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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
page: 38

A Great Industrial Centre

  • SQUALID street after squalid street,
  • Endless rows of them, each the same,
  • Black dust under your weary feet,
  • Dust upon every face you meet,
  • Dust in their hearts, too—or so it seems—
  • Dust in the place of dreams.
  • Spring in her beauty thrills and thrives,
  • Here men hardly have heard her name.
  • Work is the end and aim of their lives—
  • Work, work, work! for children and wives;
  • Work for a life which, when it is won,
  • Is the saddest under the sun!
  • Work—one dark and unending round
  • In black dull workshops, out of the light;
  • Work that others’ ease may abound,
  • Work that delight for them may be found,
  • Work without hope, without pause, without peace,
  • That only in death can cease.
  • Brothers, who live glad lives in the sun,
  • What of these men, at work in the night?
  • God will ask you what you have done;
  • Their lives be required of you—every one—
  • Ye, who were glad and who liked life well,
  • While they did your work—in hell!