Patrick Regan has kindly shared the material from his Robert Buchanan site with readers of the Victorian Web, who may wish to consult the original.

Out of the sinister caverns of Night,
    Out of the depths where the Hell-fires are glowing,
Cometh a cry, floating up to the Light,
    Here, where glad mortals are reaping and sowing:
'Night ever over us, blackness to cover us,
    Deeper we crawl than the graves of the Dead!
Sisters and brothers, whose fires burn so cheerily,
Fed by the coal that we work for so wearily,
    Give us, in God's name, our wages of Bread!

'Hell burning under us, gnome-like we dwell,
    Store for your hearths ever scraping and scooping,
Stifling and thunderous vapours of Hell
    Blacken our mouths, where we're stooping and drooping;
Terrors environ us, lest the fierce fire on us
    Leap, as it leapt on our kin who are sped!
Children and wives wait our wages and cry for them;
Eager to toil for them, ready to die for them,
    Darkly we grope for our handful of Bread!

'Sooner or later Death cometh this way, —
    Slain by his breathing our kindred are lying here!
Old ere our time, worn and weary and grey,
    Bear we the burthen that's dreary as dying, here!
Pain is our portion here, gruesome our fortune here,
    Still we're content when our dear ones are fed —
Sisters and brothers, while blindly and wearily
Ever we toil that your fires may burn cheerily,
    Give us, in God's name, our guerdon of Bread!'

Out of the sinister caverns of Night,
    Out of the depths where these weary ones wander,
Cometh the cry, floating up to the Light,
    Up to the sunshine that never shines yonder:
'Night ever over us, blackness to cover us,
    Toil we for ever, less living than dead! —
Sisters and brothers, whose fires burn so cheerily,
Fed by the coal that we dig for so drearily,
    See that we lack not our wages of Bread!'

(From Land and Sea Songs)


Victorian Web Robert Buchanan Contents

Last modified 27 September 2002