Trafalgar Square

Original Text: 
Robert F. Murray: his Poems, with a memoir by Andrew Lang (London: Longmans, Green, 1894): 50-52. PR 5101 M5A6 1894 Robarts Library
1These verses have I pilfered like a bee
3    In London, showing what befell him there,
4With other things, of interest to me
5One page described a night in open air
6He spent last summer in Trafalgar Square,
7    With men and women who by want are driven
8Thither for lodging, when the nights are fair.
9No roof there is between their heads and heaven,
10No warmth but what by ragged clothes is given,
11    No comfort but the company of those
12Who with despair, like them, have vainly striven.
13On benches there uneasily they doze,
14Snatching brief morsels of a poor repose,
15    And if through weariness they might sleep sound,
16Their eyes must open almost ere they close.
17With even tramp upon the paven ground,
18Twice every hour the night patrol comes round
19    To clear these wretches off, who may not keep
20The miserable couches they have found.
21Yet the stern shepherds of the poor black sheep
22Will soften when they see a woman weep.
23    There was a mother there who strove in vain,
24With sobs, to hush a starving child to sleep.
25And through the night which took so long to wane,
26He saw sad sufferers relieving pain,
27    And daughters of iniquity and scorn
28Performing deeds which God will not disdain.
29There was a girl, forlorn of the forlorn,
30Whose dress was white, but draggled, soiled, and torn,
31    Who wandered like a ghost without a home,
32She spoke to him before the day was born.
33She, who all night, when spoken to, was dumb,
34Earning dislike from most, abuse from some,
35    Now asked the hour, and when he told her `Two,'
36Wailed, `O my God, will daylight never come?'
37Yes, it will come, and change the sky anew
38From star-besprinkled black to sunlit blue,
39    And bring sweet thoughts and innocent desires
40To countless girls. What will it bring to you?


2] C.C.C.: unidentified, a close friend of Murray's. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire