At those rich-cushioned pews,
Where he who bears the poor man’s fate
Might hear Salvation’s news.
I’ve walked within the church-yard’s walls,
With holy dread and fear,
And on its marble tablets read
“None but the rich lie here.”
I’ve wandered till I came upon
A heap of moss-grown stones,
And some one whispered in mine ear,
“Here rest the poor man’s bones.”
My spirit wandered on, until
It left the scenes of earth;
Until I stood with those who’d passed
Through death, the second birth.
And I inquired, with holy awe,
“Who are they within this fold,
Who seem to be Heaven’s favorite,
And wear those crowns of gold?”
Then a being came unto me,
One of angelic birth,
And in most heavenly accents said,
“Those were the poor of earth.”
Then from my dream I woke, but
Will ne’er forget its worth;
For ever since that vision
I have loved “the poor of earth.”
And when I see them toiling on
To earn their daily bread,
And dire oppression crush them down,
Till every joy hath fled,—
I mind me of that better world,
And of that heavenly fold,
Where every crown of thorns gives place
Unto a crown of gold.
“If I don’t make
it, others will;
So I’ll keep up my death-drugged still.
Come, Zip, my boy, pile on the wood,
And make it blaze as blaze it should;
For I do heartily love to see
The flames dance round it merrily!
“Hogsheads, you want?-well, order them made;
The maker will take his pay in trade.
If, at the first, he will not consent,
Treat him with wine till his wits are spent;
Then, when his reason is gone, you know
Whate’er we want from his hands will flow!
“Ah, what do you say?-’that won’t be fair’?
You’re conscientious, I do declare!
I thought so once, when I was a boy,
But since I have been in this employ
I’ve practised it, and many a trick,
By the advice of my friend, Old Nick.
I thought ’t was wrong till he hushed my fears
With derisive looks, and taunts, and jeers,
And solemnly said to me, ’My Bill,
If you don’t do it, some others will!’
“If I don’t sell it, some others will;
So bottles, and pitchers, and mugs I’ll fill.
When trembling child, who is sent, shall come,
Shivering with cold, and ask for rum
(Yet fearing to raise its wet eyes up),
I’ll measure it out in its broken cup!
“Ah! what do you say?-’the child wants bread’?
Well, ’t is n’t