The Hymn Of The Wiltshire Laborers – Charles Dickens

O God! who by Thy prophet’s hand 

Didst smite the rocky brake, 

Whence water came, at Thy command, 

Thy people’s thirst to slake; 

Strike, now, upon this granite wall, 

Stern, obdurate, and high; 

And let some drops of pity fall 

For us who starve and die! 
The God who took a little child 

And set him in the midst, 

And promised him His mercy mild, 

As, by Thy Son, Thou didst: 

Look down upon our children dear, 

So gaunt, so cold, so spare, 

And let their images appear 

Where lords and gentry are! 
O God! teach them to feel how we, 

When our poor infants droop, 

Are weakened in our trust in Thee, 

And how our spirits stoop; 

For, in Thy rest, so bright and fair, 

All tears and sorrows sleep: 

And their young looks, so full of care, 

Would make Thine angels weep! 
The God who with His finger drew 

The judgment coming on, 

Write, for these men, what must ensue, 

Ere many years be gone! 

O God! whose bow is in the sky, 

Let them not brave and dare, 

Until they look (too late) on high, 

And see an Arrow there! 
O God, remind them! In the bread 

They break upon the knee, 

These sacred words may yet be read, 

‘In memory of Me!’ 

O God! remind them of His sweet 

Compassion for the poor, 

And how He gave them Bread to eat, 

And went from door to door!

Squire Norton’s Song – Charles Dickens

The child and the old man sat alone 

In the quiet, peaceful shade 

Of the old green boughs, that had richly grown 

In the deep, thick forest glade. 

It was a soft and pleasant sound, 

That rustling of the oak; 

And the gentle breeze played lightly round 

As thus the fair boy spoke:- 
‘Dear father, what can honor be, 

Of which I hear men rave? 

Field, cell and cloister, land and sea, 

The tempest and the grave:- 

It lives in all, ’tis sought in each, 

‘Tis never heard or seen: 

Now tell me, father, I beseech, 

What can this honor mean?’ 
‘It is a name – a name, my child – 

It lived in other days, 

When men were rude, their passions wild, 

Their sport, thick battle-frays. 

When, in armor bright, the warrior bold 

Knelt to his lady’s eyes: 

Beneath the abbey pavement old 

That warrior’s dust now lies. 
‘The iron hearts of that old day 

Have mouldered in the grave; 

And chivalry has passed away, 

With knights so true and brave; 

The honor, which to them was life, 

Throbs in no bosom now; 

It only gilds the gambler’s strife, 

Or decks the worthless vow.’

Little Nell’s Funeral – Charles Dickens

And now the bell, – the bell 

She had so often heard by night and day 

And listened to with solemn pleasure, 

E’en as a living voice, – 

Rung its remorseless toll for her, 

So young, so beautiful, so good. 
Decrepit age, and vigorous life, 

And blooming youth, and helpless infancy, 

Poured forth, – on crutches, in the pride of strength 

And health, in the full blush 

Of promise, the mere dawn of life, – 

To gather round her tomb. Old men were there, 

Whose eyes were dim 

And senses failing, – 

Grandames, who might have died ten years ago, 

And still been old, – the deaf, the blind, the lame, 

The palsied, 

The living dead in many shapes and forms, 

To see the closing of this early grave. 

What was the death it would shut in, 

To that which still could crawl and keep above it! 
Along the crowded path they bore her now; 

Pure as the new fallen snow 

That covered it; whose day on earth 

Had been as fleeting. 

Under that porch, where she had sat when Heaven 

In mercy brought her to that peaceful spot, 

She passed again, and the old church 

Received her in its quiet shade. 
They carried her to one old nook, 

Where she had many and many a time sat musing, 

And laid their burden softly on the pavement. 

The light streamed on it through 

The colored window, – a window where the boughs 

Of trees were ever rustling 

In the summer, and where the birds 

Sang sweetly all day long.

Gabriel’s Grub Song – Charles Dickens

Brave lodgings for one, brave lodgings for one, 

A few feet of cold earth, when life is done; 

A stone at the head, a stone at the feet; 

A rich, juicy meal for the worms to eat; 

Rank grass overhead, and damp clay around, 

Brave lodging for one, these, in holy ground!

A Child’s Hymn – Charles Dickens

Hear my prayer, O heavenly Father, 

Ere I lay me down to sleep; 

Bid Thy angels, pure and holy, 

Round my bed their vigil keep. 
My sins are heavy, but Thy mercy 

Far outweighs them, every one; 

Down before Thy cross I cast them, 

Trusting in Thy help alone. 
Keep me through this night of peril 

Underneath its boundless shade; 

Take me to Thy rest, I pray Thee, 

When my pilgrimage is made. 
None shall measure out Thy patience 

By the span of human thought; 

None shall bound the tender mercies 

Which Thy Holy Son has bought. 
Pardon all my past transgressions, 

Give me strength for days to come; 

Guide and guard me with Thy blessing 

Till Thy angels bid me home.