Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Important Queries

Why this hurrying to and fro,
Why all this strange commotion?
The good ship Briton rolls and sways
Upon a stormy ocean.
Oh! where the skilful pilot's hand
To steer her through the breakers?
Or must she drift till, on the strand,
She lies the prey of wreckers?
Oh! why this running to and fro:
Is knowledge true increasing?
When human knowledge leads the van
The true is oft decreasing.
The newer lights, so vaunted now,
The learning of the college,
The lights of science unbaptized-
Lead they to saving knowledge?
Oh! why this running to and fro,
The fiery demon chasing;
The Moloch spirit of the still
With deadly clasp embracing?
Dread spirit, at thy burning shrine
Are we still sacrificing
Our all on earth, our hopes in heaven-
All-all-yet not sufficing?
Ah, mothers! why this sad neglect
Of due maternal training-
Guarding the young from speech profane-
From evil deeds restraining?
Why prove yourselves unfit to use
Your true and high vocation-
To teach and train the young who form
The future generation?
Why ever running to and fro,
Eschewing the reflection
That household-cares and children's weal
Demand your close inspection?
'Tis not enough they go to school
And enter through the portals-
The faithful mother caters lore
To suit her young immortals.
Oh! why so oft by vice and sloth
Make home unclean, unholy,
Where children pine in rags and want-
A sight most melancholy;
Where boys and girls grow up untaught,
Uncared for, and untended,
Their future lives a dreary waste
Of sin and misery blended?
Why ever running to and fro
Are children shouting, playing,
Upon the Sabbath?-Mothers, why
Your sacred trust betraying?
Have you no thought of guilt incurr'd
While you are not restraining
Their childish sports in field and street,
The holy day profaning?
Oh, working mothers! list my rhymes,
'Tis you I am addressing-
The workman's home and hearth are yours
For either bane or blessing.
God bless and help you to fulfil
The duties of your station!
These duties, well performed, will raise,
Adorn and bless the nation.
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