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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
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page: 77

Inasmuch as ye did it not . . .

  • IF Christ should come to London,
  • Come to London to‐day,
  • He would not go to the West End,
  • He would come down our way.
  • He’d talk with the children dancing
  • To the organ out in the street,
  • And say He was their big Brother,
  • And give them something to eat.
  • He wouldn’t go to the mansions
  • Where the charitable live,
  • He’d come to the tenement houses
  • Where we ain’t got nothing to give;
  • He’d come so kind and so homely
  • And treat us to beer and bread,
  • And tell us how we ought to behave;
  • And we would mind what He said.
page: 78
  • In the bright warm West End churches
  • They sing and preach and pray;
  • They call us ‘Belovèd Brethren!’
  • But they do not act that way.
  • And when He come to the church door,
  • He’d call out bold and free:
  • ‘You stop that preaching and praying
  • And show what you’ve done for Me.’
  • Then they’d say ‘Oh, Lord, we have given
  • To the poor both blankets and tracts,
  • And we’ve tried to make them sober,
  • And we’ve tried to teach them facts.
  • But they will sneak round to the drink‐shop;
  • They pawn the blankets for beer;
  • And we find them very ungrateful,
  • But still we persevere.’
  • Then He would say ‘I told you
  • The time I was here before
  • That you were all of you brothers,
  • All you, that I suffered for.
  • I won’t go into your churches,
  • I’ll stop in the sun outside;
  • You bring out the men, your brothers,
  • The men for whom I died!’
  • Out of our lousy lodgings,
  • From arches and doorways about,
  • They’d have to do what He told them,
  • They’d have to call us out;
  • Millions and millions and millions,
  • Thick and crawling like flies,
  • We should creep out to the sunshine
  • And not be afraid of His eyes.
page: 79
  • He’d see what God’s image looks like,
  • When men have dealt with the same,
  • Wrinkled with work that is never done,
  • Swollen and dirty with shame;
  • He’d see on the children’s foreheads
  • The branded gutter‐sign,
  • That marks the girls to be harlots,
  • That dooms the boys to be swine.
  • Then He’d say ‘What’s the good of your churches,
  • When these have nowhere to sleep?
  • How can I hear your praying
  • When they are cursing so deep?
  • I gave My blood and My body
  • That all should have bread and wine;
  • And you have taken your share,—and theirs—
  • Of these good gifts of Mine.’
  • Then some of the rich would be sorry,
  • And all would be very scared,
  • And they’d say ‘But we never knew, Lord!’
  • And He’d say ‘Ye never cared!’
  • And some would be sick and shameful
  • Because they’d know that they knew,
  • But the best would say ‘We were wrong, Lord:
  • Tell us what we can do!’
  • I think He’d be sitting, likely,
  • For some one ’ud bring Him a chair,
  • With a common kid cuddled up on His knee,
  • And the common sun on His hair;
  • And they’d be standing before Him,
  • And He’d say ‘You know, and you knew;
  • You ought to work for your brothers,
  • The same as I worked for you.
page: 80
  • ‘For, since you’re all of you brothers,
  • It’s clear as the blessed sun
  • That each must work for the others,
  • Not thousands work for one.
  • And the ones that have lived bone‐idle,
  • If they want Me to hear them pray,
  • Let them go and work for their livings
  • The only honest way!
  • ‘I’ve got nothing new to tell you,
  • It’s just what I always said;
  • But you’ve built their bones into churches
  • And stolen their wine and bread.
  • You, with My name on your forehead,
  • Liar and traitor, and knave,
  • You have lived on the death of your brothers,
  • These, whom I died to save!’
  • I wish He would come and say it—
  • Perhaps they’d believe it then,
  • And work like men for their livings
  • And let us work, like men.
  • Brothers! They’ll never believe it,
  • The lie on their lips is red . . .
  • They’ll never believe till He comes again
  • Or till We rise from the dead!
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