[From Manxiana, 1870]


Many they are not, and are well to do,
Compared with the English or the Scotch ;
Are known to all, befriended too as well,
And spoken kindly to by one and all.
Still, as no I oor Law rules, as yet, the land,
There is necessity that help be given
To widows. and the old, infirm, and sick,
So that the law of Charity rules here;
A law much older that Queen Bess's time —
Old e'en as the world, and should be held
Binding on all, for 'tis the law of God.
Thanks be! Manx good folks do this law obey,
And thus the poor are fed, and clothed, and housed ;
And then as well, the generations past
Have largely as legacies fed the poor;
Distribution by the Kirk is made
To all around who need the free gift alms.
Times long gone by fair Abbey lands there were,
And Abbey shelter for the weary poor,
And common lands where the poor island folk
Could graze their sheep, or freely cut their peat.
Those times are gone — monasteries are not now
Free to the poor — they're free to the bats and owls,
Such as remain in ruined overthrow.
There is no common land — no, not one rood,
As in the Abbey days, when but and ben,
Shelter and food there was for all the poor,
Who came at vesper bell to seek for rest,
And moment's worship at the eastern shrine ;
Not man in the pulpit, but a present God,
Symbol 'd may be, but a felt presence there.
Still custom rules to give the help and rest,
With shelter for the night — for all are known,
They're only poor — no crime e'er stained their lot.
Wallet in hand, the little help they seek
They freely get — a copper or some meal;
A single handful satisfies their claims;
This all they ask, and for this trifling dole
You get a blessing as they leave your door.
So when they come with gentle tap to you,
'Great them with words of kindness — put your li;ind
Down in your meal-bin deep, and give to them
A handful large — a copper too — you'll reap
The Scripture double blessing in return;
Will be the richer for the simple deed,
And feel the nobler in your heart of hearts
Than if you proudly turned them from your door,
As though they were a reptile, you a god —
More God-like they — more reptile you they'd feel.



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Poor Law

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