Grimy men with picks and shovels
Who in darkness sweat unseen,
Climb from out your lousy hovels,
Build a palace for the Queen;
Praise the powers that be for giving
You a chance to make a living.
Yet it would be better far
Could you build with cosy lure
Skyey tenements where are
Rabbit-warrens of the poor;
With a hope bright as a gem
Some day you might live in them.
Could the Queen just say: ‘A score
Of rich palaces have I.
Do not make me any more,
Raise a hostel heaven-high;
House the hundreds who have need,
To their misery give heed.’
Could she make this gesture fine
To the pit where labour grovels,
Mother hearts would cease to pine,
Weary men would wave their shovels.
All would cry with hope serene:
‘Little children, bless the Queen!’