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Gerald Massey (Джеральд Масси)


The Cry of the Unemployed


'TIS hard, 'tis hard to wander on through this bright
          world of ours,
Beneath a sky of smiling blue, on velvet paths of flowers,
With music in the woods, as there were nought but
          joyance known,
Or Angels walkt earth's solitudes, and yet with want to
          groan,
To see no beauty in the stars, nor in God's radiant smile,
To wail and wander misery-curst! willing, but cannot toil.
There's burning sickness at my heart, I sink down
          famishèd!
God of the wretched, hear my prayer: I would that I were
          dead!

Heaven dropped down with manna still in many a golden
            show'r,
And feeds the leaves with fragrant breath, with silver dew
            the flow'r.
There's honeyed fruit for bee and bird, with bloom laughs
            out the tree,
And food for all God's happy things; but none gives food
            to me.
Earth, deckt with Plenty's garland-crown, smiles on my
          aching eye,
The purse-proud,—swathed in luxury—disdainful pass
          me by;
I've eager hands, and earnest heart—but may not work
            for bread!
God of the wretched, hear my prayer. I would that I were
            dead!

Gold, art thou not a blessed thing: a charm above all
            other,
To shut up hearts to Nature's cry, when brother pleads
             with brother?
Hast thou a music sweeter than the voice of loving-
            kindness?
No ! curse thee, thou'rt a mist 'twixt God and man in
            outer blindness.
"Father, come back!" my children cry; their voices,
            once so sweet,
Now quiver lance-like in my bleeding heart! I cannot
            meet
The looks that make the brain go mad, for dear ones
            asking bread—
God of the wretched, hear my prayer: I would that I were
            dead!

Lord! what right have the poor to wed?   Love's for the
            gilded great:
Are they not form'd of nobler clay, who dine off golden
            plate?
'Tis the worst curse of Poverty to have a feeling heart:
Why can I not, with iron-grasp, tear out the tender part?
I cannot slave in you Bastille! ah no't were bitterer pain,
To wear the Pauper's iron within, than drag the Convict's
            chain.
I'd work but cannot, starve I may, but will not beg for
            bread:
God of the wretched, hear my prayer: I would that I were
            dead!



Gerald Massey's other poems:
  1. The Deserter from the Cause
  2. To a Beloved One
  3. I Was Not Made Merely For Money-Making
  4. There's No Dearth Of Kindness
  5. It will End in the Right


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