowded mill,
‘Mid the myriad circling reels,
Full with joy your hearts shall fill.
Courage, brother, trust and hope;
Hope and trust a little span,
Brighter days begin to ope,
Man will help you, and God can.