Henry T. Stanton was the editor for two early Maysville papers and contributed many articles to periodicals printed during the 1850s before becoming an Adjutant General under John C. Breckinridge and John Hunt Morgan of the Confederate Army. In the last years of his life, he devoted much of his time to writing poetry. In 1875, a man traveling through Maysville Kentucky asked Stanton to write for him “a poem that would draw tears from any audience.” The following is what he wrote...
The Moneyless Man
Is there no secret place on the face of the earth,
Where charity dwelleth, where virtue has birth?
Where bosoms in mercy and kindness will heave,
When the poor and the wretched shall ask and receive?
Is there no place at all where a knock from the poor
Will bring a kind angel to open the door?
Ah, search the wild world wherever you can,
There is no open door for a Moneyless Man!
Go look in yon hall where the chandelier’s light
Drives off with its splendor the darkness of night,
Where the rich-hanging velvet in shadowy fold
Sweeps gracefully down with its trimmings of gold,
And the mirrors of silver take up and renew,
In long lighted vistas, the ‘wildering view:
Go there! at the banquet, and find, if you can,
A welcoming smile for a Moneyless Man.
Go look in yon church of the cloud-reaching spire,
Which gives to the sun his same look of red fire,
Where the arches and columns are gorgeous within,
And the walls seem as pure as a soul without sin;
Walk down the long aisles, see the rich and the great
In the pomp and the pride of their worldly estate;
Walk down in your patches, and find, if you can,
Who opens a pew to a Moneyless Man!
Go, look in the banks, where Mammon has told
His hundreds and thousands of silver and gold;
Where, safe from the hands of the starving and poor,
Lies, pile upon pile, of the glittering ore!
Walk up to their counters-oh, there you may stay
Till your limbs grow old, till your hairs grow gray,
And you’ll find at the banks not one of the clan
With money to lend to a Moneyless Man!
Go look to yon judge, in his dark-flowing gown,
With the scales wherein law weigheth equity down,
Where he frowns on the weak and smiles on the strong,
And punishes right whilst he justifies wrong;
Where juries their lips to the Bible have laid,
To render a verdict they’ve already made;
Go there, in the court-room, and find, if you can,
Any law for the cause of a Moneyless Man!
Then go to your hovel! no raven has fed
The wife who has suffered too long for her bread;
Kneel down by her pallet, and kiss the death-frost
From the lips of the angel your poverty lost;
Then turn in your agony upward to God,
And bless, while it smites you, the chastening rod,
And you’ll find, at the end of your life’s little span,
There’s a welcome above for a Moneyless Man!