You shrewdly observed the pathetic poor
that begged, brawled and slyly swindled;
compelled by command to unlock doors:
jubilee justice and anger slowly kindled.
Children slept under weaving looms,
tugged wagons in deep coal caverns,
choked in chimney stack soot and fumes;
parents wages wasted in gin taverns.
Your proxy mother was mindful maid
who whispered nightly maternal prayers;
your despotic father’s petty rules obeyed
until inherited title named you heir.
With statesmen you sat in House of Lords
giving many mill children hopeful starts;
on dull committees struck common chord
softened hard parliamentarian hearts.
Paternal debt damaged your family estate,
sullied that seat, tarnished proud crest:
you sold off paintings and silver plate
to ensure justice for tenants, late-blessed.
Much energy expended after many years
on penniless workers freed from slavery;
your state funeral caused farewell tears:
even critics saluted such biblical bravery…