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Honest Poverty

By Charles Harpur – 11 November 1847

While some for wealth, and some for birth,
Claim honor—there is naught I see
More honorable on the earth
Than Honest Poverty.

What motive hath the millionaire
To cheat or steal—or rather what
(To keep his dealings ever fair)
Strong motive hath he not?

But when amid the hungry woes
Of Poverty’s disastrous war,
Shines honesty—O then it shows
More glorious than a star!

But what if cowardice but keeps
The poor man’s tempted will from vice?
Ask them who sneer where Brotherhood weeps—
What call they cowardice?

If he who needs yet dares not touch
Unrighteously his Neighbour’s store,
A coward is—God keep him such
A coward evermore.

Let Wealth and Birth world-honored be,
But on a juster—nobler plan,
The hero of his God is he,
The poor yet Honest Man!

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