Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
The Pauper’s Drive

By T. Noel

(English poet of the Chartist period)
THERE’S a grim one-horse hearse in a jolly round trot;
To the churchyard a pauper is going, I wot;
The road it is rough, and the hearse has no springs,
And hark to the dirge that the sad driver sings:—
  “Rattle his bones over the stones;        5
  He’s only a pauper, whom nobody owns!”
Oh, where are the mourners? alas! there are none;
He has left not a gap in the world now he’s gone,
Not a tear in the eye of child, woman, or man—
To the grave with his carcase as fast as you can.        10
  “Rattle his bones over the stones;
  He’s only a pauper, whom nobody owns!”
What a jolting and creaking, and splashing and din;
The whip how it cracks! and the wheels how they spin!
How the dirt, right and left, o’er the hedges is hurled!        15
The pauper at length makes a noise in the world.
  “Rattle his bones over the stones;
  He’s only a pauper, whom nobody owns!”…
You bumpkin, who stare at your brother conveyed;
Behold what respect to a cloddy is paid,        20
And be joyful to think, when by death you’re laid low,
You’ve a chance to the grave like a gemman to go.
  “Rattle his bones over the stones;
  He’s only a pauper, whom nobody owns!”
But a truce to this strain—for my soul it is sad,        25
To think that a heart in humanity clad
Should make, like the brutes, such a desolate end,
And depart from the light without leaving a friend.
  Bear softly his bones over the stones;
  Though a pauper, he’s one whom his Maker yet owns.        30

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