THE HYMN OF THE WILTSHIRE LABORERS
by: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
- GOD! who by Thy prophet's hand
- Didst smite the rocky brake,
- Whence water came, at Thy command,
- Thy people's thirst to slake;
- Strike, now, upon this granite wall,
- Stern, obdurate, and high;
- And let some drops of pity fall
- For us who starve and die!
- The God who took a little child
- And set him in the midst,
- And promised him His mercy mild,
- As, by Thy Son, Thou didst:
- Look down upon our children dear,
- So gaunt, so cold, so spare,
- And let their images appear
- Where lords and gentry are!
- O God! teach them to feel how we,
- When our poor infants droop,
- Are weakened in our trust in Thee,
- And how our spirits stoop;
- For, in Thy rest, so bright and fair,
- All tears and sorrows sleep:
- And their young looks, so full of care,
- Would make Thine angels weep!
- The God who with His finger drew
- The judgment coming on,
- Write, for these men, what must ensue,
- Ere many years be gone!
- O God! whose bow is in the sky,
- Let them not brave and dare,
- Until they look (too late) on high,
- And see an Arrow there!
- O God, remind them! In the bread
- They break upon the knee,
- These sacred words may yet be read,
- "In memory of Me!"
- O God! remind them of His sweet
- Compassion for the poor,
- And how He gave them Bread to eat,
- And went from door to door!
POEMS BY CHARLES DICKENS
"The Hymn of the Wiltshire
Laborers" is reprinted from The Poems and Verse of Charles
Dickens. Ed. F.G. Kitton. New York: Harper & Brothers,