Post more comments
Want a gift card for being active Forum member? Post comments and win $25 gift card every week.
Rules:
PoemHunter.com will be giving away Amazon.com gift cards (worth $75 in total) every week to first three members ($25 each) who participate most in our forum discussions. You just have to post comments on forum pages, poet pages or poem pages anywhere inside PoemHunter.com
Comments posted needs to be in different pages. Posting more than 1 comment on the same page will only be counted once.
Members can not post comments without being logged in.
PoemHunter.com has the right to cancel or edit this contest.
PoemHunter.com has a right to disqualify or ban member(s) without providing any type of reason, belief or proof in regards to any type of illegal activity or fraud.

Martin Farquhar Tupper

(July 17, 1810 - November 1889 / London)

A Dozen Ballads About White Slavery. V. The Workwoman


'The Song of the Shirt,'- O heart-stirring hymn
How sternly and terribly true
The portrait of misery, ghastly and grim,
That Bard of Humanity drew:
Go, read it once more, none other may paint
So touching a picture as this,-
For he that imagined it now is a saint
At rest in a mansion of bliss!

Yet, precept on precept, a line upon line,
And effort again and again,
This, friends, is a duty of yours and of mine,
If we wouldn't labour in vain;
And he that would combat White-Slavery-sin
Must hit its most hideous blot,
To tell how poor womanhood, sickly and thin,
Is treated the worst of the lot!

This binder of boots, that stitcher of slops,
These knitters by night and by day,
Are slaves to the tyrants that rule in the shops,
Who grind them for pittance of pay;
And often the delicate daughters of taste,
With needle and need for their goads,
Hard-driven by Fashion with murderous haste,
Like packhorses die on the roads!

O Belle of the ball-room, how little you know
Of the
pain
that has made you so fair;
O bride of Belgravia, hunger and woe
Have drest you so charmingly there!
O buyer of bargains, most cruelly cheap,
Consider what sorrow must lurk
In toil without respite, that strangers may reap
The fruit of such profitless work!

Come, Queen of the Fashions, so gracefully calm,
And yet with heart throbbing within,
Vouchsafe, as you can, some Imperial Balm
To cure this old system of sin;
Your ladylike milliners,- leave them awhile,
And seek out their want-stricken slaves;
'Twere better your Majesty wasted a smile
On poor honest girls, than on knaves.

And, gentle Society, bargain-befool'd,
Ah, think what embroideries cost!
Remember, when self-exultation has cool'd,
Your gain by some other is lost!
It is gambling unfairly,- where virtue and health
And labour those workwomen give,
While all that you stake is an atom of wealth,
Too little for 'Live, and let live!'

Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Dozen Ballads About White Slavery. V. The Workwoman by Martin Farquhar Tupper )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Hope, Tony Adah
  2. I am Amorous Nature, Akhtar Jawad
  3. Eternity That Strays, Alven L. Robinson
  4. Sleep and Soul, Ismim Putera
  5. Human Relationships, Jaipal Singh
  6. I knew I should've taken Spanish in high.., the hobbler
  7. Stopping by Sea on a Stormy Evening, Jeffrey Tillery
  8. For her only, Nick Scalisi
  9. Monsoon Days, Alven L. Robinson
  10. The Jade Road, Alven L. Robinson

Poem of the Day

poet George Gordon Byron

I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name;
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame;
But the tear that now burns on my cheek may impart
...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]