Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
The People’s Petition
Wathen Marks Wilks Call (1817–90)
O LORDS! O rulers of the nation!
O softly cloth’d! O richly fed!
O men of wealth and noble station!
Give us our daily bread.
For you we are content to toil,        5
For you our blood like rain is shed;
Then, lords and rulers of the soil,
Give us our daily bread.
Your silken robes, with endless care,
Still weave we; still uncloth’d, unfed,        10
We make the raiment that ye wear:
Give us our daily bread.
In the red forge-light do we stand,
We early leave—late seek our bed,
Tempering the steel for your right hand:        15
Give us our daily bread.
We sow your fields, ye reap the fruit;
We live in misery and in dread;
Hear but our prayer, and we are mute:
Give us our daily bread.        20
Throughout old England’s pleasant fields
There is no spot where we may tread,
No house to us sweet shelter yields:
Give us our daily bread.
Fathers are we; we see our sons,        25
We see our fair young daughters, dead;
Then hear us, O ye mighty ones!
Give us our daily bread.
’T is vain—with cold, unfeeling eye
Ye gaze on us, uncloth’d, unfed;        30
’T is vain—ye will not hear our cry,
Nor give us daily bread.
We turn from you, our lords by birth,
To him who is our Lord above;
We all are made of the same earth,        35
Are children of one love.
Then, Father of this world of wonders,
Judge of the living and the dead,
Lord of the lightnings and the thunders,
Give us our daily bread!        40


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