Not in the busy noonday,
Not when the sun is high,
But when the gas-light flareth.
And the stars light up the sky,
Take we a walk through London,
Aud in each square and street,
Oh, Heaven! I what forms of vice and woe
And misery we meet.

There Traviata singeth
Bacchante's treach'rous song;
Each note to mem’ry bringeth
Some token of her wrong,
There Incognita --erneth.
Heedless of sin and shame;
Her form our mind still haunteth—
A woman but in name.

There from the bridge which beareth
The title— The Bridge of Sighs,
a piercing shriek there riseth
To One above the the skies,
Which tells of bitter spurning.
And still nore bitter wrong.
That Hood so well hath chanted
In his immortal song.

Then — like an arrow speeding
From yoeman’s bended bow—
She throws herself, unheeding,
Into the gulf below:
The waters gurgle o’er her
With sad and mournful sound;
Tomorrow shall the papers show
A paragraph “Found Drowned”.

Here, on the workhouse doorstep,
A woman meets our eye;
Her bed the freezing cold, cold stone —
Her canopy, the sky.
Here hath she come to die — in peace
To draw her latest breath;
And one more claims tho epitaph
Of "Slowly Starved to Death.”

Hers is a sadd’ning story—
A husband lately dead,
Aud children, gathering round her,
Who loudly cried for bread.
She rang the bell of the workhouse,
Only to be denied,
And in the streets of London
By night drooped aud died.

Such are the sights, dear reader,
That met our ’stonished eye,
As we pace the streets of Loudon
When the stars light up the sky;
And in the proudest city
Of all this fair domain,
Whose ’scutcheon heals this only blot,
Its banner but this stain.

Then, when at merry Yule-tide,
Long parted friends shall meet,
And hearts, oft dulled by business cares,
With warm emotions beat —
When in unsullied joyousness
The foaming cup goes round,
And in the dear home circle
No broken link is found —

Then by the many blessings
which have to thee been given,
Oh! use the glorious attribute
Which, makes earth likest heaven;
And with & hand unsparing.
According to thy might
Rescue the homeless wanderers
In London's streets by night.


“London by Night.” Fun. (24 December 1864): 149. Source: Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.

Last modified 19 February 2016