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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
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  • ‘SWEET are the lanes and the hedges, the fields made red with the clover,
  • With tall field‐sorrel, and daisies, and golden buttercups glowing;
  • Sweet is the way through the woods, where at sundown maiden and lover
  • Linger by stile or by bank where clematis garlands are growing.
  • Fair is our world when the dew and the dawn thrill the half‐wakened roses,
  • Fair when the corn‐fields grown warm with poppies in noonlight gleaming,
  • Fair through the long afternoon, when hedges and hayfields lie dreaming,
  • Fair as in lessening light the last convolvulus closes.
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  • ‘Scent of geranium and musk that in cottage windows run riot,
  • Breath from the grass that is down in the meadows each side the highway,
  • Slumberous hush of the churchyard where we one day may lie quiet,
  • Murmuring wind through the leaves bent over the meadow byway,
  • Deeps of cool shadow, and gleams of light on high elmtops shining,
  • Such peace in the dim green brake as the town, save in dreams, knows never,
  • But in, through, under it all, the old pain follows us ever—
  • Ever the old despair, the old unrest and repining.
  • ‘Dark is the City’s face; but her children who know her find her
  • Mother to them who are brothers, mindful of brotherhood’s duty;
  • To each of us, lonely, unhelped, the grave would be warmer, kinder,
  • Than the cold unloving face of our world of blossom and beauty.
  • Poverty deep and dark cowers under the thatch with the swallows,
  • Cruel disease lies hid in the changeful breast of the waters,
  • Drink sets snares for our sons, and shame digs graves for our daughters,
  • Want and care crush the flower of a youth that no life‐fruit follows.
  • ‘What are the woodland sweets, the meadow’s fair flowery treasure,
  • When we are hungry and sad, and stupid with work and with sorrows?
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  • Leisure for nothing but sleep, and with heart but for sleep in our leisure;
  • The work of to‐day still the same as yesterday’s work, and to‐morrow’s.
  • Ever the weary round—the treadmill of innocent lives—
  • Hopeless and helpless, and bowing our back like a hound’s to the lashes;
  • What can seem fair to the eyes that are smarting and sore with the ashes
  • Blown from the fires that consume the souls of our children and wives?
  • ‘Dreams sometimes we have had of an hour when we might speak plainly,
  • Raise the mantle and show how the iron eats into our bosom,
  • The rotting root of the Nation, the worm at the heart of its blossom,
  • Dreaming we said, “We will speak, when the time for it comes, not vainly.”
  • Ah—but the time comes never—Life, we are used to bear it,
  • Starved are our brains and grow not, our hands are fit but for toiling,
  • If we stretched them out their touch to our masters’ hand would be soiling;
  • Weak is our voice with disuse—too weak for our lords to hear it!’