Ernest Jones: Poems (2)
Home Up Biographical The Battle-Day Woman's Wrongs Poetry Reviews The Cabinet Letters, &c. Marx on Chartism On Democracy Democracy Vindicated Main Index Site Search
 


 



OUR SUMMONS.


Men of the honest heart,
    Men of the stalwart hand,
Men, willing to obey,
    Thence able to command:

Men of the rights withheld,
    Slaves of the power abused,
Machines cast to neglect,
    When your freshness has been
        used.

Ye labourers in the vineyard,
    We call you to your toil!
Though bleak may be the furrows,
    The seed is in the soil.

'Tis not to raise a palace,
    Where Royalty may dwell,
Nor build for broken hearts
    The petty parish hell;

'Tis not to turn the engine,
    'Tis not the field to till,
That, for the meed you gain,
    Might be a desert still!

'Tis not to dig the grave,
    Where the dying miner delves;
'Tis not to toil for others
    But to labour for yourselves.

And nobler coin will pay you,
    Than Kings did e'er award
To the men, they hired to murder,
    The brothers they should guard.

No glittering stars of knighthood,
    Shall soil your simple vest—
But the better star of honour 
    Brave heart in honest breast. 

No changing Norman titles,
    To hide your English name—
But the better one of freemen,
    With its blazoning of fame. 

Up!  Labourers in the vineyard!
    Prepare ye for your toil!
For the sun shines on the furrows,
    And the seed is in the soil.


[Return to Index]

_______________________

A CHARTIST CHORUS.


Go! cotton lords and corn lords, go!
    Go! Ye live on loom and acre,
But let be seen—some law between
    The giver and the taker.

Go! treasure well your miser's store
    With crown, and cross, and sabre!
Despite you all—we'll break your thrall,
    And have our land and labour.

You forge no more—you fold no more
    Your cankering chains about us;
We heed you not—we need you not,
    But you can't do without us.

You've lagged too long, the tide has turned,
    Your helmsmen all were knavish;
And now we'll be—as bold and free,
    As we've been tame and slavish.

Our lives are not your sheaves to glean—
    Our rights your bales to barter:
Give all their own—from cot to throne,
    But ours shall be THE CHARTER!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

OUR DESTINY.


Labour! labour! labour! toil! toil! toil!
    With the wearing of the bone and the drowning of the mind;
Sink like shrivelled parchment in the flesh-devouring soil;
    And die, when ye have shouted it till centuries shall hear!
    Pass away unheeded like the waving of the wind!

Build the marble palace! sound the hollow fame!
    Be the trodden pathway for a conqueror's career!
Exhale your million breathings to elevate one name!
    And die, when ye have shouted it till centuries shall hear!

"By right divine we rule ye.   God made ye but for us!"
    Thus cry the lords of nations to the slaves whom they subdue.
Unclasp God's book of nature—its writings read not thus!
    Hear! tramplers of the millions!—Hear! benders to the few!

God gave us hearts of ardour—God gave us noble forms—
    And God has poured around us his paradise of light!
Has he bade us sow the sunshine, and only reap the storms?
    Created us in glory, to pass away in night?

No! say the sunny heavens, that smile on all alike;
    The waves, that upbear navies, yet hold them in their thrall;
No! shouts the dreadful thunder, that teaches us to strike
    The proud, for one usurping, what the Godhead meant for all.

No! no! we cry united by our suffering's mighty length:
    Ye—ye have ruled for ages—now we will rule as well!
No! no! we cry triumphant in our right's resistless strength;
    We—we will share your heaven—or ye shall share our hell!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

OUR WARNING.


Ye lords of golden argosies!
    And Prelate, prince, and peer;
And members all of Parliament,
    In rich St. Stephens, hear!

We are gathering up through England,
    All the bravest and the best;
From the heather-hills of Scotland,
    To the green Isle of the West.

From the corn field and the factory,
    To the coal-belt's hollow zone;
From the cellars of the city,
    To the mountain's quarried stone.

We want no courtiers golden
    And ye no bayonets need;
If tales of ages olden
    Arightly ye will read.

'Tis justice that ensureth
    To statutes, they shall last;
And liberty endureth
    When tyrannies have passed.

We seek to injure no man;
    We ask but for our right;
We hold out to the foreman
    The hand that he would smite!

And, if ye mean it truly,
    The storm may yet be laid,
And we will aid you duly,
    As brothers brothers aid;—

But, if ye falsely play us,
    And if ye but possess
The poor daring to betray us,
    Not the courage to redress;
Then your armies shall be scattered,—
    If at us their steel be thrust,—
And your fortresses be battered,
    Like atoms in the dust!

And the anger of the nation
    Across the land shall sweep,
Like a mighty Devastation
    Of the winds upon the deep!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

OUR CHEER.


My countrymen! why languish
    Like outcasts of the earth,
And drown in tears of anguish
    The glory of your birth?
Ye were a free-born people
    And heroes were your race:
The dead, they are our freemen,
    The living—our disgrace!

You bend beneath your fetters,
    You fear your foes to spurn:
March! when you meet your betters,
    'Tis time enough to turn!
Undam the tide of Freedom!
    Your hearts its godlike source,
Faith, honour, right and glory,
    The currents of its course.

And were it death awaits ye:
    Oh! Death is liberty!
Then quails the power, that hates ye,
    When freemen dare to die.

He shall not be a Briton
    Who dares to be a slave!
An alien to our country!
    And a mockery to the brave!

Down with the cup untasted!
    Its draught is not for thee.
Its generous strength were wasted
    On all, but on the free!

Turn from the altar, bondsman!
    Nor touch a British bride!
What?   Woulds! thou bear her blushing
    For thee at thine own side?

Back from the church door, craven!
    The great dead sleep beneath,
And liberty is graven
    On every sculptured wreath.
For whom shall lips of beauty,
    And history's glories be?
For whom the pledge of friendship?
    For the free! the free! the free!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

THE BLACKSTONE-EDGE GATHERING.

On the 2nd of August, 1846
AIR—"THE BATTLE OF HOHENLINDEN"


O'er plains and cities far away,
All lorn and lost the morning lay,
When sunk the sun at break of day,
    In smoke of mill and factory.


But waved the wind on Blackstone height
A standard of the broad sunlight,
And sung, that morn, with trumpet might,
        A sounding song of Liberty.


And grew the glorious music higher,
When pouring with his heart on fire,
Old Yorkshire came, with Lancashire,
    And all its noblest chivalry.


The men, who give,—not those, who take;
The hands, that bless,—yet hearts that break;
Those toilers for their foemen's sake;
        Our England's true nobility!


So brave a host hath never met,
For truth shall be their bayonet,
Whose bloodless thrusts shall scatter yet
    The force of false finality!


Though hunger stamped each forehead spare,
And eyes were dim with factory glare,
Loud swelled the nation's battle prayer,
        Of—death to class monopoly!

Then every eye grew keen and bright,
And every pulse was dancing light,
For every heart had felt its might
        The might of labour's chivalry.

And up to Heaven the descant ran,
With no cold roof 'twixt God and man,
To dash back from its frowning span,
        A church prayer's listless blasphemy.

How distant cities quaked to hear,
When rolled from that high hill the cheer,
Of—Hope to slaves! to tyrants fear!
        And God and man for liberty!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

THE FACTORY TOWN.


The night had sunk along the city,
    It was a bleak and cheerless hour;
The wild-winds sung their solemn ditty
    To cold, grey wall and blackened tower.

The factories gave forth lurid fires
    From pent-up hells within their breast;
E'en Ætna's burning wrath expires,
    But man's volcanoes never rest.

Women, children, men were toiling,
    Locked in dungeons close and black,
Life's fast-failing thread uncoiling
    Round the wheel, the modern rack!

E'en the very stars seemed troubled
    With the mingled fume and roar;
The city like a cauldron bubbled,
    With its poison boiling o'er.

For the reeking walls environ
    Mingled groups of death and life
Fellow-workmen, flesh and iron,
    Side by side in deadly strife.

There, amid the wheel's dull droning
    And the heavy, choking air,
Strength's repining, labour's groaning,
    And the throttling of despair,—

With the dust around them whirling,
    And the white, cracked, fevered lips,
And the shuttle's ceaseless twirling,
    And the short life's toil-eclipse:

Stood half-naked infants shivering
    With heart-frost amid the heat;
Manhood's shrunken sinews quivering
    To the engine's horrid beat!

Woman's aching heart was throbbing
    With her wasting children's pain,
While red Mammon's hand was robbing
    God's thought-treasure from their brain!

Yet the master proudly shows
    To foreign strangers factory scenes:
"These are men—and engines those—"
    "I see nothing but—machines!"

Hark! amid the bloodless slaughter
    Comes the wailing of despair:
"Oh! for but one drop of water!
    "Oh ! for but one breath of air!

"One fresh touch of dewy grasses,
"Just to cool this shrivelled hand!
"Just to catch one breeze that passes
"From our blessed promised LAND!"

No! though 'twas night of summer
    With a scent of new mown hay
From where the moon, the fairies' mummer,
    On distant fields enchanted lay!

On the lealands slept the cattle,
    Slumber through the forest ran,
While, in Mammon's mighty battle
    Man was immolating man!

While the great, with power unstable,
    Crushed the pauper's heart of pain,
As though the rich were heirs of Abel
    And the poor the sons of Cain.

While the priest, from drowsy riot,
    Staggered past his church unknown,
Where his God in the great quiet,
    Preached the livelong night alone!

Still the bloated trader passes,
    Lord of loom and lord of mill;
On his pathway rush the masses,
    Crushed beneath his stubborn will.

Eager slaves, a willing heriot,
    O'er their brethren's living road
Drive him in his golden chariot,
    Quickened by his golden goad.

Young forms—with their pulses stifled,
    Young heads—with eldered brain,
Young hearts—of their spirit rifled,
    Young lives—sacrificed in vain:

There they lie—the withered corses,
    With not one regretful thought,
Trampled by thy fierce steam-horses,
    England's mighty Juggernaut!

Over all the solemn heaven
    Arches, like a God's reproof
At the offerings man has driven
    To Hell's altars, loom and woof!

And the winds with anthems ringing,
    Cleaving clouds, and splitting seas,
Seem unto the People singing :
    "Break your chains as we do these!"

And human voices too resound:
    Gallant hearts! take better cheer!
The strongest chains by which you're bound,
    Are but the chains of your own fear! 

Weavers!   'Tis your shrouds you're weaving,
    Labourers!  'Tis your graves you ope;
Leave tyrants toil-deceiving!
    Rise to freedom!   Wake to hope!

Still, the reign of guilt to further,
    Lord and slave the crime divide:
For the master's sin is murder,
    And the workman's—suicide!

Up in factory!   Up in mill!
    Freedom's mighty phalanx swell!
You have God and Nature still.
    What have they, but Gold and Hell.

Fear ye not your masters' power;
    Men are strong when men unite;
Fear ye not one stormy hour:
    Banded millions need not fight.

Then, how many a happy village
    Shall be smiling o'er the plain,
Amid the corn-field's pleasant tillage,
    And the orchard's rich domain!

While, with rotting roof and rafter,
    Drops the factory, stone by stone,
Echoing loud with childhood's laughter,
    Where it rung with manhood's groan!

And flowers will grow in blooming-time,
    Where prison-doors their jarring cease:
For liberty will banish crime—
    Contentment is the best Police.

Then the palaces will moulder,
    With their labour-draining joys;
For the nations, growing older,
    Are too wise for royal toys.

And nobility will fleet,
    With robe, and spur, and scutcheon vain;
For Coronets were but a cheat,
    To hide the brand upon a Cain!

And cannon, bayonet, sword and shield,
    The implements of murder's trade,
Shall furrow deep the fertile field,
    Converted into hoe and spade!

While art may still its votaries call;
    Commerce claim and give its due;
Supplying still the wants of all,
    But not the wastings of the few.

Gathering fleets may still resort,
    With snowy canvass proudly bent,
For bearing wealth from port to port
    But not for war or banishment!

Then up, in one united band,
    Both farming slave and factory-martyr!
Remember, that, to keep the LAND,
    The best way is—to gain the CHARTER!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

A SONG FOR MAY.


Spring is come, and shades depart
Lighter beats each human heart;
Ghost-like snow—is fleeting slow,
And the green spring-grasses grow.

Streams, that long have crept like slaves,
Dash along their gallant waves:
Man, that wanderest by the brink,
Pause upon thy way, and—think!

Every bud is filled to bursting
    With its future fruit and flower:
Hearts of men! are ye not thirsting
    For the fruit of Freedom's hour? 

See! the fields are turning fairer,
    And the skies are more divine:
Oh! what glorious growth shall ripen!
    Oh! what glorious light will shine!

And shall man in slavish darkness,
    Moulder downward to the Sod?
God made earth an earth for freemen:
    Thou! be worthy of thy God!

All that beauty of creation,
    On the hills, and winds, and waves,
All its endless animation
    Was not—was not meant for slaves!

See the sower freely striding
    With the seed-sheets round him wound,
And the gold grain-corn abiding
    In the treasure-clasping ground.

See the furrows open kindly
    Where the earth with generous sap,
Like a mother, nurseth blindly
    Fairy-growth on dark-brown lap.

Think! of all the treasure teeming
    In that earth, and sea, and air,—
Labour's toil to Mammon's scheming—
    What shall fall to Labour's share!

Think upon the hour of harvest—
    Little mouths shall ask for bread—
But the wain goes past thy cottage,
    To the farmer's rich home-stead.

Dies away the children's laughter—
    Hungry hearts are tame and still—
And the autumn's on the forest,
    And the winter's on the hill.

Then, amid the desolation,
    Stand—a helpless human thing;
Cry: 'We are a glorious nation!
    Love the church! and serve the king!'

Then toil on with brow of anguish,
    From the cradle to thy grave:
Oh, if that be God's intention,
    Man is but a wretched slave!

But they tell us of a guerdon,
    Won by Labour's thrifty toil,
And how he who folds the furrow,
    Should be owner of the soil.

How the means for man's redemption,
    In his own possession rest,
How the country can be happy,
    And the people can be blest.

And how some have chosen wisely,
    And how some have acted right:
How the taverns grow more empty,
    And the cottages more bright.

And how these are proud as monarchs,
    Living gaily on their own,
With their freehold for their empire,
    And their fireside for their throne.

Where the corn-lands' pleasant tillage,
    Over-waves the graceful hill,
And a wood-embosomed village,
    Rise at O'CONNORVILLE.

And they beckon to their brothers,
    Who are still in slavery's wake,
To be striving and be stirring,
    For their own—their children's sake.

People, rise! and arm thee well!
Hope, that care cannot dispel,
Self-reliance, firmly wrought,
Wisdom by Experience taught,
Thrift and order, courage true,
These are arms to lead us through!
Wield them now—as you would thrive!—
Onward! 'tis the time to strive!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

THE ROYAL BOUNTY.

A Legend of Windsor


A song for the Queen! our gracious Queen,
    Who giveth her subjects bread!
Paupers! throw up your caps in the air;
Little for the Poor laws ye need care,
    For the Queen will see you fed.

In Windsor Palace, 'neath plate and chalice,
    The many tables groan:
The Queen has eaten and drunk her fill;
And she thinks (thought cometh, do what you will)
    How the children of Famine moan.

The thought it was one too wo-begone
    For a Queen's digestive powers:
She had never a wink of sleep that night;
She had time to think, by the morning light,
    Of the world a "State" devours.

The very next day, scarce the Dean could pray
    For a blessing on the meat,
When the Queen stood up with a pleasant face;
Thought she, it would be a much better grace
    To give the Poor folk to eat.

So her Grace spoke out, not round about
    But straightway to the point:
Quoth she—"Lord Steward! methinks you carve
Too recklessly, while our subjects starve!
    Good Lord! how you hack the joint!

"Is there never a hound in the royal ground
    Would be glad of these dainty scraps?
Who knows but some unfed human thing,
Worn, and naked and perishing,
    Might care for them—perhaps!"

"There is never a hound upon royal ground
    But is sleekly overfed;
To be sure there are poor in Windsor town,
Paupers with misery overgrown;"
    Says the Queen—"Give them the bread!—

"The dogs love meat; it would be no treat
    To dish for them the crumbs:
There's a race, I think, call'd the Skilly-fed;
Suppose you give them the broken bread,
    To any one that comes?"

At the Queen's command, now every hand
    Is grabbling on the floor:
The fat dogs sleep while the courtly rout
Sweep up the crumbs, and fling them out
    To the paupers round the door.

And day by day—newspapers say—
    The Royal bounties pour:
Our gracious Queen so giveth a zest
To pauper meals, and thankful breast
    To—thirty slaves or more.

Yet some will doubt, if a hearty shout
    From Windsor flies to Heaven
For the Royal Lady, whose bounteous heart
Daily returneth so SMALL A PART
    Of all from the pauper riven.

A story is told of a traveller bold
    Who, being in want of food,
Cut off and ate the tail of his hound,
Returned him the bone, and strangely found
    The brute had no gratitude!



From a recent number of the Court journal we learn that
the Queen, in consideration of the sufferings of her
starving subjects, has been "graciously pleased" that the
crumbs of bread from the Royal tables should be given to
the Poor, instead of being thrown into the dust-bin.


[Return to Index]

_______________________

ONWARD.


Who bids us backward—laggards, stay!
As soon wave back the light of day!
We have not marched so long a way
To yield at last, like craven things,
To worn-out nobles, priests, and kings.

Go bid the eagle clip its wing!
Go bid the tempest cease to sing,
And streams to burst, and tides to spring;
And, should they listen to your call,
We'll onward still, and face you all!

Oh! we have battled long and true;
While you were many, we were few,
And stronger chains we've broken through:
Think not your paltry silken bands
Can bind Progression's giant hands.

Go stay the earthquake in the rock,
Go quench the hot volcano's shock,
And fast the foaming cataract lock:
Ye cannot build the walls to hold
A daring heart and spirit bold.

Forbid the flowery mould to bloom,
Where years have scathed a tyrant's tomb,
And tell us slavery is our doom:
E'en as the peaceful march of time
Moulders the rampart's stony prime,
So calm Progression's steady sway
Shall sap and sweep your power away.


[Return to Index]

_______________________

A SONG FOR THE PEOPLE.

AIR—" THE BRAVE OLD OAK"


A song to the men—the working men,
        Who long in their chains have sighed,
'Neath the usurer's frown—and lord and Crown,
        And the Churchman's greedy pride.

There's strength in our bands—and our fate's in
            our hands;
        If we knew but to use our power,
The foul-class rule—of the knave and fool,
        Needn't last for a single hour.

Then down to the dust—with titled lust,
        And down with the gold king vile,
For the world shall see—that we will be free,
        And free be the sister-isle.*

In the days of old—when hearts beat bold,
        To the flap of Freedom's wing,
The dust at our feet—was the winding sheet,
        That wrapt a headless king.

Are we happier now?—No! the millions bow,
        'Neath a yoke ten times more black:
Ten times more strong—we'll march along,
        And drive the vermin back.

Then down to the dust—with titled lust,
        And down with the gold king vile,
For the world shall see—that we will be free,
        And free be the sister-isle.

Do they think we'll stand—with an idle hand,
        And starve, while they gorge their fill?
They yet may wake—to their grand mistake,
        And find there are men here still.

We seek not strife—and we value life,
        But only when life is free;
And we'll ne'er be slaves—to idle knaves,
        Whatever the cost may be.

Then down to the dust—with titled lust,
        And down with the fold king vile,
For the world shall see—that we will be free,
        And free be the sister-isle.*


* Ireland


[Return to Index]

_______________________

THE MARCH OF FREEDOM.


The nations are all calling
    To and fro, from strand to strand;
Uniting in one army
    The slaves of every land.

Lopsided thrones are creaking,
    For ' loyalty' is dead;
And commonsense is speaking
    Of honesty instead.

And coming Freedom whispers,
    'Mid the rushing of her wings,
Of loyalty to nature,
    Not loyalty to kings.
    The gold along the counters,
    Rings no longer pure and clear;
For 'tis coined with blood of childhood,
And 'tis stamped with manhood's tear.

And the bank-notes of the usurer,
    That ' justice' buy and sell,
Are the title-deeds ensuring
    His heritage in hell.

The church doors are worm-eaten,
    Where the well-paid parson drones;
And the loud bells in the steeples.
    Have learned unwonted tones:

In Padua and Pavia,
    'Tis not to prayers they call;
But they summon all the citizens,
    To conquer or to fall.

Well may the bell-tower tremble,
    And the parson shake betimes;
For the sanctuary shall cease to be
    A sanctuary for crimes.

From mountains old and hoary,
    First Liberty came down;
Like the avalanche her footfall,
    Like the thunder-cloud her frown.

On Friburg's towers she lighted,
    And the Lawine rushed below;
And the blackness of long bigotry
    Was swept as white as snow.

And far among the glaciers
    Were answering voices found,
As the thunder-blast of Freedom
    Reverberated round.

And she gazed from her Lake-Palace,
    From Lucerne's mimic sea,
And smiling she beheld
    That Switzerland was free.

Then from her southward mountains
    Looked downward where, below,
The Arno wind and Lido,
    And the Brenla and the Po.

She saw the Austrian Tiger,
    In Lombardy the fair,
Preparing for a bound
    As he crouched within his lair.

But downward still she wandered
    To monarchy's own home;
And the dust of empires trembled
    As she passed the gate of Rome.

And: ' I will make ye battle,
    Ye conquerors of mankind:
The tyranny of force
    With the tyranny of mind!'

Then she brought the twain together
    In the gorgeous Vatican:
The pontiff and the emperor,
    The monarch and the man.

And who think ye won the battle?
    Thus the rapid changes fled—
'Twas the man of mind who conquered,
    And the man of swords who fled!

Then Freedom rose immortal,
    As Freedom ever must,
Though Caesar's tombs are ruins,
    And Mammon's temples dust.

And southward still she wandered
    To Naples' fairy bay,
Where 'neath its grand volcano,
    The town-volcano lay.

Vesuvius unto Ætna
    Then waved its wild alarms,
Till news were brought to Naples
    That Trinacria was in arms.

On the mole the people gathered,
    As they saw the troops return,
From their death-bed at Palermo,
    To Napoli their urn.

And a heart-quake heaved around—
    And the city poured its might:
A tyrant reigned at morn,
    And a people reigned at night.

Then threatened loud the Austrian,
    And said he'd march his men
And loudly answered Italy:
    We'll hurl them back again!'

Why stays the Austrian bloodhound,
    Tho' he scents each noble prey—?
He's strong and armed and mighty—
    And he fears—for so are they!

And the bayonet's insufficient
    To do the work of war,
So he arms his gallant soldiers
    With—what, think you?—a cigar!'

Ah! nations! take the omen,
    That tyranny is broke—
And all its powers and greatness
    Are passing hence—in smoke!

Then northward wandered Freedom,
    Where Elbe and Danube flow,
And Ferdinand and Frederick have
    Their people for their foe!

Like unbound Roman fasces,
    Lie the states with dukes and kings:—
She'll bind them in one rod
    To scourge the sceptred things.

By Hungary she's passing,
    And blunt grows Szela's knife;
And the famished of Silesia
    Are thinking of their life.

Bohemia's mountains echo
    Tones of Ziska's drum,
And the nobles see in thought
    The modern Hussites come.

E'en Russia's frozen north
    Is dawning on our ken,
And sends Bakounine forth
    To tell us it has men!

She breathed on Poland's plains
    And her tears fell thick and fast:
Conqueror of the future,
    And martyr of the past!

But prouder grew her glance
    And sterner grew her mien,
As westward still she wandered
    To Rhone and Loire and Seine.

She frowned in high defiance,
    Where the Bastille once had frowned
And she spoke no word of wonder,
    But she pointed all around.

Then Paris rose impatient,—
    So impatient at delay,
It could not bide to wait
    A dying tyrant's day.

And 'neath its hundred Bastilles
    The cry heaved to and fro:
The victory's the completer,
    The stronger is the foe.

Blow, breezes of La Vendee,
    Mistuned by brave Charette!
Ring, thunders of Napoleon,
    To nobler music set!

March, old imperial soldiers,
    But march in better cause,
And bare the blade of tyrants
    To fight in Freedom's wars.

This time the people's power
    The people's cause shall own;
Then up with the Republic,
    And downward with the throne!

Still onward Freedom wandered,
    Till she touched the British soil;
Elysium of money
    And Tartarus of toil!

And loudly here she chided;
    'My chosen people, ye!
I gave ye many chances:
    Why so long in growing free?

'Ye bend in resignation,
    A tame and patient herd!
Union be the motto,
    And onward! be the word!

'Why weeps your sorrowing sister,*
    Still bleeding unredressed,
'Neath Russell, England's Nicholas,
    The Poland of the west?

'Cry: "Liberty to Erin!"*
    It is a debt ye owe:
Had ye not armed his hand,
    He ne'er had struck a blow.

'Cry: "Liberty to Erin!"
    With iron in the tone,
For while ye slight her rights,
    Ye scarce deserve your own.'

The Briton and the Celt
    Are gathering side by side;
What ocean cannot part,
    That man shall not divide.

Athwart that famous 'gulf,'
    Though swift its current hies,
We soon can build a bridge
    With dead monopolies.

For hark ! to Freedom's call
    The fatal spell is broke;
Repeal means—Union of the slaves,
    And reverence of the yoke.

Then, Hurrah for the Charter,
    On Shannon, Thames, and Tweed;
Now, scythemen! to the harvest!
    Reap! you who sowed the seed.



* Ireland


[Return to Index]

_______________________

THE MARSEILLAISE.


Sons of freedom! break your slumbers
The day of glory's drawing nigh,
Against us tyranny's red numbers
Rear their bloody banner high.
    Rear their bloody banner high.
Hark! hirelings fierce for brutal strife,
Far and near sound war's alarms,
And outrage in your very arms,
The hopes—the partners of your life.

To arms! brave citizens! Array each gallant band!
    March on! march on! your tyrants' blood
    Shall drench the thirsty land! ! ! !
    We'll march! we'll march! our tyrants' blood
    Shall drench the thirsty land! ! ! ! !


What demand their banded minions?
What dares each despicable king?
Amid the flap of Freedom's pinions,
Hear their rusty fetters ring.
    Hear their rusty fetters ring.
For us?  'Tis but an insult vain
That shall arouse our hearts the more,
We broke their manacles before,
We'll dash them into dust again.
    To arms! brave citizens, etc.

Shall an alien crew conspiring,
Make laws to blight a freeman's hearth?
Shall the mercenary hireling
Tread all our manly pride to earth?
    Tread all our manly pride to earth.
Great God! shall mighty millions cower
And 'neath a yoke so paltry yield,
Shall petty despots basely wield
A nation's strength—a people's power?
    To arms! brave citizens, etc.

Tremble, tyrants! traitors! tremble,
Plague spots of the factious few!
Plot, conspire, betray, dissemble.
You shall not escape your due!
    You shall not escape your due!
For we'll be soldiers one and all—
If hundreds die—fresh thousands stand—
Every death recruits a band
Vowed to crush you or to fall.
    To arms! brave citizens, etc.

And now, like warriors, gallant-hearted,
Learn by turns to strike and spare—
Pity those, whom faction parted,
And would be with us, did they dare!
    They would be with us, did they dare!
But for those despotic knaves,
Who make them play the minion's part
And tear their bleeding country's heart,
Onward—onward o'er their graves!
    To arms! brave citizens! etc.

Children of each hallowed martyr!
Kindle fresh the kindred strife—
'Mid their ashes Freedom's Charter
Shall set the seal upon their life.
    Shall set the seal upon their life.
Less eager to survive the brave
Than to partake their honoured rest,
NOW dare the worst—and hope the best,
But never—never die a slave.
    To arms! brave citizens! etc.

Our country's sacred love inspires—
Freedom!—those who fight with thee!
For the land—for the land of our sires,
The home and birthright of the free!
    The home and birthright of the free!
Fight with us Freedom—at thy voice
Victory hails our strong career
Till stricken tyrants dying hear,
The liberated world rejoice!

To arms! brave citizens! array each gallant band!
    March on! march on! your tyrants' blood
    Shall drench the thirsty land.
    We'll march! we'll march! our tyrants' blood
    Shall drench the thirsty land.


[Return to Index]

_______________________

THE SONG OF THE GAGGERS.


                    Gag—gag—gag!
Is the cry of the traitor band,
        While they try, with a printed rag,
        To ride like a midnight hag
On the breast of a sleeping land.

Come—knave and villain, informer and spy,
To the government mint, where you coin a lie!
                    Gold—gold—gold!
        Is the pay for the ready slave,
Whose word at a breath can destroy the bold,
In the halls where justice is bought and sold,
And the whithering glance falls keen and cold
        On the heart of the true and brave.

                    Gag—gag—gag!
Is the cry of the traitor band
        While they try, with a printed rag,
        To ride like a midnight hag
On the breast of a sleeping land.

We'll stay the stream in its fullest force,
We'll stop the world in its onward course—
                    Gag—gag—gag!
        The voice of six thousand years
Shall begin at our bidding to fail and flag
Not a lip shall breathe, not a tongue shall wag
And history's page be an idle brag,
        Compared to Russell's fears.

                    Gag—gag—gag!
Is the cry of the traitor band,
        While they seek with a printed rag,
        To ride like a midnight hag,
On the breast of a sleeping land.

In vain shall the blood of an Emmett have flowed,
In vain shall the breast of a miser have glowed!
                    Gag—Gag—Gag!
        The thought in the teeming brain!
The pulse in the heart of the world shall lag,
And nations the burden of misery drag,
And Lilliput* trample on Brobdingnag.*
        As long as a Russell shall reign.

                    Gag—gag—gag!
Is the cry of the traitor band,
        While they seek, with a printed rag,
        To ride like a midnight hag
On the breast of a sleeping land.


* From Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels'


SACRED HYMNS.

BY ERNEST JONES.
(Written in the blood of their author, whilst incarcerated
in Tothill-fields' Prison.)


No. 1.—HYMN FOR ASCENSION DAY.


Chorus.            Freedom is risen!
                         Freedom is risen!
                         Freedom is risen to-day!
Single voice.     She burst from prison,
                         She burst from prison,
                         She broke from her gaolers away!
Chorus.            When was she born?
                         How was she nurst
                         Where was her cradle laid?
Single voice.     In want and scorn;
                         Reviled and curst;
                         'Mid the ranks of toil and trade.
Chorus.            And hath she gone
                         On her Holy morn,
                         Nor staid for the long work-day?
Single voice.     From heaven she came,
                         On earth to remain,
                         And bide with her sons alway.
Chorus.            Did she break the grave,
                         Our souls to save,
                         And leave our bodies in hell?
Single voice.     To save us alive,
                          If we will but strive,
                          Body and soul as well.
Chorus.             Then what must we do
                          To prove us true?
                          And what is the law she gave?
Single voice.      Never fulfil
                          A tyrant's will,
                          Nor willingly live a slave.
Chorus.             Then this we'll do,
                          To prove us true,
                          And follow the law she gave:
                          Never fulfil
                          A tyrant's will,
                          Nor willingly live a slave.


[Return to Index]

_______________________

No. 2—HYMN FOR LAMMAS DAY.


SHARPEN the sickle!   The fields are white,
    'Tis the time of the harvest at last;
Reapers! be up with the morning light,
    Ere the blush of its youth be past.
Why stand on the highway, and lounge at the gate,
    With a summer day's work to perform?
If we wait for the hiring, 'tis long we may wait—
    Till the hour of the night and the storm.

Sharpen the sickle!   How proud they stand,
    In the pomp of their golden grain!
But I'm thinking, ere noon, 'neath the sweep of my hand,
    How many shall lie on the plain!
Tho' the ditch be wide, the fence be high,—
    There's a spirit to carry us o'er;
For God never meant his people to die
    In sight of so rich a store.

Sharpen the sickle!   How full are the ears!
    And at home they are crying for bread;
And the field has been watered with orphans' tears,
    And enriched with their father's dead.
And hopes that are buried, and hearts that broke,
    Lie deep in the treasuring sod:
Then dash down the grain with a thunderstroke,
    In the name of humanity's God!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

No. 3—EASTER HYMN.


Crucified! crucified every morn!
Beaten, and scourged and crowned with thorn!
Scorned, and spat on, and drenched with gall:
Brothers! how long shall we hear their thrall?
    Chorus:—Mary and Magdalen!   Peter and John!
                    Answer the question, and bear it on. 

Earthquake revelled, and darkness fell.
To show 'twas the time of the kings of hell,
But the veil is rent, they hung so high,
To hide their sins from the people's eye.
    Chorus:—Mary and Magdalen!   Peter and John! 
                    Hear ye the tidings, and bear them on.

Like royal robes on the King of Jews,
Were mocked with sights that we may not use:
Our limbs they spare—our hearts they break:
For they need the former their gold to make.
    Chorus:—Mary and Magdalen!   Peter and John!
                    Swell the sad burden, kind bear it on. 

Blood and water-aye! blond and tears—
Track our path down the stream of years.
The people alone have been crucified,
But the thieves are still wanting on either side.
    Chorus:—Mary and Magdalen!   Peter and John!
                    Give ye the signal, and bear it on.

For a sabbath shall come—but NOT of rest!
When the rich shall be punished—the poor redressed,
And from hamlet to hamlet—from town to town,
The church bells shall ring till the proud fall down.
    Chorus:—Mary and Magdalen!   Peter and John.
                    Hear ye the warning, and bear it on.

The Pharisees revel o'er manor and loom;
We'll blow them a blast on the trump of doom;
It shall wake the dead nations from land to land,
For the resurrection is near at hand.
    Chorus:—Mary and Magdalen!   Peter and John!
                    Ring the loud summons, and bear it on!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

THE SILENT CELL.
(Composed in Westminster Prison while, confined in a
solitary


They told me 'twas a fearful thing
    To pine in prison lone:
The brain became a shrivelled scroll,
    The heart a living stone.

Nor solitude, nor silent cell,
    The teeming mind can tame;
No tribute needs the granite-will,
    No food the planet-flame! 

Denied the fruit of others' thought,
    To write my own denied,—
Sweet sisters, Hope and Mem'ry, brought
    Bright volumes to my side.

And oft we trace, with airy pen,
    Full many a word of worth;
For time will pass, and Freedom then
    Shall flash them on the earth!

They told me that my veins would flag,
    My ardour would decay,
And, heavily, their fetters drag
    My blood's young strength away.

Like conquerors bounding to the goal,
    Where white, still marble gleams,
Magnificent red rivers! roll—
    Roll! all you thousand streams!

Oft, to passion's stormy gale,
    When sleep I seek in vain,
Fleets of fancy up them sail,
    And anchor in my brain.

But never a wish for base retreat,
    Or thought of a recreant part,
While yet a single pulse shall beat
    Proud marches in my heart.

They'll find me still unchanged and strong,
    When breaks their fancy thrall;
With hate—for not one living soul,
    And pity—for them all!


[Return to Index]

_______________________

THE POET'S MISSION.


Who is it rivets broken bands
    And stranger-hearts together,
And builds with fast-decaying hands
    A home to last for ever?

From thunder-clouds compels the light,
    And casts the bolt away,
Upluring from the soulless night
    The soul's returning day?

Who is it calls up glories past
    From tombs of churches old?
And proudly bids the hero last,
    Tho' fades his grassy mould?

Who is it, with age-vanquished form,
    Treads death's ascending path;
Yet stronger than the fiery storm
    Of tyrants in their wrath?

Whose voice, so low to human ears,
    Has still the strength sublime
To ring thro' the advancing years—
    And history—and time?

Who is it, in love's servitude,
    Devotes his generous life,
And measures by his own heart's good
    A world with evil rife?

The Bard—who walks earth's lonely length
    Till all his gifts are given;
Makes others strong with his own strength,
    And then fleets back to Heaven.


[Return to Index]

_______________________

LEAWOOD HALL.


In a cottage on a moor
    Famine's feeble children cried;
The frost knocked sharply at the door,
    And hunger welcom'd him inside;

In the moonlight cracked the leaves,
    As the fox across them passed,
And the ice-drops from the eaves
    Rattled to the whirling blast;

On the black hearth glowed no ember,
    On the damp floor lay the rime,
Elfin haloes of December
    For the sainted Christmas-time;

And a pale girl sat there chanting
    Mournfully to children twain,
Like some sweet house-spirit haunting
    Old men's homes with childhood's strain.

Ellen was a maiden fair
    With that beauty meek and frail,
Softened by the hand of care
    From the red rose to the pale.

But the children had no feature
    Of the blithe child's merry grace,
Still of spirit—small of stature—
    Manhood's thought on childhood's face.

And a woman, thin and eager,
    Tossed upon a litter low,
Lifting up large eyes of fever,
    With a look of angry woe.

Harsh complaints and words unkind
    To each and all in turn addressed,
For pain, with searching hand, will find
    A bitter drop in every breast.

Bearing all with passive mood
    While her sharp invective ran,
In cold and fearful calmness stood
    A silent, melancholy man.

O'er his brow the moonbeam lingered
    'Mid the lines that passion wrought,
Like an angel, glory-fingered,
    Shewing heaven the dangerous thought.

He had toiled in hope's assurance,
    Toiled when hope had changed to fear,
Toiled amid despair's endurance—
    These were sorry thanks to hear.

Yet he chid not her reproving,
    Bore it all in quiet part—
Said: It is but misery moving
    Pulses foreign to her heart.

Still in solemn silence bound,
    Scarce a sign of life he gave,
But fixed his eyes upon the ground,
    As though his look could dig his grave.

Sudden through the broken pane
    Faintly gleamed a ruddy light,
And something like a festive strain
    Came thrilling through the heart of night.

With flashing eyes that woman wan
    Rose like shade against the wall:
'Hark! hark! the festival's began!
    'The tables groan at Leawood Hall!'

'The rich man feasts—and Leawood's near—
    'What honey stores his golden hive!
'Go! bid him give those dying here,
    'One crust to save their souls alive!'

_________________


The night grew dark—but from a height
    Afar the lordly mansion shone,
Shone pillar white and portal bright,
    Like trellis work of fire and stone.

Along the roads, from every side
    The blazing lamps were racing all,
As fast the guests invited hied
    To share the feast at Leawood Hall.

It was a Norman castle high—
    It was a keep of ages rude,
When men named murder—chivalry
    And robbery was called —a feud.

There barons stern once housed in pride,
    And coined the labourer's heart to gold:
On field and fell the labourer died,
    While they were gay in holt and hold.

What they had lavished to replenish,
    They o'ertaxed endurance' length,
Drunk his labour down in Rhenish,
    And grew strong upon his strength.

Men of haughtiness! unthinking
    In their selfishness of caste,
'Twas his life-blood they were drinking!
    But 'twould poison them at last.

From the dust that they were treading
    Some stood up by force or craft,
Till, the scutcheoned peer o'erheading,
    In his face the trader laughed.

Then, his triumph once insuring,
    This new conqueror fiercely rose,
Smote the people's neck enduring,
    After they had crushed his foes.

And those mighty tyrant-blasters
    Settled into slaves again;
They had only changed their masters,
    And that change was worse than vain.

Since then, a sterile-thoughted man
    Had lorded it o'er Leawood fair,
Who as an errand-boy began,
    And ended as a millionaire.

And his son, by slow degrees,
    Mounted life with golden feet,
For the son knew how to please,
    And the sire knew how to cheat.

Before he rose, the people's friend,
    He feigned at all their wrongs to burn;
Now, as he bent, made others bend,
    And played the tyrant in his turn.

Patroniz'd each bible-mission;
    Gave to charities—his name;
No longer cared for man's condition,
    But carefully preserved—his game.

Against the Slave-trade he had voted,
    'Rights of Man' resounding still;
Now, basely turning, brazen-throated,
    Yelled against the Ten Hours' Bill.

____________________


Oh! Leawood Hall was gay that night;
    Shone roof and rafter, porch and door,
And proudly rolled the sheeted light
    Its glory over Leawood Moor.

Full in the glare the labourer stood;
    The music smote him like a blast,
And through the rich ancestral wood
    He heard the fat deer rushing past.

'While we are starving!' cried his love;
    'But they are watching!' said his fear.
'Twixt hell below and heaven above—
    What dost thou on the balance here?

Through the hall the beggar spurning,
    Menials drove him from the door:
Can they chide the torch for burning,
    They cast smouldering on the floor?

Say not: 'This is no fair sample,
    'This was but the menial's part!'
'Twas the master's past example,
    Filtered through the servant's heart.

'Man is born—and man must live!'
    Thus anger read its maddening creed:
'If I take what they won't give,
    Can heaven itself frown on the deed?'

________________________


That night a fierce and haggard man
    From Leawood Hall was seen to run;—
But ere the fearful race began
    The rifle's deadly work was done.

Ye pampered drones! pursuit is vain,
    Give o'er the godless, cruel strife!
As well o'ertake the hurricane:
    Despair and love fly there for life.

_________________________


Long the anxious wife sat waiting,
    Fainter grew the children's cry;
E'en the wind, the desolating,
    Slept to his own lullaby.

The father came—but hot and wild
    The open door he staggered past;
His brow was knit but still he smiled,
    Like sunset over tempest cast.

'Food! food!' he cried, 'they feast tonight,
    'And I have brought our share as well;
'Wife! we were starving—'twas our right!
    'If not—as God wills—heaven or hell!'

Then spoke his wife with inward pride
    To think her counsel proved so brave;
'I knew you could not be denied;
    'Now bless the gentle hand that gave.'

He strangely smiled in wondrous mood,
    And, with the haste of fever, quaffed
Down to the dregs a fiery flood;
    And still he smiled—and still he laughed.

He smiled to mark their spirits rise,
    And that his wife had ceased to sigh,
And how the ardour in her eyes
    Gave her the look of times gone by.

He laughed to think how small a cost
    Might brighten poverty's eclipse;
But sudden silence strangely crossed
    With blanching hand his quivering lips.

Then oft he kissed each little child,
    And looked as one who'd much to say;
But, ere he spoke, some pinion wild
    Waved the unuttered thought away.

And Ellen marvelled to behold
    Such fitful change and sudden cheer;
He had so long been stern and cold,
    This kindness seemed a thing to fear.

And fainter grew his smile and bitter,
    And his face turned cold and grey,
While slow he sank down on the litter,
    And strength's last bravery broke away.

Then they saw where, heartward glancing,
    Deep the cruel rifle smote;
While death's gurgling march advancing
    Sounded up his gasping throat.

Clung, like leaves of Autumn's serest,
    Wife and children to his side;
He turned his last look on his dearest,
    And, thus sadly gazing, died.

Courage now no more dissembled
    Broken strength and baffled will;
The wistful children stood and trembled,
    And the room grew very still.



[Next page]

 



[Home] [Up] [Biographical] [The Battle-Day] [Woman's Wrongs] [Poetry Reviews] [The Cabinet] [Letters, &c.] [Marx on Chartism] [On Democracy] [Democracy Vindicated] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk