Gerald Massey: My Lyrical Life XVI.

Home Up Biography Poetry Prose Reviews News Reports Miscellanea Main Index Site Search
 


 

THE COALITION AND THE PEOPLE.


O SUFFERING people! this is not our fight
Who called a holy Crusade for the Right!
The Despots' bloody game our Tricksters play,
And stake our future chance by chance away.
Not Whigs! not Tories! we want English Souls,
Through which there yet reverberates and rolls
Some echo of old greatness; trusty hands
To bear our Banner over Seas and Lands.
Our good Ship may be driving on the rocks;
We need a Compass, and not Weather-Cocks!
We have had Leaders who strode forward all
On fire to serve her at their Country's call;
Who did not stoop, till blind, for place or pelf,
Their whole life burned a sacrifice of Self!
Who faced the spirit of the Storm and Strife
And with an upward smile laid down their life.

But now our Leaders are the coward and cold:
The Gnomes whose daylight is a gleam of gold;
The Dwarfs who sun them in a Despot's smile;
The Quakers who would set our dear green Isle
Spinning their Cotton till the Judgment Hour,
With Ocean turning round for Water-power.
They pander to this Plunderer of the night;
Confused their little sense of Wrong and Right,
And they would bow our England's forehead down
Trustfully in his lap to leave her crown;
See her sit weeping where her brave lie dead;
Blood on her raiment, ashes on her head.
We cannot leave our Land for watch and ward
To those who know not what a gem they guard;
Who would bind us helpless for the Bird of Blood
To swoop on; who would have this famous flood
Of English Freedom stagnate till it stink,
While reptiles wriggle in their slimy drink,
And the frogs reign in darkness; croak all night,
And call the Stars false Prophets of the Light.

O darkened hearts in Homesteads desolate!
O wasted bravery of our vainly great!
The Flower of Men fall stricken from behind:
The Knaves and Cowards stab us bound and blind.
With faces turned from Battle, they went forth:
We marched with ours flint-set against the North.
They shuffled lest their feet should rouse the dead:
We went with Resurrection in our tread.
They trembled lest the world might come to blows:
We quivered for the tug and mortal close.
They only meant a mild hint for the Czar:
We would have surfeited his soul with War.
While they were quenching Freedom's scattered fires,
We kindled memories of heroic Sires.
They'd have this grand Old England cringe and pray,
"Don't smite me, Kings; but if you will, you may." 
We'd make her as in those proud times of old,
When Cromwell spoke, and Blake's war-thunders rolled.
They on the passing powers of Darkness fawn;
With warrior-joy we greeted this red Dawn.
To crowned blood-suckers they would bind us slaves,
We would be free, or sleep in glorious graves.
State-Spiders, Here or There, weave webs alike;
These snare the victims, while the others strike.
The Dwarfs drag our great Banner in the mire:
We ask for Men to bear it high and higher.
O stop their fiddling over War's grim revel,
And pitch them from your shoulders to—the Devil.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


ALL OVER.


FADES the New Aurora
    That so glorious shone afar;
We but saw its fair face smiling
    In the ruddy waves of war.
The Peace-fool to his pillow
    Now may sneak, and sleep:
But a glory gone for ever,
    We must weep; let us weep.

Sleep the buried thunders;
    Their reverberations cease:
And the grim old War-God
    Must smile—a painted Peace.
Wild eyes are mad-house windows
    Of Souls that plead in vain!
Over their old dark sorrow
    Greeneth the soft spring-rain.

Had we struck for Freedom
    One immortal battle-blow,
Like the men who rose for England,
    Two hundred years ago,—
The dead Nations lying
    Where they fought and fell of old,
Would have risen from their prison
    With their buried flags unrolled.

Cowards in the Council!
    Heroes in the field!
Is our short sad story
    By the blood of Martyrs sealed.
On those lone Crimean ridges
    In the night our dead arise;
Hear the Norland winds come wailing
    With their curses, and their cries!

Sublime in all her suffering;
    In the fight so brave!
Poor old England's victories
    Bow her to the grave.
And is the world to see her
    Low and lonely lie
Chained to her rock, while Tyrants mock,
    As they go riding by?

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


ENGLAND AND LOUIS NAPOLEON.


THERE was a poor old Woman once, a daughter of
            our nation,
Before the Devil's portrait stood in ignorant
            adoration.
"You're bowing down to Satan, Ma'am," said some
            Spectator civil
:
"Ah, Sir, it's best to be polite, for we may go to
            the Devil
." 
                            Bow, bow, bow:
We may go to the Devil, so it's just as well to bow.

So England hails the Saviour of Society, and will
            tarry at
His feet, nor see her Christ is he who sold him,
            cursed Iscariot.
By grace of God, or sleight of hand, he wears the
            royal vesture,
And at thy throne, Divine Success! we kneel with
            reverent gesture,
                            And bow, bow, bow:
We may go to the Devil, so it's just as well to bow.

O when the Sun is over us, we venerate the
            sunlight;
But when Eclipse is over it, we venerate the
            dunlight.
No matter what is uppermost, upon All-fours we
            revel,
And when Hell triumphs over Heaven—conciliate
            the Devil,
                            And bow, bow, bow:
We may go to the Devil, so it's just as well to bow.

Ah, Louis, had you come to us despisèd and
            rejected,
You might have gone to—Coventry, unnoticed
            and neglected:
But as you've done one Nation so, and left another
            undone,
We kiss you Sire at Windsor—crown you more
            than king in London,
                            And bow, bow, bow:
We may go to the Devil, so it's just as well to
            bow.

Our Idol's hands are red with blood, with blood
            his eyes are sodden,
But we know 'tis only guilty blood which he has
            spilt and trodden!
He wears the imperial purple now, that plotting
            Prince of evil;
He lets us share his glory if we bow down to the
            Devil;
                            And we bow, bow, bow:
We may go to the Devil, so it's just as well to
            bow.

With hand to hilt, and ear to earth, waits
            Revolution, breathless,
To catch the resurrection-sound of Liberty the
            deathless!
We see no Danger hug us round—no Sword hang
            o'er us gory,
While to this mocking Mirage in the sunset of our
            glory
                            We bow, bow, bow:
We may go to the Devil, so it's just as well to
            bow.

Back, back, you foolish Peoples, slink into your
            weeping places,
Quench Freedom's torch in tears, and put her light
            out in your faces:
The heart of England beats no more to the old
            heroic level;
The poor old Woman bows before her Portrait of
            the Devil.
                            Bow, bow, bow:
We may go to the Devil, so it's just as well to bow.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE OLD FLAG.


AN Emperor babbled in his dreams,—
    Ne'er sleeps the secret in his soul,—
"The Lion is old, and ready he seems 
    To draw my Chariot to its goal.

With awful light the Lion's eye
    Began to flame—sublime he stands!
With looks that make the Tyrant try
    To hide his bloody hands.
Thank God, the advancing tide is met!
Thank God, the Old Flag's flying yet.

We love our Native Land and Laws,
    And He would rather we did not!
We are Conspirators because
    We are in our little green grass plot!
But let him follow up his frown,
    Marshal his Myriads for the blow;
Those who are doomed to drown must drown,
    The rest we take in tow!
In Cherbourg's sight their Gallows set
Beside the Old Flag flying yet.

Our Ghost of Greatness hath not fled
    At crowning of the Gallic Cock;
A foreign Despot's heel shall tread
    No print upon our English rock.
Here Freedom by the Lion grand
    Sits safe, and Una-like doth hold
Him gently with her gentle hand;
    And long as Seas enfold,
High on our topmost heights firm-set,
We keep her Old Flag flying yet.

To Freedom we must aye be true;
    Our England must be Freedom's home;
For sake of our dead Darlings who
    Went heavenward crowned with martyrdom.
'Twas She who made us what we are,
    Throned on our Sea-cliffs gray and grand;
Great image of majestic care;
    Fair Bride of Fatherland!
We do but pay the filial debt
To keep her Old Flag flying yet.

This little Isle is Freedom's Bark
    That rideth in a perilous path:
Around us one wide sea of dark
    That beats and breaks in stormy wrath.
The Despots drove poor Freedom forth,
    By bloody footprints tracked her road;—
And Homeless, Homeless, else on earth
    She takes to her Sea-abode!
She turns on us her eyes tear-wet;
Ah, keep the Old Flag flying yet.

Statesmen have drawn back meek and mute,
    Or pardon begged from bullying foes,
Whene'er a Military boot
    Was stamped upon retreating toes.
They shrink to hear Him at our gates,
    This ominous thing of gloom and gore,
Though Revolution for him waits
    At Danger's every door.
But little do we heed his threat!
We keep the Old Flag flying yet.

Over the praying Peoples rolled
    The dark tide, and we helped them not.
Yet on our lifted hands, behold,
    We cry, behold no bloody spot!
This famous people's heart is sound,
    It fights for all that bleed and smart;
We—banned above—meet underground,
    Meet in a touch of heart.
We cannot our old fame forget;
We keep the Old Flag flying yet.

We have a true and tender clasp
    For Freedom's friends where'er their home,
And for her foes as grim a grasp,
    No matter when or whence they come.
We like that gay light-hearted France
    That into stormy splendour breaks,
When its brave music for the dance
    Of Death the battle makes;
And foot to foot would proudly set
To keep the Old Flag flying yet.

But what is France? this cruel Power
    That builds above her martyred dead,
Whose spirits thicken hour by hour
    The air about its doomèd head?
This Death-in-Life throned on the grave,
    That in the darkness waits its prey?
Like Coral-workers 'neath the wave,
    It dies on reaching day.
The Sun of France hath not thus set,
But, keep the Old Flag flying yet.

France, who hath stood erect and first,
    Will not lie latest in the dust:
Ere long her breath of scorn will burst
    This bubble blown of bloody lust.
Quietly, quietly turns the tide,
    And when this shore lies black and bare,
There shall be no more sea to hide
    The Wrecker's secrets there.
Our lot is cast, our task is set,
To keep the Old Flag flying yet.

Save him? this Burglar of the night
    Broke into Freedom's sacred shrines!
This Lie uncrowned whene'er the light
    Of merciless next morning shines!
This terror of a land struck dumb,
    Who fed the Furies with brave blood!
We cannot save him when they come
    For his.   Not if we would.
Too slippery is the hand blood-wet!
Ah, keep the Old Flag flying yet.

The Tyrant sometimes waxeth strong
    To drag a fate more fearful down:
He veileth Justice who ere long
    Shall see Eternal Justice frown.
The Kings of Crime from near and far
    Shall come to crown him with their crown;
Under the Shadow of Doom his Star
    Will redden, and go down.
And day shall dawn when it hath set;
Ah, keep the Old Flag flying yet.

Leaves fall, but lo! the young buds peep!
    Flowers die and still their seed shall bloom;
From death the quick young life will leap
    When Spring comes breathing by the tomb.
And though their graves are hushed, in stern
    Heroic dream the dead men lie!
To God their still white faces turn:
    The Murdered do not die.
Will God the Martyrs' seed forget?
No.   Keep the Old Flag flying yet.

This triumph of the Spoken word
    Is well, my England, but give heed,
The World leans on thee as a Sword
    For Freedom in her battle-need.
Star of a thousand battles red,
    Be thou the Beacon of the Free!
Turn round thy luminous side, and shed
    God's light o'er land and sea.
Through floods, or flames, or bloody sweat,
Keep thou the Old Flag flying yet.

The splendid shiver of brave blood
    Is thrilling through our England now!
She who so often hath withstood
    The Tyrants, lifts her brightened brow.
God's precious charge we proudly keep
    In circling arms of victory!
With Freedom we shall live, or sleep
    With our dear Dead who are free.
God forget us when we forget
    To keep the Old Flag flying yet.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


ENGLAND AND LOUIS NAPOLEON.
May, 1859.


MAJESTIC Mother!   Thine was not a brow
To bend, and blindly take a tinsel Crown
From hands like His.   Thy glorious Sons have won
More crowns than thou canst wear, though all the
        year
A fresh one glistened daily.   These are crowns
Untarnishable by the breath of scorn!
The crowns that never can be melted down
And minted for the market.   Thine was not
A soul to wear the fetters that made fast
His stolen throne to him, and gracefully
To drape the Imperial Purple round, and hide
The blood that splashed there, red till Judgment
        Day.
He stole on France, deflowered her in the night,
Then tore her tongue out lest she told the tale;
And Statesmen called him friend, and proudly held
Our Banner over him, while moneyed worldlings,
So pleased they knew not on which leg to stand,
Went on their knees, and worshipped his success,—
So prostrate in their souls, so prone in dust,
They saw not how the feet were only clay,
For all the golden Image; they forgot
How meanest reptiles crawl up tallest towers.

Our England is long-suffering, and slow
Of judgment, lulled by seeming to the last.
And they are busy dreaming their dark dreams,
While she is sleeping sound in trustful peace.
'Tis well for thee, my Country, when the day
Breaks, thou canst never match them in the dark!
Thine eyes are blind where Birds of night see best.
But instinct, that Veiled Prophet of the Soul,
Flashes up, startled from its seeing trance,
As though God's hand had touched it while we
        slept.
There's some invisible danger drawing near,
That hath not taken shape yet, but it comes.
The still small voice cries wake, my Country, wake,
And sleep no more while that Man's in the world.
The treacherous dealer will deal treacherously;
The lawless Power is still above all Law!
The Foe that cometh at the dead of night
May find the Goodman slumbering with the arms
Too rusted on the walls.   Make the Sword sharp;
Watch warily, you lookers from the hill!
Arm every rampart, rock, and tower of Right,
And arm the people; thus, securely armed,
We may sit safe and hold the hands of War
In ours, he cannot strike us for the time.

Once more the War-wave surges gaily out
From Paris with its gallant armaments,
In music's pomp, and bannered pride, and dance
Of life light-hearted, and light-headed crests.
The Ghost of Buonapartè hath broken loose
With Ruin's lighted torch half hidden in
The Devil's own dark lanthorn.   We shall see
The night-side of Napoleon, as he tracks
His old earth foot-prints black with rusted blood.
Alas for Italy! the Storm of War
From its fire-mountain throne sweeps burning down,
Its purple lava-mantle trails behind,
Embracing all and blasting all it folds.
A sea of soldiery breaks over her;
Her fair face darkens in the shadow of Swords;
Destruction drives his ploughshare through her soil,
But will he turn her old lost Jewel to light?
Another crop of young heroic life
Is ready for the Reaper; it springs fast
In such a land, so watered, with such blood.

Poor Fools! this Despot turned Deliverer is
A sneaking Cutpurse, not a Cutthroat grand,
Like him that lifted up a Sword of fire,
Whose flashes frightened nations, and went forth,
A prairie-flame consuming men as grass:
How dazzlingly his beacon-star that danced
From crown to crown did shine above the lands
He covered with his purple and his pall!
He stormed the dizziest heights, and there he stood
In sanguine glory!   Like a Battle-God
Ruling the strife with face of marble calm!
The eyes of Heaven that look down on us with
The earnestness of all eternity,
Saw our old world turn blood-red mirroring Him!
Napoleon dilated till he filled
The vision of France instead of Liberty.
And such the glamour of his grandeur, She
Knew not which Image crowned the Column lifted
A heaven above her, in her love and worship.
But this Man leads her eyeless, blind in blood.
He bears a Burglar's Bludgeon, not a Sword:
Great Oath-breaker, and not World-Victor He.

How far the tide may flood, how quick return
With wreck and ruin for its freightage home,
We know not, nor how soon the nether pit
May open and stern Nemesis rise up
For vengeance infinitely terrible!
As in the grim Norse myth Loke lieth bound
Down at the heart o' the world, so Tyranny keeps
A potent spirit fettered underground,
And o'er it hangs a Serpent horrible,
With eyes through which all hell crowds up to see
The poison-fire spit in that Spirit's face;
In straining waves it writhes along to squeeze
Its soul of venom into every drop:
And there sits Wife-like Patience at the side,
Catching the poison till her cup will hold
No more, and she must empty it.   Ah then
The poison burns! and with one great heart-heave
That Spirit's bonds are burst! an Earthquake's
        born.

These Despots do but throw with loaded dice;
They lose or win by other will than theirs!
A Goddess blind leads worshippers as blind.
Henceforth we have no part in this man's lot,
No faith in him; he goes his way, we ours:
If we were true to him we must be false
To all our dearest deeds and noblest dreams!
We are no close-chained Mob for one to walk
Over our heads, and kiss the feet that tread!
Our welding oneness binds up all our wounds,
And one heart and one breath make healing life.
We trust in God, and mean to hold our own.
We are not stainless; there are wrongs on wrongs
Crying for Right! the patient heavens have looked
On many a failing sadly! England's Star
Hath winked on many a crime, and through the
        gloom
Suffering still doggeth Sin, to strike at last.
May God forgive us, we are apt to grow
Unmindful of our blessings, and forget
That this is England, and forget how He
Hath wrought for England; that the sacred Ark
Rests on this Ararat; we dare not face
The world with that same faith we dare profess
Kneeling to God. And so at times we need
A hint from Heaven, and these are often stern.
May God forsake not England, but in need
Look smilingly upon her!
                                                    We at least
Will never run beside this Tyrant's car
Of triumph, glorying in the dust we raise!
Our voice at least shall cry aloud his fall,
Though but a lonely trumpet in the night,
And spare not him who plots against us all.

O Statesmen, ye who lead this noble land,
May you prove wise and worthy!   Great good
        Men,
With hearts that beat to high heroic measures,
And strength still equal to the sternest time;
With faith to fight and patience to work on,
Still knowing these live longer than a Lie!
The pyramid of our power is not complete
Until it touches heaven for its crown!
And if the Bloody Star should turn this way
Its red eye of destruction, fierce to see
The pride and prowess of our might go down
With England for funereal pyre; then give
No quarter to the foes that aim at us!
Through fire and foam flash on them, and strike
        home
Like Lightnings of the Lord! fuel the flames
Of Battle with the Revolution's wrecks
That drift upon our shores.   In Tyrant-land
A young Deliverer lies a-dream, and sees
Such splendours in his vision only eyes
When veiled can look on! tell him the time's
        come!
He will arise and stretch his hand and snatch
The Sword. It will be Resurrection Day!
The Tyrant's fortresses and palaces
Built with the Headsman's scaffold will dissolve;
The piles of ghastly, gory heads shall turn
To flaming-sworded Spirits! the dry bones
Will stir and rise up, and the Dead shall live.

You Lovers of our England, do but look
On this dear Country over whose fair face
God drooped a bridal veil of tender mist,
That she might keep her beauty virginal,
And He might see her through a softer glory;
So very meek and reverent doth she stand
Within this shadow soft of Love Divine,
More lovable, and not as brighter lands
Whose bolder beauty stares up in heaven's face.
Look on her now, this jewel of the world,
Set in that marriage-ring of circling sea!
She smiles upon her Image in its calm,
Like some proud Ship that floateth in its shadow.
And as a happy Lover clasps his Bride,
The fond Sea folds her round, and his brimmed life
Runs rippling to her inmost heart of hearts,
Until it swims a-flood with happiness;
And all the waters of her love leap back
To him exultant from a thousand hills.
From his salt virtue comes her northern sweetness.
How his rough kisses make her roses bloom!
Once in his rousèd wrath he lifted up
A mighty Armada in his arms, and dashed
It into sea-drift at his Mistress' feet.
And still he threatens with his voice of storms
The plots of all Invaders; still he keeps
Eternal watch around. How proud in peace,
The wild white horses rear and foam along
And bring to her the Harvests of the world!
How grand in war they bear her battle-line
In strength half-smiling, perfect Power crowned
With careless grace, which seemeth to all eyes
The plume of Triumph nodding as it goes;
For visible victory sits upon her brow,
And shines upon her sails.
                                                    See where She sits
Holding at heart her noble dead, and nursing
Her living Children on the old brave virtue;
Wearing the rainy radiance of the morning,
With silver sweetness swimming in her tears,
Feeling the glory rippling down from heaven,
With smiles from all her wild flowers, her green
        leaves,
And nooks where Old Times live their Shepherd
        ways.
We cannot count her heroes who lay down
In quiet graveyards when their work was done;
But mound on mound they rise all over the land
To bar a Tyrant's path, and make his feet
To stumble like the blind man among tombs.
Her brave dead make our earth heroic dust;
Their spirit glitters in our England's face
And makes her shine, a Star in blackest night,
Calm at her heart, and glory round her head.
We think of all who fought, and who are now
Immortals in the heaven of her love;
The Martyrs who have made of burning wrongs
Their fiery chariot, and gone up to God;
The saintly Sorrows that now walk in white;
Till faces bloom like battle-Banners flushed
All over with most glorious memories.
We are a Chosen People;  Freedom wears
Our English Rose for her peculiar crest,
Whoso dares touch it bleeds upon the thorn!
It may be that the time will come again
For one more desperate struggle to the death.
The eye of Evil on our England looks
With snaky sparkle still.   It may be they
Will rouse the old Berserkir rage, and make
The vein of wrath throb livid on her brow,
And wake the grim Norse War-dog in her blood,
Until she springs afloat upon the sea
Like an Immortal white-winged on the air,
The joy of swiftness lightning through her veins.

Thrice hath our England swept the Seas, and
        cleared
Her Ocean-path, the Highways of the world,
And will again if Robbers lie in wait.
She hath stood fast when towering Nations hurled
In one vast wave their culminating power!
Through all that harvest-day of bloody death,
They charged in vain, and dashed upon the edge
Of her red sword, and fell, at Waterloo!
We kept the shamble-slopes of Inkerman!
Through blood and fire and gloom of Indian War
We swam the Red Sea, and rode out the storm!
So shall we hold our own dear land with all
The old unvanquished soul, and we shall see
Their changing Empires shift like sand around
The Island Rock, the footstool of the Lord,
Where Freedom also lays her head, and rest
In calm or storm the best hopes of a world.

Ah, let the Peacemen preach, but let our Peace
Be Peace white-robed and not white-livered Peace;
Be Right victorious, not triumphant Wrong!
These pallid Peacemen are to true men what
Our world might be without its Iron Ore;
But never may the grand old bravery die.
No, no! we must not let the death-fires dance
Along our heights with their funereal flames,
As Hell had thrust up many red-hot tongues
To get its lap of gore when earth is drenched.
Our green fields shall not blush in blood for us!
We will not let them pluck the old land down
To throne them in her seat; they must not wear
The Crown she raced for round the world and won.
Our Country has a name and fame might fill
The eyes of Hate and Envy with tame tears;
And they shall never lay her low while we
Are true to her in heart and head and hand.
And all who come in peace will find a home,
And all who come in war a mouthful of
Our dust in death, and Sea-beach for a grave.

Great starry thoughts grow luminous in the dark;
The Bird of Hope soars singing overhead!
We cannot fear for England, we can die
To do her bidding, but we cannot fear:
We who have heard her thunder-roll of deeds
Reverberating through the centuries;
By battle fire-light had the stories told;
We who have seen how proudly she prepared
For sacrifice, how radiantly her face
Flashed when the Bugle blew its bloody sounds,
And bloody weather fluttered her old Flag;
We who have seen her with the red heaps round;
We who have known the mightiest Powers dashed
        back
Broken from her impregnable sea-walls;
We who have learned how in the darkest hour
The greatest light breaks out, and in the time
Of trial she reveals her noblest strength;
We do not, will not, cannot fear for Her,
We who have felt her big heart beat in ours.

Hail to Thee, Mother of Nations! mighty yet
To strive, or suffer, and give overthrow!
For all the Powers of nature fight for thee.
Spirits that sleep in glory shall awake,
Come down and drive thy Car of victory
Over thine enemies' necks.   Thy past renown
Shall turn to future strength.   Long will they wait
Who privily lurk to stab thee when the Night
Shall cover all in darkness.
                                                    Dear old Land,
Thy shining glories are no Sunset gleams,
But clouds that kindle round some great new
        Dawn!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


LOUIS NAPOLEON:—"À BERLIN."


BECAUSE his Dream so gloomily dips
His Soul in the shadow of coming Eclipse,
With a tremulous clutch the Sword he grips!

Because the Crown felt loose on his head,
And his Throne grew shaky, once more he would
        tread
Secure with his foot on the face of the dead.

Because the flash of the breakers by night
Showed him Destruction so near that the white
Of its eyes made sick the Seer's sight!

Because the Heavens waxed weary of him,
Oceans of innocent blood must brim,
That his poor little Lad might be learning to swim!

Because his Boy needed Baptism of fire,
There is service of hell in a Funeral Pyre
Of Towns aflame with its heavenward spire!

Because he had Murder's new Toy to try,
A hundred thousand men must die;
We hold our breath as the Doomed goes by,

Dark with the shadow of fate on his soul;
And the storm-winds rise, and the war-clouds roll—
Avengers that hurry him on to his goal!

If he saw what I see, that Dreamer gone fey
Would double himself in the dust to pray.
Napoleon! this is the Judgment Day!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


MÖLTKE'S PROMISE.


IF only fourteen days are mine
    To make all ready, I know
The French will never see our Rhine
    And we shall take their rhino;
Napoleon will strike too late,
And ere his Fête-day meet his fate,
That will not tarry though he wait!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE MITRAILLEUSE AT SAARBRÜCKEN.


WHAT sound was that we heard? great God of
        Battles!
It was the Empire having the death-rattles.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


A GRAVE ERROR.


HE trampled Freedom underfoot;
Amid her murdered dead struck root;
He made their tomb his place of trust!
And now the blood hath turned to rust;
The Dead men crumble into dust:
His power sinks in that burial-place,
And He is caught in their embrace!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE FAITH OF THE PHILISTINE.


THE great Deceiver finds himself deceived:
France's bereaver is of France bereaved:
And England, half converted by his fall,
Thinks there's a God who governs after all!
This is the faith o' the British Philistine;
Failure is damnable; Success divine.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


PEACE-AT-ANY-PRICE MEN.


YOU Seven Wise Men of Gotham, who could vote
That England in your bowl must sink or float,
You sorely need a Tonic of Cold Steel,
Who to the Beasts of Prey for Peace would kneel!
Malingerers who can basely maim the might
Of Manhood, and would rather die than fight.
The fear, for Self, makes Cowards, for others,
        bold:
And love of Country's sapped by lust of Gold.

You, poor white-livered bastards of our race
To rouse some English colour in your face,
Must you on either coward cheek be smitten,
Or have the blood fetched back to them flea-bitten?
Gnash your pale lips for shame! and let the bite
For a moment hide the coward out of sight.
Alas! nor bite would bring, nor blow could start,
True English blood where there is none at heart.
But, we are Peacemen, also; crying for
Peace, peace, at any price—though it be War!
We must live free, at peace, or each man dies
With death-clutch fast for ever on the prize.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE SECOND EMPIRE.


IT had not life enough to die at last,
Nor weight enough to fall; it simply passed:
A Shadow great calamity had cast.

Gone, like a dance of gnats from sunset streams!
We saw it, with these eyes; and now it seems
Dim as a fragment of forgotten dreams.

A mist of blood, it rose up in the night;
A mist of glamour blurred the common light;
A mist of lies, it vanishes from sight.

For Eighteen years we watched where'er life
        stirred;
Waited and listened, but we never heard
God speak. It went without a warning word!

One flash of Heaven; and all the Pageantry
Of Cloudland crumbles; all the Ephemeræ flee
From the still presence of Eternity!

One ray of risen Liberty hath shone,
And like a name writ in the Sighs breathed on
A Prison Window-pane, the Empire's gone.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


A PLEA FOR THE REPUBLIC.


YOU have delivered our afflicted earth
Of that Napoleonic After-birth,
Begot of horrible rape and hideous wrong,
With which abortion France hath travailed
        long;
But do not bleed to death a gallant nation
Suffering the Cæsarean operation!

Burn out of earth all record of his hand:
Right to the soul of us efface the brand!
Let all men see that Paris hath arisen
To erect her throne on ruins of her prison!
Each beauty blast that decked her as his Slave;
But do not bury us in the Empire's grave.

You came with Resurrection in your tread!
Was it for Second death you woke the dead?
You rolled the Gravestone of the Soul away,
Is it to thrust us deeper from the day,
Because you were so wronged, while we were
        bound
Blind in a dungeon, worse than underground?

His Slaves, his Hirelings, shouted for the war,
But we went chained to Cæsar's battle-car;
Dumb for the sacrifice, were safely gagged,
And in his dust-cloud to the conflict dragged.
We voted "Yes," but that the Tyrant knew
Meant liberty at home, not war with you.

Ah, do not bid our young Republic die!
Now you have rooted out the cancerous Lie,
And freed us from the curse that drained our
        blood
And spirit more than all your battle could;
Do not put out our struggling, only light,
Whereby we still distinguish wrong from right.

We offer you a Conquest, loftier yet
Than any you have reached with hands red-wet;
Or any you can win, e'en though we stood
And slew and slew till both were blind with
        blood;
Our little fields made one vast heaving tomb;
All heaven one black pall of smoking gloom.

O, Men! is it not shame enough that we
Have suffered wrongs so great, so helplessly:
So past all common signs of wrong for years
Of wrong too deep for words—too stern for tears?
Think how we were betrayed by Him who hath
        made
Our streets straight; cleared them for your
        Cannonade!

We can but rise up from the dust to kneel;
Trying to gain our feet once more we feel
What hurts we got when down—knocked out of
        breath,
Kneeled on, heart-crushed, and knuckled nigh to
        death;
As some poor Madman, who hath dropped and
        swooned,
Is maimed where none can see his mortal wound.

Be generous, Germans! we will take the print
Of kindness deeper than the fierce sword-dint;
A wounded Nation watches—waits to see
The advent of your Red-cross Chivalry:
As the dark spirit of the passing Storm
Springs up divine, and lo! the Rainbow's form!

We hail you, Brothers, who have broke our bands;
As Brothers we stretch forth to you our hands:
Brothers beside you we would freely march
In peace, beneath glad heaven's triumphal arch:
As Brothers we have Our great part to play
When Kings and Emperors have passed away!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


LOUIS NAPOLEON AND SOME COCKNEY
WORKING-MEN.


SLAVES that make Tyrants recognize their own.
Safe at the heart of you they have their Throne
And wave the Banner that will not go down;
Your blindness is an everlasting Crown;
The self-forged fetters of the Soul are yours;
You make a Dungeon of all Out-of-doors!

Your mind is just the mould that will re-cast
The Image God—the great Iconoclast—
For ever breaks.   The Tyrant lifted o'er ye
Is but the Slave's own self seen in its glory,
And this Man, most abjectly fallen, will
Be Emperor of Snobs and Flunkeys still.
The Seaweed on our shore's securely tossed,
But there's a Nation wrecked.   What of the Lost?
Poor France, that from the Imperial fetters freed,
Tears at her flesh they chafed so till it bleed,
France must be smelted in the fires of War,
To rid her of His image stamped on her,—
He who coined her in his likeness, sealed her
        shame,
Branding her with his features and his name.

This is your Hero! let me ope your dim
Dust-blinded eyes, for one true look at him!

To conquer Europe, bid all fears to cease,
As Emperor he proclaimed his Empire Peace.
The Eagle that he mounted was the tame
Dirt-draggled fowl of Boulogne; not the same
Old Bird of glory, with its wings of flame,
That perched on all the Pinnacles of Fame.

And yet, 'tis at your peril you believe
Those who are truthful only to deceive!
He found a troubled world would doubt his word.
At length—full length—he drew the famous sword
Of France—Napoleon's sword.   Ex-calibre
To prove, in deed, the Empire was not War:
Then flung away its scabbard: rushed to meet
The Foe, and—laid the weapon at his feet.
From Coup d'État to Coup de Grâce you see
The Empire was not War—'twas Butchery.

Nature but made him a Conspirator,
Not General.   She is answerable for
A great empiric: not an Emperor.
He should have kept his secret safe and far
From the stern lightning-eyes of searching War.
His place was not the front of battle, where
In slaying one another men play fair;
Safe in the rear it was his rôle to stand,
With dagger and dark-lantern in his hand,
And strike at unarmed captives from behind,
And only strike at such as he could bind.
He should have throttled France again by night
Quietly, while she slept, without a fight!
Behind his Mitrailleuse he might have slunk,
And massacred once more with soldiers drunk.
Why come forth in the light to let us see
The immeasurable incapacity?
Why drop the midnight mask, knowing so well
His nothingness if not inscrutable?
Why daze himself by day—look like a stark-
Blind fool—with such a genius for the dark?

He must not be stamped out, now he is down,
Even though the Sword, into the War-scale thrown,
Be followed by his Sceptre and his Crown.
He must not slink from sight!
                                                         When he is dead,
Take him, O Earth! like those half-burièd
And wholesale-murdered in Montmartre, with head
Exposed, to be identified with dread.
Outside Time's travelling Show, let him be seen
As Fieschi on the throne, with his Machine,
Firing at Freedom—grinding on that grim
Gun-barrel-organ, turned to war by him,—
Making infernal music for the dance
Of Death: the flight in which he led poor France.
A figure so grotesque, such cause must give
For horror, as will earn its right to live!

And You, who are supposed our blood to share,
Unworthy of the English name you bear,
You mob his gates, you wag the tail, and stand,
Proud to be patted by him, and lick his hand;
Lickspittles (He was spat forth by his land),
Mouth-watering with the slaver of the slave!
(A different licking German freemen gave).

Good friend of France? He made her flourish? So
Heat without light will make the fungi grow;
He puffed her up as creatures of decay
Raise the Oak-galls that eat the life away.
He sapped her, made her rotten to the root,
And, at the breath of War, down fell the fruit.
Good friend of England he could never be
Who was born-natural foe to Liberty.
Get up, go home, be henpecked by your Wives
And sat on the remainder of your lives;
The "evil" that you suffer from is such
As is not cured by any Royal touch.
If Hell grew sick, and heaved the Devil out,
Fools, on all-fours, like you, would fawn and shout
Congratulations on his glorious reign,
And wish him joy in making Hell again.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE TWO NAPOLEONS.


ONE shook the world with Earthquake.   Like a fiend
    He sprang exultant—all hell following after!
The Other, in burst of bubble and whiff of wind,
    Shook the world too,—with laughter!

The One out-wearied wingèd Victory!
    So swift he went, his Spirit would out-fly her;
The Other wore her out with waiting; he
    So failed to keep up by her!

One bitted France like some wild beast; and when
    He had mounted, reined and rode until he
            tamed it;
The Other threw it down by stealth, and then
    Most infamously maimed it.

The First at least a splendid Meteor shone!
    The Second fizzed and fell, an aimless rocket;
Kingdoms were pocketed for France by one,
    The other picked her pocket.

Such as it was, Napoleon gave her all
    The dazzle of his glory to bedeck her!
The other spread his gloom for a funeral Pall,
    Like Glory's Undertaker.

That showed the Sphinx in front, with Lion-paws,
    Cold lust of death in the sleek face of her,—
This the turned, cowering tail and currish claws,
    And hindermost disgrace of her.

In the eyes of France, one shook down showers of
            stars
    As jewels for her breast; this breaks her
            heart—a
Vain dream to think of Buonapartè's Wars
    Without your Bounapartè.

One took the World as 'twere his natural throne,
    And God Himself had crowned him at its portal!
But for his Second-Hand Napoleon
    The Lie had been immortal.

That was a living thing, whose Shadow made
    The heart of Nations shiver; This was never
More than the shadow of a Dead man's Shade
    The world shakes off for ever.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE ABOLITIONIST TO HIS BRIDE.


SAD I come for thy caresses, bonny bride, bonny
            bride,
For my nestling brow is bound with crown of
            thorn;
And the more thy leal heart presses, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
Is thy true and tender bosom pierced and torn.

I have gloomed thy girlish gladness, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
Made thee tearful in thy Wifehood's dewy
            dawn,
Given thy voice a soul of sadness, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
Set thy dainty cheek's ripe beauty waxing wan.

The wild light of 'wildered sorrows, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    Is the lustre that comes flashing to thine eyes,
As of hopes that know no morrows, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    Or from sunken suns that set no more to rise.

My poor heart hath put on mourning, bonny bride
            bonny bride,
    For the death of sweet and saintly Liberty;
It was down the Traitor's Turning, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    That they smote her in the Country of the Free.

Where the Ark of Freedom rested, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    When the May-Flower rode out bravely o'er the
            Flood;
Where the Bird of Freedom nested, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    In the land our Fathers bought with precious
            blood.

They have broken every promise, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    False as hell to League, and Covenant, and
            vow;—
Torn the Babes of Freedom from us, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    Grim as Herod! and like Herod they shall bow.

In the mire our Banner's trailing, bonny bride,
            bonny bride;
    It but symbols bloody stripes and bitter tears,
To a world of Tyrants hailing, bonny bride, bonny bride,
    And a world of Slaves that groans, a Hell that cheers.

Our good Bark is heavily wearing, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    And the hungry sharks they track us through
            the sea,
With their cruel keen eyes glaring, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    For the burial of embalmèd Liberty.

How the darkness round us presses, bonny bride,
            bonny bride!
    By the dying watch-fire hearts sit dark and
            dumb;
And we strain and make blind guesses, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    Of the morning and the morrow that shall come.

O, 'twill be a fearful waking, bonny bride, bonny
            bride,
    Should the faces of our Brothers dawn in view,
With the light above us breaking, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    And the earth beneath us wet with crimson
            dew.

We are weak, and win derision, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    All too weak to crush the Serpents that we
            clasp;
But I see in solemn vision, bonny bride, bonny
            bride,
    The young Heroes who shall kill them in their
            grasp.

See the Flag of Freedom dancing, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    On the Fortresses and Ruins of old Wrong—
See the Slave's proud eyes up-glancing, bonny
            bride, bonny bride,
    With the heart that breaks no more, save into
            song.

See the hills of earth that whiten, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    With the feet of angels coming down to men!
See the homes of earth that brighten, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    With the beautiful that vanished, come again.

There's a long road, wild and dreary, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    Through the winding ways of Sorrow's
            Wilderness!
And a-many will fall weary, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    And but few the honeyed Land of Promise
            press.

Yet we'll battle on with bravery, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    We will battle on as sabbathless as Doom;
We shall leave the land of Slavery, bonny bride,
            bonny bride,
    And the Victor's wreath will crown the Martyr's
            tomb.

1855.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


AN IMPERIAL REPLY.


'TIS glorious, when the thing to do,
    Is at the supreme instant done!
We count your first fore-running few
    A thousand men for every one!
For this true stroke of Statesmanship—
    The best Australian Poem yet—
Old England gives your hand the grip,
    And binds you with a coronet,
In which the Gold o' the Wattle glows
With Shamrock, Thistle, and the Rose.

They talked of England growing old:
    They said she spoke with feeble voice;
But hear the virile answer rolled
    Across the world!   Behold her Boys
Come back to her full-statured Men,
    To make four-square her fighting ranks.
She feels her youth renewed again,
    With heart too full for aught but "Thanks!"
And now the Gold o' the Wattle glows
With Shamrock, Thistle, and the Rose.

"My Boys have come of age to-day,
    The proud old Mother smiling said.
"They write a brand-new page to-day, 
    By far-off futures to be read!

Throughout all lands of British blood,
    This stroke hath kindled such a glow;
The Federal links of Brotherhood
    Are clasped and welded at a blow.
And aye the Gold o' the Wattle glows
With Shamrock, Thistle, and the Rose.

Sydney, 1885.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE BOY'S RETURN.


WIVES, Mothers, Sweethearts sent
    Their dearest; waved their own defenders forth;
And, fit companions for the bravest, went
    The Boys, to test their manhood, prove their worth

As Sons of those who braved
    All dangers; to Earth's ends our Flag unfurled,—
The old Pioneers of Ocean, who have paved
    Our Pathway with their bones around the world!

To-day the City waits,
    Proudly a-thrill with life about to be:
She welcomes her young warriors in her Gates
    Of Glory, opened to them by the Sea.

Let no cur bark, or spurt
    Defilement, trying to tarnish this fair fame;
No Alien drag our Banner through the dirt
    Because it blazons England's noble name.

Upon the lips of Praise
    They lay their own hands, saying—"We have not
                won 
Great battles for you, nor Immortal bays, 
    But what your Boys were given to do is done!
"

When Clouds were closing round
    The Island-home, our Pole-star of the North,
Australia fired her Beacons—rose up crowned
    With a new dawn upon the ancient earth.

For us they filled a cup
    More rare than any we can brim to them!
The patriot-passion did so lift men up,
    They looked as if each wore the diadem!

Best honours we shall give,
    If to that loftier outlook still we climb;
And in our Unborn Children there shall live
    The larger spirit of this great quickening time.

To-day is the Women's day!
    With them there's no more need o' the proud
                disguise
They wore when their young heroes sailed
                away;
    Soft smiles the dewy fire in loving eyes!

And, when to the full breast,
    O mothers! your re-given ones you take,
And in your long embraces they are blest,
    Give them one hug at heart for England's sake—

The Mother of us all!
    Dear to us, near to us, though so far apart;
For whose defence we are sworn to stand or fall
    In the same battle as Brothers, one at heart:

All one to bear the brunt;
    All one we move together in the march,
Shoulder to shoulder; to the Foe all front,
    The wide world round; all heaven one Triumph-
                Arch!

One in the war of Mind,
    For clearing earth of all dark Jungle-Powers;
One for the Federation of Mankind,
    Who will speak one language, and that language
                    ours.

Sydney, 1885.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


LAST LYRICS. 
_____________


WAITING FOR THE VERDICT.


THROUGH Centuries did Erin grope
In dust and ashes for lost hope;
Or darkly sought around her cave
An outlet from a living grave,
She sadly strove to tell her wrongs—
Grown venerably gray—in songs;
Or looked, with breast too full for speech,
Mute at the Heaven beyond her reach.
And now she turns to you, MY LAND
Heart-open at your proffered hand:
Into a new life's quickening womb,
One smile of light transforms her Tomb.

Through Centuries of doubts and fears
She drained her Cup of bitter tears;
To the last dregs she drank it up,
And now behold an empty Cup!
With the forlornest face on earth,
And praying hands, she holds it forth—
Say, will you fill it with glad wine,
Or make it brim again with brine?
Or shall we quaff together instead
The cup that blushes a guilty red?
You have your choice; no time to halt;
OUR HEARTS ARE WITH HER IN REVOLT!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE GREAT NEW CAUSE.


PEACE, shall it be? or War to the knife?
Sentence of Death or freedom for life?
Is the bloody Vendetta to die away
As Dawn dis-purples in clear white day?
    Stand for the Liberation Laws,
    The Grand Old Man and the Great New Cause!

Shall the Mother again be terribly torn,
That another Abortion may be born?
Or a nobler Nation struggle forth,
With the labour-pangs of a larger birth?
    Stand for the Liberation Laws,
    The Grand Old Man and the Great New Cause!

Shall Ireland's Music be always the Caoine?
Our Rose ever seen gory-red on her Green?
Shall the smoke of her torment ascend on high
Till Death in that land is our only Ally?
Stand for the Liberation Laws,
The Grand Old Man and the Great New Cause!

Shall the pick of a people be driven to roam
The world for ever in search of a Home,
Because we are turning their life-giving Land
Into a Desert of rootless sand?
Stand for the Liberation Laws,
The Grand Old Man and the Great New Cause!

"God save Erin," is their cry,
As the Exiles die under every sky!
In praying or cursing, the one cry still;
"God save Erin."   As surely He will!
    Stand for the Liberation Laws,
    The Grand Old Man and the Great New Cause!

John Bull is awaking at last; and John,
They warn us, is pulling his big boots on!
But we read 'twixt his smile and the gathering
        frown
It isn't for treading the Irish down!
    Stand for the Liberation Laws,
    The Grand Old Man and the Great New Cause!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE "GRAND OLD MAN."


SHALL the Tie that is binding us be but a Tether—
    Nought but a Fetter between our Lands?
All the world waits for your answer, whether
    We govern by Handcuffs or clasping of Hands.
Be not misled by Promoters of panic;
    Be not beguiled by the Brummagem plan;
Show that your mettle's not falsely Britannic,
    But true in its ring for the Grand Old Man.

We would have England do rightly by others,
    Not wrongly for us, as so long hath been done:
We would have Irishmen friendly as brothers,
    Bound, if at heart we are wedded and one.
Close up the Gulf the Fire-Furies have riven!
    While Curtius is with us and leading our van,
You have but to will and it must be. By heaven,
    It shall be!   Come, follow the Grand Old Man.

Well may they dub him the "One-man Power,"
    Standing alone where there's room but for one,
In his pride of place, like a Mountain Tower
    That catches the rays of a rising Sun!
We, in the Valley of Final Decision,
    Gather around him as close as we can,
To see what he sees on his Summit of Vision,
    The Triumph that beckons the Grand Old Man.

Behind us the Darkness of Tyrannies olden
    Still threatens with thunders of impotent wrath;
Before us a "Sunburst" the Present makes golden;
    A smile of the Future shows clearly our path.
Theirs was the Night with its blindness, its sorrow,
    Its riftage of Strife where the red rivers ran;
Ours is the Dawn: and a brighter To-morrow
    Shall crown with its glory the Grand Old Man.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


A LEADER!


UP Alma's hill the Ensign went,
A Boy! but terribly intent!
His should be foremost of the Flags,
Though He and It were shot to rags!
He looked round only once, to find
The men for a moment lagged behind.
"Bring back the Colours to them!" cried
The Colonel. But the Lad replied,
"No! lead you up the men who lag, 
Hurry them forward to the Flag!
"

So far ahead Our Ensign leads,
The laggards tell us he Secedes!
He could not stay the fight, to say
Our victory lies the Onward way!
"Bring back the Colours to the rear, 
For those who fight the battle there!

No! no! far forward He stands fast,
First with the Colours, to the last!
No cry of Laggards will he heed:
A Leader's duty is to lead.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER.


YOU say in front our Pitfalls wait
Agape to engulf us soon or late;
And open-eyed we face our fate!

We say your Pitfalls lurk behind,
And, driven backward, you will find
In falling you must go it blind!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


FALSE MARRIAGE OR TRUE UNION?


YOU offer what they do not want,
And what they sue for will not grant.
We give them Power, that theirs may be
A real responsibility!
You talk of Union, while each word
Is felt as Bludgeon-Sounds are heard,
When brute Wife-beaters once more try
To weld with blows Their Wedding-tie!

You prophesy the coming wave
Will be our dear old England's grave,
Because you lack the strength of limb
And length of breath enough to swim!
You fear for self!—no fear for her!—
And Fear's a craven counsellor.
You may go under our high-tide,
The Deluge that drowns you she can ride!

Lie as you will to circumvent,
Or trail the herring across the scent,
No more shall we defend your spoil
Taken from immemorial toil.
We will not play Cat's-paw again
To Filchers monkeying round as men.
The people set their fellows free;
One is the World's Democracy.

Henceforth we must have Government,
Not by Coercion, but Consent.
Right shall be done at last to all,
Even though the Ancient Heavens fall
On which our Childhood hung its trust.
New Heavens will rise from their old dust,
To loftier heights, with larger span,
And ampler space for grown-up man.

The Torch of Freedom God hath lit,
Burns upward for the Infinite,
And through all hindrances it will,
And must, and shall burn Upward still.
And all who try to hold the Torch
Inverted, will to ashes scorch;
And all who stay the upward aim
Shall shrivel like the Fly in flame.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


JOHN BRIGHT.


THOU hast done good work in thy day, John!
Thou wert foremost in many a fray, John!
        Thou shouldst have been first to the end.
But to halt when they sound the advance, John!
Thou art losing a glorious chance, John!
        Of dying the People's Friend!

Once thou wert terribly feared, John!
The enemy spat on the beard, John!
        Of the Rebel so radical then!
And to see how they slaver thee now, John!
Their Model for Statesmen art Thou, John!
        Their man who art Monarch of men!

'Tis Here and 'tis Now that we test, John!
All sympathies for the Oppressed, John!
        Not in far-off lands or the Past.
'Tis Here and 'tis Now We can give, John!
New leave for a people to live, John!
        In a Union with Us that shall last.

But faint hearts have gone far enough, John!
The road is so long and so rough, John!
        That many fall out by the way:
And 'tis dark—for the Stars are withdrawn, John!
Before we can see the fresh Dawn, John!
        That brings in the perfectest day.

The fastest of Friends will now fail us, John!
Worse than our Foes they assail us, John!
        Like fighters of Parthian mould.
And some have got tired with age, John!
Yet the Future must turn its new page, John!
        And the People can never grow old.

Thy hand for a parting shake, John!
Heartily cordial, we take, John!
        If the old ties thou wilt tear.
But Our battle must still go on, John!
Victories have to be won, John!
        Though Thou wilt not be with us there.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE PRIMROSE DAME.


YOUR Primrose Dame is a likely Lass,
To wile and wheedle the Working Class
        Of their Votes—her end and aim!
A vision of beauty, in by-way or street,
Is the glance of her face, or a glimpse of her feet,—
        When a-foot is the Primrose Dame.

The men used to suffer the brunt of the strife,—
Kissed the children, Courted the Wife,
        And cured the halt and the lame;
But they who once lorded it over the poll
Now send out the women to cadge and cajole,—
        Pray you pity the Primrose Dame!

We're all of One flesh, at Election time,
Whether white-powdered or black with grime,—
        Skim-milk, or Crême de la crême;
Open-armed at your door she knocks,
Wants to pry into the Ballot-box,
        Does the promising Primrose Dame.

Soliciting Votes, she is not shy,
Will let you light your pipe at her eye,—
        Kindle your fire with her flame;
But beware of the Snare when you see the smile,
Under the Primrose she can beguile.
        'Tis the Beaconsfield Primrose Dame!

"Refreshments at five, in the Primrose Bower! 
You will come? You will wear it? My favourite

                flower? 
        His flower who gave it his fame!

And the touch is of velvet, the look is of love:
But beware of the claw that is sheathed in the glove
        Of the Beaconsfield Primrose Dame.

She will scatter her perfume around you in showers,
Wrung from the lives of our Human Flowers,
        Without thought of shame or blame;
And the Roses of Health, that were ruthlessly torn
From the cheeks of your Children are wantonly worn
        In the Robe of the Primrose Dame.

She simply asks to be mounted astride
The British Lion—thinks she can guide,
        And the rampant animal tame,
If he will only give her his trust;
If he will only kneel down in the dust
        To carry the Primrose Dame.

Her charm for leading the beast by the nose
Is the brazenest image, a GILT primrose,—
        What a meal for an empty wame!
You Flower of Shams, with your counterfeit,
If the Brute should be tempted either to eat,—
        Let us pray for the Primrose Dame!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


BATTLE OF THE RANK AND FILE.


'TIS a proud Story! how through mist and mire,
All facing straight for death, our fellows ran
To warm them that cold day at the Russian fire,
And fight the Soldiers' battle of Inkerman!

No time for orders; none for falling in;
They only knew their duty was to stem
The tide of onset; and their work, to win
The desperate battle—that was won by them.

It is Our Inkerman we fight to-day!
False friends behind us, worse than foes in front;
One half our Officers have run away;
The Rank and File must bravelier bear the brunt!

No matter where our place is on the field;
Each one must be all there, whether to stem
The tide, or stop the gap, and never yield.
The People's battle must be won by them!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE LEAGUE OF LABOUR.


LONG on the Mountain Summit
    We fed the Watch-fire's flame;
We hailed and beckoned from it
    The help that never came!
We heard the distance humming,
    With sounds o' the Battle-Drum:
We dreamed the Prince was coming,
    And lo! the Prince has come,—
'Tis our Enfranchised Neighbour
Who joins the League of Labour
    To end our martyrdom.

We brooded o'er the Story
    That bade us Backward turn
To seek a By-gone Glory,
    And made our spirits burn:
We tried to sing our Sorrow,
    And wail our Woes, away;
We lived but for the Morrow
    To free us from To-day.
Now Neighbour joins with Neighbour,
One in the League of Labour
    To scare the Birds of Prey.

'Twas not in maiming Cattle,
    Nor desolating Homes,
That we could win our battle
    By which deliverance comes.
No Tocsin from the Steeple,
    No Beacons through the land,
We need, when Honest people
    Each other understand,
And Neighbour joins with Neighbour,
One in the League of Labour
    As Brothers hand in hand.

"They hardly read a letter!
    So simple are our ends,
We know not any better
    Than that we may be friends.
At the new Name of "Brother"
    Old feuds grow fugitive!
We have not wronged each other,
    We therefore can forgive.
So Neighbour stands by Neighbour,
One in the League of Labour;
    One in the right to live.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


LABOURERS' ELECTION SONG. 

(Tune: "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave.")


Ours are the Voices that for ages were unheard,
Ours are the Voices of a Future long deferred.
Cry all Together: we shall speak the final word,

                    Let the Cause go marching on.
                        Glory! glory! hallelujah!
                        Glory! glory! hallelujah!
                        Glory! glory! hallelujah!
                    Let the Cause go marching on.


Ours are the Votes that give us weapons we can
        wield,
Ours are the Votes that make our proud opponents
        yield.
Vote all Together, and our Charge shall clear the field,

                    And the Cause go marching on.
                        Glory! glory! hallelujah!
                        Glory! glory! hallelujah!
                        Glory! glory! hallelujah!
                    Let the Cause go marching on.


Ours are the Millions, though it may not be in gold,
Ours are the Millions who will right the wrongs of
        old.
Move all Together as the Ocean-waves are rolled,

                    When the Storm goes marching on.
                            Glory! glory! hallelujah!
                            Glory! glory! hallelujah!
                            Glory! glory! hallelujah!
                    Let the Cause go marching on.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


THE LAST OF EMERGENCY MEN.


ONE word.   Then for battle we hold in our breath,
To fight you; by God! we shall fight to the death:
Through Earth, Heaven, or Hell, and the range of
        Endeavour,
If need be; by God! we will fight you for ever!

You have drawn the first blood in our opening
        battle;
We score you that honour! You've tested our
        mettle!
And never was Battle yet fought worth the winning
But those who won last seemed to lose in beginning.
Coercion has failed you again and again,
And you are the Last of Emergency Men!

Our Cause is propelled by the spurn of your feet!
You kindle our furnace to sevenfold heat,
Till, as Slag from the fire, you will only be found!
E'en in turning a Treadmill our triumph comes
        round:
Coercion has failed you again and again,
And you are the last of Emergency Men!

One word.   Then for battle we hold in our breath,
To fight you; by God! we shall fight to the death:
Through Earth, Heaven, or Hell, and the range of
        endeavour,
If need be; by God! we will fight you for ever!

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


HOLD TOGETHER, BOYS.


AY, hold Together for God's sake now,
    The Devil hath his hour,
And rages fiercely, knowing how
    Precarious is his power!
One last grim effort, grasping hands
    The gaping gulf to bridge,
Before the Channel 'twixt two lands
    Runs red from ridge to ridge.

With your own life-drops warm and wet
    They dangle the red rag
On Baton and on Bayonet,
    As their Bull-Baiting Flag;
And palest faces well may flush,
    Hearts beat the battle-drum:
But keep your Ranks and make no rush,
    Till the Relief shall come.

We will be with you soon in front,
    Or fighting side by side:
To-day 'tis yours to bear the brunt
    So often borne with pride!
We feel no coward fear for you,
    Though sore it be to bear;
We fight your battle here for you
    Who fight our battle there!

For Future life keep calm as death,
    For strength gulp down your ire;
Waste not a word to lose a breath,
    While passing through the fire!
Worthily follow your great Dead
    Who played the deathless part;
Police—who have power to break the head—
    Can't break a Nation's heart.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


TO-MORROW!


THOUGH not yet freed—from England's Soul
    There's one more Fetter broken!
The spirit that will reach the goal,
    And win at last, has spoken.
We Swear—and all the world has heard—
    To end this Shame and Sorrow;
And as God lives To-Day, that Word
    Shall be our Deed To-Morrow.

Our opening eyes, at length, though late,
    Can see the Ancient Blindness;
And we, who crushed each other in hate,
    Would try the Clasp of Kindness,—
Would reach the Irish heart with grip
    Frank, honest, trustful, thorough;
And show how fearless Statesmanship
    Can make us Friends To-Morrow.

You had to trust them many a time,
    As on them Napier reckoned
To win Meeanee's fight sublime,
    With his glorious "Twenty-Second"—
"Magnificent Tipperary!"   He
    Could lean on them, and borrow
His rest that night! for Victory
    Would march with them To-Morrow.1

To think of all our Irish Dead
    Should thrill you English living!
For us they fought, for us they bled,
    To us the triumph giving!
Foremost on many a bloody day
    They charged with their wild "Hurroo!"
Through England's Foes they clove a way
    For Ireland free To-Morrow.

For us they conquered as they died,
    And with their last endeavour,
Dying for England, still they cried,
    "Old Ireland for ever!"2 
Their dust has given us deeper root
    In many a field and furrow;
We think 'tis time they shared the fruit,
    And they shall share To-Morrow!


1  'Life of Charles James Napier,' vol. ii. p. 322.
2  Erin go bragh.

 

[Top of page]
_______________________


LIGHT AT LAST.


THE sleep of the Dreamer is dying;
    The Dream is about to be born:
'Tis the Vision of England untying
    The crown of poor Ireland's Thorn!

The Night with its phantoms is flying,
    And we shall see clearer at morn:
We feel the first airs that come sighing,
    New life to awaken; and warn

Of a Light in which tears shall be drying,
    And hell-fire no longer can burn:
Immortals with mortals are vieing
    To lift up the fall'n and forlorn:

Our old Earth shall cease from her crying,
    Nor vainly to Heaven will yearn:
We stand 'twixt the dawning and dying,
    That mingle their Verge and their Bourne:

The Past with its Shroud-Shadows trying
    To hide its face, tortured and torn;
The Future before us Enskying
    A glimpse of Millennial Morn:

'Tis the Vision of England untying
    The crown of poor Ireland's Thorn;
And the sleep of the Dreamer is dying:
    The Dream is about to be born.




THE END

 



[Home] [Up] [Biography] [Poetry] [Prose] [Reviews] [News Reports] [Miscellanea] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk