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Page 222 - Stitch, stitch, stitch, In poverty, hunger, and dirt. Sewing at once, with a double thread A shroud as well as a shirt ! But why do I talk of Death ? That phantom of grisly bone ? I hardly fear his terrible shape, It seems so like my own — It seems so like my own, Because of the fasts I keep ; Oh, God! that bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap...
Page 221 - Work ! work ! work ! till the brain begins to swim; work ! work ! work ! till the eyes are heavy and dim ! Seam, and gusset, and band ; band, and gusset, and seam ; till over the buttons I fall asleep, and sew them on in a dream. O men, with sisters dear ! O men with mothers and wives ! it is not linen you're wearing out, but human creatures
Page 221 - SONG OF THE SHIRT. 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 She sang the "Song of the Shirt!
Page 223 - Work ! work ! work ! from weary chime to chime ; work ! work ! work ! as prisoners work for crime. Band, and gusset, and seam ; seam, and gusset, and band ; till the heart is sick, and the brain benumbed, as well as the weary hand. " Work ! work ! work ! in the dull December light ; and work ! work ! work ! when the weather is warm, and bright...
Page 224 - 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!
Page 222 - O men with Sisters dear ! O men with Mothers and Wives! It is not linen you're wearing out, But human creatures' lives! Stitch - stitch - stitch, In poverty, hunger, and dirt, Sewing at once with a double thread, A Shroud as well as a Shirt.
Page 224 - 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!...
Page 222 - Work - work - work! My labour never flags; And what are its wages? A bed of straw, A crust of bread - and rags. That shatter'd roof - and this naked floor A table - a broken chair And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank For sometimes falling there!
Page 223 - Work, work, work! From weary chime to chime ; Work, work, work, As prisoners work for crime : Band and gusset and seam, Seam and gusset and band, Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumbed, As well as the weary hand.