Littell's Living Age/Volume 131/Issue 1698/A Song of the Period


Don't tell me of the pauper brood,
Who daily cry for a crust of food;
The badly-clothed or the evil-shoed,
Or the bare, blue toes of the crossing-sweeper!
Don't tell me of the white, wan faces,
The dirty lodgings and crowded places,
Where Poverty grins and Sin grimaces! —
"Am I my brother's keeper?"

Don't tell me of the "awkward squad,"
The loafers who get kept in "quad,"
Or tired men, laid beneath the sod,
In graves where they get house-room cheaper!
Dear me! I've hardly time to think,
With business first, and then the rink,
And a fellow must sometimes eat and drink, —
"Am I my brother's keeper?"

Don't tell me of the murky air
That chokes the lungs and breeds despair,
Where none are young, and few are fair,
And men drink deep, but women deeper!
Don't tell me of the moral obliquity,
In those low dens of vulgar iniquity!
My views may claim a Scriptural antiquity, —
"Am I my brother's keeper?"

What! come and help, you say? Oh no!
Some man of coarser grain may go,
'Twould break me down to see such woe.
Have you no shepherd for your sheep, sir?
An honest missionary, say, —
A Biblewoman. By the way,
I'm rather out of cash to-day,
Or I would give a trifle. Pray
Look in again! I'll help to pay
To keep my brother's keeper.