Learn More

Martin Farquhar Tupper

(July 17, 1810 - November 1889 / London)

A Dozen Ballads About White Slavery. VIII. The Coalpit Gnome

O cheerful Christmas hearth!
Bright with the blazing coals,
And echoing clear with children's mirth,
Goodwill tow'rds men and peace upon earth,
And blessing to bodies and souls:
Ah, Christmas hearth! a gloomier light
Streams from those thy coals so bright
While sternly before my musing sight
This dark hearse-reverie rolls!

The coalpit! - come with me
Deep down the perilous shaft -
And, how many objects sad to see,
Pale abject girls and boys there be
Doom'd to this deadly craft:
Ah, blazing coals! what labour and pain
From earth's hard bowels have torn you amain,
By women and men that have sweated like rain,
And babes that have never laught!

The laden gang creeps on,
Women with browbound packs,
Up sultry galleries, one by one,
Headlong dragging ton by ton
These coals upon their backs!
And children, aching with ague and cramp,
Wearily watching the blue-flamed lamp,
Lest death steal by on the breath of the damp,
If those tired eyes relax.

And blows from merciless men,
And dread of the pick or the knife,
And nameless wrongs beyond mortal ken
Deepen the dark of their noisome den,
With terrors, and oaths, and strife:
O hard is the fate of this human gnome,
The woman, or child, with never a home,
Save under the coalpit's Tartarus dome,
The home of a miner's life!

Good Ashley! thine is the eye
To pity and help such a slave;
Priest and Levite, both pass by,
But this Samaritan still draws nigh,
His generous hands still save!
And yet, how much remains to be done;
For though in a Blue-book the battle be won,
- They still drag coal-corves, ton by ton,
White slaves from cradle to grave!

Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Listen to this poem:

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. VIII. The Coalpit Gnome by Martin Farquhar Tupper )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. If, Rudyard Kipling
  2. I Am the Only Being Whose Doom, Emily Jane Brontë
  3. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  4. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  7. A Smile To Remember, Charles Bukowski
  8. And Death Shall Have No Dominion, Dylan Thomas
  9. Alone, Maya Angelou
  10. Daffodils, William Wordsworth

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Jane Brontë

I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask no eye would mourn
I never caused a thought of gloom
A smile of joy since I was born

In secret pleasure - secret tears
...... Read complete »


New Poems

  1. The Bishop & The Crucifer {Prose}...(r), Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
  2. Passionate Love, Suresh Dogra
  3. Let's Tie The Knot, Muhammad Farhan Ahmed
  4. Expression ecrite, Atef Ayadi
  5. Give Thanks, Charles Jagongo
  6. Bones, Casey Renee Kiser
  7. WE WERE ONCE, Jon Alan
  8. A Mother's Loneliness, Muhammad Farhan Ahmed
  9. God ia not all macho, kalemeera collins
  10. My mom, Meenakshi Hariharan
[Hata Bildir]