Rutland Gate

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

His back is bent and his lips are blue,
Shivering out in the wet:
"Here's a florin, my man, for you,
Go and get drunk and forget!"

Right in the midst of a Christian land,
Rotted with wealth and ease,
Broken and draggled they let him stand
Till his feet on the pavement freeze.

God leaves His poor in His vicars' care,
For He hears the church-bells ring,
His ears are buzzing with constant prayer
And the hymns His people sing.

Can His pity picture the anguish here,
Can He see, through a London fog,
The man who has worked "nigh seventy year"
To die the death of a dog?

No one heeds him, the crowds pass on.
Why does he want to live?
"Take this florin, and get you gone,
Go and get drunk, - and forgive!"

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