The Poor of the City.

What evil hath the poor man done,1
That he must toil so hard,2
And never see the summer sun3
Smile on the glad green sward ?4
For him in doleful city pent,5
No charms hath Nature’s merriment ;6
A stranger he must ever be7
Unto the wild bee’s minstrelsy.8
The morning sun, whose ray should bring9
Life, gladness, to the heart,10
To him is sign of sorrowing ;11
No joy may it impart.12
It tells him of his daily doom,13
To labour at the weary loom ;14
Perchance that labour may provide15
The tinsel of the rich man’s pride.16
The poor man’s child !— his cheek is wan,17
The track of grief” is there ;18
His youthful mirth is under ban ;19
The curse of want and care !20
He may not watch with wondering eye21
The half-seen lark in morning sky ;22
The bonnie broom and heath-flower wild23
Bloom not to glad the city child.24
He may not wander joyously,25
Where sports the flowery burn ;26
No ! to some noisome factory27
His lingering footsteps turn ;28
And there all day—half-fed, half-clad29
Toils the uncared-for factory lad ;30
Dole, want, and woe his early doom,31
Which end but in a welcome tomb !32
Is it for this that science flings33
Her banner o’er the land ?34
Spirit of Watt ! are these the things35
Thy kindling genius plann’d ?36
Ye statesmen ! wake from fever’d dreams37
Of mad ambition’s heartless schemes ;38
His proper meed the needy give,39
Wrong not the poor, by whom ye live !”40