Massey's early poems: 1847-51 (3)

Home Up Biography Poetry Prose Reviews News Reports Miscellanea Main Index Site Search
 


 

THE RED BANNER.


Fling out the Red Banner! o'er 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 million wrongs burning and bleeding,
    Bold thoughts leap to birth, but, the bold deeds must
        come,
And, wherever humanity's yearning and pleading,
    One battle for liberty strike ye heart-home!

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—oppressors to smite;
They deem that we strike no more like the old hero-band—
    Martyrdom'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! achievements immortal
    Have yet to be won by the hands labour-brown,
And few, few may enter the proud promise-portal,
    Yet, wear it in thought, boys! the glorious crown!
And, oh! joy of the conflict! sound trumpet! array us!
    True hearts would leap up, were all hell in oar 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! and range ye around,
    Young spirits, abiding to burst into wings,
We stand, by the coming events, shadow-crowned,
    There's a grim hush in heaven! and the Bird of Storm
        sings:
"All's well!" saith the Sentry on Tyranny's tower,
    "Even Hope by their watch-fire is grey and tearblind."
Aye, all's well! Freedom's altar burns hour by hour—
    Live brands for the fire-damps with which ye are
        mined.

Fling out the Red Banner! the patriots perish!
    But where their bones moulder the seed taketh root—
Their heart's-life ran red the great harvest to cherish,
    Then gather ye Reapers, and garner the fruit.
Victory! victory! Tyrants are quaking,
    The Titan of foil from the bloody thrall starts,
The Slaves are awaking: the dawnlight is breaking!
    The footfall of Freedom beats quick at our hearts!

GERALD MASSEY

 

[Top of page]
______________________

A CALL TO THE PEOPLE.


People of England! rouse ye from this dreaming—
    Sinew your souls for Freedom's glorious leap!
Look to the Future! lo! our dayspring's gleaming,
    And a pulse stirs that never more shall sleep 
In the world's heart.   Men's eyes like stars are throbbing!
    The traitor-kings turn pale in Pleasure's bower!
And at the sound that comes like thunder sobbing,
    The leaves from Royalty's tree fall hour by hour,—
    Earthquakes leap in our temples, crumbling throne
            and power!

Vampires have lapped the human heart's best blood;
    Kings robbed, and Priests have cursed us in God's
            name!
Out in the midnight of the Past we've stood,
    While fiends of darkness plied their hellish game;
We have been worshipping a gilded crown,
    Which drew Heaven's lightning-laughter on our
            head!
Chains fell on us as we were bending down:
    We deemed our gods divine, but lo! instead
    They are but painted clay!—with morn the charm
            hath fled!

Call ye this "Merrie England?" this the place—
    The cradle of great souls self-deified—
Where smiles once revelled in the Peasant's face,
    Ere hearts were masked by gold, lips steeped in
            pride?
Where Toil, with open brow, went on light-hearted?
    Where twain in love, law never thrust apart?
Then is the glory of our life departed—
    From us who sit and nurse this bleeding smart,
    And slink afraid to break the laws that break the
            heart?

Hushed be yon herald on the walls of Fame,
    Trumping this people as their country's pride!
Weep rather with your souls on fire with shame:
    See ye not how the pallaced knaves deride—
Us easily-flattered fools?—how priestcraft stealthy
    Stabs at our freedom thro' its veil of night,
Plundering the poor to flush its coffers wealthy?
    Hear how the land groans in the grip of Might,
    Then quaff your cup of Wrongs, and laud a
            "Briton's Right!"

There's not a spot in all this flowery land
    Where Tyranny's scatheful footmark has not been:
Oh! were it not for its all-blasting brand,
    Dear God! what a sweet heaven this might have
            been!
Has it not hunted forth our spirits brave—
    Killed the red rose that crowned our vaunted
            daughter's,
Wedded our living thoughts to the dark grave,
    Filled happy homes with strife, the world with
            slaughters?
    And turned our thoughts to blood,—to gall the
            heart's sweet waters!

Go forth when night is hushed, and Heaven is clothed
    With smiling stars that in God's presence roll:
Feel the proud spirit leap to them betrothed,
    As angel-wings were fanning in the soul:
Feel the hot tears flood in the eyes up-turning,
    The tide of goodness heave its brightest waves;—
Then is it not hard to crush the godward yearning
    With the mad thought that ye are still earth's slaves?
    Oh! how long will ye make your hearts its living
            graves?

Is the love dead that nerved our ancient sires,
    Who, bleeding, wrung their rights from tyrants
            olden?
God spirits have been here for Freedom's fires,
    From out their ashes to earth's heart enfolden,
The mighty dead lie slumbering around!
    Their names come as if God's soul shook the air;
Life leaps from where their dust makes holy-ground:
    Their deeds spring forth in glory! live all where!
    And are we traitors to th' eternal trust we bear?

O, but to give ye, slaves! this heart of mine,
    'Twere sweet to kiss the scaffold-block to-morrow!
To proudly leap death's darkness, to let shine
    The Future's hope thro' your soul-binding sorrow!
There is a chasm in the coming years
    Agape for Strife's Niagara of blood!
Or to be filled with our slow ceaseless tears,
    Ere it be bridged by bond of Brotherhood!
    We've yet to stand in fight, true as the Spartan
            stood!

Immortal Liberty, I see thee stand
    Like morn just stept from Heaven, fresh on a
            mountain;
With rosy feet, and blessing-laden hand;
    Thy brow star-crowned! thy heart love's living
            fountain!
O when wilt thou string on the People's lyre
    Joy's broken chord? and on the People's brow
Place Empire's crown? light up thy beacon-fire
    Within their hearts with an undying glow,
    Nor give us blood for milk, as men are drunk
            with now?

Old poets tell us of a golden age
    When earth was sinless—gods the guests of men—
Ere guilt had dimmed the heart's illumined page;
    And Sinai-voices say 'twill come again!
Oh! happy age, when love reigns in each heart,
    And time to live shall be the poor man's dower;
When martyrs bleed no more, nor poets smart;
    Mind be the only diadem of power!
    People! it ripens now! awake and strike the hour!

Hearts high and mighty gather in our cause;
    Bless! bless, O God! and crown their earnest labour!
Who dauntless go to win us equal laws,
    With brain-wrought armour, and with spirit-sabre.
Bless! bless, O God! the proud Intelligence
    That, like a sun, dawns on the People's forehead!
Humanity springs from them like incense!
    The Future bursts upon them, boundless, starried!
    They weep repenting tears that they so long have
            tarried!

BANDIERA.

 

[Top of page]
______________________

LOVERS' FANCIES.


Sweet heaven, I do love a maiden,
Radiant, rare, and beauty laden!
When she's near me heaven is round me,
Her sweet presence doth so bound me,
I could wring my heart of gladness,
Might it free her lot of sadness,
Give the world and all that's in it,
Might I press her hand a minute
Yet she weeteth not I love her
    Never do I tell the sweet
Dream, but to the stars above her,
    And the flowers that kiss her feet!

Might I live and linger near her,
And in tearful moments cheer her,
I would be a bird to lighten
Her dear heart, her sweet eyes brighten;
Or like fragrance from a blossom
Give my life up on her bosom!
For my love's withouten measure,
Even its pangs are precious pleasure.
Yet she weeteth not I love her,
    Never do I tell the sweet
Dream, but to the stars above her,
    And the flowers that kiss her feet.

BANDIERA.

 

[Top of page]
______________________

THE PEOPLE'S ADVENT.


'Tis coming? up the steep of time,
    And this old world is growing brighter!
We may not see its dawn sublime,
    Yet high hope makes the heart throb lighter
We may be sleeping in the ground,
    When it awakes the world in wonder,
But we have felt it gathering round;
    And heard its voice of living thunder.
                'Tis coming!   Yes, 'tis coming!

'Tis coming now, the glorious time!
    Foretold and sung by prophets hoary,
For which when thinking was a crime,
    Souls leaped to heaven from scaffolds gory.
They passed, nor see the work they've wrought
    Now the crowned hopes of centuries blossom
But the live lightning of their thought,
    And daring deeds doth pulse earth's bosom.
                'Tis coming!   Yes, 'tis coming.

Out of the light, ye Priests! nor fling,
    Your dark cold shadows on us longer!
Aside! thou world-wide curse, called King!
    The People's step is quicker, stronger!
There's a divinity within,
    That makes men great whene'er they will it.
God works with all who dare, and win,
    And the time cometh to reveal it.
                'Tis coming!   Yes, 'tis coming!

Creeds, systems, empires rot with age,
    But the great People groweth youthful,
And it shall write the Future's page,
    To our humanity more truthful.
The gnarliest heart hath some sweet chords,
    To waken at the name of "Brother,"
And time comes when brain-scorpion words
    We shall not speak to sting each other.
                'Tis coming!   Yes, 'tis coming!

Freedom, the tyrants kill thy braves,
    Yet in our memories live the sleepers,
And though doomed millions feed the graves
    Dug by Death's fierce red-handed reapers—
The world shall not for ever bow
    To things which mock God's own endeavour,
'Tis nearer than they wot of now,
    When flowers shall wreath the sword for ever.
                'Tis coming!   Yes, 'tis coming!

Fraternite!   Love's other name,
    Dear Heaven-connecting link of being,
Then shall we grasp thy golden dream,
    As souls full-statured, grow, far-seeing.
Thou shalt unfold our better part,
    And in our life-cup yield more honey,
Light up with joy the poor man's heart,
    And love's own world with smiles more sunny.
                Fraternite, thou'rt coming!

And our humanity shall bloom
    As in the young world's morning mirth,
It came a blossom from God's home
    To flower upon a sinless earth.
And Paradise shall smile again,
    Where all is desolate and dark,
And misery's last tear wept of men
    Quench hell's last cursed and cunning spark.
                'Tis coming!   Yes, 'tis coming!

Aye, it must come, the tyrant's throne
    Is crumbling with our hot tears rusted,
The sword earth's mighty have leant on
    Is cankered with our heart's-blood crusted.
Room for the men of mind! make way!
    Kings, priests, and rulers! pause no longer!
Ye cannot stay the opening day!
    The world rolls on! the light grows stronger!
                'Tis coming!   Yes, 'tis coming!

BANDIERA.

 

[Top of page]
______________________

A RED REPUBLICAN LYRIC.


Smitten stones will talk with fiery tongues,
    And the worm when trodden will turn,
But cowards, ye cringe to the deathfullest
            wrongs,
    And answer with never a spurn.
Then, torture oh, Tyrants! the spiritless drove,
    Old England's helots will bear,
There's no hell in their hatred, no God in their
            love
    Nor shame in their death's despair.
For, our fathers are praying for pauper-pay,
    Our mothers with death's kiss are white!
Our sons are the rich man's serfs by day,
    And our daughters his slaves by night!

They were few, those grand, hero-hearts of
            old,
    Who played the peerless part!
We are fifty-fold, but the gangrene gold,
    Hath eaten out Hampden's heart.
With their faces to danger, like freemen they
            fought,
    With their daring all heart and hand!
And the thunder-deed, followed the lightning-
           thought
    When they stood, for their own good land—
Our fathers are praying for pauper-pay,
    Our mothers with death's kiss are white!
Our sons are the rich man's serfs by day,
    And our daughters his slaves by night!

The Tearless are drunk with our tears, have
            they driven
    The god of the poor man mad?
For we weary of waiting the help of heaven,
    And the battle goes still with the bad!
Oh! but death for death, and life for life,
    It were better to take and give—
With hand to throat and knife to knife,
    Then die out as thousands live!
For, our fathers are praying for pauper-pay,
    Our mothers with death's kiss are white!
Our sons are the rich man's serfs by day,
    And our daughters his slaves by night!

Rotten-ripe to be hearsed, are earth's long-
           accursed,
    Why tarries the tyrants knell?
When the heart of one half the world doth
            burst,
    To hurry them into hell!
We should not be living in darkness and dust,
    And dying like slaves in the night,
But big with the might of the inward "must,"
    We should battle for Freedom and Right.
For, our fathers are praying for pauper-pay,
    Our mothers with death's kiss are white!
Our sons are the rich man's serfs by day,
    And our daughters his slaves by night!

ARMAND CARREL.

 

[Top of page]
______________________

LOVE.


O Love! love! love!
    A glory smites the gloom,
And flow'r-like flush'd with life the heart,
    Doth burgeon into bloom!
Sweet, as the sunshine's golden kiss,
    When earth is crowned with spring;
Sweet, as in roses' hearts of bliss.
    Star-dews drop, nourishing.

O Love! love! love!
    Its very pain endears,
For, weep we the beloved, it brings
    Rich blessings on our tears!
And oh! how exquisite it starts,
    The thoughts that bee-like cling,
And drink the honey from our hearts,
    Then leave the bleeding sting.

ARMAND CARREL.

 

[Top of page]
______________________

OVERTOIL!


"I was not made merely for money-making."


Toil! toil! till the spirit is crushed—
    And the brain is wrecked in its weariness!
Till life turns grave-digger—and old Time—
    Weaves nothing but shrouds of dreariness!
Coining the heart, blood, and sinew, to gold—
    Till we sink in the dark on the Pauper's dole!
Feeling for ever the flowerless mould—
    Growing about the uncrowned soul—
Oh God! oh God! must this evermore be—
The lot of the Children of Poverty?
The Spring is calling from brae and bower.
In the twinkling sheen of the sunny hour,
        Earth smiles in her golden green!
There's music below, in the diamonded leaves—
There's music above, where Heaven's blue bosom
        heaves
            The silvery clouds between!
The boughs of the woodland are nodding in play
And wooingly beckon my spirit away.
            I hear the dreamy hum—
Of bees in the lime tree and birds on the spray,
And they too are calling my thoughts away,
        But I cannot, cannot, come!
    Orisons of verdant and heart-cooling places—
Will steal on my soul like a golden spring-rain,
    Bringing the lost light of dear brave faces,
Till memory blossoms with beauty, again!
    But oh! for a glimpse of the flower laden morning
That makes the heart leap up and knock at Heaven's
        door,
    Oh! for the green fields, the green lanes, and green
            woods
To take in by heartfulls their greenness once more!
How I yearn to lie in the cowslip meadows!
'Mid honeyed leaves, and the sleep of the shadows,
To nestle at peace in the birds' leafy dwelling,
And hear their sweet voices of music upswelling.
To stretch on the green grass with heaven o'er me
        bending,
    And love for all things in my rapt-heart ascending—
        Then sleep where young violets are waking
And let my soul burst from its cavern of clay
To float down the warm spring away and away,
    For I was not made merely for money-making!

At my wearisome task, I oftentimes turn—
    From my bride and my monitress, Duty,
Forgetting the strife, and the wrestle of life,
    To talk with the spirit of Beauty!
The multitudes hum and the clinking of gold
    Grow hush as the dying of Day—
For on wings of rapture with joy untold
    My heart is up and away—
Glad as the bird in the tree-top chanting
        Its anthem of liberty!
With its heart in its musical gratitude panting—
        And oh! 'tis a bliss to be!
Once more to drink in the blessed pure air,
    Lapped in luxurious flowers— 
To recall again the pleasures that were
    In infancy's innocent hours!
To wash the earth-stains and the dust from the soul,
    In nature's reviving tears once more,
To feast at her banquet and drink from her bowl
    Rich wine for the heart's thirsty core!
Ah me! ah me! it is heavenly then—
    And hints of the spirit-world near alway,
Are stirring and stirred at my heart again
    Like leave that turn to the kiss of May!
It is but a dream, yet, 'tis passing sweet;
    And when from its spells my spirit is waking,
Dark is my heart, and the wild tears start,
    For I was not made merely for money-making.

My soul leans out to the whisperings
    Of the mighty, the marvellous spirits of old,
And heaven-ward leapeth to flap her wings
    When Labour relapseth her earthly hold!
And in breathless awe entranced it listens
    To catch night's deep starry mistery,
Or in mine eyes dissolved glistens,
    Big for the moan of Humanity—
Much that is written within its chamber,
    Much that is shrin'd in the mind's amber,
        Much of this thought of mine.
I fain would struggle and give to birth!
For I would not pass away from earth,
        And make no sign.
I yearn to utter, what might live on
In the World's heart when I am gone—
Oh! I would not sink like thousands benighted,
    Live in the World's shadows, and die in its gloom.
For whom the life candle's but dimly lighted,
    Thronging with spectres the path to the tomb.
I would not plod on like these slaves of gold,
    Who shut up their souls in it dusky cove,
I would see the world better and men nobler-souled,
    Ere I dream of heaven in my green-turf grave,
They tell me I've chosen the desolate part!
    Muck-worms! I choose not! to me it was given—
This gift of song, free as love comes to the heart,
    And I'll cherish it, aye, as a gift from heaven.
I may, toil till life is filled with dreariness!
    Toil! till my heart is wrecked in its weariness!
Toil! for ever for tear-steeped bread—
Till I go down to the silent Dead!
But by this yearning, this hoping, this aching,
I was not made merely for money-making.

ARMAND CARREL.

 


[Top of page]
______________________

THE LAST OF THE QUEENS AND THE KINGS.


LIKE one in torture, the weary world turneth
    To clasp Freedom's robe round her slavery's starkness,
With shame and with shudder, poor Mother! she yearneth
    O'er Hell's red wrong done, in her dearth, and her
        darkness!
She gathers her strength up to crush the abhorred;
    Who murder her poor heart, and drain her life's springs;—
And are crown'd to hide the Cain-brand on the forehead
    She willeth them last of the Queens and the Kings!

And oh, by the lovers and friends we have cherished,
    Who made our cause soar up like flame at their breath;
Who struggled like gods met in fight, and have perished
    In Poverty's battle with grim, daily death!
Oh! by all dear ones that bitterly plead for us,
    Life's-flowers, tied up in the heart's breaking strings!
Sisters that weep for us! Mothers that bleed for us!
    Let these be the last of the Queens and the Kings!

Sun and rain kindle greenly the grave of the Martyr,
    Ye might not tell where the brave blood ran like rain;
But the footprints all red, upon Liberty's Charter,
    Still burn in our souls with indelible stain:
Think of the dark, bloody hurtling they've wrought us!
    Then smite till each Despot's helm flashes and rings.
Death for death!   Life for life! is the lesson they've taught us!
    And these be the last of the Queens and the Kings!

Ho! weary night-watch! is there light on the summit;—
    Yearner, up thro' the night! say, is there hope?
For, deeper in darkness than fathom of plummet,
    Our bark plunges mad in the storm, with blind grope.
"To God's unforgiven, to caitiff and craven—"
    "To crown and to sceptre a cleaving curse clings!"
"Ye must fling them from deck, would ye steer into haven—"
    For Death tracks the last of the Queens and the Kings!

The swift sword of the People smites—sharper than steel,
    And the Lord fights for all who are girt with its sweep;
Wounds deeper than dagger the tyrants shall feel
    Other guerdon than blood, the rich harvest we'll reap!
Tremble, —Mammonites, — Hypocrites—see there! up
        heaven—
    Our coming day rolls, and its dawn-splendour flings—
And the avalanche loosens, half-launched and half riven,
    That shall swoop down the last of the Queens and the Kings!

ARMAND CARREL.

 


[Top of page]
______________________

ANATHEMA MARANATHA.


Swifter and swifter fierce misery slayeth!
Deeper and deeper the scorpion-lash flayeth!
Tighter and tighter the grip of toil groweth,
Nigher and nigher the red Ruin floweth!
And still ye bear on, and ye faint heart and breath, 
Till ye creep like scourged hounds to your kennel of
    death,
Then 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,
Then 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 winepres for Death with the grapes of our god!
And ye lick their feet, red with your blood, like dumb
    cattle
Ha! better and braver to face them in battle!
The bow that Tell drew hath lost none of its spring,
But ye nerve not with daring the shaft and the 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
    tyrant,
For God's graven autograph's on their death-warrant.
And lordlier manhood neath Freedom's hearth groweth!
Yes! now, while before ye the fire pillar gloweth!
Or down to the dust with ye, cowards and slaves!
Down, down, for ever! and slink to your graves.

ARMAND CARREL.

 

[Top of page]
______________________

THEY ARE GONE.


When hope's blossoms many-numbered—
    Stirred as if to burst—
When on earthquake-edge all slumbered—
    Who have man accurst—
When our hearts like throbbing drums,
Beat for Freedom, ha! it comes
God! they stumbled among tombs.

        They are gone.
Freedom's strong ones young and hoary,
    Beautiful of faith;
And her first dawn-blush of glory—
    Gilds their camp of death.—
There they lie in shrouds of blood,
Murdered where for Right they stood!
Murdered, Christ-like, doing good.

        They are gone,
And 'tis good to die, up-giving
    Valour's vengeful breath—
To nurse heroes of the living.
    Thus divine is death!
One by one, dear hearts! they left us,
Yet Hope hath not all bereft us,
Triumph lamps the gap they cleft us.

        They are here!
Here! where life ran bloody rain—
    When power from God seem'd wrencht—
Here! where tears fall molten brain,
    And hands are agony-clencht!
See them! count their wounds! ha! now
There's a glory where the plough
Of Pain's fire-crown seam'd each brow.

        They are here!
In the Etna of each heart,
    Where Vengeance laughs hell-mirth!
In the torture-tears that start
    O'er their glorious worth!
Tears? aye, tears of fire! proud weepers!
T'avenge these soul-sepultured sleepers!
Fire! to smith Death's blood-seed reapers.

        They are here!
In the starry march of Time,
    Beating at our side!
Let us live their lives sublime,
    Die as they have died!
God shall wake! these martyrs come
Myriad-fold, from their heart tomb!
In the Despot's day of doom.

GERALD MASSEY.

 


[Top of page]
______________________

OUR LAND.


'Tis the Land our stalwart Fore-sires trode,
    Where the brave and heroic-souled—
Gave Freedom baptism of their best blood,
    In the martyr-days of old!
And lives there no remnant of that brave blood,
    Gone down in its pride all-glorious?
O! but to stand as our Hampden stood!
    Or die as he died victorious!
For our rare-old land, and our dear old land,
    With its memories bright and brave!
And sing O! for the hour its Sons shall band,
    To free it of Despot and Slave.

Cromwell is of us! and Shakespeare's thought
    Be-kings us all crowns above!
And Freedom's faith fierce splendours caught,
    From our grand old Milton's love!
And we should be marching on gallantly,
    With their proud stride from glory to glory!
For the Right!   In our might, strikingly valiantly,
    Like the free who are famous in story,
For our rare old land! and our dear old land,
    With its memories bright and brave!
And sing O! for the hour its sons shall band,
    To free it of Despot and Slave.

On Naseby-field of the fight sublime,
    Our old red Rose doth blow!
Would to God, that the soul of our earlier time
    Were stirring with us now!
T'ward the golden clime of the Future, Earth
            sweeps,
    And the Time trumpets true men to freedom!
In the hearts of Slaves, the mounting god leaps!
    But O! for the men to lead them!
For our rare old land, and our dear old land!
    With its memories bright and brave!
And sing O! for the hour its sons shall band,—
    To free it of Despot and Slave.

What do we lack, that the red, red Wrong
    Should starve us 'mid heaps of gold?
We have brains as broad! we have arms as
            strong!
    We have hearts as great and bold!
Will a thousand more years' meek suffering,
            school
    Our lives to a sterner bravery?
No! down and down with their robber rule;
    And trample at once your slavery!
For our rare old land, and our dear old land!
    With its memories bright and brave!
And sing O! for the hour its sons shall band,
    To free it of Despot and Slave.

GERALD MASSEY.

 


[Top of page]
______________________

THINGS WILL GO BETTER YET.


It's all a lie! their Right Divine,
    Their altar grim, their crown and throne!
For them the many shall not pine,
    With souls unfledg'd, and minds ungrown.
Priestcraft may curse, reproving;
    Red-handed kingcraft threat;
But now, thank God! we're moving—
    Things will go better yet.

Old Earth with clouds and thorns is rife!
    Man hath his miseries still!—yet flowers
Make sunshine in the darkest life,
    And that with Heaven this world of ours.
And there be hearts all loving,
    And love shall love beget;
For now, thank God! we're moving—
    Things will go better yet.

From out the brain 'twill wrench a tear
    To count our martyrs by the way;
But bear a hand, my brother dear,
    A glorious remnant lives to-day.
The People, leagued and loving,
    Shall break the Tyrants' neck;
And now, thank God! we're moving—
    Things will go better yet.

GERALD MASSEY.

 


[Top of page]
______________________

THE MEN OF "FORTY-EIGHT."


They rose in Freedom's rare sunrise,
        Like giants roused from wine!
And in their hearts, and in their eyes,
        The God leapt up divine!
Their souls flashed out like naked swords,
        Unsheathed for fiery fate;—
Strength went like battle with their words,
        The men of Forty-eight.

Hurrah!

        For the men of Forty-eight.

Dark days have fall'n! yet in the strife,
        They bate no more sublime,—
And bravely works the fiery life,—
        Their hearts' pulse thro' the time.
As grass is greenest trodden down,
        So suffering makes men great;
And this dark tide shall grandly crown
        The men of forty-eight.

Hurrah!

        For the men of Forty-eight.

Some, in a bloody burial sleep,
        Like Greeks, to glory gone!
Swift in their steps, avengers leap
        With their proof armour on!
And hearts beat high with dauntless trust,
        We'll triumph soon or late,
Though they be mouldering in the dust,—
        Brave men of Forty-eight.

Hurrah!

        For the men of Forty-eight!

O! when the world wakes up to worst,
        The tyrants once again;—
And Freedom's summons-shout shall burst
        In music on the brain
With heart to heart and hand in hand,
        Ye'll find them all elate,—
And true as ever Spartan band!
        The Men of Forty-eight.

Hurrah!

        For the Men of Forty-eight.

GERALD MASSEY.

 


[Top of page]
______________________

KINGS ARE BUT GIANTS BECAUSE WE KNEEL.


Good People, put no faith in kings, nor merchant-princes trust,
Who grind your hearts in mammon's press, your faces in the
    dust,
Trust to your own stout hearts to break the Tyrant's dark, dark
    ban,
If yet one spark of freedom lives, let man be true to man,
We'll never fight again, boys, with Yankee, Pole, and Russ,
We love the French as brothers, and Frenchmen too, love us!
But we'll join to crush those fiends who kill all love and liberty,
Kings are but giants because we kneel, one leap and up go we.

Trust not the priests, their tears are lies, their hearts are hard
    and cold,
The welcomest of all their flock, are fierce wolves fleeced with
    gold!
Rogues all! for hire they prop the laws that make us poor men
    sin,
Ah! though, their robes are black without, they've blacker souls
    within,
The Church and State are linked, and sworn to desolate the
    land—
Good People, twixt these foxes tails we'll fling a fiery brand!
Who hears the worst that they can wreak that loveth Liberty!
They are but giants because we kneel, one leap and up go we!

"Back! tramplers of the many, there, the ambush danger lies,
Beware, or strife's red blood may run, respect a Nations cries,
Think how they taxed the People mad, that old Regime of 
    France,
Whose heads like poppies from Death's sythe, fell in a bloody
    dance!
Ah! kill not love, or tear from manhood's crown, the jewels
    longer—
Pluck not God's image from our hearts, because ye are the 
    stronger!
Ye plead in vain! ye bleed in vain! ah, blind, when will ye see,
They are but giants because we kneel, one leap and up go we!

We've battled for earth's darlings, while they've slunk in 
    splendid lair,
With souls that crept like earthworms in dead Beauty's golden
    hair,
A tale of lives wept out in tears their grandeur garb reveals—
And the last sobs of breaking hearts sound in their chariot 
    wheels,
But 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 murderous menace, wakes the watchword of the
    free,
They are but giants because we kneel, one leap and up go we!

Some brave and patriot hearts are gone to break beyond the
    wave
And some who gave their lives for love have found a prison
    grave,
Some have grown grey in watching—some have fainted by the
    way,
But youth still cherishes within the light of a better day—
Oh! blessings on high-dreaming youth!   God's with the dear
    brave band.
Their spirits breathe of paradise, they're freshest from his 
    hand—
And looking on the People's might who doubts they shall be
    free!
Kings are but giants because we kneel, one leap and up go we!

GERALD MASSEY.

 



[Home] [Up] [Biography] [Poetry] [Prose] [Reviews] [News Reports] [Miscellanea] [Main Index] [Site Search]

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