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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
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page: 26

City

  • ‘So has the spark died out that the torch of hope dropped among you?
  • So is the burden bound more fast to the shrinking shoulder?
  • Far too faint are your cries to be heard by the men who wrong you?
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  • And if they heard they are high, and the air as men rise grows colder!
  • Yet you are men though so weak, and in mine and workshop your brothers,
  • Stronger in head, and in heart not less sad, for deliverance are striving;
  • These will stand fast, and will face the cruel unjust and ungiving,
  • And you in our ranks shall be, our hearts fast clasped in each other’s!
  • ‘For in the night of our sorrow cold lights are breaking and brightening
  • Out in the eastern sky; through the drifting clouds, wind‐driven,
  • Over the earth new gleams and glories are laughing and lightening,
  • Keener the air grows, clearer; brighter the face of the heaven.
  • Turn we our face to the east—oh, wind of the dawn, blow to us
  • Freshness and strength and resolve! The star of old faith grows paler
  • Before the eyes of our Freedom, though still wrath’s red mists veil her,
  • For this is our battle day; revenge, like our blood, runs through us.
  • ‘This is our vengeance day. Our masters, made fat with our fasting,
  • Shall fall before us like corn when the sickle for harvest is strong:
  • Old wrong shall give might to our arm—remembrance of wrong shall make lasting
  • The graves we will dig for the tyrants we bore with too much and too long.
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  • The sobs of our starving children, the tears of our heartsick mothers,
  • The moan of your murdered manhood crushed out by their wanton pressure,
  • The wail of the life‐long anguish that paid the price of their pleasure,
  • These will make funeral music to speed the lost souls of them, brothers!
  • ‘Shoulder to shoulder we march, and for those who go down ’mid the fighting
  • With rifles in hand and pikes, and the red flag over them flying,
  • Glad shall our hearts be for them—who die when our sun is lighting
  • The warm, wide heavens, and sheds its lovely light on their dying.
  • Fight, though we lose our dearest—fight, though the battle rages
  • Fiercer and hotter than ever was fight in the world before:
  • We must fight—how can men do less? If we die, what can men do more?
  • And the sun of Freedom shall shine across our graves to the ages!’
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