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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
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page: 40

Torch‐Bearers

  • DARK is the night; and through its haunted shadows
  • We blindly grope and stumble—sometimes fall;
  • No star is near enough to light the darkness,
  • And priest‐lit tapers cast no light at all,
  • Save such a feeble and delusive glimmer
  • As night‐lamps cast upon a sick‐room wall.
  • Yet, each a torch we bear—lit or unlighted;
  • Burning for self it is a marsh‐light’s gleam,
  • Kindled for others ’tis the child of sunlight,
  • And darkness shrinks through twilight at its beam.
  • Were each torch duly lit, O world long darkened,
  • How would you bear the sudden light supreme?
  • Vague dreams and vain! See, thou who idly dreamest
  • Of what would be if every torch were lit,
  • See where thine own smoulders a wasted ember,
  • Thy torch—for noblest uses framed and fit.
  • Light thine own torch—and hold it to thy brother,
  • And his shall kindle at the flame of it.
1889.
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