Here you will find the Long Poem The Famine in Ireland of poet James Brunton Stephens
They shall not perish! Not if help can save Our hunger-stricken brethren from the grave! They shall not perish! With no impious breath We vow that Love shall stronger prove than Death! Say not, 'Tis vain to strive against the Hand That writeth Judgment o'er a mourning land!? Say not, 'Tis Heav'n that worketh good or ill; And if our brother die?it is God's will;? Say not, if He is pleased to hide His face, 'Tis ours and theirs to wait returning grace; Nor, listless, into prayerful chambers creep, And be content to weep with those who weep;? Say not that Nature but fulfils her plan, Through righteous retribution teaching man; Nor round your easy acquiescence draw The curtain of inexorable Law. Say rather, We are now the hands of God To pour our fruits upon their fruitless sod! Say rather, We are God's incarnate Will To feed His lambs, His children's mouths to fill, And in our very plenty read the sign That we are chos'n as instruments Divine! Say rather, if His face be darkened there, 'Tis ours to light the darkness of despair, And through the tears that dim their sorrowing eyes Show God reflected from our happier skies! And what though Nature in her changelessness Works out her ends through cycles of distress,? We too are Nature! and, enthroned above All other law, we own the Law of Love! Therefore they shall not perish!?Oh sad Isle, Endure thy burden yet a little while? Yea, but a little while, for bounteous Heaven The lightning for our messenger hath given, To flash from cape to cape, o'er ocean's bed, The word that for thy need becometh bread! Oh grief-worn father, gazing on the soil That mocks thy husbandry; whose fruitless toil Provides no answer to the children's cry; Who turn'st aside lest thou should'st see them die; Lo, God hath not forsaken ev'n thy least. Turn yet again: Help cometh from the East! Oh drooping mother, bowed with hopeless cares That labour lightens not, nor tears, nor prayers,? Who spread'st ev'n now before thy famished brood The scanty remnant of unwholesome food,? Once more let hope awake within thy breast. Be of good cheer: Help cometh from the West! Ye little ones, whose raiment, rent and old, Scarce hides the forms that tremble in the cold; Whose play is silenced; all whose frolic wiles Are turned to weariness; whose sunny smiles Have vanished from the hunger-wasted mouth,? Be warmed and fed: Help cometh from the South! Say we too much? Nay, less than this would shame Alike our hearts, our honour, and our name. Nothing too much while Famine stalks abroad, And Winter grips the shivering lambs of God! Nothing too much while weeping kindred cry To happier kindred, ?Save us, or we die!? Nothing too much while we whose bread is sure Have hearts to pity, hands to help, the poor,? And eyes in Ireland's hour of need to see Queensland's, Australia's opportunity!