Gerald Massey: Poems and Ballads (4)

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FLING out the red Banner!  its fiery front under,
    Come, gather ye, gather ye, Champions of Right!
And roll round the world, with the voice of God's thunder,
    The Wrongs we've to reckon, oppressions to smite,
They deem that we strike no more like the old Hero-band,
    Victory's own battle-hearted and brave:
Blood of Christ! brothers mine, it were sweet but to see
            ye stand,
    Triumph or Tomb welcome, Glory or Grave!

Fling out the red Banner in mountain and valley!
    Let Earth feel the tread of the free once again;
Now soldiers of Freedom, for love of God, rally,
    Old Earth yearns to know that her children are Men.
We are nerved by a thousand wrongs, burning and
Bold Thoughts leap to birth, but the bold Deeds must
And wherever Humanity's yearning and pleading,
    One battle for Liberty strike we heart-home.

Fling out the red Banner!  achievements immortal
    Have yet to be won by the hands labour-brown;
And few, few may enter the proud promise-portal,
    Yet were it in thought like a glorious Crown!
And O joy of the onset! sound trumpet, array us;
    True hearts would leap up were all hell in our path.
Up, up from the Slave-land; who stirreth to stay us,
    Shall fall, as of old, in the Red Sea of wrath.

Fling out the red Banner, O Sons of the morning!
    Young spirits abiding to burst into wings,
We stand shadow-crown'd, but sublime is the warning,
    All heaven's grimly husht, and the Bird of Storm
"All's well," saith the Sentry on Tyranny's tower,
    While Hope by his watch-fire is grey and tear-blind;
Ay, all's well!   Freedom's Altar burns, hour by hour,
    Live brands for the fire-damp with which ye are mined.

Fling out the red Banner! the patriots perish,
    But where their bones whiten the seed striketh root:
Their blood hath run red the great harvest to cherish:
    Then gather ye, Reapers, and garner the fruit.
Victory! victory!   Tyrants are quaking!
    The Titan of Toil from the bloody thrall starts;
The slaves are awaking, the dawn-light is breaking,
    The foot-fall of Freedom beats quick at our hearts!

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WILL you leave the fond bosom of Home, where
    Bliss hath been from your earliest waking?
Can you give its endearments to come, where
    Life hath many a hot heart-aching?
Have you counted the cost to stand by me,
    In the battle I fight for Man?
And shall your angel-love deify me,
    Who stand in the world's dark ban?
O, a daring high soul you will need, dear love,
    To brave the life-battle with me:
For your true heart may oftentimes bleed, dear love,
    And your sweet eyes dim tearfully.

Sweet! know you of gallant hearts perishing,—
    The fine spirits that dumbly bow?
For a little of Fortune's cherishing,
    They are breaking in agony now!
And without the sunshine that life needeth,
    Alas! Sweet! for me and for you:
But little the careless world heedeth
    For love like ours, tender and true!
O, a daring high soul you will need, dear love,
    To brave the life-battle with me:
For your true heart may oftentimes bleed, dear love,
    And your sweet eyes dim tearfully.

Well, you've sworn, I have sworn, God hath bound us,
    In a covenant the world shall not part;
I have flung my love's purple around us,
    And you live in each pulse of my heart!
It may be our name in Earth's story
    Shall endure when we are no more;
For love lives as the Stars burn in glory,
    And the Flowers bud on Earth's green floor.
But a daring high soul you will need, dear love,
    To brave the life-battle with me:
For your true heart may oftentimes bleed, dear love,
    And your sweet eyes dim tearfully.

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DEEPER and deeper the Tyrant's lash flayeth,
Swifter and swifter grim Misery slayeth;
Tighter and tighter the grip of Toil groweth,
Nearer and nearer the dark Ruin floweth.
And still ye bear on, and ye faint heart and breath,
Till ye creep, scourged hounds, to your kennel of death:
O down to the dust with ye, cowards and slaves,
Plague-stricken cumber-grounds, slink to your graves!

Love is the crown of all life, but ye wear it not;
Freedom, Humanity's palm, and ye bear it not;
Beauty spreads banquet for all, but ye share it not;
Grimmer the blinding veil glooms, and ye tear it not.
Weaving your life flowers in Wrong's robe of glory,
Ye stint in your starkness with hearts smitten hoary:
O down to the dust with ye, cowards and slaves,
Plague-stricken cumber-grounds, slink to your graves!

They have broken our hearts for their hunger, and trod
The wine-press for Death, with the grapes of our God;
And ye lick their feet, red with your blood, like dumb
Ah! better and braver to meet them in battle!
The bow that Tell drew hath lost none of its spring,
But ye nerve not with daring the arrow and string:
Then down to the dust with ye, cowards and slaves,
Plague-stricken cumber-grounds, slink to your graves!

There's a curse on the Mammonites fiery and fell,
Gold turns their hard hearts into hearthstones for hell;
And there's wringing of hands with the Knave and the
For God's graven autograph's on their death-warrant,
While lordlier manhood 'neath Freedom's heart yearneth,
Up now! while before ye the fire-pillar burneth!
Or down to the dust with ye, cowards and slaves,
Down, down for ever, and slink to your graves!

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SONS of Old England, from the sod,
    Up-lift the noble brow!
Gold apes a mightier power than God,
    And wealth is worshipt now!
In all these toil-ennobled lands
    Ye have no heritage:
They snatch the fruit of youthful hands,
    The staff from weary age.
O tell them in their Palaces,
    These lords of Land and Money!
They shall not kill the poor like bees,
    To rob them of Life's honey.

Thro' long dark years of blood and tears,
    We've toil'd like branded slaves,
Till Wrong's red hand hath made a land
    Of paupers, prisons, graves!
But our long-sufferance endeth now,
    Within the souls of men
The fruitful buds of promise blow,
    And Freedom lives again!
O tell them in their Palaces,
    These Lords of Land and Money!
They shall not kill the poor like bees,
    To rob them of Life's honey.

Too long have Labour's nobles knelt
    Before exalted "Rank ;"
Within our souls the iron is felt—
    We hear our fetters clank!
A glorious voice goes throbbing forth
    From millions stirring now,
Who yet before these Gods of earth
    Shall stand with unblencht brow.
O tell them in their Palaces,
    These Lords of Land and Money!
They shall not kill the poor like bees,
    To rob them of Life's honey.

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WHEN unseen fingers part the leaves,
    And show us Beauty's face;
And Earth her breast of glory heaves
    And glows from Spring's embrace:
When Flowers on green and golden wings
    Float up—Life's sea cloth swell
And flush a world of vernal things,—
    Came little Lilybell.

And like a blessed Bird of calm
    Our love's sweet wants she stilled,
Made Passion's fiery wine run balm,—
    Life's glory half fulfilled!
From dappled dawn to twinkling dark,
    This witching Ariel
Fills all our heaven: or like a Lark
    Sings little Lilybell.

And she is fair, O very fair,—
    Has eyes so like the dove!
And lightly leans her world of care
    Upon our arms of love!
It cannot be that ye will break
    The promise-tale ye tell,
Ye will not make such fond hearts ache,
    O little Lilybell!

As on Life's stream her leaflets spread,
    And tremble in its flow,
We shudder, lest the awful Dead
    Pluck at her from below!
Breathe softly low, ye Winds that start, —
    O stream, but faintly swell:
Your every motion smites the heart,
    For little Lilybell.

We tremble: lest the angel Death,
    Who comes to gather flowers
For Paradise—at her sweet breath,
    Should fall in love with ours!
O many a year may come and go
    Ere from Life's mystic well
Such stream shall flow—such flower shall blow,
    As our sweet Lilybell.

Oh! when thy dear heart fills with fears,
    And aches with Love's sweet pain,
And pale cheeks burn thro' happy tears
    Like red Rose in the rain—
I marvel Sweet! if we shall see
    The sight and say 'tis well,
When the Beloved calls for thee,
    Our dainty Lilybell?

How rich Love made the lowly sod
    Where such a Flower hath blown!
O Love, we love, and think that God
    Is such a love full-grown!
Dear God, that gave the blessed trust,
    Be near, that all be well,
And morn and eve bedew our dust,
    For love of Lilybell.

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WITH a white hand like a lady,
    And a heart as merry as Spring,
I am ripe and I am ready
    For a golden wedding-ring.

As the earth with sea is bounded,
    And the Winter-world with Spring,
So a Maiden's life is rounded
    With a golden wedding-ring.

This old world is scarce worth seeing,
    Till Love waves his purple wing,
And we gauge the bliss of being,
    Thro' a golden wedding-ring.

Would you draw far Edens nearer
    And to Earth the angels bring,
You must seek the magic mirror
    Of a golden wedding-ring.

I have known full many a Maiden
    Like a white Rose withering,
Into fresh ripe beauty redden
    Thro' a golden wedding-ring.

Fainting spirits oft grow fearless,
    Sighing hearts will soar and sing,
Tearful, eyes will laugh out tearless,
    Thro' a golden wedding-ring.

There's no jewel so worth wearing,
    That a Lover's hands may bring,
There's no treasure worth comparing
    With a golden wedding-ring.

As the crescent Moon rings golden
    Her full beauty perfecting,
Woman's glory is unfolden
    In a golden wedding-ring.

Ah! when hearts are wildly beating,
    And when arms all glowing cling,
Think Love's circle wants completing
    With a golden wedding-ring.

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LIKE a tree beside the river
    Of her life that runs from me,
Do I lean me, murmuring ever
    My fond love's idolatry:
And I reach out hands of blessing,
    And I stretch out hands of prayer,
And with passionate caressing,
    Waste my life upon the air.
In my ears the Syren river
    Sings, and smiles up in my face;
But for ever and for ever
    Runs from my embrace.

Spring by spring, the branches duly
    Clothe themselves in tender Flower,
And for her sweet sake as truly
    All their fruit and fragrance shower;
But, the stream with careless laughter,
    Runs in merry beauty by,
And it leaves me yearning after—
    Lone to weep, and lone to die!
In my ears the Syren river
    Sings, and smiles up in my face;
But, for ever and for ever,
    Runs from my embrace.

I stand 'mazèd in the moonlight,
    O'er its happy face to dream!
I am parched in the noonlight,
    By that cool and brimming stream!
I am dying by the river
    Of her life that runs from me!
While it sparkles by me ever
    With its cool felicity!
In my ears the Syren river
    Sings, and smiles up in my face;
But, for ever and for ever,
    Runs from my embrace.

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LOVE came to me in a rosy cloud,
    With a golden glory kist;
And caught me up, and in heaven we rode,
    Till it melted in mournful mist.
Gone! gone! is the light that shone,
    With the dream of my earlier day:
And the wild winds moan, and alone, alone,
    I wander my weary way.

The days come and go, and the seasons roll,—
    In their glory they pass me by;
And the lords of life and the happy in soul
    Walk under a smiling sky.
And the sweet springtide comes back to earth, o'er
    The soothed winter sea;
But He will return no more, no more,
    Never come back to me.

It were better that I lay sleeping
    With his baby upon my breast,
When the weary have done with their weeping
    And the wretched are rockt to their rest.
The world is a desolate, dreary one,
    And full of sad tears at best:
God, take back thy wandering weary one,
    Like a wounded bird home to its nest.

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WE sit serenely 'neath the Night,
As still as stars, with swift delight;
In tears, that tell how in Life's deep
The hidden pearls of beauty sleep;
And silent, as of sleeping Seas,
And quiet, as of dreaming Trees:
The river of our bliss runs filled,
Its faintest happy murmur stilled.

Upon my forehead rests thy palm,
And on my spirit rests thy calm:
I cannot see thy face, but know
Its sea of rose-bloom hath a glow
Like ruby light: and richly lies
The dew and shadows in thine eyes;
That ask how they may soothliest bless,
Like crystal-wells of tenderness.

Warm fragrance, like the soul o' the South,
Is round thee; and thy damask mouth
Dissolves me in delicious death,
It doth so breathe ambrosial breath!
Musk-roses blowing in the gloom,
Drop fragrance fainting in the room;
And such fine sadness fills the air,
Ripe Life a bloom of dew doth wear.

We sit, with silent glory crowned,
And Love's arms wound in amorous round;
As on rich clouds of fragrance swim
The summer dusk, so cool, and dim!
While we our fields of pleasure reap
Our Babes lie in the wood of Sleep;
One—first love's dream of beauty wrought!
One—the more perfect after-thought!

The harping hand hath dulled the lyre
Of thrilling heart-strings.     By their fire
Droopt low, the dreamy Passions doze,
In large luxuriance of repose.
I only see—that thou art near;
I only feel—I have thee, Dear!
I only hear thy throbbing heart,
And know that we can never part.

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QUAFF a cup, and send a cheer up for the Old Land!
              We have heard the Reapers shout,
              For the Harvest going out,
With the smoke of battle closing round the bold Land:
             And our message shall be hurled
             Up the ringing sides o' the world,
There are true hearts beating for you in the Gold Land.

We are with you in your battles, brave and bold Land!
              For the old ancestral tree
              Striketh root beneath the sea,
And it beareth fruit of Freedom in the Gold Land!
              We shall come too, if you call,
              We shall fight on if you fall,
Cromwell's land must never be a bought and sold Land.

O the standard of the Lord wave o'er the Old Land!
              For, the waiting world holds breath
             While she treads the dew of Death,
With the sleeve of Peace stript up from her bare, bold
             And her ruddy Rose will bloom
             On the bosom and the tomb
Of her many Heroes fallen for the Old Land.

O, a terror to the Tyrant is the Old Land!
              He remembers how she stood
              With her raiment rolled in blood,
When the tide of battle burst upon the bold Land,
              And he looks with darkened face,
              For he knows the hero-race
Sweep the harp of Freedom —draw her Sword with bold

Let thy glorious voice be heard thou great and bold Land!
              Speak the one victorious word,
              And fair Freedom's wandered Bird
Shall wing back with leaf of promise from the Old Land!
             And the Peoples shall come out
             From their slavery, with a shout
For the new world greeting in the Future's Gold Land.

When the smoke of Battle rises from the Old Land,
              You shall see the Tyrant down,
              You shall see the ransomed crown,
On the brow of prisoned peoples, freed with bold hand!
              She shall thrash her foes like corn;
              They shall eat the bread of scorn,
And will sing her song of Triumph in the Gold Land.

Quaff a cup, and send a cheer up from the Gold Land,
              We have heard the Reapers shout,
               For the harvest going out,
Seen the smoke of battle closing round the bold Land,
              And our message shall be hurled
              Up the ringing sides o' the world,
There are true hearts down here, beating for the Old

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HOW dimmed is all thy glory, and how dark the shadow
And wild the sorrow waileth thro' thy hamlets and thy
Thy banner burns no longer on the mountains and the sea,
And oh! the dead are blessed who thy suffering may not
How are thy brave ones scattered on many an alien
Thy darlings leal and true to the dear old Motherland.

They have bound thee in the grave-clothes, but, we watch
              with tears and sighs,
Till Freedom comes like Christ, and thou like Lazarus
              shalt rise.
Thy pale, pale face, my Country, yet shall flush with ripening
As Nature's color kindles when the breath of Spring doth
Oh! come thou Spring of promise ; mighty Hope, put forth
              thy hand,
And build thy arch of triumph for the dear old Motherland.

The Birds that follow Summer, they come and they depart,
 For the Land of my love, and the home of my heart:
And, like a wounded Bird, any spirit trembles in the wind,
And flutters down: and they are gone and I am left behind!
O my Dovelets in the net!   O the spoiler's bloody hand!
And I so far away from the dear old Motherland.

Sometimes when life is darkest, a glory bursts its glooms,
As Lightning thro' the startled night, the face of things
A sudden splendour smites me, and ere the thunders roll,
I see thy face look radiant thro' the darkness of my soul!
And thou art sitting at the feet of Freedom, great and grand,
Thy children happy in thy smile, thou dear old Motherland.

O thou among the nations, for thy might shalt yet be themed,
Thy fatal curse of Beauty by Love's blessing all redeemed!
The red wounds where they pierced thee, shall to scars of
              glory turn,
And in thy tearful eyes the light of boundless life shall burn!
The heavens are filled with Martyrs, but the earth still
              holds a band
Who meet in battle yet for the dear old Motherland.

Oh ! many are the gallant hearts will never answer when
Thy clarion-cry shall call us up to the field again!
And many are the tears must fall, and prayers go up to God,
But swift the vintage ripens, and the winepress shall be
The Harvest reddens rich for death! the Reapers clench
              the hand,
And Victory comes to wed his bride, thou dear old

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HE is gone: better so.   We should know who stand
    Our Banner: let none but the trusty remain!
For there's stern work at hand, and the time comes shall
    The shell from the pearl, and the chaff from the grain!
And the heart that thro' danger and death will be dutiful—
    Soul that with Cranmer in fire would shake hands;
With a Life, like a palace-home built for the Beautiful;
    Freedom of all her Beloved demands!

He is gone from us!   Yet shall we march on victorious,
    Hearts burning like Beacons—eyes fixt on the Goal!
And if we fall fighting, we fall like the Glorious;
    With face to the Stars, and all heaven in the soul!
And aye for the brave stir of battle we'll barter
    The sword of life sheatht in the peace of the grave:
And better the fieriest fate of the Martyr,
    Than live like the Coward, and die like the Slave!

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GOOD People! put no faith in Kings, nor in your Princes
Who break your hearts for bread, and grind your faces in
            the dust!
The Palace Paupers look from lattice high and mock your
The Champions of the Christ are dumb, or golden bit they
O but to see ye bend no more to earth's crime-cursed
Ye are God's Oracles: stand forth! be Nature's Priests
            and Kings!
Ye fight and bleed, while Fortune's darlings slink in
            splendid lair;
With lives that crawl, like worms through buried Beauty's
            golden hair!—
A tale of lives wrung out in tears their Grandeur's garb
And the last sobs of breaking hearts sound in their Chariot-
O league ye—crush the things that kill all love and
They are but Giants while we kneel : ONE LEAP, AND UP

Trust not the Priests, their tears are lies, their hearts are
            hard and cold;
They lead ye to sweet pastures, where they fleece the
            foolish fold!
The Church and State are linkt and sworn to desolate the
Good people, 'twixt these Foxes' tails, We'll fling a fiery
Up, if ye will be free, to golden calves no longer bow:
The Nations yearn for liberty—the world is earnest
Your bent-knee is half-way to hell!—Up, Serviles, from
            the dust!
The Harvest of the free red-ripens for the sickle-thrust.
They're quaking now, and shaking now, who've wrought
            the hurtling sorrow,
To-day the desolators, but the desolate To-morrow!
Loud o'er their murder's menace wakes the watchword of
            the Free:
They are but Giants while we kneel; ONE LEAP, AND UP

Some bravest patriot-hearts have gone, to break beyond
            the Sea.
And many in the dungeon have died for you and me!
And still we glut the Merciless —give all Life's glory up,
That stars of flame, and winking eyes, may crown their
Back, tramplers on the Many!   Death and Danger
            ambusht lie;
Beware ye, or the blood may run! the patient people cry;
Ah! shut not out the light of hope, or we may blindly
Like Samson in his strong death-grope, and whelm ye in
            the crash;
Think how they spurned the People mad, that old Regime
            of France,
Whose heads like poppies from Death's Scythe fell in a
            bloody dance.
Ye plead in vain, ye bleed in vain, ah!   Blind! when will
            ye see
They are but Giants while we kneel?   ONE LEAP, AND UP

The merry flowers are springing from our last-year
            Martyrs' mould,
As their dreams had taken blossom telling what they
            would have told;
Of all our rainbowed Future; and what this earth shall
When we have bartered blows and bonds for life and
Ah! what a face of glory shall the weary world put on,
When Love is crownèd, and shall king the heart its royal
O we shall see our darlings smile,—who meet us tearful
Ere the Eternal morn breaks grey, on the Beloved's
And Love shall give the kiss of Death no more to those
            we love,
And pride, not shame, shall flush the face of our heart-
            nestling Dove.
Rouse, Titans, scale th' Olympus where the hindering
            Tyrants be:
They are but Giants while we kneel; ONE LEAP, AND UP

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'TIS hard, 'tis hard to wander on through this bright
          world of ours,
Beneath a sky of smiling blue, on velvet paths of flowers,
With music in the woods, as there were nought but
          joyance known,
Or Angels walkt earth's solitudes, and yet with want to
To see no beauty in the stars, nor in God's radiant smile,
To wail and wander misery-curst! willing, but cannot toil.
There's burning sickness at my heart, I sink down
God of the wretched, hear my prayer: I would that I were

Heaven dropped down with manna still in many a golden
And feeds the leaves with fragrant breath, with silver dew
            the flow'r.
There's honeyed fruit for bee and bird, with bloom laughs
            out the tree,
And food for all God's happy things; but none gives food
            to me.
Earth, deckt with Plenty's garland-crown, smiles on my
          aching eye,
The purse-proud,—swathed in luxury—disdainful pass
          me by;
I've eager hands, and earnest heart—but may not work
            for bread!
God of the wretched, hear my prayer. I would that I were

Gold, art thou not a blessed thing: a charm above all
To shut up hearts to Nature's cry, when brother pleads
             with brother?
Hast thou a music sweeter than the voice of loving-
No ! curse thee, thou'rt a mist 'twixt God and man in
            outer blindness.
"Father, come back!" my children cry; their voices,
            once so sweet,
Now quiver lance-like in my bleeding heart! I cannot
The looks that make the brain go mad, for dear ones
            asking bread—
God of the wretched, hear my prayer: I would that I were

Lord! what right have the poor to wed?   Love's for the
            gilded great:
Are they not form'd of nobler clay, who dine off golden
'Tis the worst curse of Poverty to have a feeling heart:
Why can I not, with iron-grasp, tear out the tender part?
I cannot slave in you Bastille! ah no't were bitterer pain,
To wear the Pauper's iron within, than drag the Convict's
I'd work but cannot, starve I may, but will not beg for
God of the wretched, hear my prayer: I would that I were

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THE life of life's when for another we're living,
    Whose spirit responds to ours like a sweet Psalter;
When heart-smiles are burning, and flame-words out-
    The fire we have lit on her heart's holy Altar!
O Love, God's religion!   Love, burning and starried!
    The soul must be beautiful where thou art palaced;
I mark where thy kiss-seal is set on the forehead,
    I know where thy dew of heaven's richliest chaliced.
That radiant brow breaketh thro' cloud and world-stain,
    And strong is that soul in the battle of Duty;
Smiling May-sunshine thro' Life's Winter-rain,
    All outer things clothing with inner-world beauty!
        'Tis writ in the face, whose heart singeth for glee,
        "I love my Love, and my Love loves me."

Once I was a-weary of life and the world,
    And the voice of Delight on my heart fell accurst,
And my eyes oft with tear-drops unweetingly pearl'd,
    I had no one to love, tho' with love my heart burst:
Then on me a sweet dream of Paradise stole—
    Turn'd to radiance the shadows that brooded around
And walking the gardens that Eden my soul,
    One morning, my Love, like another Eve, found me:
She lookt, and a maëlstrom of joy whirled my bosom;
    She smiled, and my being ran bliss to the brim:
She spake, and my eager heart flusht into blossom;
    Dear Heaven! 'twas the music set to my Life's hymn!
        And up went my soul to God, shouting for glee—
        "I love my Love, and my Love loves me."

I know, Love of mine! time may nevermore bring
    Back the lost freshness that clad my young heart:
But, looking on thee, dear! sweet thoughts will up-spring,
    As from the cold tomb the green verdure will start!
I look in thine eyes, and, O joy to the weeper!
    Their love-light makes sunshine of all my dark fears;
And what made my heart faint, lifts it now, a strong
    And rivers of bliss flood its channels of tears.
I had deem'd its wealth flung on sands barren and burn-
    And sweet 'tis to find my Life's current again,
Caught up in thy Love's precious chalice—returning
    Like dew that hath been to heaven, dropping in rain.
        And my heart's perpetual hymn shall be,
            "I love my Love, and my Love loves me."

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A WAILING voice comes up a desolate road,
                     Drearily, drearily, drearily!
Where mankind have trodden the by-way of blood,
                     Wearily, wearily, wearily!
Like a sound from the Dead Sea all shrouded in
    With breaking of hearts, fetters clanking, men groan-
Or chorus of Ravens, that croak among tombs,
    It comes with the mournfullest moaning:
                     "Weep, weep, weep!"
            Yoke-fellows, listen,
            Till tearful eyes glisten:
'T is the voice of the Past: the dark, grim-featured Past,
All sad as the shriek of the midnight blast:
                     Weep, weep, weep,
Tears to wash out the red, red stain,
            Where earth hath been fatted
             By brave hearts that rotted,
And life ran a deluge of hot, bloody rain;
                     Weep, weep, weep.

Another voice comes from the millions that bend,
                     Tearfully, tearfully, tearfully!
From hearts which the scourges of Slavery rend,
                     Fearfully, fearfully, fearfully!
From many a worn, noble spirit that breaks,
    In the world's solemn shadows adown in Life's
From Mine, Forge, and Loom, trumpet-tongued it
    On the soul wherein Liberty rallies:
                     "Work, work, work."
            Yoke-fellows, listen,
            Till earnest eyes glisten:
'T is the voice of the Present.    It bids us, my brothers,
Be Freemen: and then for the freedom of others
                     Work, work, work!
For the Many a holocaust long to the Few:
            O work while ye may!
            O work while 't is day!
And cling to each other, united and true:
                     Work, work work.

There cometh another voice sweetest of all,
                     Cheerily, cheerily, cheerily!
And my heart leapeth up at its glorious call,
                     Merrily, merrily, merrily!
It comes like the soft touch of Spring-tide, un-warping
    The thrall of oppression that bound us:
It comes like a choir of the Seraphim, harping
    Their gladsomest music around us:
                     "Hope, hope, hope!"
            Yoke-fellows, listen,
            Till gleeful eyes glisten:
'T is the voice of the Future, the sweetest of all,
    That makes the heart leap to its glorious call.
                     Hope, hope, hope!
Brothers, step forth in the Future's van,
            For the worst is past,
            Right conquers at last,
And the better day dawns upon suffering man:
                     Hope, hope, hope.

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I CARE not a curse though from birth he inherit
    The tear-bitter bread and the stingings of scorn,
If the man be but one of God's nobles in spirit,—
    Though penniless, richly soul'd,—heartsome, though
And will not for golden bribe lout it or flatter,
    But clings to tile Right aye, as steel to the pole:
He may sweat at the plough, loom, or anvil, no matter,
    I'll own him the man that is dear to my soul.

His hand may be hard, and his raiment be tatter'd,
    On straw-pallet nightly his weary limbs rest;
If his brow wear the stamp of a spirit unfettered,
    I'm mining at once for the gems in his breast.
Give me the true man, who will fear not nor falter,
    Though Want be his guerdon, the Workhouse his goal,
Till his heart has burnt out upon Liberty's Altar:
    For this is the man I hold dear to my soul.

True hearts, in this brave world of blessings and beauty.
    Aye scorn the poor splendour of losel and lurker;
And Toil is creation's crown, worship is duty,
    And greater than Gods in old days is the Worker.
For us the wealth-laden world laboureth ever;
    For us harvests ripen, winds blow, waters roll;
And him who gives back in his might of endeavour,
    I'll cherish,—a man ever dear to my soul.

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O SWEET is the fair face of Nature, when Spring
    With living flower-rainbow in glory hath spann'd
Hill and dale; and the music of birds on the wing
    Makes earth seem a beautiful faery land!
And dear is our first-love's young spirit-wed bride,
    With her meek eyes just sheathing in tender eclipse,
When the sound of our voice calls her heart's ruddy tide,
    Uprushing in beauty to melt on her lips.
But Earth has no sight half so glorious to see,
As a People up-girding its might to be free.

To see men awake from the slumber of ages,
    With brows grim from labour, and hands hard and tan,
Start up living heroes, the dreamt-of by Sages!
    And smite with strong arm the oppressors of man:
To see them come dauntless forth 'mid the world's warring,
    Slaves of the midnight-mine! serfs of the sod!
Show how the Eternal within them is stirring,
    And never more bend to a crowned clod:
Dear God! 'tis a sight for Immortals to see,—
A People up-girding its might to be free.

Battle on bravely, O sons of humanity!
    Dash down the cup from your lips, O ye Toilers!
Too long hath the world bled for Tyrants' insanity—
    Too long our weakness been strength to our spoilers.
For Freedom and Right, gallant hearts, wrestle ever,
    And speak ye to others the proud word that won ye:
Your rights conquer'd once, shall be wrung from you
    O battle on bravely; the world's eyes are on ye;
And Earth hath no sight half so glorious to see,
As a People up-girding its might to be free!

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PRESS on, press on, ye Rulers, in the roused world's
          forward track:
It moves too sure for ye to put the clock of Freedom
We're gathering up from near and far, with souls in fiery
And Right doth bare its arm of might, to bring the spoilers
Kings, Priests, ye're far too costly, and we weary of your
We crown no more "Divinity," where Nature writeth
Ye must not bar our glorious path as in the days agone;
We know that God made Men, not Princes, Kings, or
          Priests. —Press on!

Press on, press on, ah!   "Nobles!" ye have play'd a
          daring game;
But your star of strength is failing, fades the prestige of
          your name:
Too long have ye been fed and nurst on human blood and
The naked truth is known, and Labour leaps to life, and
His pride of strength to bloated Ease he will no longer
For all who live should labour; "Lords," then all who
          work might live!
The combat comes! make much of what ye've wrung
          from Fatherland!
Press on, press on!   To-day we plead, To-morrow we'll

Press on! a million pauper-foreheads bend in Misery's
God's champions of the golden Truth still eat the mouldy
This damning curse of Tyrants must not kill the nation's
The spirit in a million Slaves doth pant on fire to start,
And strive to mend the world, and walk in Freedom's
          march sublime;
While myriads sink heart-broken, and the land o'er- 
          swarms with crime.
"O God!" they cry, "we die, we die, and see no earnest
Brothers, join hand and heart, and in the work press on,
          press on!

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MERRY Christmas Eve! in the Palace where knavery
    Crowds all the treasures the fair world can render;
Where spirits grow rusted in silkenest slavery,
    And life is out-panted, in sloth, and in splendour;
In gladness and glory, Wealth's darlings were meeting,
    And jewel-claspt fingers linkt softly again;
New friendships were twining, and old friends were
    And twin hearts grew one, in God's golden love-chain.

Merry Christmas Eve! in a poor man's grim hovel,
    There huddled in silence a famishing family;
Church-bells were laughing in musical revel,
    They heard the loud mockery, withnbrows throbbing
All in the merry time there they sat, mourning —
    Two sons —two brothers—in penal chains bleeding;
Their hearts wandered forth to the never-returning,
    Who rose on their vision, pale, haggard, and pleading.

Merry Christmas Eve! for the rich, as in duty,
    Taste pander'd and ruby wine woo'd on the board,
Eyes smiled in feign'd glory, on birth, and on beauty;
    And lying lips flatter'd the Mammonite lord.
Love-kisses sobb'd out, 'twixt the rollic and rout,
    And Hope went forth, reaping-in long-promist treasure.
What matter, tho' hearts might be breaking without?
    Their groans were unheard in the palace of pleasure.

Merry Christmas Eve! but the stricken ones heard
    No neighbourly welcome, no kind voice of kin;
They lookt at each other, but spake not a word,
    While through crevice, and cranny, the sleet drifted in,
In a desolate corner, one, hunger-kill'd, lay,
    And the mother's hot tears were the bosom-babe's food
What marvel, O Statesmen, what marvel, I pray,
    Such misery nurseth Crime's dark viper-brood?

O men, angel-imaged in Nature's fair mint,
    And is it for this, ye were fashioned divine?
Ah, where's the god-stamp —Immortality's print?
    We are tyrants and slaves, knit in one tortured twine:
That a few, like to gods, may stride over the earth,
    Millions, born to heart-murder, are given in pawn,
When will the world quicken for Liberty's birth,
    Which she waiteth, with eager wings beating the dawn?

False Priest, dare ye say 'tis the will of your God
    (And shroud the Christ's message in dark sophistry),
That these millions of paupers should bow to the sod?
    Up, up, trampled hearts, it's a lie! it's a lie!
They may carve "State" and "Altar" in characters
    But Tyranny's symbols are ceasing to win;
Be stirring, O people, your scroll is unfolden,
    And bright be the deeds ye emblazon therein.

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SWEET Phosphor tricks to a smile the brow of heaven,
Dawn's golden springs surge into floods of day,
Lush-leavy woods break into singing, Earth
From dewy dark rolls round her balmy side,
And all goes right, and merrily, with the world.

Spring with a tender beauty clothes the Earth,
Happy, and jewelled like a sumptuous Bride,
As tho' she knew no sorrow—held no grave:
No glory dims for all the hearts that break,
And all goes right, and merrily, with the world.

Birds sing as sweetly on the blossom'd boughs,
Suns mount as royally their sapphire throne,
Stars bud in gorgeous gloom, and harvests yield,
As tho' man nestled in the lap of Love:
All, all goes right, and merrily, with the world.

But slip this silken-folded mask aside,
And lo, Hell welters at our very feet!
The Poor are murder'd body and soul, the Rich
In Pleasure's chalice melt their pearl of life!
Ay, all goes right, and merrily, with the world.

Lean out into the looming Future, mark
The battle roll across the night to come!
"See how we right our Wrongs at last,"Revenge
Writes with red radiance on the midnight heaven:
Yet, all goes right, and merrily, with the world.

So Sodom, grim old Reveller! went to death.
Voluptuous Music throbb'd thro' all her courts,
Mirth wanton'd at her heart, one pulse before
Fire-tongues told out her bloody tale of wrong,—
And all went right, and merrily, with the world.

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GAILY the Sun woos the Spring for his Bride
    With kisses all warm and golden;
Till the life at her heart she no longer may hide,
    And the wealth of her lover is unfolden.

With kisses, sweet kisses, the mellow Rains start
    The virgin flowers a-blossom:
And ripen their beauty till fragrant lips part,
    And Love's jewel gleams rich in their bosom.

Faint with love wingeth the wantoning Wind,
    And yearns as its heart were a-breaking,
And kisses sweet kisses, till buds be untwined;
    And the young leaves all are awaking.

The wrinkled old Sea sidles up the sands,
    And lavishes kisses in showers
On the Earth, till the Grey-beard's young darling
    All dressed in her bridal flowers!

And there's nothing so dainty-sweet in life
    As to kiss the Maid, glowing and tender,
Till the heart of the Wife, giveth up in the strife,
    Full-flowering in Love's splendour.

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EARTH like a Lover poor and low
Feasts on Night's queenly beauty now;
While I, with burning heart and brow,
            Awake to weep for thee, Love!
The spangled glories of the Night,
The Moon that walks in soft, white light,
These cannot win my charmèd sight,
            Or lure a thought from thee, Love!

I'm thinking o'er the short, sweet hour,
Our hearts drank up Love's growth of power,
And summer'd as in Eden's bower,
            When I was blest with thee, Love!
There burn'd no beauty on the trees,
There woke no song of birds or bees,
But Love's cup for us held no lees,
            And I was blest with thee, Love.

Then grand and golden fancies spring
From out my heart, on splendid wing,
Like Chrysalis from Life's wintering —
            Burst bright and summeringly, Love!
And as a Chief of battle lost
Counts, and recounts, his stricken host,
Stands tearful Memory making most
            Of all that's toucht with thee, Love.

Perchance in Pleasure's brilliant bower
Thy heart may half forget Love's power,
But at this still and starry hour
            Does it not turn to me, Love?
O, by all pangs for thy sweet sake,
In my deep love thy heart-thirst slake,
Or, all-too-full, my heart must break:
            Break! break! with loving thee, Love!

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O LAY thy hand in mine, dear!
    We're growing old, We're growing old;
But Time hath wrought no sign, dear,
    That hearts grow cold, that hearts grow cold.
'Tis long, long since our new love
    Made life divine, made life divine;
But age enricheth true love,
    Like noble wine, like noble wine.

O lay thy cheek to mine, dear,
    And take thy rest, and take thy rest
Mine arms around thee twine, dear,
    And make thy nest, and make thy nest.
A many cares are pressing
    On this dear head, on this clear head
But Sorrow's hands in blessing
    Are surely laid, are surely laid.

O lean thy life on mine, dear!
    'Twill shelter thee, 'twill shelter thee.
Thou wert a winsome vine, dear,
    On my young tree, on my young tree:
And so, till boughs are leafless,
    And Song-birds flown, and Song-birds flown,
We'll twine; then lay us, griefless,
    Together down, together down.

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NOW, glory to our England,
    As she rises, calm and grand,
With the ancient spirit in her eyes,—
    The good Sword in her hand!
Our royal right on battle-ground,
    Was aye to bear the brunt:
Ho! brave heart! for one passionate bound,
    And take thy place in front!
Now glory to our England,
    As she rises, calm and grand,
With the ancient spirit in her eyes—
    The good Sword in her hand!

Who would not fight for England?
    Who would not fling a life
I' the ring, to meet a Tyrant's gage,
    And glory in the strife?
Her stem is thorny, but doth burst
    A glorious Rose a-top!
And shall our dear Rose wither?   First
    We'll drain life's dearest drop!
Who would not fight for England?
    Who would not fling a life
I' the ring, to meet a Tyrant's gage,
    And glory in the strife?

To battle goes our England,
    All as gallant and as gay
As Lover to the Altar, on
    A merry marriage-day.
A weary night she stood to watch
    The battle-dawn up-roll'd;
And her spirit leaps within, to match
    The noble deeds of old.
To battle goes our England,
    All as gallant and as gay
As Lover to the Altar, on
    A merry marriage-day.

Now, fair befall our England,
    On her proud and perilous road;
And woe and wail to those who make
    Her foot-prints red with blood!
Up with our red-cross banner—roll
    A thunder-peal of drums!
Fight on there, every valiant soul,
    And courage!   England comes!
Now, fair befall our England,
    On her proud and perilous road:
And woe and wail to those who make
    Her foot-prints red with blood!

Now, victory to our England!
    And where'er she lifts her hand
In Freedom's fight, to rescue Right,
    God bless the dear Old Land!
And when the Storm has pass'd away,
    In glory and in calm,
May she sit down, i' the green o' the day,
    And sing her peaceful psalm!
Now, victory to our England!
    And where'er she lifts her hand
In Freedom's fight, to rescue Right,
    God bless the dear Old Land!