Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CHIMNEY-SWEEPER'S COMPLAINT, by MARY (CUMBERLAND) ALCOCK



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THE CHIMNEY-SWEEPER'S COMPLAINT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A chimney-sweeper's boy am I; / pity my wretched fate!
Last Line: How thankful should I be!
Subject(s): Child Labor; Chimney Sweepers & Chimneys


A CHIMNEY-SWEEPER'S boy am I;
Pity my wretched fate!
Ah, turn your eyes; 'twould draw a tear,
Knew you my helpless state.

Far from my home, no parents I
Am ever doomed to see;
My master, should I sue to him,
He'd flog the skin from me.

Ah, dearest madam, dearest sir,
Have pity on my youth;
Though black, and covered o'er with rags,
I tell you naught but truth.

My feeble limbs, benumbed with cold,
Totter beneath the sack,
Which ere the morning dawn appears
Is loaded on my back.

My legs you see are burnt and bruised,
My feet are galled by stones,
My flesh for lack of food is gone,
I'm little else but bones.

Yet still my master makes me work,
Nor spares me day or night;
His 'prentice boy he says I am,
And he will have his right.


'Up to the highest top,' he cries,
'There call out chimney-sweep!'
With panting heart and weeping eyes,
Trembling I upwards creep.

But stop! no more -- I see him come;
Kind sir, remember me!
Oh, could I hide me under ground,
How thankful should I be!





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