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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William James Linton 1812–97



LONG years their cabin stood

Out on the moor;

More than one sorrow-brood

Pass’d through their door;

Ruin them over-cast,

Worse than one wintry blast;

Famine’s plague follow’d fast:

God help the poor!

There on that heap of fern,

Gasping for breath,

Lieth the wretched kérn,

Waiting for death:

Famine had brought him low;

Fever had caught him so,—

O thou sharp-grinding woe,

Outwear thy sheath!

Dying, or living here—

Which is the worse?

Misery’s heavy tear,

Back to thy source!

Who dares to lift her head

Up from the scarcely dead?

Who pulls the crazy shed

Down on the corse?

What though some rent was due,

Hast thou no grace?

So may God pardon you,

Shame of your race!

What though that home may be

Wretched and foul to see,

What if God harry thee

Forth from His face?

Widow’d and orphan’d ones,

Flung from your rest!

Where will you lay your bones?

Bad was your best.

Out on the dreary road,

Where shall be their abode?

One of them sleeps with God:

Where are the rest?