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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
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page: 68

Knowledge

I

  • I SAW a people trampled on, oppressed,
  • With helpless hands, and eyes of light afraid,
  • With aching shoulders whereon burdens laid
  • By day and night choked hope and murdered rest;
  • A people sordid, sad, unloved, unblessed,
  • Whose shroud by their own hands was ever made,
  • Whose never‐ending toil was only paid
  • By death‐in‐life—or death, of life’s gifts best.
  • ‘What help,’ I cried, ‘for these whose hands are weak—
  • Too weak to hold the weapons they should wield;
  • Too weak to grasp a helping hand, or seek
  • With armed battalions to dispute the field,
  • And on the oppressors just revenge to wreak?’
  • Then—as I cried—the helper was revealed.
page: 69

II

  • I saw a woman, pure, and calm, and grand,
  • With strong broad brows, and eyes whose keen clear flame
  • Lit up men’s hearts and showed them glory and shame,
  • And what things could, and what things could not stand,
  • Justice and Honour stood at her right hand;
  • And blazoned on her forehead was her name,
  • Too bright for me to read; and as she came
  • Men bowed and worshipped her through all the land.
  • And evil could not live before her eyes,
  • And good rose up to answer her call.
  • ‘Who art thou,’ then I said, ‘that dost arise
  • Strong to redeem this people from their thrall?’
  • She answered me with tender voice and wise:
  • ‘My name is Knowledge—and I conquer all!’
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