By Lady Wilde
BEFORE us dies our brother, of starvation;
Around are cries of famine and despair!
Where is hope for us, or comfort or salvation—
If the angels ever hearken, downward bending,
They are weeping, we are sure,
At the litanies of human groans ascending
From the crushed hearts of the poor.
We never knew a childhood’s mirth and gladness,
Nor the proud heart of youth free and brave;
Oh, a death-like dream of wretchedness and sadness
Is life’s weary journey to the grave!
Day by day we lower sink, and lower,
Till the God-like soul within
Falls crushed beneath the fearful demon power
Of poverty and sin.
So we toil on, on with fever burning
In heart and brain;
So we toil on, on through bitter scorning
Want, woe, and pain.
We dare not raise our eyes to the blue heavens
Or the toil must cease—
We dare not breathe the fresh air God has given
One hour in peace.