All day, all the day, in the dust, in the heat,
With maddening brain and with staggering feet,
I stand on Life’s highway, and beg my soul’s meat.
All day, all the day, in the cold, in the rain,
Through days that are vapid and timeless with pain,
I stretch out my hand to the rich—and in vain.
Oh, my soul is a-hungered—my soul is athirst!
It cries out to mortals as one God-accurst,
Abandoned of Heaven, when life is at worst.
Say, say, is there any ‘neath heaven’s blue sky
So beggared of faith, hope, and courage as I?
Give, give, oh, my brothers! Give, give, or I die!
Shall I famish and faint in the midst of Life’s mart.
And ye who seem pitiful, spare not a part
Of your souls’ garnered wealth for one needy poor heart?
In vain! Ye fling alms to the rags that ye meet;
But souls that lie naked and starved at your feet;
These cry out unheard, and must die on the street.