Holl's title is taken from the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 15, verse 17 and is one of his early works. His exhibit at the Royal Academy of the following year, No Tidings from the Sea, was bought by Queen Victoria, and the previous year he had been awarded the Travelling Prize for his first success The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away.
Along with artists such as Luke Fildes and Hubert von Herkomer, Holl presented to the public unequivocal scenes of the suffering of the urban and rural underclass. Hanging alongside the more sentimental offerings of the Victorian school, they had the power to shock, and the public lionized them for it. As the critic Harry Quilter wrote: 'These were genuine, and in one sense almost great pictures: they struck a note in modern art which may possibly rise to be the dominant one. The traditions of the schools are dying away; the costume art is dying fast, and it is pictures like these which devote unsparing power to the facts of everyday life that are hastening the change'.