Gerald Massey: My Lyrical Life XIII.

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THE brow of Morning smiles with her one star;
Lush-leafy Woods break into singing; Earth
From dewy dark rolls round her balmy side,
The floods of Dawn flow into a sea of day,
And all goes right and merrily with the World.

Spring with a tender beauty clothes the earth,
And makes her happy as the Bride of Heaven,
As though she knew no sorrow—held no grave:
No glory dims for all the hearts that break;
And all goes right and merrily with the World.

Birds sing as sweetly in the bowers of Spring;
Suns mount as regally their sapphire throne;
Stars set the gloom aglow, and harvests yield,
As though man nestled in the lap of Love;
All, all goes right and merrily with the World.

But slip your dainty mask aside and see
Hell open fathomless at your very feet!
The Poor are murdered body and soul; the Rich
In Pleasure's Goblet melt their pearl of life;
Ay, all goes right and merrily with the World.

Lean out into the looming Future, list
The battle roll across the night to come!
"See how we right our Wrongs at last," Revenge
Writes with red radiance on the midnight heaven:
Yet all goes right and merrily with the world.

So Sodom, grim old Reveller! danced to her death.
Voluptuous Music throbb'd through all her Courts;
Mirth wantoned at her heart, one pulse before
The tongues of Fire told out her tale of wrongs—
And all went right and merrily with the World!


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'TIS hard to be a wanderer through this bright
            world of ours,
Beneath a sky of smiling blue, on fragrant paths
            of flowers,
With music in the woods, as there were nought
            but pleasure known,
Or Angels walked Earth's solitudes, and yet with
            want to groan:
To see no beauty in the stars, nor in Earth's
            welcome smile,
To wander cursed with misery! willing, but cannot
With burning sickness at my heart, I sink down
God of the Wretched, hear my prayer: I would
            that I were dead!

Heaven droppeth down with manna still in many
            a golden shower,
And feeds the leaves with fragrant breath, with
            silver dew the flower.
Honey and fruit for Bee and Bird, with bloom
            laughs out the tree,
And food for all God's happy things; but none
            gives food to me.
Earth, wearing plenty for a crown, smiles on my
            aching eye,
The purse-proud,—swathed in luxury,—disdainful
            pass me by:
I've willing hands, an eager heart—but may not
            work for bread!
God of the Wretched, hear my prayer: I would
            that I were dead!

Gold, art thou not a blessèd thing, a charm above
            all other,
To shut up hearts to Nature's cry, when brother
            pleads with brother?
Hast thou a music sweeter than the voice of
No! curse thee, thou'rt a mist 'twixt God and men
            in outer blindness.
"Father, come back!" my Children cry; their
            voices, once so sweet,
Now pierce and quiver in my heart! I cannot,
            dare not meet
The looks that make the brain go mad, for dear
            ones asking bread—
God of the Wretched, hear my prayer: I would
            that I were dead!

Lord! what right have the poor to wed? Love's
            for the gilded great:
Are they not formed of nobler clay, who dine off
            golden plate?
'Tis the worst curse of Poverty to have a feeling
Why can I not, with iron grasp, choke out the
            tender part?
I cannot slave in yon Bastille! I think 'twere bitterer
To wear the Pauper's iron within, than drag the
            Convict's chain.
I'd work but cannot, starve I may, but will not
            beg for bread:
God of the Wretched, hear my prayer: I would
            that I were dead!


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MERRY Christmas Eve in a Palace where knavery
    Crowded all treasures that Workers surrender;
Where spirits grow rusted in silkenest slavery;
    Life is out-panted in sloth and in splendour:
In gladness and glory Wealth's darlings were
    And jewel-clasped fingers linked softly again;
New Friendships a-twining, and Old Friends
    No thought of God's creatures that crouch in
            their pain!

Merry Christmas Eve in a Poor man's grim hovel,
    There huddled in silence a famishing family;
Church-bells were chiming in musical revel,
    Through Night's mask a-mocking with merry
All in the happy time there they sat, mourning—
    Two Sons—two Brothers—in penal chains
Their hearts wandered forth to the never-returning,
    Who rose on their vision, pale, haggard, and pleading.

Merry Christmas Eve! for the Rich there was music
    And dancing, and Wine on Wine woo'd on the
O Falstaff! you prince of Lies! 'twould have
            made YOU sick,
    To hear how they flattered a Mammonite Lord!
What matter, though hearts might be breaking
    Their moans did not reach them where rang
            roof and rafter
With mirth that in face of the wretched will flout.
    Ay, laugh on, ye callous, in Hell there is

Merry Christmas Eve! but the stricken ones heard
    No neighbourly welcome, no kind voice of kin;
They looked at each other, but spake not a word,
    While through crevice, and cranny, the sleet
            drifted in.
In a desolate corner, one, hunger-killed, lay,
    And the Mother's hot tears were a bosom-babe's
What marvel, O Statesmen, what marvel, I pray,
    Such misery nurseth Crime's viperous brood?

O men, Angel-imaged in Nature's fair mint,
    Is it for this, ye were fashioned divine?
Ah, where's the God-stamp—Immortality's print?
    We are Tyrants and Slaves, knit in one tortured
That a few, like to gods, may stride over the earth,
    Millions are murdered, or given in pawn;
When will the world quicken for Liberty's birth,
    Which she waiteth, with eager wings beating
            the dawn?

False Priests, dare ye say 'tis the will of your God,
    These things should be done 'neath His 
            sheltering sky?
That millions of Paupers should bow to the sod?
    Up, up, trampled hearts, it's a Lie! it's a Lie!
They may carve "State" and "Altar" in characters
    But Tyranny's symbols are ceasing to win;
Be stirring, O people, your Flag is unfolden,
    And brave be the battles you blazon therein.


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SMITTEN stones will talk with fiery tongues,
    And the worm, when trodden, will turn;
But, Cowards, ye cringe to the cruellest wrongs,
    And answer with never a spurn.
Then torture, O Tyrants, the spiritless drove,
    Old England's Helots will bear:
There's no hell in their hatred, no God in their love,
    No shame in their deepest despair.
For our Fathers are praying for Pauper-pay,
    Our Mothers with Death's kiss are white;
Our Sons are the rich man's Serfs by day,
    And our Daughters his Slaves by night.

The Tearless are drunk with our tears: have they
    The God of the poor man mad?
For we weary of waiting the help of Heaven,
    And the battle goes still with the bad.
O but death for death, and life for life,
    It were better to take and give,
With hand to throat, and with knife to knife,
    Than die out as thousands live!
Our Fathers are praying for Pauper-pay,
    Our Mothers with Death's kiss are white;
Our Sons are the rich man's Serfs by day,
    And our Daughters his Slaves by night.

Fearless and few were the Heroes of old,
    Who played the peerless part:
We are fifty-fold, but the gangrene Gold
    Is eating out England's heart.
With their faces to danger, like Freemen they
    With their daring, all heart and hand:
And the thunder-deed followed the lightning-
    When they stood for their own good land.
Our Fathers are praying for Pauper-pay,
    Our Mothers with Death's kiss are white;
Our Sons are the rich man's Serfs by day,
    And our Daughters his Slaves by night.

When the heart of one half the world doth beat
    Akin to the brave and the true,
And the tramp of Democracy's earth-quaking
    Goes thrilling the wide world through,—
We should not be crouching in darkness and dust,
    And dying like slaves in the night;
But big with the might of the inward "must,"
    We should battle for Freedom and Right!
Our Fathers are praying for the Pauper-pay,
    Our Mothers with Death's kiss are white;
Our Sons are the rich man's Serfs by day,
    And our Daughters his Slaves by night.

What do we lack, that the Ruffian Wrong
    Should starve us 'mid heaps of gold?
We have brains as broad, we have arms as strong
As our Captors, if only as bold!
    Will a thousand years more of meek suffering
Your lives to a sterner bravery?
    No! down and down with their Robber Rule,
And up from the land of slavery!
    Our Fathers are praying for Pauper-pay,
Our Mothers with Death's kiss are white;
    Our Sons are the rich man's Serfs by day,
And our Daughters his Slaves by night.


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DEEPER and deeper the Despot's lash flayeth,
Swifter and swifter fierce Misery slayeth;
Tighter and tighter the grip of Toil groweth,
Nigher and nigher the dark Ruin floweth.
And still ye bear on, and ye faint heart and breath,
Till ye creep, scourgèd hounds, to your kennel of
O down to the dust with ye, Cowards and Slaves,
Plague-stricken Cumber-grounds, slink to your

Love is the Crown of all life, but ye wear it not;
Freedom, Humanity's palm, and ye bear it not;
Beauty spreads banquet for all, but ye share it
Grimmer the blinding veil glooms, and ye tear it
Weaving your life-flowers in Wealth's robe of
Ye stint in your starkness with youth smitten hoary!
O down to the dust with ye, Cowards and Slaves,
Plague-stricken Cumber-grounds, slink to your

They have broken your hearts for their hunger, and
The wine-press for Death, with our fruitage of
And ye lick their feet, red with your blood, like
        dumb cattle!
Far better, far braver to meet them in battle!
The bow that Tell drew hath lost none of its spring,
Did ye nerve with your daring the arrow and string:
O down to the dust with ye, Cowards and
Plague-stricken Cumber-grounds, slink to your

There's a curse on the Mammonites fiery and fell,
Their hearts are as hard as the Millstones of Hell;
And there's wringing of hands with the Knave
        and the Tyrant,
For God's graven Autograph's on their death-
The people arise face to face with their Foes:
Up now! while before us the Fire-Pillar glows!
Or down to the dust with ye, Cowards and Slaves,
Down, down for ever, and rot in your graves!


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TOSSING in torture, the weary World turneth,
    To clutch Freedom's robe round her slavery's
With shame and with shudder, poor Mother! she
    O'er wrongs that are done in her dearth and her
O gather thy strength up, and crush the Abhorrèd,
    Who murder thy poor heart, and drain thy life-
And are crowned but to hide the Cain-brand on
            their forehead:
    Let these be the Last of the Queens and the

By the Lovers and Friends we have tenderly
    Who made the Cause soar up like flame at their
Who struggled like Gods met in fight, or have
    In Poverty's battle, with grim daily death:
By all the dear ones that bitterly plead for us—
    Life-flowers tied up in the heart's breaking
Sisters that weep for us—Mothers that bleed for us—
    Let these be Last of the Queens and the Kings!

Sun and Rain kindle greenly the graves of our
    Ye might not tell where the red blood ran like
But there it burns ever! and heaven's weeping
    And bleaching suns never can whiten the stain!
Remember the hurtling the Tyrants have wrought
    And smite till each helm on head flashes and
Life for life, blood for blood, is the lesson they've
            taught us,
    And be these the Last of the Queens and the

Ho! weary Night-watch, is there light on the
    Sentinel through the dark, say, is there hope?
For deeper in gloom than the fathom of plummet,
    Our Bark through the tempest doth stagger and
"To God's Unforgiven, to Caitiff and Craven— 
    To Crown and to Sceptre, a cleaving curse clings: 
Ye must fling them from deck, would ye steer into

    For Death tracks the Last of the Queens and the



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PRESS on, press on, ye Rulers, in the roused world's
            forward track:
It moves too sure for you to put the dial of
            Freedom back!
We're gathering up from near and far, with souls
            in fiery glow,
And Right doth bare its arm of might to bring
            the Spoilers low.
Kings, Priests, ye're far too costly, and we weary
            of your rule;
We crown no more "Divinity," where Nature
            writeth "Fool!"
Ye must not bar our glorious path as in the days
We know that God made Men, but men made
            Kings and Priests—Press on!

Press on, press on, ah! "Nobles!" you have played
            a daring game;
Now falls your star of luck, now fades the prestige
            of your name:
Too long have you been fed and nursed on human
            blood and tears;
The naked truth is known, and Labour leaps to
            life, and swears
His pride of strength to bloated Ease he will no
            longer give:
For all who live should labour, "Lords," then all
            who work might live!
The combat comes! make much of what you've
            wrung from Fatherland!
Press on, press on! To-day we plead, To-morrow
            we command.

Press on! a million pauper-brows bend down in
            Misery's dust;
God's champions of eternal Truth still eat the
            mouldy crust:
This damning curse of Tyrants must not kill the
            nation's heart;
The spirit in a million Slaves doth pant, on fire to
And strive to mend the world, and join the
            Nation's march sublime;
While myriads sink heart-broken, and the land
            o'er-swarms with crime.
"O God!" they cry, "we die, we die, and see no
            earnest won!"
Brothers, join hand and heart, and in the work
            press on, press on!


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GOOD People! put no faith in Kings, nor in your
            Princes trust,
Who break your hearts for bread, and grind your
            faces in the dust:
The Palace-Paupers look from lattice high, and
            mock your prayer:
The Champions of the Christ are dumb, or golden
            bit they wear.
O but to see ye bend no more to earth's crime-
            cursèd things:
Be ye God's Oracles: stand forth, as Nature's
            Priests and Kings!
Ye fight and bleed, while Fortune's darlings slink
            in splendid lair,
With lives that crawl, like worms through buried
            Beauty's golden hair!—
A tale of lives wrung out in tears their Grandeur's
            garb reveals,
And the last sobs of breaking hearts sound in
            their Chariot-wheels!
O league ye—crush the things that kill all love
            and liberty!
They are but Giants while we kneel: ONE LEAP,
            AND UP GO WE.

Trust not the Priests, whose tears are lies, and
            hearts are hard and cold;
Who lead ye to sweet pastures, where they fleece
            the foolish fold!
The Church and State are linked and sworn to
            desolate the land:
Good people, 'twixt these Foxes' tails, We'll fling
            a fiery brand.
Up, if ye will be free, to Golden Calves no longer
The Nations yearn for Liberty—the world grows
            earnest now.
Your bent-knee is half-way to hell!—Up, Serviles,
            from the dust!
The Harvest of the free red-ripens for the sickle-
They're quaking now, and shaking now, who
            wrought the hurtling sorrow,
To-day the Desolators, but the Desolate
Loud o'er their murder's menace wakes the watch-
            word of the Free:
They are but Giants while we kneel: ONE LEAP,
            AND UP GO WE!

Some bravest patriot-hearts have gone, to break
            beyond the Sea,
And many in the Dungeon have died for you and
And still we glut the Merciless—give all Life's
            glory up,
That stars of flame, and winking eyes, may crown
            their revel-cup.
Back, tramplers on the Many! Death and Danger
            ambushed lie;
Beware ye, or the blood may run! the patient
            people cry:
"Ah! shut not out the light of hope, or we may
            blindly dash, 
Like Samson with his strong death-grope, and whelm
            ye in the crash. 
Think how they spurred the People mad, that old
            Régime of France, 
Whose heads, like poppies, from Death's Scythe fell in
            a bloody dance
Ye plead in vain, ye bleed in vain, O Blind!
            when will ye see
They are but Giants while we kneel? ONE LEAP,
            AND UP GO WE .

The merry flowers are springing from our last-year
            Martyrs' mould,
As if their dreams had blossomed telling what
            they would have told,
Of our unfettered Future: and what this earth
            shall be
When we have bartered blows and bonds for life
            and liberty.
Ah! what a face of glory shall the weary world
            put on,
When Love is crownèd, and shall rule the heart,
            its royal throne!
O we shall see our darlings smile,—who meet us
            tearful now,—
Ere the Eternal morn breaks gray, on the Beloved's
And pride, not shame, shall flush the face of our
            heart-nestling Dove,
And Love shall give the kiss of Death no more to
            those we love.
Wake, Titans, scale th' Olympus where the hindering
            Tyrants be:
They are but Giants while we kneel: ONE LEAP,
            AND UP GO WE!


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FLING out the red Banner! its fiery front under,
    Come, gather ye, gather ye, Champions of
And roll round the world, with the voice of God's
    The Wrongs we've to reckon, Oppressions to
They deem that we strike no more like the old
    Victory's own battle-hearted and brave:
Once more brothers mine, it were sweet but to see
            ye stand,
    Triumph or Tomb welcome, Glory or Grave!

Fling out the red Banner! in mountain and valley
    Let Earth feel the tread of the Free once again;
Now soldiers of Liberty make on more rally,
    Old Earth yearns to know that her children are
We are nerved by a thousand wrongs, burning
            and bleeding;
    Bold Thoughts leap to birth, but the bold Deeds
            must come;
And wherever Humanity's yearning and pleading,
    One battle for Liberty strike we heart-home.

Fling out the red Banner! achievements immortal
    Have yet to be won by the hands labour-brown;
Though few of us enter the proud promise-portal,
    Yet wear it in thought like a glorious Crown!
O joy of the onset! sound trumpet! array us;
    True hearts would leap up were all hell in our
Up, up from the Slave-land; who stirreth to stay
    Shall fall, as of old, in a Red Sea of wrath.

Fling out the red Banner, O Sons of the morning!
    Young spirits awaiting to burst into wings,—
We stand shadow-crowned, but sublime is the
    All heaven's grimly hushed, and the Bird of
            Storm sings!
"All's well," saith the Sentry on Tyranny's tower,
    While Hope by his watch-fire is gray and tear-
Ay all's well! Freedom's Altar burns, hour by
    Live brands for the fire-damp with which ye
            are mined.

Fling out the red Banner! the Patriots perish,
    But where their bones whiten the seed striketh
Their blood hath run red the great harvest to
    Now gather ye, Reapers, and garner the fruit.
Victory! victory! Tyrants are quaking!
    The Titan of Toil from the bloody thrall starts;
The Slaves are awaking, the dawn-light is breaking,
    The foot-fall of Freedom beats quick at our


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LIKE leaves from Autumn's bough, Old Friend,
    Our ripest hopes depart;
There's little left us now, Old Friend,
    To cheer the Patriot's heart.
The Altars where we knelt, Old Friend,
    Grow desolate and cold;
The faith is faint they felt, Old Friend,
    In valiant days of old.

In bloody shrouds they sleep, Old Friend,
    Who could not live as slaves:
The living only weep, Old Friend,
    Above their Martyrs' graves!
Freedom hath many a wound, Old Friend,
    And, ringed by hounds of hell,
She wraps her purple round, Old Friend,
    To fall as Cæsar fell.

The men of blood prevail, Old Friend,
    And, stricken in the night,
The people's weeping wail, Old Friend,
    Goes praying for the light.
And yet their day shall come, Old Friend,
    Though we may never hear
The shouts of Harvest-home, Old Friend,
    Nor see the golden year.


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        THEY are gone!
When Hope's blossoms, many-numbered,
        Into flower burst;
When on earthquake-edge they slumbered,
        Who have Man accursed;
When our hearts, like throbbing drums,
Beat for Freedom; sang "SHE COMES!"
There they stumbled 'mong the tombs.

            They are gone!
Freedom's strong ones, young and hoary,
            Beautiful in faith!
And her first dawn-blush of glory
            Gilds their camp of death!
There they lie in shrouds of blood;
Murdered, where for Right they stood—
Martyrs murdered doing good.

            They are gone!
Yet 'tis well to die up-giving
            Valour's vengeful breath,
To make Heroes of the living,—
            Thus divine is death.
One by one, true hearts! you left us!
Yet Hope hath not all bereft us:
Still we man the gap you cleft us!

            They are here!
In the silent tears that start
            Thinking of their loss;
In the Ætna of each heart,
            Where flames of Vengeance toss!
They are with us, they are here,
Smiling in the flash o' the tear,
Happy when we know they are near!

            They are here!
Here, where life ran ruddy rain,
            When power from God seemed wrenched;
Here, where tears fell—molten brain!
            And hands were agony-clenched!
Lift the veil and look! Ah! now
There's a glory, where the glow
Of their fire-crown seamed each brow.

            They are here!
With us in the march of time;
            With us side by side!
Let us live their lives sublime,
            Die as they have died!
Wait: these Martyrs yet shall come,
Myriad-fold from out their tomb!
In the Despots' day of doom.


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THEY rose in Freedom's rare sunrise,
    Like Giants roused from wine;
And in their hearts and in their eyes
    The God leaped up divine!
Their souls flashed out, naked as swords
    Unsheathed for fiery fate!
Strength went like battle with their words—
    The men of 'Forty-eight.


    For the men of 'Forty-eight.

The Kings have got their Crown again,
    And blood-red revel cup;
They've bound the Titan down again,
    And heaped his grave-mound up!
But still he lives, though buried 'neath
    The mountain,—lies in wait,
Heart-stifled heaves and tries to breathe
    The breath of 'Forty-eight.


    For the men of 'Forty-eight.

Dark days have fallen, yet in the strife
    We bate no hope sublime,
And bravely works the exultant life,
    Their hearts pulsed through the time:
As grass is greenest trodden down,
    Their suffering makes men great,
And this dark tide shall richly crown
    The work of 'Forty-Eight.


    For the men of 'Forty-eight.

Some in a bloody burial sleep,
    Like Greeks to glory gone,
But in their steps avengers leap
    With their proof-armour on:
And hearts beat high with dauntless trust
    To triumph soon or late,
Though they be mouldering down in dust—
    The Men of 'Forty-eight!


    For the Men of 'Forty-eight.

O when the World wakes up to worst
    The Tyrants once again,
And Freedom's summons-shout shall burst,
    Rare music! on the brain,—
Old Truehearts still, in many a land,
    Ye'll find them all elate—
Brave remnant of that Spartan-band,
    The Men of 'Forty-eight.


    For the Men of 'Forty-eight.


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HO! Patriots of Old England, wake!
    And join ye heart and hand,
To welcome him for Freedom's sake
    To our dear Fatherland!
He needs no proud Triumphal Arch,
    Nor Banners on the wind:
In hearts that beat his triumph-march,
    Kossuth is fitly shrined!
We meet him here, we greet him here—
    With Love's wide arms caress him!
Kings would have no such welcome cheer,
    As Kossuth hath: God bless him.

He rose like Freedom's Morning star,
    Where all was darkling, dim;
We saw his glory from afar,
    And fought in soul for him!
Brave Victor! how his radiant brow
    Kinged Freedom's host like Saul!
And in his Crown of Sorrow now
    He's royallest heart of all.
We meet him here, we greet him here—
    With Love's wide arms caress him!
Kings would have no such welcome cheer,
    As Kossuth hath: God bless him.

Ay, English hearts through proud tears gush
    With glory at his name,
Whose brave deeds made the roused blood rush
    Along our veins like flame:
We cheered him through his hero-strife
    And, in his presence met,
Will show the world that patriot life
    Lives in Old England yet!
We meet him here, we greet him here—
    With Love's wide arms caress him!
Kings would have no such welcome cheer,
    As Kossuth hath: God bless him.

He cometh dim with glorious dust,
    From out his wrestling-ring:
But, blessings—praises—deathless trust—
    Like armies round him cling!
His Hungary billows o'er with graves
    Of Martyrs not in vain;
A rising ripening harvest waves
    Its fruit of that red rain!
We meet him here, we greet him here—
    With Love's wide arms caress him!
Kings would have no such welcome cheer,
    As Kossuth hath: God bless him.

Freedom will run her radiant round,
    Though clouds shut out the sky;
O may his country's heart yet bound
    To Kossuth's conquering cry;
And once again the Hapsburgh Star
    His flaming Sword make dim;
And palsy strike the arm that dare
    Not strike a blow for him!
We meet him here, we greet him here—
    With Love's wide arms caress him!
Kings would have no such welcome cheer,
    As Kossuth hath: God bless him.

Ring out, exult, and clap your hands,
    Free Men and Women brave;
Shout, Britain! shake the startled lands,
    And free the bounden Slave!
Come forth, make merry in the sun,
    And give him welcome due;
Heroic deeds have crowned him one
    Of Earth's Immortal few!
We meet him here, we greet him here—
    With Love's wide arms caress him!
Kings would have no such welcome cheer,
    As Kossuth hath: God bless him.


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AY, Tyrants, build your Babels! forge your fetters!
            link your chains!
As brims your guilt-cup fuller, ours of grief ebbs
            to the drains;
Still, on the Cross, your crowns of thorn for Freedom's
            Martyrs twine;
Still batten on live hearts and madden o'er the
            hot blood-wine.
Murder men sleeping, or awake torture them
            dumb with pain,
And tear, with hands all bloody red, the vesture
            of the slain!
Your feet are on us, Tyrants—strike! and hush
            Earth's wail of sorrow:
Your sword of power, so red to-day, shall kiss the
            dust to-morrow.
O! but 'twill be a merry day the world shall set
When Strife's last brand is broken in the last
            crowned Despot's heart!
And it shall come,—despite of Rifle, Rope, and
            Rack, and Scaffold,
Once more we lift undaunted brows, and battle on

Our hopes ran mountains high, we sang at heart,
            wept tears of gladness,
When France, the bravely beautiful, dashed down
            her sceptred madness;
And Hungary her one-hearted race of mighty
            heroes hurled
In the death-gap of nations, as a bulwark for the
O Hungary! gallant Hungary! very glorious wert
That rose up with the beauty of the morning on
            thy brow.
And Rome,—who, while her heroes bled, felt her
            old breast heave higher,—
How her eyes reddened with the flash of all their
            Roman fire!
Mothers of Children, who shall live the Gods of
            future story,
Your blood shall blossom from the dust, and crown
            the world with glory.
Ye'll tread them down yet, Curse and Crown!
            uplift the trodden Slave,
And Freedom shall be sovran in the courts of Fool
            and Knave.

Wail for the hopes that have gone down! the life
            so freely spilt!
Th' Eternal Murder still sits throned and crowned
            in damning guilt:
Still in God's golden sun the Tyrant's bloody
            banners burn,
The Priests,—Hell's midnight Thugs!—to their
            soul-strangling work return!
See how the Oppressors of the Poor with serpents
            hunt their blood;
Hear, from the dark, the groan and curse go
            maddening up to God.
They kill and trample us poor worms, till earth is
            dead men's dust;
Death's red tooth daily drains our hearts, but end,
            ay, end it must.
The herald of deliverance leaps in the womb of
The Poor's grand army treads the Age's march
            with step sublime.
Ours is the mighty future! and what marvel,
            brother men,
Should the devoured of ages rise and turn devourers

O! brothers of the horny hand see through your
            tears and smile,
The World is rife with sound of fetters snapping
            'neath the file;
I lay my hand on England's heart, and in each
            life-throb mark,
The pealing thought of freedom ring its Tocsin in
            the dark.
I see the Toiler hath become another Gospel's
And, as he wins a crust, stands proudly forth, the
            true world-teacher;
He still toils on, but, Tyrants, 'tis a mighty thing
            when Slaves,
Who delve their lives into their work, know that
            they dig your graves!
Anarchs! your doom comes swiftly! brave and
            eager spirits climb,
To ring Oppression's death-knell from the old
            watch-towers of time;
A spirit of resistless might is stirring at this hour,
And thought is burning in men's eyes with more
            than speechful power.

Old England cease the mummer's part! wake,
            Starveling, Serf, and Slave!
Rouse in the majesty of wrong, as kindred of the
Speak, and the world shall answer, with her voices
And men, like Gods, shall grapple with the giant-
            wrongs of old.
Now, Mothers of the people, give your babes heroic
Sires, soul your sons for daring deeds, no more soft
            thews of silk;
Great spirits of the mighty dead take shape, and
            walk our mind,
Their glory smites our upward look, we seem no
            longer blind;
They tell us how they broke their bonds, and whisper,
            "So may ye:"
One sharp, stern struggle, and the Slaves of centuries
            are free!
The people's heart, with pulse like cannon, panteth
            for the fray,
And Brothers, dead or living, we'll be with you in
            that day.


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NEVER despair! O, my Comrades in sorrow!
    I know that our mourning is ended not. Yet,
Shall the vanquished to-day be the Victors
    Our Star shall shine on in the Tyrant's Sunset.
Hold on! though they spurn thee, for whom thou
            art living
    A life only cheered by the lamp of its love:
Hold on! Freedom's hope to the bounden ones
    Green spots in the waste wait the worn spirit-
Hold on,—still hold on,—in the world's despite,
    Nurse the faith in thy heart, keep the lamp of
            Truth bright,
And, my life for thine! it shall end in the Right.

What, though the Martyrs and Prophets have
    The Angel of Life rolls the stone from their
Immortal's the faith, and the freedom they
    Their lone Triumph-cry stirs the spirits of slaves!
They are gone,—but a Glory is left in our life,
    Like the day-god's last kiss on the darkness of
Gone down on the desolate seas of their strife,
    To climb as star-beacons up Liberty's heaven.
Hold on,—still hold on,—in the world's despite,
    Nurse the faith in thy heart, keep the lamp of
            Truth bright,
And, my life for thine! it shall end in the Right.

Think of the Wrongs that have ground us for ages,
    Think of the Wrongs we have still to endure!
Think of our blood, red on History's pages;
    Then work, that our reck'ning be speedy and
Slaves cry to their Gods! but be our God revealed
    In our lives, in our works, in our warfare for
And bearing—or borne upon—Victory's shield,
    Let us fight battle-harnessed, and fall in the
Hold on,—still hold on,—in the world's despite,
    Nurse the faith in thy heart, keep the lamp of
            Truth bright,
And, my life for thine! it shall end in the Right.


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    HO! ye who in a noble work
        Win scorn, as flames draw air,
    And in the way where Lions lurk,
        God's image bravely bear;
Though trouble-tried and torture-torn,
The kingliest Kings are crowned with thorn.

    Life's glory, like the bow in heaven,
        Still springeth from the cloud;
    Soul ne'er out-soared the starry Seven,
        But Pain's fire-chariot rode:
They've battled best who've boldliest borne;
The kingliest Kings are crowned with thorn.

    The Martyr's fire-crown on the brow
        Doth into glory burn;
    And tears that from Love's torn heart flow,
        To pearls of spirit turn.
Our dearest hopes in pangs are born;
The kingliest Kings are crowned with thorn.

    As beauty in Death's cerement shrouds,
        And Stars bejewel Night,
    Bright thoughts are born in dim heart-clouds,
        And suffering worketh might.
The mirkest hour is Mother o' Morn,
The kingliest Kings are crowned with thorn.


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HOPE on, hope ever! though To-day be dark,
    The sweet sunburst may smile on thee
Though thou art lonely, there's an eye will mark
    Thy loneliness, and guerdon all thy sorrow!
Though thou must toil 'mong cold and sordid men,
    With none to echo back thy thought, or love
Cheer up, poor heart! thou dost not beat in vain;
    While God is over all, and heaven above thee,
                    Hope on, hope ever.

The iron may enter in and pierce the soul,
    But cannot kill the love within thee burning:
The tears of misery, thy bitter dole,
    Can never quench thy true heart's eager yearning
For better things: nor crush thy ardour's trust,
    That Error from the mind shall be uprooted,
That Truth shall flower from all this tear-dewed
    And Love be cherished where Hate was embruted!
                    Hope on, hope ever.

I know 'tis hard to bear the sneer and taunt,—
    With the heart's honest pride at midnight
To feel the killing canker-worm of Want,
    While rich rogues in their mocking luxury
For I have felt it. Yet from Earth's cold Real
    My soul looks out on coming things, and cheerful
The warm Sunrise floods all the land Ideal,
    And still it whispers to the worn and tearful,
                    Hope on, hope ever.

Hope on, hope ever! after darkest night
    Comes, full of loving life, the laughing Morning;
Hope on, hope ever! Spring-tide, flushed with light,
    Aye crowns old Winter with her rich adorning.
Hope on, hope ever! yet the time shall come,
    When man to man shall be a friend and brother;
And this old world shall be a happy home,
    And all Earth's family love one another!
                    Hope on, hope ever.


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A WAILING Voice comes up a desolate road,
                Drearily, drearily, drearily!
Where mankind have trodden the By-way of blood,
                Wearily, wearily, wearily!
Like a sound from the Dead Sea all shrouded in
    With breaking of hearts, fetters clanking, men
Or chorus of Ravens that croak among tombs,
    It comes with the mournfullest moaning:
                    "Weep, weep, weep!
                    Yoke-fellows, listen,
                    Till tearful eyes glisten:
'Tis the Voice of the Past: the dark, grim-featured
All sad as the shriek of the midnight blast:
                Weep, weep, weep,
Tears to wash out the terrible stain,
                Where Humanity rotted
                That lands might be fatted,
Or life ran a deluge of hot, ruddy rain:
                Weep, weep, weep.

Another Voice comes from the millions that bend,
                Tearfully, tearfully, tearfully!
From hearts which the scourges of Slavery rend,
                Fearfully, fearfully, fearfully!
From many a worn, noble spirit that breaks,
    In the world's solemn shadows adown in Life's
From Mine, Forge, and Loom, Mount and Valley
            it wakes,
    On the soul wherein Liberty rallies:
                    "Work, work, work!
                    Yoke-fellows, listen:
                    Till earnest eyes glisten:
'Tis the Voice of the Present. It bids us, my
Be Freemen: and then for the freedom of others
                Work, work, work!
For the Many, a holocaust long to the Few:
                O work while ye may!
                O work while 'tis day!
And cling to each other, united and true:
                Work, work, work.

There cometh another Voice sweetest of all,
                Cheerily, cheerily, cheerily!
And my heart leapeth up at its clarion-call,
                Merrily, merrily, merrrily!
It comes like the touch of the Spring-tide, unwarping
    The frost of oppression that bound us:
It comes like a choir of Celestials, harping
    Their gladsomest music around us:
                "Hope, hope, hope!" 
                Yoke-fellows, listen,
                Till gleeful eyes glisten:
The Voice of the Future, the sweetest of all,
Makes the heart leap to its clarion- call.
                Hope, hope, hope!
Be of good cheer and step forth in the van,
                For Serfdom hath passed,
                And Labour at last
Shall enter the Brotherhood common to Man:
                Hope, hope, hope!


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"Tell me the song of the beautiful Stars, 
    As grandly they glide on their blue way above us, 
Looking, despite of our spirit's sin-scars, 
    Down on us here as if yearning to love us!

This is the song in their work-worship sung,
All through the world-jewelled universe rung:
"Onward for ever, for evermore onward,
And ever they open their loving eyes Sunward.

"Onward," shouts Earth, with her myriad voices
    Of music, aye answering the song of the Seven,
As like a winged child of God's love she rejoices,
    Swinging her Censer of glory in heaven.
And lo, it is writ by the finger of God,
In sunbeams and flowers on the smiling green sod:
"Onward for ever, for evermore onward,
And ever she turneth all trustfully Sunward.

The mightiest souls of all time hover o'er us,
    Who laboured like Gods among men, and have
With great bursts of sun on the dark way before us:
    They're with us, still with us, our battle fight
Looking down victor-browed, from the glory-
            crowned hill,
They beckon and beacon us on, onward still:
And the true heart's aspirings are onward, still
It turns to the Future, as earth turneth Sunward.


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BEHOLD! an idle tale they tell,
    But who shall blame their telling it?
The rogues have got their cant to sell,
    The world pays well for selling it!

They say our earth's a desert drear,—
    Still plagued with Egypt's blindness!
That we were sent to suffer here,—
    And by a God of kindness!

That since the world hath gone astray
    It must be so for ever,
And we should stand still, and obey
    Its Desolators.   Never!

We'll labour for the better time,
    With all our might of Press and Pen;
Believe me, 'tis a truth sublime,
    God's world is worthy of better men.

'Twas meant to be, since it began,
    A world of love and gladness:
Its beauty may be marred by man
    With all his crime and madness,

Yet 'tis a fair world still. Love brings
    A sunshine for the dreary;
With all our strife, sweet Rest hath wings
    To fold about the weary.

The Sun in glory, like a God,
    To-day in heaven is shining;
The flowers on the jewelled sod
    Love-messages are twining,

As radiant of immortal youth
    And beauty, as of old; ah! then
Believe me 'tis eternal truth,
    God's world is worthy of better men.

O! they are bold, knaves over-bold,
    Who say we are doomed to anguish:
That men in God's own image souled,
    Like hell-bound slaves must languish.

Probe Nature's heart to its red core,
    There's more of good than evil;
And man, down-trampled man, is more
    Of Angel than of Devil.

Prepare to die?  Prepare to live! 
    We know not what is living:
And let us for the world's good give,
    As God is ever giving.

Give Action, Thought, Love, Wealth, and Time;
    Work hand and brain, wield Press and Pen:
Believe me, 'tis a truth sublime,
    God's world is worthy of better men.


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