Mary Weston Fordham
With hands all reddened and sore,
With back and shoulders low bent,
She stands all day, and part of the night
Till her strength is well-nigh spent.
With her rub—rub—rub,
And her wash, rinse, shake,
Till the muscles start and the spirit sinks,
And the bones begin to ache.
At morn when the sunbeams scatter
In rays so golden and bright,
She yearns for the hour of even,
She longs for the restful night.
Still she rubs—rubs—rubs,
With the energy born of want,
For the larder's empty and must be filled,—
The fuel's growing scant.
As long as the heart is blithesome,
Will her spirit bear her up,
And kindness and love imparteth a zest
To sweeten hard life's bitter cup.
But to toil—toil—toil,
From the grey of the morn till eve,
Is an ordeal so drear for a human to bear,
Which the rich can hardly conceive.
What part in the world of pleasure?
What holidays are her own?
For the rich reck not of privations and tears,
Saying, "she is to the manor born."
So dry those scalding tears
That furrow so deeply thy cheek,
Will come at the end of the week.
Yes, even on earth there's a day
When labor and toil must cease,
The world at its birth received the mandate
Of the seventh day of rest.
When the sweet-toned Sabbath bells
Break o'er the balmy air,
That the morning stars may hear.
For the frugal table spread,
For the crust and the humble bed,
When He to whom all earth belongs
Had not where to lay His head,
Then toil for thy daily bread,
Let thy heart like thy hands be clean,
Till thy bones all ache, I ween.