of the




For the cause of Labour all over the Earth.”


second edition.


william reeves, 185, fleet street, e.c.


“My sweet, my child, through all this night
   Of dark and wind and rain,
Where thunder crashes, and the light
   Sears the bewildered brain,

“It is your face, your lips, your eyes
   I see rise up; I hear
Your voice that sobs and calls and cries,
   Or shrills and mocks at fear.

“O this that’s mine is yours as well,
   For side by side our feet
Trod through these bitter brakes of hell.
   Take it, my child, my sweet!”


This Book

songs of the army of the night.

Proem:—“Outside London”

part i.—england.

In the Camp
Evening Hymn in the Hovels
In the Street: “Lord Shaftesbury”
In the Edgware Road
To the Girls of the Unions
A Visitor in the Camp
“Lord Leitrim”
Belgravia by Night: “Move on!”
Parallels for the Pious
To the Christians
To John Ruskin
To the Emperor William
Song of the Dispossessed: “To Jesus”
The Peasants’ Revolt
In Trafalgar Square
A Street Fight
To a Workman, a would-be Suicide
Dublin at Dawn
The Caged Eagle
To Ireland
To Charles Parnell
An “Assassin”
Aux Ternes
“The Truth”
To the Sons of Labour
To the Artists
“One among so Many”
The New Locksley Hall
Farewell to the Market: “Susannah and Mary-Jane”

part ii.—here and there.

In the Pit: “Chant of the Firemen”
A Mahommadan Ship Fireman
To India
To England:
     I.  “There was a time”
    II.  “We hate you”
   III.  “I whom you fed with shame”
    IV.  “England, the Land I loved”
Hong Kong Lyrics:
     I.  “At Anchor in that Harbour”
    II.  “There is much in this Sea-way City”
   III.  “I stand and watch the Soldiers”
    IV.  “Happy Valley”
A Glimpse of China:
     I.  In a Sampan
    II.  In a Chair
   III.  “Caste”
    IV.  Over the Samovar
To Japan
Dai Butsu
The Fisherman
A South-Sea Islander
New Summer Converts
A Death at Sea:
     I.  “Dead in the Sheep-Pen”
    II.  “In the Warm, Cloudy Night”
   III.  “Dirge”

part iii.—australia.

The Outcasts
James Moorhouse
In the Sea Gardens: “The Man of the Nation”
“Henry George”
William Wallace
The Australian Flag
To an Old Friend in England: “Esau”
At the Seamen’s Union: “The Seamen and the Miners”
To His Love
Her Poem: “My Baby Girl that was born and died on the same day”
To Henry George in America
“Algernon Charles Swinburne”
To an Unionist
To my Friend, Sydney Jephcott
To E. L. Zox
“Father Abe”: Song of the American Sons of Labour
“A Fool”
Mount Rennie:
     I.  The Australian Press speaks
    II.  The Time-Spirit speaks
“Tyranny”: The Delegates speak
From a Verandah: “Armageddon”
“Elsie”—A Memory
“Nationalism and M’Ilwraith”
To the Emperor William
A Story
At the India Docks
Dirge: “A Little Soldier of the Army of the Night”
To Queen Victoria in England
Farewell to the Children
Epode: On the Ranges, Queensland
Australian Press Notices


A few words of preface seem necessary in sending out this little book.  It is to be looked on as the product of the life of a social worker in England, in his travels, and in Australia.  The key-note of the First Part—“England”—is desperation, or, if any hope, then “desperate hope.”  A friend once reported to me a saying of Matthew Arnold’s, that he did not believe in any man of intelligence taking a desperate view of the social problem in England.  I am afraid that saying relegates me to the ranks of the fools, but I am content to remain there.  I believe that never since 1381, which is the date of the Peasants’ Revolt, has England presented such a spectacle of the happiness of the tens, of the misery of the millions.  It is not by any means the artisan, or the general or the agricultural labourer, who is the only sufferer.  All society groans under the slavery of stupendous toil and a pittance wage.  The negro slavery of the Southern States of America was better than the white slavery of to-day all over the earth, but more particularly in Europe and in America.  Capitalism is built on the dreadful wrong of recompensing Labour, not according to the worth of its work, but according to the worth of its members in the market of unlimited competition, and that soon comes to mean the payment of what will hold body and soul together when in the enjoyment of health and strength.  Landlordism is built on the dreadful wrong of sharing with Capitalism the plunder of Labour.  Why are rents high in Australia?  Because here Labour is scarcer, its wages correspondingly higher, and therefore Landlordism steps in to filch from Labour its hard-won comforts, and once more reduce it to the necessities of existence.  The American slavers had to spend more in housing and keeping any fixed number of their slaves in serviceable condition than Capitalism spends in wages.  Capitalism and Landlordism, like good Christian Institutions, leave the living to keep alive their living, and the dead to bury their dead.  This cannot continue for ever.  At least all the intelligent portion of the community will grow to see the injustice and attempt to abolish it.  But when will the great mass of unintelligent people who have won a large enough share of the plunder of their fellows to minister to their own comforts—when will these, also, awake and see?  England will realize the desperation of her social problem when its desperation is shown her by fire and blood—then, and not till then!  What shall teach her her sins to herself is what is even now teaching her her sins to Ireland.

I make no apology for several poems in the First Part which are fierce, which are even blood-thirsty.  As I felt I wrote, and I will not lessen the truth of what inspired those feelings by eliminating or suppressing the record of them.  Rather, let me ask you, whoever you be, to imagine what the cause was, from the effect in one who was (unhappily) born and bred into the dominant class, and whose chief care and joy in life was in the pursuit of a culture which draws back instinctively from the violent and the terrible.  I will go further.  I will arraign my country and my day, because their iniquity would not let me follow out the laws of my nature, which were for luminosity and quiet, for the wide and genial view, but made me “take arms against a sea of troubles,” hoping only too often “by opposing to end them.”  No, we make no apology for bloody sweat and for tears of fire wrung out of us in the Gethsemane and on the Calvary of our country: we make no apology to those whom we have the right to curse.

In the Second Part—“Here and There,” the record of a short trip in the East—the sight of the sin which England has committed not only against herself, against Ireland, against Scotland, but against India, against China, against the sweetest and gentlest people in the earth, the Japanese—the sight of this, and of the signs of England’s doom, the punishment for the abuse of the greatest trust any modern nation has had given to her, inspires a hatred which only that punishment can appease.  In the Third Part—“Australia”—there is neither ferocity nor blood-thirstiness.  Its key-note is hope, hope that dreads but does not despair.

I may add that in this edition I have sacrificed all merely personal aspects of the poems to attempt to give the book a more complete totality.  We know well enough that allowance will rarely be made for any of these things: that our plea for comprehension will too often be an idle one.  None the less we make it, for the sake of those who are willing to attempt to realize the social problem and to seek within themselves what they can do for its solution.  We have no care whatever as to what view they take of it.  Let them be with us or against us, it matters not, if only they will make this effort, if only they will ponder it in their hearts.  Ninety-nine out of a hundred of us are concerned in this problem.  We are all of us true sons of Labour who have suffered the robbery of the wages of Competition.  One word more.  The Australian is apt to deprecate the socialism of the European or the American.  The darker aspects of the European or American civilization are not striking here.  They are here; they are more than incipient, very much more; but they are not striking.  Let such an one pause.  “We speak of that which we do know,” and, for the rest, not only do we bid “him that has ears, to hear,” but “him that has eyes, to see.”

Brothers all over the earth, brothers and sisters, you of that silent company whose speech is only in the unknown deeds of love, the unknown devotions, the unknown heroisms, it is to you we speak!  Our heart is against your heart; you can feel it beat.  Soul speaks to soul through lips whose utterance is a need.  In your room alone, in your lonely walks, in the still hours of day and night, we will be with you.  We will speak with you, we will plead with you, for these piteous ones.  In the evening trees you shall hear the sound of our weeping.  Our sobs shall shake in the wind of wintry nights.  We are the spirit of those piteous ones, the wronged, the oppressed, the robbed, the murdered, and we bid you open your warm heart, your light-lit soul to us!  We will thrill you with the clarion of hate and defiance and despair in the tempest of land and sea.  You shall listen to us there also.  We will touch your eyes and lips with fire.  No, we will never let you go, till you are ours and theirs!  And you too, O sufferers, you too shall stay with us, and shall have comfort.  Look, we have suffered, we have agonized, we have longed to hasten the hour of rest.  But beyond the darkness there is light, beyond the turbulence peace.  “Courage, and be true to one another.”  “We bid you hope!”


I give this Book
to you,—

Man or woman, girl or boy, labourer, mechanic, clerk, house-servant, whoever you may be, whose wages are not the worth of your work,—no, nor a fraction of it—whose wages are the minimum which you and those like you, pressed by the desire for life in the dreadful struggle ofCompetition,” will consent to take from your Employers who, thanks to it, are able thus to rob you:—

I give it to you,

in the hope that you may see how you are being robbed,—how Capital that is won by paying you your competition wages is plunder,—how Rent that is won by the increased value of land that is owing to the industry of us all, is plunder,—how the Capitalist and Landowner who over-ride you, how the Master or Mistress who work you from morning to night, who domineer over you as servants and despise you (or what is worse, pity you) as beggars, are the men and women whose sole title to this is, that they have the audacity and skill to plunder you, and you the simplicity and folly not to see it and to submit to it:—

I give this Book to you,

in the hope that you may at last realize this, and in your own fashion never cease the effort to make your fellow-sufferers realize it:—

I give it to you,

in the hope that you may formally enrol yourself in the ranks of the Army of the Night, and that you will offer up the best that has been granted you of heart and soul and mind towards the working out of that better time when, in victorious peace, we silence our drums and trumpets, furl our banners, drag our cannons to their place of rest, and solemnly disarming ourselves, become citizens once more or, if soldiers, then soldiers of the Army of the Day!


“Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .  blessed are the mourners . . .  Ye are the salt of the earth.”—The Good tidings as given by Matthew.


In the black night, along the mud-deep roads,
   Amid the threatening boughs and ghastly streams,
Hark! sounds that gird the darknesses like goads,
   Murmurs and rumours and reverberant dreams,
Tramplings, breaths, movements, and a little light.—
The marching of the Army of the Night!

The stricken men, the mad brute-beasts are keeping
   No more their places in the ditches or holes,
But rise and join us, and the women, weeping
   Beside the roadways, rise like demon-souls.
Fill up the ranks!  What shimmers there so bright?
The bayonets of the Army of the Night!

Fill up the ranks!  We march in steadfast column,
   In wavering lines yet forming more and more;
Men, women, children, sombre, silent, solemn,
   Rank follows rank like billows to the shore.
Dawnwards we tramp, towards the day and light.
On, on and up, the Army of the Night!



This is a leader’s tent.  “Who gathers here?”
   Enter and see and listen.  On the ground
Men sit or stand, enter or disappear,
   Dark faces and deep voices all around.

One answers you.  “You ask who gathers here?
   Companions!  Generals we have none, nor chief.
What need is there?  The plan is all so clear—
  The future’s hope, the present’s grim relief!

“Food for us all, and clothes, and roofs come first.
   The means to gain them?  This, our leaguered band!
The hatred of the robber rich accursed
   Keeps foes together, makes fools understand.

“Beyond the present’s faith, the future’s hope
   Points to the dawning hour when all shall be
But one.  The man condemned shall fit the rope
   Around the hangman’s neck, and both be free!

“The sun then rises on a happier land
   Where Wealth and Labour sound but as one word.
We drill, we train, we arm our leaguered band.
   What is there more to tell you have not heard?”

This is a leader’s tent.  They gather here,
   Resolute, stern, menacing.  On the ground
They sit or stand, enter or disappear,
   Dark faces and deep voices all around.


Let him who toils, enjoy
   Fruit of his toiling.
Let him whom sweats annoy,
   No more be spoiling.

For we would have it be
   That, weak or stronger,
Not he who works, but he
   Who works not, hunger!


When day’s hard task’s done,
   Eve’s scant meal partaken,
Out we steal each one,
   Weariless, unshaken.

In small reeking squares,
   Garbaged plots, we gather,
Little knots and pairs,
   Brother, sister, father.

Then the word is given.
   In their silent places
Under lowering heaven,
   Range our stern-set faces.

Now we march and wheel
   In our clumsy line,
Shouldering sticks for steel,
   Thoughts like bitter brine!

Drill, drill, drill, and drill!
   It is only thus
Conquer yet we will
   Those who’ve conquered us.

Patience, sisters, mothers!
   We must not forget
Dear dead fathers, brothers;
   They must teach us yet.

In that hour we see,
   The hour of our desire,
What shall their slayers be?
   As the stubble to the fire!


“We sow the fertile seed and then we reap it;
   We thresh the golden grain; we knead the bread.
Others that eat are glad.  In store they keep it,
   While we hunger outside with hearts like lead.

“We hew the stone and saw it, rear the city.
   Others inhabit there in pleasant ease.
We have no thing to ask of them save pity,
   No answer they to give but what they please.

“Is it for ever, fathers, say, and mothers,
   That we must toil and never know the light?
Is it for ever, sisters, say, and brothers,
   That they must grind us dead here in the night?

“O we who sow, reap, knead, shall we not also
   Have strength and pleasure of the food we make?
O we who hew, build, deck, shall we not also
   The happiness that we have given partake?

LORD ----.

You have done well, we say it.  You are dead,
   And, of the man that with the right hand takes
Less than the left hand gives, let it be said
   He has done something for our wretched sakes.
For those to whom you gave their daily bread
   Rancid with God-loathed “charity,” their drink
Putrid with man-loathed “sin,” we bow our head
   Grateful, as the great hearse goes by, and think.
Yes, you have fed the flesh and starved the soul
   Of thousands of us; you have taught too well
The rich are little gods beyond control,
   Save of your big God of the heaven and hell.
We thank you.  This was pretty once, and right.
Now it wears rather thin.  My lord, good night!


“Liberty!”  Is that the cry, then?
   We have heard it oft of yore.
Once it had, we think, a meaning;
   Let us hear it now no more.

We have read what history tells us
   Of its heroes, martyrs too.
Doubtless they were very splendid,
   But they’re not for me and you.

There were Greeks who fought and perished,
   Won from Persians deathless graves.
Had we lived then, we’re aware that
   We’d have been those same Greeks’ slaves!

Then a Roman came who loved us;
   Cæsar gave men tongues and swords.
Crying “Liberty,” they fought him,
   Cato and his cut-throat lords.

When he’d give a broader franchise,
   Lift the mangled nations bowed,
Crying “Liberty!” they killed him,
   Brutus and his pandar crowd.

We have read what history tells us,
   O the truthful memory clings!
Tacitus, the chartered liar,
   Gloating over poisoned kings!

“Liberty!”  The stale cry echoes
   Past snug homesteads, tinsel thrones,
Over smoking fields and hovels,
   Murdered peasants’ bleaching bones.

That’s the cry that mocked us madly,
   Toiling in our living graves,
When hell-mines sent up the chorus:
   “Britons never shall be slaves!”

“Liberty!”  We care not for it!
   What we care for’s food, clothes, homes,
For our dear ones toiling, waiting
   For the time that never comes!

(To LORD L----.)

Will you not buy?  She asks you, my lord, you
   Who know the points desirable in such.
She does not say that she is perfect.  True,
   She’s not too pleasant to the sight or touch.
But then—neither are you!

Her cheeks are rather fallen in; a mist
   Glazes her eyes, for all their hungry glare.
Her lips do not breathe balmy when they’re kissed.
   And yet she’s not more loathsome than, I swear,
Your grandmother at whist.

My lord, she will admit, and need not frame
   Excuses for herself, that she’s not chaste.
First a young lover had her; then she came
   From one man’s to another’s arms, with haste.
Your mother did the same.

Moreover, since she’s married, once or twice
   She’s sold herself for certain things at night,
To sell one’s body for the highest price
   Of social ease and power, all girls think right.
Your sister did it thrice.

What, you’ll not buy?  You’ll curse at her instead?—
   Her children are alone, at home, quite near.
These winter streets, so gay at nights, ’tis said,
   Have ’ticed the wanton out.  She could not hear
Her children cry for bread!


Girls, we love you, and love
   Asks you to give again
That which draws it above,
   Beautiful, without stain.

Give us weariless faith
   In our Cause pure, passionate,
Dearer than life and death,
   Dear as the love that’s it!

Give to the man who turns
   Traitrous hands or forlorn
Back from the plough that burns,
   Give him pitiless scorn!

Let him know that no wife
   Would bear him a fearless child
To hate and loathe the life
   Of a leprous father defiled.

Girls, we love you, and love
   Asks you to give again
That which draws it above,
   Beautiful, without stain!


She went along the road,
   Her baby in her arms.
   The night and its alarms
Made deadlier her load.

Her shrunken breasts were dry;
   She felt the hunger bite.
   She lay down in the night,
She and the child, to die.

But it would wail, and wail,
   And wail.  She crept away.
   She had no word to say,
Yet still she heard the wail.

She took a jaggèd stone;
   She wished it to be dead.
   She beat it on the head;
It only gave one moan.

She has no word to say;
   She sits there in the night.
   The east sky glints with light,
And it is Christmas Day!


Why is it we toil so?
   Where go all the gains?
What do we produce for it,
   All our pangs and pains?”

Why it is we toil so,
   Is it because, like sheep,
Since our fathers sought the shears,
   We the same course keep.

Where go all the gains?  Well,
   It must be confessed,
First the landlords take the rent,
   And the masters take the rest.

What do we produce for it?
   Gentlemen!—and then
Imitation snobs who’d be
   Like the gentlemen!

What, is it for such as these
   That we suffer thus?
Fuddle-brained and vicious fools,
   Vermin venomous?

What, is that why on the top
   Creeps that Royal Louse,
The prince of pheasants and cigars,
   Of ballet-girls and grouse?”

Yes, that’s why, my Christian friends,
   They slave and slaughter us.
England is made a dunghill that
   Some bugs may breed and buzz.

To Mary Robinson. [27]

What, are you lost, my pretty little lady?
   This is no place for such sweet things as you.
Our bodies, rank with sweat, will make you sicken,
   And, you’ll observe, our lives are rank lives too.”

“Oh no, I am not lost!  Oh no, I’ve come here
   (And I have brought my lute, see, in my hand),
To see you, and to sing of all you suffer
   To the great world, and make it understand!”

Well, sayIf one of those who’d robbed you thousands,
   Dropped you a sixpence in the gutter where
You lay and rotted, would you call her angel,
   For all her charming smile and dainty air?”

“Oh no, I come not thus!  Oh no, I’ve come here
   With heart indignant, pity like a flame,
To try and help you!”—“Pretty little lady,
  It will be best you go back whence you came.”

“‘Enthusiasmswe have such little time for!
   In our rude camp we drill the whole day long.
When we return from out the serried battle,
   Come, and we’ll listen to your pretty song!”


My Lord, at last you have it!  Now we know
Truth’s not a phrase, justice an idle show.
Your life ran red with murder, green with lust.
Blood has washed blood clean, and, in the final dust
Your carrion will be purified.  Yet, see,
Though your body perish, for your soul shall be
An immortality of infamy!


’Tis not when I am here,
   In these homeless homes,
Where sin and shame and disease
   And foul death comes;

’Tis not when heart and brain
   Would be still and forget
Men and women and children
   Dragged down to the pit:

But when I hear them declaiming
   Of “liberty,” “order,” and “law,”
The husk-hearted gentleman
   And the mud-hearted bourgeois,

That a sombre hateful desire
   Burns up slow in my breast
To wreck the great guilty temple,
   And give us rest!

Move On!”

“The foxes have holes,
And the birds of the air have nests,
But where shall the heads of the sons of men
Be laid, be laid?”

Where the cold corpse rests,
Where the sightless moles
Burrow and yet cannot make it afraid,
Rout but cannot wake it again,
There shall the heads of the sons of men
Be laid, laid!”


Where is poor Jesus gone?
   He sits with Dives now,
And not even the crumbs are flung
   To Lazarus below.

Where is poor Jesus gone?
   Is he with Magdalen?
He doles her one by one
   Her wages of shame!

Where is poor Jesus gone?
   The good Samaritan,
What does he there alone?
   He stabs the wounded man!

Where is poor Jesus gone,
   The lamb they sacrificed?
They’ve made God of his carrion
   And labelled it “Christ!”


“He holds a pistol to my head,
Swearing that he will shoot me dead,
If he have not my purse instead,
          The robber!”

He, with the lash of wealth and power,
Flogs out my heart and flings the dower,
The plundered pittance of his hour,
          The robber!”

“He shakes his serpent tongue that lies,
Wins trust for poisoned sophistries
And stabs me in the dark, and flies,
          The assassin!”

He pits me in the dreadful fight
Against my fellowThen he quite
Strips both his victims in the night,
          The assassin!”


This is what I pray
In this horrible day,
In this terrible night,
God will give me light.
Such as I have had,
That I go not mad.

This is what I seek,
God will keep me meek
Till mine eyes behold,
Till my lips have told
All this hellish crime.—
Then it’s sleeping time!


Take, then, your paltry Christ,
   Your gentleman God.
We want the carpenter’s son,
   With his saw and hod.

We want the man who loved
   The poor and oppressed,
Who hated the rich man and king
   And the scribe and the priest.

We want the Galilean
   Who knew cross and rod.
It’s your “good taste” that prefers
   A bastard God!


Who is it speaks of defeat?—
   I tell you a Cause like ours
Is greater than defeat can know;
   It is the power of powers!

As surely as the earth rolls round,
   As surely as the glorious sun
Brings the great world sea-wave,
   Must our Cause be won!

What is defeat to us?—
   Learn what a skirmish tells,
While the great Army marches on
   To storm earth’s hells!

(After reading hisModern Painters.”)

Yes, you do well to mock us, you
   Who knew our bitter woe—
To jeer the false, deny the true
   In us blind struggling low,

While, on your pleasant place aloft
   With flowers and clouds and streams,
At our black sweat and toil you scoffed
   That marred your idle dreams.

Oh, freedom, what was that to us,”
(You’d shout down to us there),
Except the freedom foul, vicious,
   From all of good and fair?

Obedience, faith, humility,
   To us were empty names.”—
The like to you (might we reply)
   Whose noisy life proclaims

Presumption, want of human love,
   Impatience, filthy breath, [32]
The snob in soul who looks above,
   Trampling on what’s beneath.

When did you strive, in nobler part,
   With love and gentleness,
To help one soul, to win one heart
   To joy and hope and peace?

Go to, vain prophet, without faith
   In God who maketh new,
With hankerings for this putrid death,
   This Flesh-feast of the Few,

This Social Structure of red mud,
   This Edifice of slime,
Whose bricks are bones, whose mortar’s blood,
   Whose pinnacle is Crime!—

Go to, for we who strain our power
   For light and warmth and scope,
For wives’, for children’s happier hour,
   Can teach you faith and hope.

Hark to the shout of those who cleared
   The Missionary Ridge!
Look on those dead who never feared
   The battle’s bloody bridge!

Watch the stern swarm at that last breach
   March up that came not thence—
And learn Democracy can teach
   Divine obedience. [33]

Pass through that South at last brought low
   Where loyal freemen live,
And learn Democracy knows how
   To utterly forgive.

Come then, and take this free-given bread
   Of us who’ve scarce enough;
Hush your proud lips, bow down your head
   And worship human love!


You are at least a man, of men a king.
   You have a heart, and with that heart you love.
   The race you come from is not gendered of
The filthy sty whose latest litter cling
Round England’s flesh-pots, gorged and gluttoning.
   No, but on flaming battle-fields, in courts
   Of honour and of danger old resorts,
The name of Hohen-Zollern clear doth ring.
O Father William, you, not falsely weak,
   Who never spared the rod to spoil the child,
Our mighty Germany, we only speak
   To bless you with a blessing sweet and mild,
Ere that near heaven your weary footsteps seek
   Where love with liberty is reconciled.

to jesus.”

“Be with us by day, by night,
   O lover, O friend;
Hold before us thy light
   Unto the end!

“See, all these children of ours
   Starved and ill-clad.
Speak to thy heart’s lily-flowers,
   And make them glad!

“Our wives and daughters are here,
   Knowing wrong and shame’s touch
Bid them be of good cheer
   Who have lovèd much.

“And we, we are robbed and oppressed,
   Even as thine were.
Tell us of comfort and rest,
   Banish despair!

Be with us by day, by night,
   O lover, O friend;
Hold before us thy light
   Unto the end!”


Yes, let Art go, if it must be
   That with it men must starve—
If Music, Painting, Poetry
   Spring from the wasted hearth.

Pluck out the flower, however fair,
   Whose beauty cannot bloom,
(However sweet it be, or rare)
   Save from a noisome tomb.

These social manners, charm and ease,
   Are hideous to who knows
The degradation, the disease
   From which their beauty flows.

So, Poet, must thy singing be;
   O Painter, so thy scene;
Musician, so thy melody,
   While misery is queen.

Nay, brothers, sing us battle-songs
   With clear and ringing rhyme;
Nay, show the world its hateful wrongs,
   And bring the better time!


Thro’ the mists of years,
   Thro’ the lies of men,
Your bloody sweat and tears,
Your desperate hopes and fears
   Reach us once again.

Brothers, who long ago,
   For life’s bitter sake
Toiled and suffered so,
Robbery, insult, blow,
   Rope and sword and stake:

Toiled and suffered, till
   It burst, the brightening hope,
“Might and right” and “will and skill,”
That scorned, and does, and will,
   Sword and stake and rope!

Wat and Jack and John,
   Tyler, Straw, and Ball,
Souls that faltered not,
Hearts like white iron hot,
   Still we hear your call!

Yes, your “bell is rung,”
   Yes, for “now is time!”
Come hither, every one,
Brave ghosts whose day’s not done,
   Avengers of old rime,—

Come and lead the way,
   Hushed, implacable,
Suffering no delay,
Forgetting not that day
   Dreadful, hateful, fell,

When the liar king,
   The liar gentlemen,
Wrought that foulest thing,
Robbing, murdering
   Men who’d trusted them! [36]

Come and lead the way,
   Hushed, implacable.
What shall stop us, say,
On that day, our day?—
   Not unloosened hell!

(To D---- L----.)

Had you lived when a tyrant king
   Strove to make all the slaves of one,
With nobles and with churchmen you
Had stood unflinching, pure and true,
To annihilate that hateful thing
   Green Runnymeade beat out of John?

Had you lived when a wanton crew,
   Flash scoundrels of a day outdone,
Trod down the toilers birth derides,
With Cromwell and his Ironsides
The brave days had discovered you,
   Where Naseby saw the gallants run?

And yet you,—this same knight in list
   For freedom in her narrow dawn
Against that one, against those few,
Vile king, vile nobles—you, yet you
Stand by the bloody Capitalist,
   Fight with the pandar Gentleman!


The stars shone faint through the smoky blue;
   The church-bells were ringing;
Three girls, arms laced, were passing through,
   Tramping and singing.

Their heads were bare; their short skirts swung
   As they went along;
Their scarf-covered breasts heaved up, as they sung
   Their defiant song.

It was not too clean, their feminine lay,
   But it thrilled me quite
With its challenge to task-master villainous day
   And infamous night,

With its threat to the robber rich, the proud,
   The respectable free.
And I laughed and shouted to them aloud,
   And they shouted to me!

Girls, that’s the shout, the shout we shall utter
   When with rifles and spades,
We stand, with the old Red Flag aflutter,
   On the barricades!”

(To Mr F----.) [38]

Sir, we approve your curling lip and nose
   At this vile sight.
These men, these women are brute beasts?—Who knows,
   Sir, but that you are right?

Panders and harlots, rogues and thieves and worse,
   We are a crew
Whose pitiful plunder’s honoured in the purse
   Of gentlemen like you.

Whom holy Competition’s taught (like us)
   “What’s thine is mine!”—
How we must love you who have made us thus,
   You may perhaps divine!


Man of despair and death,
Bought and slaved in the gangs,
Starved and stripped and left
To the pitiful pitiless night,
Away with your selfish thoughts!
Touch not your ignorant life!
Are there no masters of slaves,
Jeering, cynical, strong—
Are there no brigands (say),
With the words of Christ on their lips
And the daggers under their cloaks—
Is there not one of these
That you can steal on and kill?
O as the Swiss mountaineer
Dogged on the perilous heights
His disciplined conqueror foes: [39a]
Caught up one in his arms
And, laughing exultantly,
Plunged with him to the abyss:
So let it be with you!
An eye for an eye, and a tooth
For a tooth, and a life for a life!
Tell it, this hateful strong
Contemptuous hypocrite world,
Tell it that, if we must live
As dogs and as worse than dogs,
At least we can die like men!
Tell it there is a woe
Not for the conquered alone! [39b]
An eye for an eye, and a tooth
For a tooth, and a life for a life!


In the chill grey summer dawn-light
   We pass through the empty streets;
The rattling wheels are all silent;
   No friend his fellow greets.

Here and there, at the corners,
   A man in a great-coat stands;
A bayonet hangs by his side, and
   A rifle is in his hands.

This is a conquered city;
   It speaks of war not peace;
And that’s one of the English soldiers
   The English call “police.”

You see, at the present moment
   That noble country of mine
Is boiling with indignation
   At the memory of a “crime.”

In a path in the Phœnix Park where
   The children romped and ran,
An Irish ruffian met his doom,
   And an English gentleman.

For a hundred and over a hundred
   Years on the country side
Men and women and children
   Have slaved and starved and died,

That those who slaved and starved them
   Might spend their earnings then,
And the Irish ruffians have a “good time,”
   And the English gentlemen.

And that’s why at the present moment
   That noble country of mine
Is boiling with indignation
   At the memory of a “crime.”

For the Irish ruffians (they tell me),
   And it looks as if ’twere true,
And the English gentlemen are so scarce,
   We could not spare those two!

In the chill grey summer dawn-light
   We pass through the empty streets;
The rattling wheels are all silent;
   No friend his fellow greets.

Here and there, at the corners,
   A man in a great-coat stands;
A bayonet hangs by his side, and
   A rifle is in his hands.

This is a conquered city;
   It speaks of war not peace;
And that’s one of the English soldiers
   The English call “police.”


. . .  I went the other day
To see the birds and beasts they keep enmewed
In the London Zoo.  One of the first I saw—
One of the first I noticed, was an eagle.
Ragged, befouled, within his iron bars
He sat without a movement or a sound,
And, when I stood and pitying looked at him,
I saw his great sad eyes that winkless gazed
Out to the horizon sky.  I passed from there,
And walked about the gardens, hither and thither,
Till all the afternoon was spent.  Returning then
To seek my home, again by chance I passed
The eagle’s cage, and stood again, and looked,
And saw his great sad eyes that winkless gazed
Out to the horizon sky.  So I went home . . .
The eagle is Ireland!


O we have loved you through cold and rain
   And pitiless frost,
Consuming our offering of blood and of brain
Gladly again and again and again,
   Though it all seemed lost,
       Ireland, Ireland!

O we will fight, fight on for you till
   Your anguish is past,
The wronged ones righted, the tyrants still.—
Though God has not saved you, yet we will,
   At the last, at the last,
       Ireland, Ireland!

O we will love you in warmth and light
   And the happy day,
When you have forgotten the terrible night,
Standing proud and beautiful bright
   For ever and aye,
       Ireland, Ireland!


One thing we praise you for that is past praise—
   The dauntless eyes that faced the rain and night,
   The hand that never wearied in the fight,
Till, through the dark’s despair, the dawn’s delays,
It rose, that vision of forgotten days,
   Ireland, a nation in her right and might,
   As fearless of the lightning as the Light,—
Freedom, the noon-tide sun that shines and stays!
O brave, O pure, O hater of the wrong,
   (The wrong that is as one with England’s name,
   Tyranny with cant of liberty, and shame
With boast of righteousness), to you belong
   Trust for the hate that blinds our foes like flame,
Love for the hope that makes our hearts so strong!


. . . They caught them at the bend.  He and his son
Sat in the car, revolvers in their laps.
From either side the stone-walled wintry road
There flashed thin fire-streaks in the rainy dusk.
The father swayed and fell, shot through the chest.
The son was up, but one more fire-streak leaped
Close from the pitch-black of a thick-set bush
Not five yards from him, and lit all the face
Of him whose sweetheart walked the Dublin streets
For lust of him who gave one yell and fell
Flat on the stony road, a sweltering corse.
Then they came out, the men who did this thing,
And looked upon their hatred’s retribution,
While heedlessly the rattling car fled on.
Grey-haired old wolf, your letch for peasants’ blood,
For peasants’ sweat turned gold and silver and bronze,
Is done, is done, for ever and ever is done!
O foul young fox, no more young girls’ fresh lips
Shall bruise and bleed to cool your lecher’s lust.
Slowly from out the great high terraced clouds
The round moon sailed.  The dead were left alone.

* * * * *

I talked with one of those who did this thing,
A coughing half-starved lad, mere skin and bone.
I said: “They found upon those dead men, gold.
Why did you not take it?”  Then with proud-raised head,
He looked at me and said: “Sorr, we’re not thaves!”

Brother, from up the maimed and mangled earth,
Strewn with our flesh and bones, wet with our blood,
Let that great word go up to unjust heaven
And smite the cheek of the devil they’ve calledGod!”


Crouched in the terrible land,
The circle of pitiless ice,
With frozen bloody feet
And her pestilential summer’s
Fever-throb in her brow,
Look, in her deep slow eyes
The mists of her sleep of faith
Stir, and a gleam of light,
The ray of a blood-red sun,
Beams out into the dusk.
From far away, from the west,
From the east, from the south, there come
Faint sweet breaths of the breeze
Of plenteous warmth and light.
And she moves, and around her neck
She feels the iron-scaled Snake
Whose fangs suck at the heart
Hid by her tattered dress,
By her lean and hanging teat.
Russia, O land of faith,
O realm of the ageless Slav,
O oppressed one of eternity,
This darkest hour is the hour,
The hour of the coming dawn!
Europe the rank, the corrupt,
Lies stretched out at your feet.
Turkey, India, lo all,
East and south, it is yours!

Years, years ago a nation, [44]
Oppressed as you are oppressed,
Burst her bonds and leaped out,
A volcanic sea-wave of fire,
Quenched at last but in blood,
Though not before the red spray
Dashed the Pyramids, the Escurial,
Rome and your own grey Kremlin.
That was the great sea-wave
Of a nation that disbelieved,
Of a nation that had not faith!
What shall the sea-wave be
Of this race of eternal belief,
This nation of a passionate faith?


I stood in Père-la-Chaise.  The putrid city,
   Paris, the harlot of the nations, lay,
The bug-bright thing that knows not love nor pity,
   Flashing her bare shame to the summer’s day.

Here where I stand, they slew you, brothers, whom
   Hell’s wrongs unutterable had made as mad.
The rifle-shots re-echoed in his tomb,
   The gilded scoundrel’s who had been so glad.

O Morny, O blood-sucker of thy race!
   O brain, O hand that wrought out empire that
The lust in one for power, for tinsel place,
   Might rest; one lecher’s hungry heart grow fat,—

Is it for nothing, now and evermore,
   O you whose sin in life had death in ease,
The murder of your victims beats the door
   Wherein your careless carrion lies at peace?


She.—“Up and down, up and down,
          From early eve to early day.
      Life is quicker in the town;
          When you’ve leisure, anyway!

      “Down and up, down and up!
          O will no one stop and speak?
      I would really like to sup,
          And my limbs are heavy and weak.

      “What’s my price, sirI’m no Jew.
          If with me you wish to sleep,
      ’Tis five francs, sirSurely you
          Will admit that that is cheap?”

He.—“Christ, if you are not stone blind,
         Stone deaf also, you know it is
     Christian towns leave far behind
         Sodom and those other cities.

     “Bid your Father strike this town,
         Wipe it utterly away!
     Weary, hungry, up and down
         From early eve to early day?

     “Magdalen knew nought like this;
         She had food and roof above;
     Seven devils, too, did she possess;
         This poor soul had but one—love!

     “O my sister, take me, kill me!
         I am one of those who once
     Only cared to feast and fill me
         On these robbed and murdered ones.

     “Kill me?  Nay, but love me; listen.
         I have too a gospel word,
     Fit to make still, dull eyes glisten,
         And, like Christ’s, it brings a sword!

     “No, Christ is not deaf nor blind;
         He’s but dust in Syrian ground,
     And his Father has declined
         To a parson’s phrase, a sound.

     “Not by such, then, but by us
         These hell-wrongs must be redressed.
     Take this morsel venomous;
         Nourish it within your breast.

     “You must live on, live and hate;
         Conquer wrath, despair and pain;
     For “we bid you hope” and wait
         Till the Red Flag flies again:

     “Till once more the people rise,
         Once more, once and only once,
     Blood-red hands and blazing eyes
         Of the robbed and murdered ones!

     “So good night, dear desperate heart.
         (Nay, ’tis sun-bright day we keep.)
     Soon we meet, though now we part.
         Kiss me . . . Take it . . . Go and sleep!”


Come then, let us at least know what’s the truth.
   Let us not blink our eyes and say
We did not understand; old age or youth
   Benumbed our sense or stole our sight away.

It is a lie—just that, a lie—to declare
   That wages are the worth of work.
No; they are what the Employer wills to spare
   To let the Employee sheer starvation shirk.

They’re the life-pittance Competition leaves,
   The least for which brother’ll slay brother.
He who the fruits of this hell-strife receives,
   He is a thief, an assassin, and none other!

It is a lie—just that, a lie—to declare
   That Rent’s the interest on just gains.
Rent’s the thumb-screw that makes the worker share
   With him who worked not the produce of his pains.

Rent’s the wise tax the human tape-worm knows.
   The fat he takes; the life-lean leaves.
The holy Landlord is, as we suppose,
   Just this—the model of assassin-thieves!

What is the trick the rich-man, then, contrives?
   How play my lords their brilliant rôles?—
They live on the plunder of our toiling lives,
   The degradation of our bodies and souls!


Grave this deep in your hearts,
Forget not the tale of the past!
Never, never believe
That any will help you, or can,
Saving only yourselves!
What have the gentlemen done,
Peerless haters of wrong,
Byrons and Shelleys, what?
They stand great famous names,
Demi-gods to their own,
Shadows far off, alien
To us and ours for ever.
Those who love them and hate
The crime, the injustice they hated,
What can they do but shout,
Win a name from our woes,
And leave us just as we were?
No, but resolutely turned,
Our wants, our desires made clear,
And clear the means that shall win them,
Drill and drill and drill!
Then when the day is come,
When the royal battle-flag’s up,
When blood has been spilled in vain
In timid half-hearted war,
Then let the Cromwell rise,
The simple, the true-souled man;
Then let Grant come forth,
The calm, the determined comrade,
But deep in their hearts one hate,
Deep in their souls one thought,
To bring the iniquity low,
To make the People free!
Ah, for such as these
We with the same heart-hate,
We with the same soul-thought,
Will fall to our destined places
In the ranks of the great New Model, [49]
In the Army that sees ahead
Marston, Naseby, Whitehall,
The Wilderness, Petersburg,—yes,
But beyond the blood and the smoke,
Beyond the struggle and death,
The Union victorious safe,
The Commonwealth glorious free!


You tell me these great lords have raised up Art:
I say they have degraded it.  Look you,
When ever did they let the poet sing,
The painter paint, the sculptor hew and cast,
The music raise her heavenly voice, except
To praise them and their wretched rule o’er men?
Behold our English poets that were poor
Since these great lords were rich and held the state:
Behold the glories of the German land,
Poets, musicians, driven, like them, to death
Unless they’d tune their spirits’ harps to play
Drawing-room pieces for the chattering fools
Who aped the taste for Art or for a leer.
Go to, no Art was ever noble yet,
Noble and high, the speech of godlike men,
When fetters bound it, be they gold or flowers.
All that is noblest, highest, greatest, best,
Comes from the Galilean peasant’s hut, comes from
The Stratford village, the Ayrshire plough, the shop
That gave us Chaucer, the humble Milton’s trade—
Bach’s, Mozart’s, great Beethoven’s,—And these are they
Who knew the People, being what they knew!
Go to, if in the future years no strain,
No picture of earth’s glory like to what
Your Artists raised for that small clique or this
Of supercilious imbecilities—
O if no better demi-gods of Art
Can rise save those whose barbarous tinsel yet
Makes hideous all the beauty of old homes—
Then let us seek the comforts of despair
In democratic efforts dead and gone:
Weep with Pheideian Athens, sigh an hour
With Raffaelle’s Florence, beat the head and breast
O’er Shakspere’s England that from Milton’s took
In lips the name that leaped from lead and flame
From out her heart against the Spanish guns!


. . .  In a dark street she met and spoke to me,
Importuning, one wet and mild March night.
We walked and talked together.  O her tale
Was very common; thousands know it all!
Seduced; a gentleman; a baby coming;
Parents that railed; London; the child born dead;
A seamstress then, one of some fifty girls
“Taken on” a few months at a dressmaker’s
In the crush of the “season;” thirteen shillings a week!
The fashionable people’s dresses done,
And they flown off, these fifty extra girls
Sent—to the streets: that is, to work that gives
Scarcely enough to buy the decent clothes
Respectable employers all demand
Or speak dismissal.  Well, well, well, we know!
And she—“Why, I have gone on down and down,
And there’s the gutter, look, that I shall die in!”
“My dear,” I say, “where hope of all but that
Is gone, ’tis time, I think, life were gone too.”
She looks at me.  “That I should kill myself?”—
“That you should kill yourself.”—“That would be sin,
And God would punish me!”—“And will not God
Punish for this?”  She pauses: then whispers:
No, no, He will forgive me, for He knows!”
I laughed aloud: “And you,” she said, “and you,
Who are so good, so noble” . . .  “Noble?  Good?”
I laughed aloud, the great sob in my throat.
O my poor darling, O my little lost sheep
Of this vast flock that perishes alone
Out in the pitiless desert!—Yet she’d speak:
She’d ask me: she’d entreat: she’d demonstrate.
O I must not say that! I must believe!
Who made the sea, the leaves so green, the sky
So big and blue and pure above it all?
O my poor darling, O my little lost sheep,
Entreat no more and demonstrate no more;
For I believe there is a God, a God
Not in the heaven, the earth, or the waters; no,
But in the heart of man, on the dear lips
Of angel women, of heroic men!
O hopeless wanderer that would not stay,
(“It is too late, I cannot rise again!”)
O saint of faith in love behind the veils,
(“You must believe in God, for you are good!”),
O sister who made holy with your kiss,
Your kiss in that wet dark mild night of March
There in the hideous infamous London streets
My cheek, and made my soul a sacred place,
O my poor darling, O my little lost sheep!

forty years after.”

Comrade, yet a little further I would go before the night
Closes round and chills in darkness all the glorious sunset light—
Yet a little, by the cliff there, till the stately home I see
Of the man who once was with us, comrade once with you and me!
Nay, but leave me, pass alone there; stay awhile and gaze again
On the various-jewelled waters and the dreamy southern main,
For the evening breeze is sighing in the quiet of the hills
Moving down in cliff and terrace to the singing sweet sea-rills,
While the river, silent-stealing, thro’ the copse and thro’ the lea
Winds her waveless way eternal to the welcome of the sea.
Yes, within that green-clad homestead, gardened grounds and velvet ease
Of a home where culture reigneth and the chambers whisper peace,
Is the man, the seer and singer, who (ah, years and years away!)
Lifted up a face of gladness at the breaking of the day.
For the noontide’s desperate ardours that had seen the Roman town
Wrap the boy Keats, “by the hungry generations trodden down,”
In his death-shroud with the ashes of the fairy child of storm,
Fluttering skylark in the breakers, caught and smothered by the foam,
And had closed those eyes heroic, weary for the final peace.
Byron maimed and maddened, strangled in the anguish that was Greece—
For this noontide passed to darkness, brooding doubt and wild dismay,
Where the silly sparrows chirruped and the eagles swooped away,
Till once more the trampled Peoples and the murdered soul of man
Raised a haggard face half-wondering where the new-born day began,
Where the sign of Faith’s renewal, Faith’s, and Hope’s, and Love’s, outgrew
In the golden sun arising; and we hailed it, we and you!
O you hailed it, and your heart beat, and your pretty woman’s lays,
In the fathomless vibration of our rapturous amaze,
Died for ever on your harpstrings, and you rose and struck a chord
High, full, clear, heroic, godlike, “for the glory of the Lord!”
Noble words you spoke; we listened; and we dreamed the day had come
When the faith of God and Christ should sound one cry with Man’s freedom—
When the men who stood beside us, eager with hell’s troops to cope,
Radiant, thrilled exultant, proud, with the magnificence of hope!
“Forward! forward!” ran our watch-word.  “Forward! forward!” by our side
You gave back the glorious summons.  Would that day that you had died!
Better lying fallen, death-struck, breathless, bleeding, on your face,
With your bright sword pointing onward, dying happy in your place!
Better to have passed in spirit from the battle-storm’s eclipse
With the great Cause in your heart and with the war-shout on your lips!
Better to have fallen charging, having known the nobler time,
In the fiery cheer and impulse of our serried battle-line—
Than to stand and watch your comrades, in the hail of fire and lead,
Up the slopes and thro’ the smoke-clouds, thro’ the dying and the dead,
Till the sun strikes through a moment, to our one victorious shout,
On our bayonets bristling brightly as we carry the redoubt!
O half-hearted, pusillanimous, faltering heart and fuddled brain
That remembered Egypt’s flesh-pots, and turned back and dreamed again—
Left the plain of blood and battle for the quiet of the hills,
And the sunny soft contentment that the woody homestead fills.
There you sat and sang of Egypt, of its sober solid graves,
(Pyramids, you call them, Sphinxes), mortared with the blood of slaves,
Houses, streets and stately palaces, the mart, the regal stew
Where freedom “broadens down” so slow it stops with lords and you!
O you mocked at our confusion, O you told us of our crimes,
Us ungentle, not like warriors of the sweet idyllic times,
Flowers of eunuch-hearted kings and courts where pretty poet knights
Tilted gaily or slew stake-armed peasants, hundreds, in the fights?
O you drew the hideous picture of our bravest and our best,
Patient martyrs, desperate swordsmen, for the Cause that gives not rest—
Men of science, “vivisectors!”—democrats, the “rout of beasts”—
Writers, essayists and poets, “Belial’s prophets, Moloch’s priests!”
Coward, you have made the great refusal? you have won the gilded praise
Of the wringers of his heart’s-blood from the peasant’s sunless days,
Of the lord and the land-owner, of the rich man who has bound
Labour on the wheel to break him, strew his rent limbs on the ground,
With a vulture eye aglare on brothers, sisters that he had,
Crying, “Troops and guns to shoot them, if the hunger drive them mad!”
Coward, faithless, unbelieving, that had courage but to take
What of pleasure and of beauty men have won for manhood’s sake,
Blustering long and loudest at the hideousness and pain
These you praise have brought upon us; blustering long and loud again
At our agony and anguish in this desperate fight of ours,
Grappling with anarch custom and the darkness and the powers!
O begone, then, from among us!  Echo not, however faint,
Our great watch-word, our great war-shout, sweet and sickly poet-saint!
Sit there dreaming in your gardens, looking out upon the sea,
Till the night-time closes round you and the wind is on the lea.
Enter then within your chambers in the rich and quiet light;
Never think of us who struggle in the tempest and the night.
Soothe your fancy with your visions; bend a gracious senile ear
To the praise your guests are murmuring in the tone you love to hear.
Honoured of your Queen, and honoured of the gentlest and the best,
Lord and commoner and rich-man, smirking tenant, shopman, priest,
All distinguished and respectable, the shiny sons of light,
O what, O what are these who call you coward in the night?
Ay, what are we who struggled for the cause of Science, say,
Darwin, Huxley, Spencer, Häckel, marshalling our stern array?
We who raised the cry for Culture, Goethe’s spirit leading on,
Marching gladly with our captains, Renan, Arnold, Emerson?
We, we are not tinkers, tinkers of the kettle cracked and broke,
Tailors squatted cross-legged, patching at the greasy worn-out cloak!
We are those that faced mad Fortune, cried: “The Truth, and only she!
Onward, upward!  If we perish, we at least will perish free!”
We have lost our souls to win them, in the house and in the street
Falling stabbed and poisoned, making a victory of defeat.
We have lost the happy present, we have paid death’s heavy debt,
We have won, have won the Future, and its sons shall not forget!
Enter, then, within your chamber in the rich and quiet light;
Never think of us who struggle in the tempest and the night;
Spread your nostrils to the incense, hearken to the murmured hymn
Of the praising people, rising from the temple fair and dim.
Ah, but we here in the tempest, we here struggling in the night,
See the worshippers out-stealing; see the temple emptying quite;
See the godhead turning ghostlike; see the pride of name and fame
Paling slowly, sad and sickly, with forgetfulness and shame! . . .
Darker, darker grows the night now, louder, louder cries the wind;
I can hear the dash of breakers and the deep sea moves behind,
I can see the ghostlike phalanx rushing on the crumbling shore,
Slowly but surely shattering its rampart evermore.
And my comrade’s voice is calling, and his solitary cry
On the great dark swift air-currents like Fate’s summons sweepeth by.
Farewell, then, whom once I loved so, whom a boy I thrilled to hear
Urging courage and reliance, loathing acquiescent fear.
I must leave you; I must wander to a strange and distant land,
Facing all that Fate shall give me with her hard unequal hand—
I once more anew must face them, toil and trouble and disease,
But these a man may face and conquer, for there waits him death and peace
And the freedom from dishonour and denial e’er confessed
Of what he knows is truest, what most beautiful and best!
O farewell, then!  I must leave you.  You have chosen.  You are right.
You have made the great refusal; you have shunned the wind and night.
You have won your soul, and won it—No, not lost it, as they tell—
Happy, blest of gods and monarchs, O a long, a long farewell!
Freshwater, Isle of Wight.

susannah and mary-jane.”

Two little darlings alone,
   Clinging hand in hand;
Two little girls come out
   To see the wonderful land!

Here round the flaring stalls
   They stand wide-eyed in the throng,
While the great, the eloquent huckster
   Perorates loud and long.

They watch those thrice-blessed mortals,
   The dirty guzzling boys,
Who partake of dates, periwinkles,
   Ices and other joys.

And their little mouths go wide open
   At some of the brilliant sights
That little darlings may see in the road
   Of Edgware on Saturday nights.

The eldest’s name is Susannah;
   She was four years old last May.
And Mary-Jane, the youngest,
   Is just three years old to-day.

And I know all about their cat, and
   Their father and mother too,
And “Pigshead,” their only brother,
   Who got his head jammed in the flue.

And they know several particulars
   Of a similar sort of me,
For we went up and down together
   For over an hour, we three.

And Susannah walked beside me,
   As became the wiser and older,
Fast to one finger, but Mary-Jane
   Sat solemnly up on my shoulder.

And we bought some sweets, and a monkey
   That climbed up a stick “quite nice.”
And then last we adjourned for refreshments,
   And the ladies had each an ice.

And Susannah’s ice was a pink one,
   And she sucked it up so quick,
But Mary-Jane silently proffered
   Her ice to me for a lick.

And then we went home to mother,
   And we found her upon the floor,
And father was trying to balance
   His shoulders against the door.

And Susannah said “O” and “Please, sir,
   We’ll go in ourselves, sir!”  And
We kissed one another and parted,
   And they stole in hand in hand.

And it’s O for my two little darlings
   I never shall see again,
Though I stand for the whole night watching
   And crying here in the rain!


chant of the firemen.”

“This is the steamer’s pit.
   The ovens like dragons of fire
Glare thro’ their close-lidded eyes
   With restless hungry desire.

“Down from the tropic night
   Rushes the funnelled air;
Our heads expand and fall in;
   Our hearts thump huge as despair.

“’Tis we make the bright hot blood
   Of this throbbing inanimate thing;
And our life is no less the fuel
   Than the coal we shovel and fling.

“And lest of this we be proud
   Or anything but meek,
We are well cursed and paid—
   Ten shillings a week!”

Round, round, round in its tunnel
   The shaft turns pitiless strong,
While lost souls cry out in the darkness:
   “How long, O Lord, how long?”


Up from the oven pit,
   The hell where poor men toil,
At the sunset hour he comes
   Clean-clothed, washed from soil.

On the fo’c’s’le head he kneels,
   His face to the hallowed West.
He prays, and bows and prays.
   Does he pray for death and rest?


O India, India, O my lovely land—
   At whose sweet throat the greedy English snake,
With fangs and lips that suck and never slake,
   Clings, while around thee, band by stifling band,
The loathsome shape twists, chaining foot and hand—
   O from this death-swoon must thou never wake,
   From limbs enfranchised these foul fetters to shake,
And, proud among the nations, to rise and stand?
Nay, but thine eyes, thine eyes wherein there stays
   The patience of that august faith that scorns
The tinsel creed of Christ, dream still and gaze
Where, not within the timeless East and haze,
   The haunt of that wan moon with fading horns,
   There breaks the first of Himalayan morns!



There was a time when all thy sons were proud
   To speak thy name,
England, when Europe echoed back aloud
   Thy fearless fame:

When Spain reeled shattered helpless from thy guns
   And splendid ire,
When from Canadian snows to Indian suns
   Pitt’s soul was fire.

O that in days like these were, fair and free
   From shame and scorn,
Fate had allowed, benignly, pityingly
   That I was born!

O that, if struck, then struck with glorious wounds,
   I bore apart
(Not torn with fangs of leprous coward hounds)
   My bleeding heart!


We hate you—not because of cruel deeds
   Staining a glorious effort.  They who live
   Learn in this earth to give and to forgive,
Where heart and soul are noble and fate’s needs
Imperious: No, nor yet that cruel seeds
   Of power and wrong you’ve sown alternative,
   We hate you, we your sons who yet believe
That truth and justice are not empty creeds!
No, but because of greed and golden pay,
   Wages of sin and death: because you smother
Your conscience, making cursèd all the day.
   Bible in one hand, bludgeon in the other,
   Cain-like you come upon and slay your brother,
And, kneeling down, thank God for it, and pray!


I whom you fed with shame and starved with woe,
   I wheel above you,
Your fatal vulture, for I hate you so,
   I almost love you!

I smell your ruin out.  I light and croak
   My sombre lore,
As swaggering you go by, O heart of oak
   Rotten to the core!

Look westward!  Ireland’s vengeful eyes are cast
   On freedom won.
Look eastward!  India stirs from sleep at last.
   You are undone!

Look southward, where Australia hears your voice,
   And turns away!
O brutal hypocrite, she makes her choice
   With the rising day!

Foul Esau, you who sold your high birthright
   For gilded mud,
Who did the wrong and, priestlike, called it right,
   And swindled God!

The hour is gone of insult, pain and patience;
   The hour is come
When they arise, the faithful mightier nations,
   To drag you down!


England, the land I loved
   With passionate pride,
For hate of whom I live
   Who for love had died,

Can I, while shines the sun,
   That hour regain
When I again may come to thee
   And love again?

No, not while that flag
   Of greed and lust
Flaunts in the air, untaught
   To drag the dust!—

Never, till expiant,
   I see you kneel,
And, brandished, gleams aloft
   The foeman’s steel!

Ah, then to speed, and laugh,
   As my heart caught the knife:
Mother, I love youHere,
   Here is my life!”



At anchor in that harbour of the island,
   The Chinese gate,
We lay where, terraced under green-clad highland,
   The sea-town sate.

Ships, steamers, sailors, many a flag and nation,
   A motley crew,
Junks, sampans, all East’s swarming jubilation,
   I watched and knew.

Then, as I stood, sweet sudden sounds out-swelling
   On the boon breeze,
The church-bells’ chiming echoes rang out, telling
   Of inland peace.

O English chimes, your music rising and falling
   I cannot praise,
Although to me it come sweet-sad recalling
   Dear childish days.

Yet, English chimes,—last links of chains that sever,
   Worn out and done,
That land and creed that I have left for ever,—
   Ring on, ring on!


There is much in this sea-way city
   I have not met with before,
But one or two things I notice
   That I seem to have known of yore.

In the lovely tropical verdure,
   In the streets, behold I can
The hideous English buildings
   And the brutal English man!


I stand and watch the soldiers
   Marching up and down,
Above the fresh green cricket-ground
   Just outside the town.

I stand and watch and wonder
   When in the English land
This poor fool Tommy Atkins
   Will learn and understand?

Zulus, and Boers, and Arabs,
   All fighting to be free,
Men and women and children,
   Murdered and maimed has he.

In India and in Ireland
   He’s held the People down,
While the robber English gentleman
   Took pound and penny and crown.

To make him false to his order,
   What was it that they gave—
To make him his brother’s oppressor?
   The clothes and pay of a slave!

O thou poor fool, Tommy Atkins,
   Thou wilt be wise that day
When, with eager eyes and clenched teeth,
   Thou risest up to say:

This is our well-loved England,
   And I’ll free it, if I can,
From every rotten bourgeois
   And played-out gentleman!”

happy valley.”  [66]

There is a valley green that lies
   ’Mid hills, the summer’s bower.
The many coloured butterflies
   Flutter from flower to flower.

And round one lush green side of it,
   In gardened homes are laid,
With grief and care compassionate,
   The people of the dead.

There all the voicing summer day
   They sing, the happy rills.
No noisy sound awakes away
   The echo of the hills.


in a sampan.
(Min River, Fo Kien.)

Up in the misty morning,
   Up past the gardened hills,
With the rhythmic stroke of the rowers,
   While the blue deep pales and thrills!

Past the rice-fields green low-lying,
   Where the sea-gull’s winging down
From the fleets of junks and sampans
   And the ancient Chinese Town!

in a chair.

From the bright and blinding sunshine,
  From the whirling locust’s song,
Into the dark and narrow fissures
  Of the streets I am borne along.

Here and there dusky-beaming
  A sun-shaft broadens and drops
On the brown bare crowd slow-passing
  The crowd of the open shops.

We move on over the bridges
   With their straight-hewn blocks of stone.
And their quaint grey animal figures,
   And the booths the hucksters own.

Behind a linen awning
   Sits an ancient wight half-dead,
And a little dear of a girl is
   Examining—his head.

On a bended bamboo shouldered,
   Bearing a block of stone,
Two worn-out coolies half-naked
   Utter their grunting groan.

Children, almond-eyed beauties,
   Impossibly mangy curs,
Take part in the motley stream of
   Insouciant passengers.

This is the dream, the vision
   That comes to me and greets—
The vision of Retribution
   In the labyrinthine streets!


These Chinese toil and yet they do not starve,
   And they obey, and yet they are not slaves.
It is the “free-born” fuddled Englishmen
   That grovel rotting in their living graves.

These Chinese do not fawn with servile lips;
   They lift up equal eyes that ask and scan.
Their degradation has escaped at least
   That choicest curse of all—the gentleman!

over the samovar. [69a]

“Yes, I used always to think
   That you Russians knew
How to make the good drink
   As none others do.

“And I thought moreover,
   (Not with the epicures),
You might search the world over
   For such women as yours.

“In both these matters now
   I perceive I was right,
And I really can’t tell you how
   Much I delight

“In my third (Thanks, another cup!)
   Idea of the fun,
When your country gets up
   And follows the sun!

“And just as in Europe, see,
   There’s a conqueror nation,
So why not in Asia be
   A like jubilation?

“Taught as well as organized, [69b]
   The eternal Coolie,
From being robbed and despised,
   Takes to cutting throats duly!

“But—please, don’t be flurried;
   For I daresay by then
You’ll be comfortably buried,
   Ladies and gentlemen!

“No more, thanks!  I must be going!
   I’m so glad to have made this
Opportunity of knowing
   Some more Russian ladies!”


Simple you were, and good.  No kindlier heart
   Beat than the heart within your gentle breast.
   Labour you had, and happiness, and rest,
And were the maid of nations.  Now you start
To feverish life, feeling the poisonous smart
   Upon your lips of harlot lips close-pressed,
   The lips of her who stands among the rest
With greasy righteous soul and rotten heart.
O sunrise land, O land of gentleness,
   What madness drives you to lust’s dreadful bed?
O thrice accursèd England, wretchedness
   For ever be on you, of whom ’tis said,
Prostitute plague-struck, that you catch and kiss
   Innocent lives to make them foully dead!

(Kama Kura.)

He sits.  Upon the kingly head doth rest
   The round-balled wimple, and the heavy rings
   Touch on the shoulders where the shadow clings.
The downward garment shows the ambiguous breast;
The face—that face one scarce can look on lest
   One learn the secret of unspeakable things;
   But the dread gaze descends with shudderings,
To the veiled couched knees, the hands and thumbs close-pressed.
O lidded, downcast eyes that bear the weight
   Of all our woes and terrible wrong’s increase:
   Proud nostrils, lips proud-perfecter than these,
With what a soul within you do you wait!
Disdain and pity, love late-born of hate,
   Passion eternal, patience, pain and peace!


Where’er I go in this dense East,
   In sunshine or shade,
I retch at the villainous feast
   That England has made.

And my shame cannot understand,
   As scorn springs elate,
How I ever loved that land
   That now I hate!

(Mindanao, Philippines.)

In the dark waveless sea,
   Deep blue under deep blue,
The fisher drifts by on the tide
   In his small pole-balanced canoe.

Above him the cloud-clapped hills
   Crown the dense jungly sweeps;
The cocoa-nut groves hedge round
   The hut where the beach-wave sleeps.

Is it not better so
   To be as this savage is,
Than to live the wage-slave’s life
   Of hopeless agonies?


Aloll in the warm clear water,
   On her back with languorous limbs,
She lies.  The baby upon her breasts
   Paddles and falls and swims.

With half-closed eyes she smiles,
   Guarding it with her hands;
And the sob swells up in my heart—
   In my heart that understands.

Dear, in the English country,
The hatefullest land on earth,
The mothers are starved and the children die,
And death is better than birth!


I saw them as they were born,
   Erect and fearless and free,
Facing the sun and the wind
   Of the hills and the sea.

I saw them naked, superb,
   Like the Greeks long ago,
With shield and spear and arrow
   Ready to strike and throw.

I saw them as they were made
   By the Christianizing crows,
Blinking, stupid, clumsy
   In their greasy ill-cut clothes:

I heard their gibbering cant,
   And they sung those hymns that smell
Of poor souls besotted, degraded
   With the fear of “God” and “hell.”

And I thought if Jesus could see them,
   He who loved the freedom, the light,
And loathed those who compassed heaven
   And earth for one proselyte,

To make him, etcetera, etcetera,—
   Then this sight, as on me or you,
Would act on him like an emetic,
   And he’d have to go off and spue.

O Jesus, O man of the People,
   Who died to abolish all this—
The pharisee rank and respectable,
   The scribe and the greedy priest—

O Jesus, O sacred Socialist,
   You would die again of shame,
If you were alive and could see
   What things are done in your name.

(Coral Sea, Australia.)


Dead in the sheep-pen he lies,
   Wrapped in an old brown sail.
The smiling blue sea and the skies
   Know not sorrow nor wail.

Dragged up out of the hold,
   Dead on his last way home,
Worn-out, wizened, a Chinee old,—
   O he is safe—at home!

Brother, I stand not as these
   Staring upon you here.
One of earth’s patient toilers at peace
   I see, I revere!


In the warm cloudy night we go
   From the motionless ship;
Our lanterns feebly glow;
   Our oars drop and drip.

We land on the thin pale beach,
   The coral isle’s round us;
A glade of driven sand we reach;
   Our burial ground’s found us.

There we dig him a grave, jesting;
   We know not his name.
What heeds he who is resting, resting?
   Would I were the same!

Come away, it is over and done!
   Peace and he shall not sever,
By moonlight nor light of the sun,
   For ever and ever!


“Sleep in the pure driven sand,
   (No one will know)
In the coral isle by the land
   Where the blue tides come and go.

“Alive, thou wert poor, despised;
   Dead, thou canst have
What mightiest monarchs have prized,
   An eternal grave!

“Alone with the lovely isles,
   With the lovely deep,
Where the sea-winds sing and the sunlight smiles
   Thou liest asleep!”

victorianew south walesqueensland.”


   Here to the parks they come,
   The scourings of the town,
Like weary wounded animals
   Seeking where to lie them down.

   Brothers, let us take together
   An easeful period.
There is worse than to be as we are—
   Cast out, not of men but of God!


Bishop of Melbourne, who left Melbourne for the Bishopric of Manchester, 10th March 1886.

He came, a stranger, and we gave him welcome
   More as loved friend than rumour’s honoured guest.
He spoke!  Were we, then, all so slack to listen?
   To hail him as our wisest, noblest, best?
          Why did he leave us?

He toiled!  And we, we under such a leader,
   Forgot all other creeds, but that he taught,
And proud of our clear answer to his summons,
   Forgot all other fights but that he fought!
          Why did he leave us?

He wearied!  ’Twas too great, he said, the burden.
   We saw it and we cried with anxious love;
“What does he (Let him back!) down in the battle?
   Is not the general’s place at rest above?”
          Why did he leave us?

He left us for a “wider sphere of labour!”
   A tinsel seat within a House that shakes,
To herd with priests meal-mouthed, with lords and liars
   That still would bind a nation’s chain that breaks!
          Why did he leave us?

Farewell, then!  Are there any to reproach you
   In all this facile crowd that weeps and cheers?
Not one!  But, ah you yet shall listen sadly
   To an echo falling faint through the dead years:—
          Why did he leave us?

the man of the nation.”

Yonder the band is playing
   And the fine young people walk.
They are envying each other and talking
   Their pretty empty talk.

There, in the shade on the outskirts,
   Stretched on the grass, I see
A man with a slouch hat, smoking.
   That is the man for me!

That is the Man of the Nation;
   He works and much endures.
When all the rest is rotten,
   He rises and cuts and cures.

He’s the soldier of the Crimea,
   Fighting to honour fools;
He’s the grappler and strangler of Lee
   Lord of the terrible tools.

He’s in all the conquered nations
   That have won their own at last,
And in all that yet shall win it.
   And the world by him goes past!

O strong sly world, this nameless
   Still, much-enduring Man,
Is the hand of God that shall clutch you
   For all you have done, or can!


What? do you say that we, the toilers—the slaves—
   (Why strain at the gnat name
Who swallow the camel thing your pocket craves?)—
   That we are “just the same,”

(Nay, worse) when power is ours and wealth—that we
   Are harder masters still,
More keen to ring her last from misery,
   More greedy of our will?

’Tis true!  And when you see men so—see us
   Sneer at us, call us swine!—
How we must love you who have made us thus,
   You may perhaps divine!”


In that rich archipelago of sea
With fiery hills, thick woods wherein the mias [79a]
Browses along the trees, and god-like men
Leave monuments of speech too large for us, [79b]
There are strange forest-trees.  Far up, their roots
Spread from the central trunk, and settle down
Deep in the life-fed earth, seventy feet below.
In the past days here grew another tree,
On whose high fork the parasitic seed
Fell and sprang up, and, finding life and strength
In the disease, decrepitude and death
Of that it fed on, utterly consumed it,
And stands the monument of Nature’s crime!
So Labour with his parasites, the two
Great swollen robbers, Land and Capital,
Stands to the gaze of men but as a heap
Of rotted dust whose only use must be
To rich the roots of the proud stem that killed it! [80]


I see a land of desperate droughts and floods:
I see a land where need keeps spreading round,
And all but giants perish in the stress:
I see a land where more, and more, and more
The demons, Earth and Wealth, grow bloat and strong.

I see a land that lies a helpless prey
To wealthy cliques and gamblers and their slaves,
The huckster politicians: a poor land
That less and less can make her heart-wish law.

Yea, but I see a land where some few brave
Raise clear eyes to the Struggle that must come,
Reaching firm hands to draw the doubters in,
Preaching the gospel: “Drill and drill and drill!”
Yea, but I see a land where best of all
The hope of victory burns strong and bright!


“Yes, let Art go, if it must be
   That with it men must starve—
If Music, Painting, Poetry
   Spring from the wasted hearth!”

Yes, let Art go, till once again
   Through fearless heads and hands
The toil of millions and the pain
   Be passed from out the lands:

Till from the few their plunder falls
   To those who’ve toiled and earned
But misery’s hopeless intervals
   From those who’ve robbed and spurned.

Yes, let Art go, without a fear,
   Like autumn flowers we burn,
For, with her reawakening year,
   Be sure she will return!—

Return, but greater, nobler yet
   Because her laurel crown
With dew and not with blood is wet,
   And as our queen sit down!


I came to buy a book.  It was a shop
Down in a narrow quiet street, and here
They kept, I knew, these socialistic books.
I entered.  All was bare, but clean and neat.
The shelves were ranged with unsold wares; the counter
Held a few sheets and papers.  Here and there
Hung prints and calendars.  I rapped, and straight
A young girl came out through the inner door.
She had a clear and simple face; I saw
She had no beauty, loveliness, nor charm,
But, as your eyes met those grey light-lit eyes
Like to a mountain spring so pure, you thought:
“He’d be a clever man who looked, and lied!”
I asked her for the book. . . .  We spoke a little. . . .
Her words were as her face was, as her eyes.
Yes, she’d read many books like this of mine:
Also some poets, Shelley, Byron too,
And Tennyson, but ‘poets only dreamed!’
Thus, then, we talked, until by chance I spoke
A phrase and then a name.  ’Twas “Henry George.”
Her face lit up.  O it was beautiful,
Or never woman’s face was!  “Henry George?”
She said.  And then a look, a flush, a smile,
Such as sprung up in Magdalenè’s cheek
When some voice uttered Jesus, made her angel.
She turned and pointed up the counter.  I,
Loosing mine eyes from that ensainted face,
Looked also.  ’Twas a print, a common print,
The head and shoulders of some man.  She said,
Quite in a whisper: “That’s him, Henry George!”

Darling, that in this life of wrong and woe,
The lovely woman-soul within you brooded
And wept and loved and hated and pitied,
And knew not what its helplessness could do,
Its helplessness, its sheer bewilderment—
That then those eyes should fall, those angel eyes,
On one who’d brooded, wept, loved, hated, pitied,
Even as you had, but therefrom had sprung
A hope, a plan, a scheme to right this wrong,
And make this woe less hateful to the sun—
And that pure soul had found its Master thus
To listen to, remember, watch and love,
And trust the dawn that rose up through the dark:
O this was good
For me to see, as for some weary hopeless
Longer and toiler for “the Kingdom of Heaven”
To stand some lifeless twilight hour, and hear,
There in the dim-lit house of Lazarus,
Mary who said: “Thus, thus, he looked, he spake,
The Master!”—So to hear her rapturous words,
And gaze upon her up-raised heavenly face!

(For the Ballarat statue of him.)

This is Scotch William Wallace.  It was he
Who in dark hours first raised his face to see:
   Who watched the English tyrant nobles spurn,
Steel-clad, with iron hoofs the Scottish free:

   Who armed and drilled the simple footman Kern,
   Yea, bade in blood and rout the proud Knight learn
His Feudalism was dead, and Scotland stand
   Dauntless to wait the day of Bannockburn!

O Wallace, peerless lover of thy land,
We need thee still, thy moulding brain and hand!
   For us, thy poor, again proud tyrants spurn,
The robber rich, a yet more hateful band!


Pure blue flag of heaven
   With your silver stars,
Not beside those crosses’
   Blood-stained torture-bars:

Not beside the token
   The foul sea-harlot gave,
Pure blue flag of heaven,
   Must you ever wave!

No, but young exultant,
   Free from care and crime,
The soulless selfish England
   Of this later time:

No, but, faithful, noble,
   Rising from her grave,
Flag of light and liberty,
   For ever must you wave!


Was it for nothing in the years gone by,
   O my love, O my friend,
You thrilled me with your noble words of faith?—
Hope beyond life, and love, love beyond death!
Yet now I shudder, and yet you did not die,
   O my friend, O my love!

Was it for nothing in the dear dead years,
   O my love, O my friend,
I kissed you when you wrung my heart from me,
And gave my stubborn hand where trust might be?
Yet then I smiled, and see, these bitter tears,
   O my friend, O my love!

No bitter words to say to you have I,
   O my love, O my friend!
That faith, that hope, that love was mine, not yours!
And yet that kiss, that clasp endures, endures.
I have no bitter words to say.  Good-bye,
   O my friend, O my love!

the seamen and the miners.”

. . . One rises now and speaks: “The Cause is one—
   Labour o’er all the earth!  Shan’t we, then, share
With these, whose very flesh and blood’s our own,
   All that we can of what we have and are?

“What is it that their work is in the earth,
   Down in its depths, and ours is on the sea?
The fight they fight is ours; their worth our worth;
   Their loss our loss.  We help them!  They are we!

“We help them!—Ay, and when our hour too breaks,
   And on to every ship that ploughs the wave
We put our hand at last, our hand that takes
   Its own, will they forget the help we gave?

“And, if our robber lords would rob us still
   With the foul hoard of beasts without a soul,
They may find leprous hands to work their will,
   But, for their ships, where will they find the coal?”

“Help them!” the voices cry.  They help them.  Here,
   Resolute, stern, menacing, hark the sound!
Look, ’tis the simple fearlessness of fear—
   Dark faces and deep voices all around.


“Teach me, love, to be true;
   Teach me, love, to love;
Teach me to be pure like you.
   It will be more than enough!

“Ah, and in days to come,
   Give me, my seraph, too,
A son nobler than I,
   A daughter true like you:

“A son to battle the wrong,
   To seek and strive for the right;
A beautiful daughter of song,
   To point us on to the light!”

my baby girl, that was born and died on the same day.”

“Ah, with torn heart I see them still,
   Wee unused clothes and empty cot.
Though glad my love has missed the ill
   That falls to woman’s lot.

“No tangled paths for her to tread
   Throughout the coming changeful years;
No desperate weird to dree and dread;
   No bitter lonely tears!

“No woman’s piercing crown of thorns
   Will press my aching baby’s brow;
No starless nights, no sunless morns,
   Will ever greet her now.

“The clothes that I had wrought with care
   Through weary hours for love’s sweet sake
Are laid aside, and with them there
   A heart that seemed to break.”


Not for the thought that burns on keen and clear,
   Heat that the heat has turned from red to white,
   The passion of the lone remembering night
One with the patience day must see and hear—
Not for the shafts the lying foemen fear,
   Shot from the soul’s intense self-centring light—
   But for the heart of love divine and bright,
We praise you, worker, thinker, poet, seer!
Man of the People,—faithful in all parts,
   The veins’ last drop, the brain’s last flickering dole,
   You on whose forehead beams the aureole
That hope and “certain hope” alone imparts—
   Us have you given your perfect heart and soul;
Wherefore receive as yours our souls and hearts!


Shrieks out of smoke, a flame of dung-straw fire
   That is not quenched but hath for only fruit
   What writhes and dies not in its rotten root:
Two things made flesh, the visible desire
To match in filth the skunk, the ape in ire, [87a]
   Mouthing before the mirrors with wild foot
   Beyond all feebler footprint of pursuit,
The perfect twanger of the Chinese lyre!
A heart with generous virtues run to seed
In vices making all a jumbled creed:
   A soul that knows not love nor trust nor shame,
But cuts itself with knives to bawl and bleed—
   If thou we’ve known of late, art still the same,
   What need, O soul, to sign thee with thy name?

Once on thy lips the golden-honeyed bees
   Settling made sweet the heart that was not strong,
   And sky and earth and sea burst into song: [87b]
Once on thine eyes the light of agonies
Flashed through the soul and robbed the days of ease. [87c]
   But tunes turn stale when love turns babe, and long
   The exiled gentlemen grow fat with wrong.
And peasants, workmen, beggars, what are these?  [87d]
O you who sang the Italian smoke above,—
   Mud-lark of Freedom, pipe of that vile band
Whose envy slays the tyrant, not the love
Of these poor souls none have the keeping of—
   It is your hand—it is your pandar hand
   Smites the bruised mouth of pilloried Ireland!


“If you only knew
How gladly I’ve given it
All these years—
The light of mine eyes,
The heat of my lips,
Mine agonies,
My yearning tears,
My blood that drips,
My brain that sears:
If you only knew
How gladly I’ve given it
All these years—
My hope and my youth,
My manhood, my Art,
My passion, my truth,
My mind and my heart:

“O my brother, you would not say,
   What have you to do with me?
You would not, would not turn away
   Doubtingly and bitterly.

“If you only knew
How little I cared for
These other things—
The delicate speech,
The high demand
Of each from each,
The imaginings
Of Love’s Holy Land:
If you only knew
How little I cared for
These other things—
The wide clear view
Over peoples and times,
The search in the new
Entrancing climes,
Science’s wings
And Art’s sweet chimes:

“O my brother, if you only knew
   What to me in these things is understood,
As it seems to me it would seem to you,
   What was good for the Cause was surely good:

“O my brother, you would not say:
   What have you to do with me?
You would not, would not turn away
   Doubtingly and bitterly:

“But you would take my hand with your hand,
   O my brother, if you only knew;
You would smile at me, you would understand,
   You would call me brother as I call you!”

with a copy of mypoetical works.”

“Take with all my heart, friend, this,
   The labour of my past,
Though the heart here hidden is
And the soul’s eternities
   Hold the present fast.

“Take it, still, with soul and heart,
   Pledge of that dear day
When the shadows stir and start,
By the bright Sun burst apart—
   Young Australia!”

TO E. L. ZOX. [89]

We thank you for a noble work well done.
There is a kindness—(’tis the truer one;
   The better part the simpler heart doth know),
The care to give the day a brighter sun

To these, the nameless crowd that drags on slow
The common toil, the common weary woe
   The world cares nought for.  But your work secures
Thro’ union strength and self-respect that grow.

There is a courage that unflawed endures
The sneer, the slander of earth’s epicures.
   And here are grateful women’s hearts to show
This kindness and this courage, both are yours!

(Song of the American Sons of Labour.)


“O we knew so well, dear Father,
   When we answered to your call,
And the Southern Moloch stricken
   Shook and tottered to his fall—

“O we knew so well you loved us,
   And our hearts beat back to yours
With the rapturous adoration
   That through all the years endures!

“Mothers, sisters bade us hasten
   Sweethearts, wives with babe at breast;
For the Union, faith and freedom,
   For our hero of the West!

“And we wrung forth victory blood-stained
   From the desperate hands of Crime,
And our Cause blazed out Man’s beacon
   Through the endless future time!

“And forgiven, forever we bade it
   Cease, that envy, hatred, strife,
As he willed, our murdered Father
   That had sealed his love with life!

“O dear Father, was it thus, then?
   Did we this but in a dream?
Is it real, hideous present?
   Does our suffering only seem?

“Bend and listen, look and tell us!
   Are these joyless toilers We?
Slaves more wretched, patient, piteous
   Than the slaves we fought to free!

“Are these weak, worn girls and women
   Those whose mothers yet can tell
How they kissed and clasped men god-like
   With fierce faces fronting hell?

“Bend and listen, look and tell us!
   Is this silent waste, possessed
By bloat thieves and their task-masters,
   Thy free, thy fair, thy fearless West?

“Are these Eastern mobs of wage-slaves,
   Are these cringing debauchees,
Sons of those who slung their rifles—
   Shook the old Flag to the breeze?”


“Men and boys, O fathers, brothers,
   Burst these fetters round you bound!
Women, sisters, wives and mothers,
   Lift your faces from the ground!

“O Democracy, O People,
   East and West and North and South,
Rise together, one for ever,
   Strike this Crime upon the mouth!

“Bid them not, the men who loved you,
   Those who fought for you and died,
Scorn you that you broke a small Crime,
   Left a great Crime pass in pride!

“England, France, the played-out countries,
   Let them reek there in their stew,
Let their past rot out their present,
   But the Future is with you!

“O America, O first-born
   Of the age that yet shall be
Where all men shall be as one man,
   Noble, faithful, fearless, free!—

“O America, O paramour
   Of the foul slave-owner Pelf,
You who saved from slavery others,
   Now from slavery save yourself!

“Save yourself, though, anguish-shaken,
   You cry out and bow your head,
Crying ‘Why am I forsaken?’
   Crying ‘It is finishèd!’

“Save yourself, no God will save you;
   Not one angel can He give!
They and He are dead and vanished,
   And ’tis you, ’tis you must live!

“Risen again, fire-tried, victorious,
   From the grave of Crime down-hurled,
Peerless, pure, serene and glorious,
   Wield the sceptre of the world!”


He asked me of my friend—“a clever man;
Such various talent, business, journalism;
A pen that might some day have sent outleaders
From our greatest newspapers.”—“Yes, all this,
All this,” I said.—“And yet he will not rise?
He’ll stay acomp.,” a printer all his life?”—
I said: “Just that, a workman all his life.”
But, as my questioner was a business man,
One of the sons of Capital, a sage
Whose practicality saw I can suppose
Quite to his nose-tip even his finger-ends,
I vouchsafed explanation.  “This young man
My friend, was born and bred a workman.  All
His heart and soul (And men have hearts and souls
Other than those the doctor proses of,
The parson prates of, and both make their trade)
Were centred in his comradeship and love.
His friends, his ‘chums’, were workmen, and the girl
He wooed, and made a happy wife and mother,
Had heart and soul like him in whence she sprung.
Observe now!  When he came to think and read,
He saw (it seemed to him he saw) in what
Capitalists, Employers, men like you,
Think and call ‘justice’ in your inter-dealings,
Some slight mistakes (I fancy he’d say ‘wrongs’)
Whereby his order suffered.  So he wonders:
Cannot we change this?’  And he tries and tries,
Knowing his fellows and adapting all
His effort in the channels that they know.
You understand?  He’s ‘only an Unionist!’
Now for the second point.  This man believes
That these mistakes—these wrongs (we’ll pass the word)
Spring from a certain thing called ‘competition’
Which you (and I) know is a God-given thing
Whereby the fittest get up to the top
(That’s I—or you) and tread down all the others.
Well, this man sees how by this God-given thing
He has the chance to use his extra wits
And clamber up: he sees how others have—
(Like you—or me; my father’s father’s father
Was a market-gardener and, I trust, a good one).
He sees, moreover, how perpetually
Each of his fellows who has extra wits
Has used them as the fox fallen in the well
Used the confiding goat, and how the goats
More and more wallow there and stupefy,
Robbed of the little wit the hapless crowd
Had in their general haplessness.  Well, then
This man of mine (This is against all law,
Human, divine and natural, I admit)
Prefers to wallow there and not get out,
Except they all can!  I’ve made quite a tale
About what is quite simple.  Yet ’tis curious,
As I see you hold.  Now frankly tell me, will you,
What do you think of him?”—“He is a fool!”—
“He is a fool?  There is no doubt of it!
But I am told that it was some such fool
Came once from Galilee, and ended on
A criminal’s cross outside Jerusalem,—
And that this fool, he and his criminal’s cross,
Broke up an Empire that seemed adamant,
And made a new world which, renewed again,
Is Europe still.
He is a fool!  And it was some such fool
Drudged up and down the earth these later years,
And wrote a Book the other fools bought up
In tens of thousands, calling it a Gospel.
And this fool too, and the fools that follow him,
Or hold with him, why, he and they shall all
End in the mad-house, or the gutter, where
They’ll chew the husk of their mad dreams, and die!
For what are their follies but dreams?  They have done nothing,
And never will! . . .
One moment!  I have just a word to say.
How comes it, tell me, friend, six weeks ago
A ‘comp.’ was sent a-packing for a cause
His fellows thought unjust, and that same night
(Or, rather, the next morning) in comes one
To tell you (quite politely) that unless
That ‘comp.’ was setting at his frame, they feared
One of our greatest newspapers would not go
That day a harbinger of light and leading
To gladden and instruct its thousands?  And,
If I remember right, it did—and so did he,
That wretched ‘comp.,’ set at his frame, and does!
How came it also that three months ago
Your brother, the shipowner, “sacked” a man
Out of his ship, and bade him go to hell?
And in the evening up came two or three,
Discreetly asking him to state the cause?
And when he said he’d see them with the other,
(Videlicet, in hell), they said they feared,
Unless the other came thence (if he was there),
And was upon his ship to-morrow morning,
It would not sail.  It did not sail till noon,
And he sailed with it!
But this is all beside the point!  Our ‘comp.,’
Who sweats there, and who will not write you ‘leaders’
Except to help a friend who’s fallen ill,
Why, he, beyond a doubt he is a fool!”


(The Australian Press speaks).

“Kill them!  Yes, hang them all!
   They are fiends, just that!
And we’re all agreed fiends should be sent
   To a place that’s hot.

“They were fiends, too, of themselves;
   They delighted in it!
It’s all their fault, their own fault!
   Don’t listen a minute!

“Don’t let anyone talk
   About ‘fatality,’ ‘lot,’
That sort of talk (excuse us!)
   Is just damned rot.

“You and I, p’raps, are what we’re made.
   If I’m dying of phthisis,
It’s because my father passed on
   To me what the price is

“Of his excesses, and I,
   Overworked, come off worse.
Just so; but, with these young fiends,
   It’s quite the reverse.

“Their homes were happy and bright,
   (All are in Australia).
Their parents were good, kind, wise:
   No breath of failure

“Can be breathed on their education,
   Their childhood’s surroundings,
The healthy training that gives
   Youth morality’s groundings.

“Those people who say
   That the larrikins come
From that God-spat-out-thing,
   The Australian ‘home’—

“The narrow harsh rule
   Of base mean parents,
Whose played-out ideas drive
   All of good and of fair thence:

“That our prostitute girls
   Come from just the same Cause—
Why, these idiots know nothing
   Of facts, social laws!

“Kill them, then!  Hang them all!
   We (like God) must be just.
It was all their own faults,
   Not ours. . . .  Dust to dust!”

(The Time-Spirit speaks.)

“Poor lads!  And you for others’ wrongs and sins
Whose dead past greed and lust did never wince
   To make your fathers, mothers, and now you
Miserable fiends in hell, must expiate, since

   “We the more guilty, we the strong, the few,
   Whose triumph thrusts you down into the stew,
Fear lest our victims rise and rend us, fear
   This problem mad we will not listen to!

“Victims, with her your fellow-victim here,
Blind, deaf, dumb beasts, the hour shall yet appear
   When men, when justicers resolute-terrible, you
Shall speak and all men tremble as they hear!”


[The Delegates speak.]

“‘Tyranny’?  Yes, that’s it!
   We are not afraid
To face the word that’s fit
   For what we’ve said!

“It’s the tyranny of the Many,
   That will not allow
There’s the right to any
   To seek wealth and power now

“At the expense of the Many.
   Say, that one or this
Works ‘over hours’: then he
   Drives us all to the abyss,

“Where, struggling together
   One rises again
While the rest all together
   Are stifled and slain.

“From this death-strife of brothers
   Comes the tyranny of One.
That’s your sort.  But we others,
   We prefer our own!”


O city lapped in sun and Sabbath rest,
With happy face of plenteous ease possessed,
   Have you no doubts that whisper, dreams that moan
Disquietude, to stir your slumbering breast?

   Think you the sins of other climes are gone?
   The harlot’s curse rings in your streets—the groan
Of out-worn men, the stabbed and plundered slaves
   Of ever-growing Greed, these are your own!

O’er you shall sweep the fiery hell that craves
For quenchment the bright blood of human waves:
   For you, if you repent not, shall atone
For Greed’s dark death-holes with War’s swarming graves!

A Memory.

Little elfin maid,
   Old, though scarce two years,
With your big dark hazel eyes
   Tenderer than tears,

And your rosebud mouth
   Lisping jocund things,
Breaking brooding silence with
   Wistful questionings!

Like a flower you grew
   While life’s bright sun shone.
Does the greedy spendthrift earth
   Heed a flower is gone?

No; but Love’s fond ken,
   That gropes through Death’s strange ways,
Almost seems to hear your Voice,
   Seems to see your Face!

The Queensland Elections Cry, 1888.

Australia listened!  Through the brawling game
   Of played-out rascals gambling for her gold,
   The rotten-hearted traitors who had sold
For flimsy English gauds her righteous fame—
Through the foul hubbub, it did seem, there came
   The still small voice of nobler things untold.
   But now, but now with wonder manifold
She hears a voice that calls her by her name!

Australia listens, as the mother wilt
   To hear her first-born cry.  “Say, is it death,
Or life and all life’s hope made audible
   That thrills my heart and gives my spirit faith?”
From out the gathering war-hosts leaps forth shrill
   The double cry, “Australia, M‘Ilwraith!”

The dawn is breaking northward!  Rise, O Sun,
   Australian Liberty, and give us light!
   And thou who through the dark and doubtful night
With great clear eyes of patience looking on
Even to that splendid hour Republican,
   O know what things are with thee in the fight—
   What hope and trust, what truth, what right, what might
To never leave this work till it be done!
Not as these others were, the helpless slaves
   Of each diurnal need and cringing debt,
   Australia’s statesman, have we known thee yet!—
The world’s great heroes call from a thousand graves:
   “Thy land, a nation, cries to thee to be set
Free as the freedom of her ocean waves!”


London, May 15, 1889.—“The promised interview with the Emperor William was granted to-day to the delegates from the coal-miners now on strike in Westphalia; but the audience lasted for only ten minutes.  The men asked that the Emperor would inquire into the merits of their case and the hardships under which they suffered.  His Majesty replied that he was already inquiring into the matter.  He then warned the miners that he would employ all his great powers to repress socialistic agitation and intrigue.  If the slightest resistance was shown he would shoot every man so offending.  On the other hand, he promised to protect them if peaceable.”—Cablegram.

Son of a Man and grandson of a Man,
   Mannikin most miserable in thy shrunken shape
   And peevish, shrivelled-soul, is’t thou wouldst ape
The thunder-bearer of Fate’s blustering clan?
Know, then, that never, since the years began,
   The terrible truth was surer of this word:
   Who takes the sword, shall perish by the sword!”
For mankind’s nod makes mannikin and man.

Surely it was not shed too long ago,
That Emperor’s blood that stained the Northern snow,
   O thou King Stork aspiring that art King Log,
   Wild-boar that wouldst be, reeking there all hog;
To teach thy brutish brainlessness to know
   Those who pulled down a lion can shoot a dog.

(For the Irish Delegates in Australia.)

   Do you want to hear a story
   With a nobler praise than “glory,”
Of a man who loved the right like heaven and loathed the wrong like hell?
   Then, that story let me tell you
   Once again, though it as well you
Know as I—the splendid story of the man they call Parnell!

   By the wayside of the nations,
   Lashed with whips and execrations,
Helpless, hopeless, bleeding, dying, she, the Maiden Nation, lay;
   And the burthen of dishonour
   Weighed so grievously upon her
That her very children hid their eyes and crept in shame away.

   And there as she was lying
   Helpless, hopeless, bleeding, dying,
All her high-born foes came round her, fleering, jeering, as they said:
   “What is freedom fought and won for?
   She is dead!  She’s down and done for!”
And her weeping children shuddered as they crouched and whispered: “Dead!”

   Then suddenly up-starting,
   All that throng before him parting,
See, a man with firm step breaking through that central knot that gives;
   And, as by some dear lost sister,
   He knelt down, and softly kissed her,
And he raised his pale, proud face, and cried: “She is not dead.  She lives!

   “O she lives, I say, and I here,
   I am come to fight and die here
For the love my heart has for her like a slow consuming fire;
   For the love of her low lying,
   For the hatred deep, undying
Of the robber lords who struck and stabbed and trod her in the mire!”

   Then upon that cry bewildering,
   Some of them, her hapless children—
In their hearts there leaped up hope like light when night gives birth to day;
   And, as mocks and threats defied him,
   One by one they came beside him,
Till they stood, a band of heroes, sombre, desperate, at bay!

   And the battle that they fought there,
   And the bitter truth they taught there
To the blinded Sister-Nation suffering grievously alway,
   All the wrong and rapine past hers,
   Of her lords and her task masters,
Is not this the larger hope of all as night gives birth to day!

   For the lords and liars are quaking
   At the People’s stern awaking
From their slumber of the ages; and the Peoples slowly rise,
   And with hands locked tight together,
   One in heart and soul for ever,
Watch the sun of Light and Liberty leap up into the skies!

   That’s the story, that’s the story
   With a nobler praise than “glory,”
Of the Man who loved the right like heaven and loathed the wrong like hell,
   And with calm, proud exultation
   Bade her stand at last a nation,
Ireland, Ireland that is one name with the name of Charles Parnell!

A Memory of August, 1883.

[The spectacle of the life of the London Dock labourers is one of the most terrible examples of the logical outcome of the present social system.  In the six great metropolitan docks over 100,000 men are employed, the great bulk of whom are married and have families.  By the elaborate system of sub-contracts their wages have been driven down to 4d., 3d., and even 2d. for the few hours they are employed, making the average weekly earnings of a man amount to 7, 6, and even 5 shillings a week!  Hundreds and hundreds of lives are lost or ruined every year by the perilous nature of the work, and absolutely without compensation.  Yet so fierce is the competition that men are not unfrequently maimed or even killed in the desperate struggles at the gates for the tickets of employment, guaranteeing a “pay” which often does not amount to more than a few pence!  The streets and houses inhabited by this unfortunate class are of the lowest kind—haunts of vice, disease, and death, and the monopolistic companies are thus directly able to profit by their wholesale demoralization by ruthlessly crushing out, through the contractors, all efforts at organisation on the part of the men.  To see these immense docks, the home of that more immense machine, British Commerce, crowded with huge and stately ships, steamers, and sailors the first in the world, and to watch with intelligent eyes by what means the colossal work of loading and unloading them is carried out; this is to face a sacrificial orgy of human life—childhood, youth, manhood, womanhood, and age, with everything that makes them beautiful and ennobling, and not merely a misery and a curse—far more appalling than any Juggernaut progress or the human holocausts that were offered up to Moloch.]

I stood in the ghastly gleaming night by the swollen, sullen flow
Of the dreadful river that rolls her tides through the City of Wealth and Woe;
And mine eyes were heavy with sleepless hours, and dry with desperate grief,
And my brain was throbbing and aching, and mine anguish had no relief.
For never a moment—no; not one—through all the dreary day,
And thro’ all the weary night forlorn, would the pitiless pulses stay
Of the thundering great Machinery that such insistence had,
As it crushed out human hearts and souls, that it slowly drove me mad.

And there, in the dank and foetid mist, as I, silent and tearless, stood,
And the river’s exhalations, sweating forth their muddy blood,
Breathed full on my face and poisoned me, like the slow, putrescent drain
That carries away from the shambles the refuse of flesh and brain—
There rose up slowly before me, in the dome of the city’s light,
A vast and shadowy Substance, with shafts and wheels of might,
Tremendous, ruthless, fatal; and I knew the visible shape
Of that thundering great Machinery from which there was no escape.

It stood there high in the heavens, fronting the face of God,
And the spray it sprinkled had blasted the green and flowery sod
All round where, through stony precincts, its Cyclopean pillars fell
To its adamantine foundations that were fixed in the womb of hell.
And the birds that, wild and whirling, and moth-like, flew to its glare
Were struck by the flying wheel-spokes, and maimed and murdered there;
And the dust that swept about its black panoply overhead,
And the din of it seemed to shatter and scatter the sheeted dead.

But mine eyes were fixed on the people that sought this horrible den,
And they mounted in thronged battalions, children and women and men,
Right out from the low horizons, more far than the eye could see,
From the north and the south and the east and the west, they came perpetually—
Some silent, some raving, some sobbing, some laughing, some cursing, some crying,
Some alone, some with others, some struggling, some dragging the dead and the dying
Up to the central Wheel enormous with its wild devouring breath
That winnowed the livid smoke-clouds and the sickening fume of death.

Then suddenly, as I watched it all, a keen wind blew amain,
And the air grew clearer and purer, and I could see it plain—
How under the central Wheel a black stone Altar stood,
And a great, gold Idol upon it was gleaming like fiery blood.
And there, in front of the Altar, was a huge, round lurid Pit,
And the thronged battalions were marching to the yawning mouth of it
In the clangour of the Machinery and the Wheel’s devouring breath
That winnowed the livid smoke-clouds and the sickening fume of death.

And once again as I gazed there, and the keen wind still blew on,
I saw the shape of the Idol like a king turned carrion,
Yet crowned and more terrific thus for his human fleshly loss,
And with one clenched hand he brandished a lash, and the other held up a cross!
And all around the Altar were seated, joyous and free,
In garments richly-coloured and choice, a goodly company,
Eating and drinking and wantoning, like gods that scorned to know
Of the thundering great Machinery and the crowds and the Pit below.

Ah, Christ! the sights and the sounds there that every hour befell
Would wring the heart of the devils spinning ropes of sand in hell,
But not the insolent Revellers in their old lascivious ease—
Children hollow-eyed, starving, consumed alive with disease;
Boys and men tortured to fiends and branded with shuddering fire;
Girls and women shrieking caught, and whored, and trampled to death in the mire;
Babyhood, youth, and manhood and womanhood that might have been,
Kneaded, a bloody pulp, to feed the gold-grinding murderous Machine!

And still, with aching eyeballs, I stared at that hateful sight,
At the long dense lines of the people and the shafts and wheels of might,
When slowly, slowly emerging, I saw a great Globe rise,
Blood-red on the dim horizon, and it swam up into the skies.
But whether indeed it were the sun or the moon, I could not say,
For I knew not now in my watching if it were night or day.
But when that Great Globe steadied above the central Wheel,
The thronged battalions wavered and paused, and an awful silence fell.

Then (I know not how, but so it was) in a moment the flash of an eye—
A murmur ran and rose to a voice, and the voice to a terrible cry:
“Enough, enough!  It has had enough!  We will march no more till we drop
In the furnace Pit.  Give us food!  Give us rest!  Though the accursed Machinery stop!”
And then, with a shout of angry fear, the Revellers sprang to their feet,
And the call was for cannon and cavalry, for rifle and bayonet.
And one rose up, a leader of them, lifting a threatening rod.
And “Stop the Machinery!” he yelled, “you might as well stop God!”

But the terrible thunder-cry replied: “If this indeed must be,
It is you should be cast to the furnace Pit to feed the Machine—not we!”
And the central Wheel enormous slowed down in groaning plight,
And all the ærial movement ceased of the shafts and wheels of might,
And a superhuman clamour leaped madly to where overhead
The great Globe swung in the gathering gloom, portentous, huge, blood-red!
But my brain whirled round and my blinded eyes no more could see or know,
Till I struggling seemed to awake at last by the swollen, sullen flow
Of the dreadful river that rolls her tides through the City of Wealth and Woe!

A little Soldier of the Army of the Night.”

Bury him without a word!
   No appeal to death;
Only the call of the bird
   And the blind spring’s breath.

Nature slays ten, yet the one
   Reaches but to a part
Of what’s to be done, to be sung.
   Keep we a proud heart!

Let us not glose her waste
   With lies and dreams;
Fawn on her wanton haste,
   Say it but seems.

Comrades, with faces unstirred,
   Scorning grief’s dole,
Though with him, with him lies interred
   Our heart and soul,

Bury him without a word!
   No appeal to death;
Only the call of the bird
   And the blind spring’s breath.

an address on her jubilee year.

Madam, you have done well!  Let others with praise unholy,
   Speech addressed to a woman who never breathed upon earth,
Daub you over with lies or deafen your ears with folly,
   I will praise you alone for your actual imminent worth.
Madam, you have done well!  Fifty years unforgotten
   Pass since we saw you first, a maiden simple and pure.
Now when every robber landlord, capitalist rotten,
   Hated oppressors, praise you—Madam, we are quite sure!

Never once as a foe, open foe, to the popular power,
   As nobler kings and queens, have you faced us, fearless and bold:
No, but in backstairs fashion, in the stealthy twilight hour,
   You have struggled and struck and stabbed, you have bartered and bought and sold!
Melbourne, the listless liar, the gentleman blood-beslavered,
   Disraeli, the faithless priest of a cynical faith out-worn,
These were dear to your heart, these were the men you favoured.
   Those whom the People loved were fooled and flouted and torn!

Never in one true cause, for your people’s sake and the light’s sake,
   Did you strike one honest blow, did you speak one noble word:
No, but you took your place, for the sake of wrong and the night’s sake,
   Ever with blear-eyed wealth, with the greasy respectable herd.
Not as some robber king, with a resolute minister slave to you, [110]
   Did you swagger with force against us to satisfy your greed:
No, but you hoarded and hid what your loyal people gave to you,
   Golden sweat of their toil, to keep you a queen indeed!

Pure at least was your bed? pure was your Court?—We know not.
   Were the white sepulchres pure?  Gather men thorns of grapes?
Your sons and your blameless spouse’s, certes, as Galahads show not.
   Round you gather a crowd of bloated hypocrite shapes!
Never, sure, did one woman produce in such sixes and dozens
   Such intellectual canaille as this that springs from you;
Sons, daughters, grandchildren, with uncles, aunts, and cousins,
   Not a man or a woman among them—a wretched crew!

Madam, you have done well!  You have fed all these to repletion—
   You have put a gilded calf beside a gilded cow,
And bidden men and women behold the forms of human completion—
   Albert the Good, Victoria the Virtuous, for ever—and now!
But what to you were our bravest and best, man of science and poet,
   Struggling for Light and Truth, or the Women who would be free?
Carlyle, Darwin, Huxley, Spencer, Arnold?  We know it—
   Tennyson slavers your hand; Argyll fawns at your knee!

Good, you were good, we say.  You had no wit to be evil.
   Your purity shines serene over Floras mangled and dead.
You wasted not our substance in splendour, in riot or revel—
   You quietly sat in the shade and grew fat on our wealth instead.
Madam, you have done well!  To you, we say, has been given
   A wit past the wit of women, a supercomputable worth.
Of you we can say, if not “of such are the Kingdom of Heaven,”
   Of such (alas for us!), of such are the Kingdom of Earth!


In the early summer morning
   I stand and watch them come,
The children to the school-house;
   They chatter and laugh and hum.

The little boys with satchels
   Slung round them, and the girls
Each with hers swinging in her hand;
   I love their sunny curls.

I love to see them playing,
   Romping and shouting with glee,
The boys and girls together,
   Simple, fearless, free.

I love to see them marching
   In squads, in file, in line,
Advancing and retreating,
   Tramping, keeping time.

Sometimes a little lad
   With a bright brave face I’ll see,
And a wistful yearning wonder
   Comes stealing over me.

For once I too had a darling;
   I dreamed what he should do,
And surely he’d have had, I thought,
   Just such a face as you.

And I, I dreamed to see him
   Noble and brave and strong,
Loving the light, the lovely,
   Hating the dark, the wrong,—

Loving the poor, the People,
   Ready to smile and give
Blood and brain to their service,
   For them to die or live!

No matter, O little darlings!
   Little boys, you shall be
My citizens for faithful labour,
   My soldiers for victory!

Little girls, I charge you
   Be noble sweethearts, wives,
Mothers—comrades the sweetest,
   Fountains of happy lives!

Farewell, O little darlings!
   Far away,—with strangers, too—
He sleeps, the little darling,
   I dreamed to see like you.

And I, O little darlings,
   I have many miles to go,
And where I too may stop and sleep,
   And when, I do not know.

But I charge you to remember
   The love, the trust I had,
That you’d be noble, fearless, free,
   And make your country glad!

That you should toil together,
   Face whatever yet shall be,
My citizens for faithful labour,
   My soldiers for victory!

I charge you to remember;
   I bless you with my hand,
And I know the hour is coming
   When you shall understand:

When you shall understand too,
   Why, as I said farewell,
Although my lips were smiling,
   The shining tears down fell.

On the Ranges, Queensland.”

Beyond the night, down o’er the labouring East,
I see light’s harbinger of dawn released:
Upon the false gleam of the ante-dawn,
Lo, the fair heaven of day-pursuing morn!

Beyond the lampless sleep and perishing death
That hold my heart, I feel my new life’s breath,
I see the face my spirit-shape shall have
When this frail clay and dust have fled the grave.

Beyond the night, the death of doubt, defeat,
Rise dawn and morn, and life with light doth meet,
For the great Cause, too,—sure as the sun yon ray
Shoots up to strike the threatening clouds and say;
I come, and with me comes the victorious Day!”


When I was young, the muse I worshipped took me,
   Fearless, a lonely heart, to look on men.
   “’Tis yours,” said she, “to paint this show of them
Even as they are!”  Then smiling she forsook me.

Wherefore with passionate patience I withdrew,
   With eyes from which all loves, hates, hopes, and fears,
   Joys aureole, and the blinding sheen of tears,
Were purged away.  And what I saw I drew.

Then, as I worked remote, serene, alone,
   A child-girl came to me and touched my cheek,
   And lo her lips were pale, her limbs were weak,
Her eyes had thirst’s desire and hunger’s moan.

She said: “I am the soul of this sad day
   Where thousands toil and suffer hideous Crime,
   Where units rob and mock the empty time
With revel and rank prayer and deaths display!”

I said: “O child, how shall I leave my songs,
   My songs and tales, the warp and subtle woof
   Of this great work and web, in your behoof
To strive and passionately sing of wrongs?

“Child, is it nothing that I here fulfil
   My heart and soul? that I may look and see
   Where Homer bends and Shakspere smiles on me,
And Goethe praises the unswerving will?”

She hung her head, and straight, without a word,
   Passed from me.  And I raised my conscious face
   To where, in beauteous power in her place,
She stood, the muse, my muse, and watched and heard.

Her proud and marble brow was faintly flushed;
   Upon her flawless lips, and in her eyes
   A mild light flickered as the young sunrise,
Glad, sacred, terrible, serene and hushed.

Then I cried out, and rose with pure wrath wild,
   Desperate with hatred of Fate’s slavery
   And this cold cruel demon.  With that cry,
I left her, and sought out the piteous child.

Darling, ’tis nothing that I shed and weep
   These tears of fire that wither all the heart,
   These bloody sweats that drain and sear and smart,
I love you, and you’ll kiss me when I sleep!”


The End.



“This volume holds within its slim covers more restrained power, inward, incisive vision, and passionate pity than any volume of verse that has seen the light in the Southern Hemisphere (always, of course, excepting the complete ‘Poetical Works’ of the same author).  That is a bewildering book, a veritable thousand islands of passion, pathos, poetry, set in a restless, weary sea. . .    The uncontrollable out-bursts of a noble, tender soul maddened by the misery and hypocrisy of our cannibal civilisation,

                    This putrid death,
   This flesh-feast of the few,
      This social structure of red mud,
   This edifice of slime,
Whose bricks are bones, whose mortar blood,
   Whose pinnacle is crime!

Hemorrhages from the very vitals of one tortured in Hell.  Not the quaint conglomeration of bottomless brimstone and three-tined forks, but the now non-exploding self-adjusting patent Hell ‘of our own manufacture,’ whose seventh hopeless circle centres in the old village by the Thames—(trade mark, ‘Commerce and Christ.’)”—Sydney Jephcott, “Australian Standard.”


“Francis Adams is about the least Australian of the Australian poets.  There is in his work lack of wattle-bloom and waratah, rollicking rhyme and galloping jingle.  There is much of old-world problems and old-world troubles, which are old-world simply because we here have not had time enough to breed the fever germ to a ravaging pestilence.  We have, however, the fever germ, and Francis Adams does our young country yeoman service in awakening a fear for the future in his latest book of poems, ‘Songs of the Army of the Night.’  The book is not all night though.  It is a cantata without music.  The first part is all gloom; angry threatening clouds bar out the light of the coming dawn; footsteps of the weary and fallen plash along in the mud and darkness; the lightning of angry steel, gleaming phosphorescent in the night; the hoarse hum of famished millions moiling along with a dim yearning for a bloody vengeance, contribute the details of a grim picture of realistic misery.  The first part deserves the title given to the whole book, ‘Songs of the Army of the Night.’  The third part is perturbed and stormy, the sea heaving and surging after a tempest; but already the day is breaking, and young hope is felt in the warmth of the sun’s first rays.  The third part might be justly termed ‘Songs of the Dawn.’  The second part is hot and heavy with the languorous heat of the tropics. . . .  The whole book is a hymn in praise of fodder.  The people march hungry, hoarse with lack of sustenance, gripping their firelocks with feverish, skeleton hands, glaring fiercely with famished eyes towards the granaries of the wealthy. . . .  This is the sermon of Nature: ‘If you would be good, eat.’  It is in the first part that we hear the trumpet-blast of the social message.  Here the verses throb with a realistic agony, a lyric Zolaism, that chains the eyes to the page with a virile fascination.  It is so simple, too—the coarse, strong meat of the poetry of first principles.  The lines are hot and fervid; the poet’s pulses keep time with the great heart of human woe.  This is socialism in verse, anarchism in the guise of a Grecian statue.  ‘Outside London’ breathes thick and heavy with the vapours of gutterdom.  It is despair, hunger, prophecy, hate, revenge.  Francis Adams, a ripe and true scholar, in this shows his devotion to truth and to art.  The traditions of classicism are in this volume thrown to the winds.  The poet’s muse is a glorified street trull, a Cassandra of the slums, a draggle-tailed Menad from Whitechapel, and her voice is thick and frenzied with shouting at the barricades.  ‘The Evening Hymn in the Hovels,’ ‘Hagar,’ ‘To the Girls of the Unions,’ ‘In the Edgware Road,’ ‘In Trafalgar Square,’ ‘Aux Ternes,’ ‘One among so many,’ ‘The New Locksley Hall,’ ‘To the Christians,’ voice in passionate, simple people’s lyrics the socialism which is always felt in strong under-currents by a nation before it appears in literary form, but which is only on the eve of bursting forth and overwhelming everything with its fury, when it does appear in literary form.  Rosseau, Voltaire, and Diderot ushered in the French Revolution; in similar fashion the English Revolution is heralded by William Morris and Francis Adams.”—F. J. Broomfield, Sydney Bulletin.


To the Author of theSongs of the Army of the Night.”

We—who, encircled in sleepless sadness
   With ears laid close to the Austral earth,
Have heard far cries of wrong-wrought madness,
   Of hopeless anguish and murd’rous mirth
Beneath all noise of maudlin gladness
   Awail, environ the world’s wide girth—

Almost arise with Hope’s keen urging
   When out the vasty and night-bound North
Red rays ascend, and Songs resurging
   Through all the darkness and chill, come forth!

The comet climbs until it scorches
   The sacred dais that skies the great,
Until it gleams on palace porches,
   Where blissful æons-to-be hold state—
Fades, and we know it one of the torches
   Madmen a moment elevate!

And, closer clutching the earth, our sorrow
   Doth then with desperate murmur cry,
“We ne’er shall see or morn or morrow!
   For never star doth scale the sky,

“All men made wise through midnight sable
   To lead where, safe after all annoy,
Sleep soft in earth’s Augean stable
   The virgin “Justice,” the infant “Joy!”—
Grant this, O Father, being able,
   Or else in merciful might destroy

“This orb whose past and present, awful
   Alike, attest it a torture wheel,
Where, bound by holy men and lawful,
   Man’s body’s broken with bars of steel!”

But when we pause, despairing wholly,
   As a storm that strengthens out on the sea,
The far-flown songs come sounding slowly!
   As sea-birds kindle that sweep alee
New hopes, old yearnings winging slowly
   From breast to bosom for shelter flee!

And scarce we know, as there they hover
   And our blood beats ’neath their beating wings,
If ’tis an old dream earthed over
   Or new bird-ballad that stirs and sings!

But truth’s Tyrtæus is now our neighbour,
   And strives to waken the slumbering South
With peal and throb of trump and tabour
   And sobbing songs of his mournful mouth
To see where Life’s all-giver, Labour,
   Lies fettered, famished and dumb with drouth.

Sydney Jephcott,
Brisbane Boomerang, 25th January 1888.


[27]  In The New Arcadia Miss Robinson devoted to the Cause of Labour a dilettante little book that had not even one note of the true, the sweet and lovely poetry of her deeper impulses.  There is the amateur, and the female amateur, no less in perception and emotion than in the technical aspects of our art, and we want no more flimsy “sympathetic” rigmaroles, like “The Cry of the Children,” or “A Song for the Ragged Schools of London,” from those who, in the portraiture of the divine simple woman’s soul within them, can give us poetry complete, genuine, everlasting.

[32]  His attack on George Eliot in “Fiction, Fair and Foul,” in the Nineteenth Century, for instance.

[33]  The attack on Missionary Ridge is an example of the brilliant initiative, as the holding of the Bloody Angle in the Wilderness is of the dauntless resolution, of the army of the Democracy of the United States, while the last attacks on Richmond were the final exploit of the conqueror of two combatants, of whom it is enough to say that they were worthy of one another.

[35]  Something like an adequate account of this great révolution manquée, which in England and 1381 went near to anticipating France and 1793, has at last found its place in the historian’s pages, and Longland the poet, Ball the preacher, and Tyler the man of action, who first raised for us the democratic demand, can be seen somewhat as they were.  This, and more, we owe to John Richard Green.  An account of the Revolt will be found in section 4 of chapter 5 of his “Short History of the English People.”  The phrases in verses 3 and 5 were catchwords among the revolters.

[36]  After dismissing the peasants with the formally written acknowledgment of their freedom and rights, Richard II. with an army of 40,000 followers avenged himself and his lords by ruthless and prolonged massacres over the whole country.

[38]  Who owns, and rack-rents, some of the vilest slums in London, and is beautifully æsthetic in private life.

[39a]  The French.

[39b]  “Vœ victis!” woe to the conquered—the motto of the Gauls in Rome as of the modern Civilization of Land and Capital.

[44]  France.

[45]  In Père-la-Chaise, the famous Parisian cemetery, the Communists made a desperate stand, but were overcome and the captured ones shot.  And Morny’s vaulted tomb was close at hand, and Balzac smiled his animal cynicism from his bust.  Victims, murderer, and commenting Chorus, all were there.

[46]  A part of Paris.

[49]  The New Model is the name by which is known that reorganization of the Roundhead Army, without which Cromwell saw that the Cavaliers could not be conquered.  No one was permitted in its ranks who did not thoroughly believe in the Cause for which it fought.

[66]  This graveyard, one side of a gully, which suddenly expands and leaves its base large enough for the local race-course, is in summer one of the loveliest spots on earth.  Hindoos, Protestants, Catholics, and Mahommadan have their separate portions.  Here in regimental or individual tombs are the record of noble lives thrown away in the iniquity of the English relations with China.

[69a]  The Russian tea-urn.

[69b]  In China the system of Trades Unions is admirable.—Coolie is the generic term in the East for labourer.

[70]  This is one of the three well-known colossi of Gautama, the Buddha.  The same type of proud patience marks this embodiment of the suffering East, wherever we meet it.

[76]  Dr Moorhouse came out to Melbourne as bishop in the Church of England there in 1876.  He almost immediately took the position of the leading religious personality in Australia.  To a rare geniality he added the gifts of a “scholar” and a “gentleman,” both real and both as modern as yet seems permitted to the old caste and religion.  He achieved an influence over men of all denominations, and of none, that was quite phenomenal, and might have been used for a national object as great as good.  The work of his diocese, however, proving too much for his strength, he announced the fact, and declared that, unless his bishopric were divided, he would be compelled to resign it.  Shortly afterwards he accepted the bishopric of Manchester, on the ground that “a larger sphere of labour had been offered to him unsolicited.”  His departure was a sort of national event.

[79a]  Orang-utan.

[79b]  The Buddhistic temple in Java, known as the temple of Borobodo.

[80]  This explanation of these curious arborial growths is Mr Alfred Wallace’s (Malay Archipelago, chapter v.), and in this matter also we may perhaps be content to rely on that “innate genius for solving difficulties” which Darwin has assigned to the illustrious naturalist whom Socialism is proud to number among her sons.

[84]  The Australian Seamen’s Union, after defeating our most powerful shipping company over the question of Coloured Labour, after compelling the companies that used Coloured Labour to abandon all coastal trade, in alliance with the Miners, faces the craft that was once the brutality of the sea-capitalists with the same dauntless determination, the same noble self-restraint, that made it long ago the protagonist of Australian Labour.

[87a]  His attack on Carlyle, for instance, of which the prose part is the fouler, the verse part the more virulent.

[87b]  Poems and Ballads.  (1st Series.)

[87c]  Songs before Sunrise.

[87d]  The picturesque Italian gentlemen who struggled so heroically for Italian Nationalism represent to-day a tyranny deeper and more dark than that of the Austrian foreigners, the tyranny of caste.  The certainty of popularity was the bait held out by the greasy respectability of the London Times, and poetical vanity swallowed it, making Mr Swinburne also among the panders in his denunciation of Irish Nationalism.

[89]  To Mr Zox is chiefly due the formation of the Union of Female Workers, Servants, and Shop-girls in Melbourne.  There is no class called upon to endure more petty tyranny and injustice, more hard work and insult, and there is no class which finds less real sympathy and help.  Cannot stupid Sydney follow suit?

[95]  This was one of the most horrible crimes of our time.  A band of young ruffians assaulted, violated, and frightfully maltreated a young girl of rather dubious character.  Nine were arraigned, seven condemned to death, and four hanged.  The trial was most indecently hurried by a Judge who seemed determined to make the affair, from the aspect of law and justice, as evilly noteworthy as from other aspects of it.

[110]  Charles I. and Stafford, e.g.