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The Sleepers

by
 As I walked down the waterside 
This silent morning, wet and dark; 
Before the cocks in farmyards crowed, 
Before the dogs began to bark; 
Before the hour of five was struck 
By old Westminster's mighty clock:

As I walked down the waterside 
This morning, in the cold damp air, 
I was a hundred women and men 
Huddled in rags and sleeping there: 
These people have no work, thought I, 
And long before their time they die.
That moment, on the waterside, A lighted car came at a bound; I looked inside, and saw a score Of pale and weary men that frowned; Each man sat in a huddled heap, Carried to work while fast asleep.
Ten cars rushed down the waterside Like lighted coffins in the dark; With twenty dead men in each car, That must be brought alive by work: These people work too hard, thought I, And long before their time they die.

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