’Tis said, ‘on Briton’s shore no slave shall dwell,’
But have you heard not the harsh clanging bell,
Or the discordant whistles’ yelling voice,
That says, ‘Work slave, or starve! That is your choice!’
And have you never seen the aged and grey,
Panting along its summons to obey;
Whilst little children run scarce half awake,
Sobbing as tho’ ther little hearts would break
And stalwart men, with features stern and grave,
That seem to say, “I scorn to be a slave.”
He is no slave;—he is a Briton free,
A noble sample of humanity.
This may be liberty,—the ass, the horse,
Wear out their lives in routine none the worse.
They only toil all day,—then eat and sleep,
They have no wife or children dear to keep.
Better, far better, is the tattered lout,
Who, tho’ all so-called luxuries without,
Can stand upon the hill-side in the morn,
And watch the shadows flee as day is born.
Tho’ with a frugal meal his fast he breaks,
And from the spring his crystal draught he takes,
Better, far better, seems that man to mel
For he owns Heaven’s best gift,—his liberty.
Aw dooant believe i’ idleness—aw hate a chap ’at’s too lazy to do his share—but what aw dooant like is ’at he should have to wark just exactly when, an’ whear, an’ for just soa mich (or, aw owt to say, just soa little) as another chap thinks fit. They’ll say, if he doesn’t like it he can leave it. Happen net—may be he can’t get owt else, an’ he’s a haase an’ family to luk after. Then they’ll say, ’if he can’t better hissen he mun put up wi’ it.’ That’s what he is dooin, an’ it’s puttin up wi’ it ’at’s makkin him soa raand shouldered. It’s puttin up wi’ it ‘at’s made them hollow cheeks an’ dull heavy een.
A Queer Dream.
Eight haars wark, eight haars play, eight haars sleep, an’ eight shillin a day.—That saands nice; but them ’at live to see it will live to see moor nor aw it expect to see. Patience is a varty, soa let’s have patience. Things are better nor they wor, an’ they’re bun to improve. Th’ thin end o’ th’ wedge has getten under th’ faandation o’ that idol ‘at tyranny an’ fraud set up long sin, an’ although fowk bow to it yet, they dooant do it wi’ th’ same reverence. Give it a drive wheniver you’ve a chonce, an’ some day yo’ll see it topple ovver, an’ once daan it’ll crumble to bits, an’ can niver be put up agean. I’ th’ paper t’other day, aw saw a report ov a speech whear a chap kept mentionin his three thaasand hands. He sed nowt abaat three thasand men an’ wimmen—they wor his ‘hands’—his three thaasand human machines, an’ aw couldn’t help thinkin ’at it wor a pity ‘at they’d iver been born wi’ heads an’ hearts, they owt to ha been all hands, an’ then they’d ha suited him better. An’ he seemed to think bi th’ way he tawk’d, ’at but for him theas three thaasand hands wad ha had