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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
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page: 39

London’s Voices

Speak to Two Souls—Who thus Reply:

I

  • IN all my work, in all the children’s play,
  • I hear the ceaseless hum of London near;
  • It cries to me, I cannot choose but hear
  • Its never‐ending wail, by night and day.
  • So many millions—is it vain to pray
  • That all may win such peace as I have here,
  • With books, and work, and little children dear?—
  • That flowers like mine may grow along their way?
  • Through all my happy life I hear the cry,
  • The exceeding bitter cry of human pain,
  • And shudder as the deathless wail sweeps by.
  • I can do nothing—even hope in vain
  • That the bright light of peace and purity
  • In those lost souls may ever shine again!

II

  • ’Mid pine woods’ whisper and the hum of bees
  • I heard a voice that was not bee nor wood:
  • ’Here, in the city, Gold has trampled Good.
  • Come thou, do battle till this strife shall cease!’
  • I left the mill, the meadows and the trees,
  • And came to do the little best I could
  • For these, God’s poor; and, oh, my God, I would
  • I had a thousand lives to give for these!
  • What can one hand do ’gainst a world of wrong?
  • Yet, when the voice said, ‘Come!’ how could I stay?
  • The foe is mighty, and the battle long
  • (And love is sweet, and there are flowers in May),
  • And Good seems weak, and Gold is very strong;
  • But, while these fight, I dare not turn away.
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