Shaftesbury, the Poor Man’s Earl

 

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…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s