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Short poem

George Phillips Morris (1802-1864)

Song of the Sewing-Machine

              1I'm the Iron Needle-Woman!
              2  Wrought of sterner stuff than clay;
              3And, unlike the drudges human,
              4  Never weary night or day;
              5Never shedding tears of sorrow,
              6  Never mourning friends untrue,
              7Never caring for the morrow,
              8  Never begging work to do.

              9Poverty brings no disaster!
            10  Merrily I glide along,
            11For no thankless, sordid master,
            12  Ever seeks to do me wrong:
            13No extortioners oppress me,
            14  No insulting words I dread --
            15I've no children to distress me
            16  With unceasing cries for bread.

            17I'm of hardy form and feature,
            18  For endurance framed aright;
            19I'm not pale misfortune's creature,
            20  Doomed life's battle here to fight:
            21Mine's a song of cheerful measure,
            22  And no under-currents flow
            23To destroy the throb of pleasure
            24  Which the poor so seldom know.

            25In the hall I hold my station,
            26  With the wealthy ones of earth,
            27Who commend me to the nation
            28  For economy and worth,
            29While unpaid the female labor,
            30  In the attic-chamber lone,
            31Where the smile of friend or neighbor
            32  Never for a moment shone.

            33My creation is a blessing
            34  To the indigent secured,
            35Banishing the cares distressing
            36  Which so many have endured:
            37Mine are sinews superhuman,
            38  Ribs of oak and nerves of steel --
            39I'm the Iron Needle-Woman
            40  Born to toil and not to feel.

Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Poems (New York: Charles Scribner , 1860): 202-03.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/7/7

Other poems by George Phillips Morris