Posts Tagged ‘Destitution’

Beg, Beggars, Beggary

February 26, 2009

Sympathy by Frederick Judd Waugh

Sympathy by Frederick Judd Waugh

The pictures I’ve used don’t go with the poems exactly, but have the same theme.

BEGGARY.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “POVERTY’S DREAM.”

I stood by a desk in my little store,
Turning the leaves of a volume o’er,
Now of a monarch, reading slowly–
Then of a God-man, far more lowly,
Of whom the olden records say,
He knew not where his head to lay.

I turned from that sacred book of yore,
As a shadow darkened that small glass door,
A shadow–but scarce more frail than she
Who lifted her pitiful eyes to me,
And, trembling, against the county bent,
She wept, and begged for a single cent.

Her cheek was white, and lean, and high,
And little lustre was in her eye;
Though from its glances a wildness shot,
That told of pleasures she now had not,
And as a silent suppliant, she
Stretched forth her pallid hand to me.

I read on her wasted face the tale
That has made a thousand spirits quail.
O! I would willingly hear my knell,
Wee there no more such tales to tell.
Cursed be the want and woe that lent
Such value to a coveted cent!

The woman–oh! thin and young she was–
Shook like a blade of wind-stricken grass,
And hectically she blushed to know
That a world was witness to her woe;
But with that hectic flush, a sigh
Showed that death to her heart was nigh.

She paused a moment beside the door,
Until the throe of her pain was o’er,
And I, into her open palms,
Had dropped a poor man’s meagre alms;
And then she prayed on my soul might fall
That Father’s blessing who gives us all.

The shadow glided across the door,
And vanished slowly, to come no more.
May God preserve thee, deserted thing!
Thy sorrow my heart is harrowing.
It was so mournful to see thee bent
In supplication for a cent!

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Mar 22, 1852

The Beggars' Breakfast by Jean Geoffrey

The Beggars' Breakfast by Jean Geoffrey

THE BLIND BEGGAR.
BY C.G. EASTMAN.

He sits by the great high road all day —
The beggar blind and old,
The locks on his brow are thin and grey,
And his lips are blue and cold;
The life of the beggar is almost spent,
His cheek is pale and his form is bent,
And he answereth low and with meek content,
The sneers of the rude and bold.

All day, by the road, hath the beggar sat,
Weary, and faint, and dry —
In silence, patiently holding his hat,
And turning his sightless eye,
As, with cruel jest and greeting grim,
At his hollow cheek and eye-ball dim,
The traveller tosses a cent at him,
And passeth hastily by.

To himself the blind old man doth hum
A song of his boyhood day,
And his lean, white fingers idly drum
On his thread bare knee where they lay;
And oft, when the gay bob-o’link is heard
The song of the youth-hearted yellow bird,
The jar of life, and the traveller’s word,
And the shout of children’s play;

He starts and grasps with a hurried hand
The top of his smooth-worn cane,
And striking it sturdily into the sand —
Then layeth it down again!
While his black little spaniel, beautiful Spring,
That he keeps at his button-hole with a string,
Leaps up, and his bell goes tink-a-ling ling;
As he yelps with impatient pain.

Then he counteth his gains with quiet heed,
As the few through his fingers slide,
He knows is scarcely enough to feed
The beautiful dog by his side;
So he holdeth his hat and waiteth still,
Though the day is worn and the night is chill,
With patient hope his hand to fill
From the offals of pomp and pride.

He sites by the great high road all day;
That beggar blind and old,
The locks on his brow are thin and grey,
And his lips are blue and cold;
Yet he murmureth never, day nor night;
But seeing the world by its inner sight,
He patiently waits with a heart all light,
Till the sum of his life shall be told.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Feb 7, 1842

Misery by Fernando Pelez

Misery by Fernando Pelez

THE BEGGAR BOY.

“Stay, lady stay, and list awhile,
A poor and beggar boy am I;
Bereft of pity’s beaming smile,
And sunk in woe and misery.

“There was a time, when on the couch
Of ease, I tun’d to notes of joy;
But now (save scorn, and keen reproach,)
There’s nothing left the beggar boy.

“Once I could boast of parents, friends;
E’en maidens’ love I once possess’d;
But now no pitying hand extends
Its help, to sooth my aching breast.

“There was a time — alas! ’tis gone
When fortune, FICKLE fortune smil’d;
Enwrapt in joy I journey’d on,
And was pronounc’d her fav’rite child.

“But like the transient meteor’s light,
That sporting fleets along the sky,
But quickly fading from the sight,
Deceives the wandering gazer’s eye.

“So sportive fortune woke to me,
And wrapt me in delusive joy,
SHE FLED — and meagre poverty,
Was all she left the beggar boy!”

LYSANDER

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jan 26, 1825

If you like these, I also posted a couple of poems about ORPHANS that  are similar in theme.

Starved To Death

December 16, 2008
Kansas Pioneer Family

Kansas Pioneer Family

This story reminds me of  the  “Little House on the Prairie”  books:

A Mother and Three Children Die in a Lonely Cabin on the Kansas Prairies.

STOCKTON, Kan., Jan 6 [?] From Farmington, Rooks County, comes a fearful tale of destitution. Four years ago John Clifton died and left a widow with five children. Year after year the crops failed and the poor woman was obliged to sell off her stock until at last there was none left. This year finished the fight and when the recent blizzard came it found the house with neither food nor fuel. The house was located in the Blue Hills, four miles from the nearest neighbor.

Saturday some persons passed the house and seeing no signs of life entered the house, where they found the dead bodies of Mrs. Clifton and three of her children, while the other two were in the last agonies of death. Prompt attention was given to the living, but there is little hope for their recovery.

New Castle News (PA) 07 Jan 1891

I wonder if the two surviving children made it, or if it really was too late.