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The engraving shows a woman one arm about a girl and the other about an older girl who in turn cuddles a small dog. There’s an ornate couch and a curtain held back with a rope in the background and the sumptuous clothing make clear that these are the rich people’s children mentioned in the poem.
I have identified Edmund Thomas Parris as the artist with some degree of certainty. The engraver was possibly John Thompson, but it is signed Thomson rather than Thompson, so is more likely John Thomson of Duddingston.
The poet Mary Howett took over editing “Fisher’s Drawing-room Scrap-Book” when Letitia Elizabeth Landon died; it appears that she also contributed to this book, “The People’s Gallery of Engravings.”
by Mary Howitt.
What are they? gold and silver,
Or what such ore can buy?
The pride of silken luxury;
Rich robes of Tyrian dye?
Guests that come thronging in
With lordly pomp and state?
Or thankless, liveried serving-men,
To stand about the gate?
Or are they daintiest meats
Sent up on silver fine?
Or golden chased cups o’erbrimmed
With rich Falernian wine?
Or parchments setting forth
Broad lands our fathers held;
Parks for our deer; ponds for our fish;
And woods that may be felled?
No, no, they are not these! or else,
God help the poor man’s need!
Then sitting ’mid his little ones,
He would be poor indeed!
They are not these! our household wealth
Belongs not to degree;
It is the love within our souls—
The children at our knee!
My heart is filled with gladness
When I behold how fair,
How bright, are rich men’s children,
With their thick golden hair!
For I know ’mid countless treasure,
Gleaned from the east and west,
These living, loving human things
Are still the rich man’s best!
But my heart o’erfloweth to mine eyes,
And a prayer is on my tongue,
When I see the poor man’s children,
The toiling, though the young,
Gathering with sunburnt hands
The dusty wayside flowers!
Alas! that pastime symbolleth
Life’s after, darker hours.
My heart o’erfloweth to mine eyes,
When I see the poor man stand,
After his daily work is done,
With children by the hand—
And this, he kisses tenderly;
And that, sweet names doth call—
For I know he has no treasure
Like those dear children small!
Oh children young, I bless ye,
Ye keep such love alive!
And the home can n’er be desolate,
Where love has room to thrive!
Oh, precious household treasures,
Life’s sweetest, holiest claim—
The Saviour blessed ye while on earth,—
I bless ye in his name!