An Old Offender.

A culprit, from the stony prison brought,1
Stands at the solemn stern judicial bar ;2
A thief of many seasons ; traced and caught,3
The plunder in his gripe. With mouth ajar,4
He strives to look untouched by evil thought,5
But his eye steals around for friends afar.6
Who owns the boy ?”  No answer.  “ Eight years
old ?”
His tenth offence, sir.”  “ Well, what has he
Cut off this watch, these seals.”  “ He’s very bold :9
Where is his daily living earned, or won ? ”10
In the streets, both night and day, sir, hot or cold.”11
Where are the poor child’s parents ?”   “ He has
None—none !  No parent !  Like the cuckoo’s young,13
Cast on the lap of chance, for life, for bread ;14
Amongst the starved and sinful roughly flung ;15
By felons taught ; by nightly plunder fed !16
Help, angels ! who his birth-day carol sung,17
Teach him, or take him quickly to the dead.18
Help !” through the regions of the echoing sky,19
Through earth, and all its zones and circles, rings.20
Ah, learn !  When tears are forced from Pity’s eye,21
To every gentle orb a moisture clings :22
When Worth for human misery breathes a sigh,23
In answering music, know, an angel sings.24