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And work-work-work,

When the weather is warm and bright !— While underneath the eaves

The brooding swallows cling,
As if to show me their sunny backs,
And twit me with the Spring.

"Oh! but to breathe the breath

Of the cowslip and primrose sweet— With the sky above my head,

And the grass beneath my feet! For only one short hour

To feel as I used to feel, Before I knew the woes of want

And the walk that costs a meal!
"Oh! but for one short hour-
A respite however brief!

No blessed leisure for Love or Hope,
But only time for Grief!

A little weeping would ease my heart;
But in their briny bed

My tears must stop, for every drop
Hinders needle and thread!"

With fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread—

Stitch! stitch! stitch!

In poverty, hunger, and dirt;

And still, with a voice of dolorous pitch— Would that its tone could reach the rich!

She sang this "Song of the Shirt!"

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Still, for all slips of hers-
One of Eve's family—
Wipe those poor lips of hers,
Oozing so clammily.

Loop up her tresses
Escaped from the comb-
Her fair auburn tresses-
Whilst wonderment guesses
Where was her home?

Who was her father?
Who was her mother?

Had she a sister?

Had she a brother?

Or was there a dearer one

Still, and a nearer one
Yet, than all other?

Alas for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun!
Oh, it was pitiful!
Near a whole city full,
Home she had none.

Sisterly, brotherly,

Fatherly, motherly
Feelings had changed-
Love, by harsh evidence,
Thrown from its eminence;
Even God's providence
Seeming estranged.

Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,

With many a light
From window and casement,

From garret to basement,
She stood, with amazement,
Houseless by night.

The bleak wind of March Made her tremble and shiver; But not the dark arch, Or the black flowing river: Mad from life's history, Glad to death's mystery, Swift to be hurled— Anywhere, anywhere Out of the world!

In she plunged boldly—
No matter how coldly
The rough river ran--
Over the brink of it!
Picture it—think of it,
Dissolute Man!

Lave in it, drink of it,
Then, if you can!

Take her up tenderly-
Lift her with care!
Fashioned so slenderly―

Young, and so fair!

Ere her limbs, frigidly,
Stiffen too rigidly,

Decently, kindly,
Smooth and compose them;
And her eyes, close them,
Staring so blindly!
Dreadfully staring
Through muddy impurity,
As when, with the daring
Last look of despairing,
Fixed on futurity.

Perishing gloomily,
Spurred by contumely,
Cold inhumanity,

Burning insanity,

Into her rest!

Cross her hands humbly,
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast!

Owning her weakness,
Her evil behaviour,

And leaving, with meekness,
Her sins to her Saviour!

Mrs. Caroline Norton.



T is the twilight hour, The daylight toil is done, And the last rays are departing Of the cold and wintry sun.

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