Bessie Rayner Parkes

A century since the pedler still
Somewhat of this might know,
Might see the weekly markets fill
And the people ebb and flow
Beneath St. Mary's on the hill
A hundred years ago.

Since then a vast and filmy veil
Is o'er the landscape drawn,
Through which the sunset hues ook pale,
And the fair face of hill and dale
Is apt to seem forlorn.

Smoke, rising from a thousand fires,
Hides all that passed from view;
Vainly the prophet's heart aspires,—
It hides the future too;
And the England of our slow-paced sires
Is thought upon by few.

Yet man lives not by bread alone,
How shall he live by gold?
The answer comes in a sudden moan
Of sickness, hunger, and cold;
And, lo! the seed of a new life sown
In the ruins of the old!

The human heart, which seemed so dead,
Wakes with a sudden start;
To right and left we hear it said,
"Nay; 'tis a noble heart,"
And the angels whisper overhead,
"There's a new shrine in the mart!"

And though it be long since daisies grew
Where Irk and Irwell flow,
If human love springs up anew,
And angels come and go,
What matters it that the skies were blue
A hundred years ago?

Poetry Atlas has many other poems about Liverpool.