In an attic cold and dreary,
Sat a mother sad and weary.
The fire in the grate was burning low,
And her cupboard it was empty,
Though once containing plenty,
Of the good things that do cheer us here below.
Her baby's fitful slumber
Now so oft disturbed by hunger,
For neither food had tasted all that day;
And she prayed aloud to heaven
That some help to her be given,
But ne'er a friend as yet had come her way.
The night was getting late,
And she patiently did wait
For the husband who'd been out since early morn;
In search of work or meat
With shoes worn off his feet,
And she anxiously awaited his return.
'T was nine weeks, or there-about,
Had her husband been locked-out,
Though he'd neither act or part in that "big fight";
And she wondered how 't would end--
if the masters or the men
Would ever come too look at things aright
Then a footstep on the stair
Made her start from off her chair
'T was the footstep of the husband she knew well;
And she opened wide the door,
as she oft had done before,
To hear what news for her he has to tell.
"Oh! Mary, lass," he cried,
Come and sit down by my side,
For the very best of news for you I've got:
I met a friend to-night,
Ay and to my great delight,
Into my hand he slipped a one pound note.
"Now some supper we will get,
We will be all right, don't fret;
Those clouds, though dark,
They soon will pass away;
And the sun shall shine once more,
As he did in days of yore,
And when he shine again we’ll make our hay.
"Then to lay a shilling by
We will do our best to try
To keep it there against the rainy day;
And when troubles us assail,
When we meet an adverse gale,
That shilling it will help us on our way.
"Of this evil-starred lock-out
From the first, without a doubt,
The masters played their game a little fast-
They hurriedly did meet,
Cast the men upon the street,
Without a thought how long the fight might last.
"But I trust the time is near-
It will come, I have no fear-
When all such cruel tactics they will cease;
When men like very brothers
Respect and trust all others,
And all will live in comfort and in peace."