The Colliery Explosion at St. Helen’s, Workington. April 19th, 1888

Deep in the earth’s dark womb that teemed with
    From morn till eve the brave men laboured on,
    No stay nor rest the desperate task had won,
But still they fought the fierce cave’s fiery breath;
Came forth a spell at sundown, saw the heath
    And vale and sea burn glorious, then cried one:
    “Better to bide above, our work half-done,
Than back return to fight and fail beneath.”

“Nay,” answered others, “hark, our bairns and wives
    Call to us, ‘Save the pit and save our bread!’
      Half work is no work for our hands to do.”
    And down they went, the quick to join the dead,
    The flame-blast broke, and God’s clear voice
        rang thro’—
“Who labour thus and lose shall save their lives.”

(Valete: Tennyson and other Memorial Poems, p. 130)