Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

An Appeal For Thomas Eliot: The Shoemaker Poet

'Poor Tom's a-cold!' Upon his shrinking head
The pelting storm beats pitiless! On bed
Of languishing, disease, and cureless pain
He lies, surrounded by the haggard train
Of want-the victim of the thousand ills
With which cold poverty the life-blood chills.
Alas, poor Tom! must thy last look on earth
Fall on a squalid room and cheerless hearth,
Pale pining children, and a weeping wife,
With scanty sustenance for needs of life?
'Take physic, Pomp!'-good med'cine will be found
In that small room, with misery brooding round.
Time was when Tom invoked the Doric muse,
And she to hear his suit would not refuse,
And as he 'bit the birse,' and plied the awl,
The voice of song rung through the cobbler's stall:
And, while with sounding strokes he beat the leather,
His heart was with the muse 'amang the heather.'
I mourn for thee, my brother! Could thy weal
By me be compassed, I were quick to heal
Thy maladies, thy drooping spirits cheer,
In aiding those by thee beloved and dear!
Of gold and silver I, possessing none,
Give what I have; and here I ask alone
Of you who have-Is it not on record
Who giveth to the poor lends to the Lord?
A safe investment this! You freely may
Lend to the Lord-He surely will repay.
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