A PEEP INTO VICTORIAN ENGLAND

“If a man was a pair of steam-looms, how carefully would he be oiled, and tended, and mended, and made to do all that a pair of looms could do. What a loom, full of miraculous faculties, is he compared to these—the master-piece of nature for creative power and for wonderful variety of excellent capabilities! Yet, with what a profuse neglect he is cast away, like the cheapest rubbish on the earth!”

LITTLE WILLIE.

Poor little Willie,

With his many pretty wiles;

Worlds of wisdom in his look

And quaint, quiet smiles;

Hair of amber, touched with

Gold of heaven so brave;

All lying darkly hid

In a Workhouse Grave!

In the day we wandered foodless,

Little Willie cried for bread!

In the night we wandered homeless,

Little Willie cried for bed.

Parted at the Workhouse door,

Not a word we said:

Ah, so tired was poor Willie,

And so sweetly sleep the dead.

You remember little Willie;

Such a funny fellow! he

Sprang like a lily

From the dirt of poverty.

Poor little Willie!

Not a friend was nigh,

When, from the cold world,

He crouched down to die.

‘Twas in the dead of winter

We laid him in the earth;

The world brought in the New Year,

Mocking us with mirth:

But, for lost little Willie,

Not a tear we crave;

Cold and Hunger cannot wake him,

In his Workhouse Grave.

We thought him beautiful,

Felt it hard to part;

We to him were dutiful;

Down, down, poor heart!

The storms they may beat;

The winter winds may rave;

Little Willie feels not

In his Workhouse Grave.

No room for little Willie;

In the world he had no part;

On him stared the Gorgon-eye,

Through which looks no heart.

Come to me, said Heaven;

And, if Heaven will save,

We will grieve not, though the door

Was a Workhouse Grave.

Gerald Massey

(1828-1907)

“They must find it hard to take Truth for Authority who have so long mistaken Authority for Truth.”

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