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Poem by Branwell Bronte

Epistle To The Labouring Poor

All you who turn the sturdy soil,
Or ply the loom with daily toil,
And lowly on through life turmoil
For scanty fare,
Attend, and gather richest spoil
To soothe your care.

I write with tender, feeling heart,
Then kindly read what I impart;
'Tis freely penned, devoid of art,
In homely style,
'Tis meant to ward off Satan's dart,
And show his guile.

I write to ope your sin-closed eyes,
And make you great, and rich, and wise,
And give you peace when trials rise,
And sorrows gloom;
I write to fit you for the skies
On Day of Doom.

What, though you dwell in lowly cot,
And share through life a humble lot?
Some thousands wealth and fame have got,
Yet know no rest:
They build, pull down, and scheme and plot,
And die unblest.

Your mean attire and scanty fare
Are, doubtless, springs of bitter care,
Expose you blushing, trembling, bare,
To haughty scorn;
Yet murmur not in black despair,
Nor weep forlorn.

You see that lordling glittering ride
In all the pomp of wealth and pride,
With lady lolling at his side,
And train attendant:
'Tis all, when felt and fairly tried,
But care resplendent.

As riches grow his wants increase,
His passions burn and gnaw his peace,
Ambition foams like raging seas
And breaks the rein,
Excess produces pale disease
And racking pain.

Compared with him thrice happy you;
Though small your stock your wants are few,
Each wild desire your toils subdue,
And sweeten rest,
Remove all fancied ills from view,
And calm your breast.

Your labours give the coarsest food
A relish sweet and cleanse the blood,
Make cheerful health in spring-tide flood
Incessant boil,
And seldom restless thoughts obtrude
On daily toil.

Those relish least who proudly own
Rich groves and parks familiar grown;
The gazing stranger passing on
Enjoys them most,
The toy possessed, the pleasure's flown,
For ever lost.

Then grateful let each murmur die,
And joyous wipe the tearful eye:
Erect a palace in the sky,
Be rich in grace:
Loathe this vain world, and longing sigh
For Jesu's face.

Both rich and poor, who serve not God,
But live in sin, averse to good,
Rejecting Christ's atoning blood,
Midst hellish shoals,
Shall welter in that fiery flood,
Which hissing rolls.

But all who worship God aright,
In Christ His Son and image bright,
With minds illumed by Gospel light,
Shall find the way
That leads to bliss, and take their flight
To heavenly day.

There rich and poor, and high and low,
Nor sin, nor pain, nor sorrow know:
There Christ with one eternal glow
Gives life and light,
There streams of pleasure ever flow,
And pure delight.

Christ says to all with sin oppressed,
'Come here, and taste of heavenly rest,
Receive Me as your friendly guest
Into your cots;
In Me you shall be rich and blest,
Though mean your lots.

'Behold My hands, My feet, My side,
All crimsoned with the bloody tide!
For you I wept, and bled, and died,
And rose again:
And throned at My Father's side,
Now plead amain!

'Repent, and enter Mercy's door,
And though you dwell in cots obscure,
All guilty, ragged, hungry, poor,
I give in love
A crown of gold, and pardon sure,
To each above.'

Then hear the kind, inviting voice,
Believing in the Lord rejoice;
Your souls will hymn the happy choice
To God on high,
Whilst joyful angels swell the noise
Throughout the sky.

A fond farewell! each cottage friend,
To Jesu's love I would commend
Your souls and bodies to the end
Of life's rough way;
Then (death subdued) may you ascend
To endless day! 

Branwell Bronte

Branwell Bronte's other poems:
  1. The Cottager's Hymn
  2. Epistle To A Young Clergyman
  3. The Irish Cabin
  4. Verses Sent To A Lady On Her Birthday
  5. Lydia Gisborne

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