James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

December 1

A Poet’s Epitaph

By Ebenezer Elliott (1781–1849)

  • Ebenezer Elliott, the author of these lines, was an English poet, author of the Corn-Law Rhymes. He died Dec. 1, 1849.

  • STOP, Mortal! Here thy brother lies—

    The Poet of the Poor.

    His books were rivers, woods and skies,

    The meadow and the moor;

    His teachers were the torn heart’s wail,

    The tyrant and the slave,

    The street, the factory, the jail,

    The palace—and the grave!

    Sin met thy brother every where!

    And is thy brother blamed?

    From passion, danger, doubt, and care,

    He no exemption claimed.

    The meanest thing, earth’s feeblest worm,

    He feared to scorn or hate;

    But, honoring in a peasant’s form

    The equal of the great,

    He blessed the steward, whose wealth makes

    The poor man’s little, more;

    Yet loathed the haughty wretch that takes

    From plundered Labor’s store.

    A hand to do, a head to plan,

    A heart to feel and dare—

    Tell Man’s worst foes, here lies the man

    Who drew them as they are.