The Toilers’ Homes of England.

[To prevent misconception, the author of the following
stanzas may state, that no one can more admire the poetry
of the late Mrs Hemans than he does, and particularly
that beautiful poetical burst, the “ Homes of England ;”
but with all its exquisite beauty, it is only one side of a
picture, the darker side of which is, unfortunately, the
most correct : and to shew which is the purpose of the
following humble attempt.]
The toilers’ homes of England !1
Ah ! know ye how they stand2
’Midst all this show of wealth and pride3
Of England’s boasted land ?4
For bread their children wildly cry,5
Where want alone appears :6
Too oft, alas ! the sad reply7
A wretched mother’s tears.8
The mournful homes of England !9
Around the cheerless hearth10
Where erst were of household love,11
And sounds of household mirth12
There childhood’s tale or woman’s song13
No more is gladly heard :14
Victims of law—protected wrong15
Each heart with grief is stirred.16
The wretched homes of England !17
How sad their dingy walls18
Where on the toilers’ heart no more19
Bless’d Sabbath quiet falls20
There mirth, with drunken riot fraught,21
Salutes the peaceful morn22
And short-lived joy, of want begat,23
And crime of bondage, born.24
The hovel homes of England !25
In crowded city lanes ;26
They are darkling in each dirty nook27
Where rudest clamour reigns.28
Where dark disease and death embrace,29
Where want and filth abound30
Where health hath left each care-worn face :31
There labour’s homes are found.32
The poor slave homes of England !33
May never hut or hall34
Have peace while England’s millions pine35
In such unholy thrall ;36
Till they shall tread their fatherland37
As once their fathers trod38
Fearing no power but heaven’s command,39
No master but their God !40