Sunday, April 21, 2019


Address to the Rich

James Woodhouse, "Social Reflections," in The Life and Poetical Works of James Woodhouse (1735-1820), ed. R.I. Woodhouse, Vol. I (London: The Leadenhall Pres, 1896), pp. 57-61 (at 58):
Behold! Ye Rich! the wretch'd brood around!
Who dig your dismal mines, and work your ground—
Ply countless curious Arts, that You may 'scape
All want, in real, or unreal, shape!

They build your Domes, where Deities might dwell—
And will not You allow some lowly Cell;
Some simple Hovel—Hut—or sheltering Shed,
Where they may drink their water—break their bread;
When bread they have, and weary limbs may lie,
Secure from fierce attacks of stormy sky—
And where, when all their pence, on wants, are spent,
No feudal Churl can come to rail for Rent?

With Furniture they fit Your radiant Rooms—
Invent—prepare—and furnish, rich perfumes—
Shall such kind Friends, in squalid holes comprest,
'Mid atmospheres of filth, and rubbish, rest?

They fence Your Gardens—force Your fruits to grow—
And will not You some petty patch bestow,
Where Industry may find its frugal dish,
While God gives You game—ven'son—fowls—and fish?

They dress Your meadows—fertilize Your field;
And ought not You some small inclosure yield,
Where each may range, or rest, when Sundays shine,
Look round their little spot, and cry—'tis Mine?

They clear the plains—They pulverize the clod—
Will You, Wealth's Heirs! withold the heathy sod,
To thaw their frozen fingers—warm their feet—
And cook the scraps Your slaves would scorn to eat!

They watch Your woodlands—fell Your stems, and trees—
Give frost a fire-stick! rain a day of ease!
Nor let poor Worth with want—cold—toil, expire,
While You enjoy full choice, and chearful fire!

They brew Your beer—press pear, and apple, wine;
Yet quaff cold water, daily, when they dine—
And, while you satiate each base, beastly, Lust,
Munch vegetables, crude, with mouldy crust!

Your Horses—Hounds—Yes Hogs—at board, and bed,
Are better clothed—skreen'd, fenc'd,and lodg'd,and fed—
Ev'n Farmer's Hog may fill his hungry maw,
Well shelter'd take his rest on wholesome straw,
Whilst labouring Boors may find more scanty draff,
And lay tired limbs on stinking straw, or chaff!
Princes and Peers, for Horses, or for Hounds,
Expend, in mansions, twice ten thousand pounds;
While those that furnish all, yield all defence,
Crowd kraals that ne'er cost half ten thousand pence!

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