The Peoples Petition

O Lords and Rulers of the Nation,
The softly cloth'd, the richly fed ;
Ye men of wealth, and rank, and station,
Give us our daily bread.

For you we are content to toil ;
For you our blood, like rain, is shed ;
Then, lords and rulers of the soil,
Give us our daily bread.

In the red forge light do we stand,
We early leave, late seek our bed,
Tempering the steel for your right hand,
Give us our daily bread.

We weave with endless toil and care
Rich robes of silk, uncloth'd, unfed,
We make the raiment that ye wear
Give us our daily bread.

We sow your fields—ye reap the fruit ;
We live in misery and dread;
Hear, then, our prayer, and we are mute
Give us our daily bread.

Throughout Old England's pleasant fields
No spot have we whereon to tread ;
No house for us its shelter yields
Give us our daily bread.

Fathers we are—we see our sons,
We see our fair young daughter's dead ;
Then bear us, O ye mighty ones,
And give us daily bread.

'Tis vain—with cold and cruel eye,
Ye gaze on us uncloth'd, unfed ;
'Tis vain—ye will not hear our cry,
Nor give us daily bread.

We turn from you, our lords by birth,
To Him who is our Lord above ;
We all are sprang from the same earth,
All children of his love.

Then, Father of the world of wonders,
Judge of the living and the dead ;
Lord of the light'nings, and the thunders,
Give us our daily bread.

Morning Chronicle


It is interesting that in 1848, the European "Year of Revolution", this poem was chosen for publication in an Australian newspaper. Up to 100 Chartists were transported to Australia for their efforts to bring democracy to Britain, and though they were unsuccessful in Britain they were more successful in the colonies. William Cuffay was one of those Chartists and an organiser of the high demonstration in London to present the petition to parliament. This poem was written by Wathen Marks Wilks Call.