Henry Clay Work

(1 October 1832 – 8 June 1884 / Middletown, Connecticut)

Crying For Bread Poem by Henry Clay Work


"Please, lady! please pay my Ma for her sewing;
The suit fits you splendidly--that you'll allow.
Oh! don't say tomorrow! I see you are going;
But this will not hinder long--please pay me now.
Ma work'd all night for you! ev'ry minute;
Now she lies groaning with pain in her head;
And there by the pantry (with not a thing in it),
Sits poor little Theodore crying for bread!
Poor little Theodore crying for bread!"

"On! driver, on! they have all gone before us,
And I will not be late at the ball," Beauty said;
And wintry winds echoed her answer in chorus
With poor little Theodore crying for bread!
Poor little Theodore crying for bread!

"Please lady! please pay my Ma for her sewing;
I'll run and get change for you. Don't call me bold--
But how could you dance tonight all the time knowing
That we were left suffering, hungry and cold?
Ma looks so wild! she keeps calling for Daisy;
That was the name of my sister that's dead.
Oh! what shall I do, with my Ma going crazy,
And poor little Theodore cryiing for bread?
Poor little Theodore crying for bread!"

"Please lady! please pay my Ma for her sewing;
She must have some medicine--that let me buy.
Now, don't speak of beggars! 'tis money you're owing:
Do please, pay me part of it--else we must die."
On the wheels roll'd, and Fidele returned weeping;
Ah! in her absence a spirit had fled,
And morning light found her a weary watch keeping,
With poor little Theodore crying for bread!
Poor little Theodore crying for bread!"

Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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