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Poem by Gerald Massey

I Was Not Made Merely For Money-Making

COINING the heart, brain, 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, and heaven's blue bosom
            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 bee, in the lime-tree, and birds on the spray
    And they too, are calling my thinking away;
            But I cannotcannot come.
Visions of verdant and heart-cooling places,
    Will steal on my soul like a golden spring-rain,
Bringing the lost light of brave, vanisht faces;
    Till memory blossoms with beauty again.
But O, for a glimpse of the flower-laden morning, 
    That makes the heart leap up, and knock at heaven's
O for the green lane, the green field, the green wood,
    To take in by heartfuls, their greenness once more:
How I yearn to lie down in the cowslip-starred
And nestle in leaves, and the sleep of the shadows,
            Where violets in beauty are waking.
There, 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 multitude's hum, and the chinking of gold,
    Grow hush as the dying of clay;
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 O, 'tis a bliss to be.
Once more to drink in the balm-breathing air,
    Lapt 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 hot 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 leaves 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 proud wings,
    When Labour relapseth its earthly hold;
And breathless with awful beautyit listens,
    To catch the 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 shrined, in the mind's living 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.
I would not plod on, like these slaves of gold,
    Who shut up their souls, in a dusky cave,
I would see the world better, and nobler-souled,
    Ere I dream of heaven in my green, turf-grave.
I may toil till my life is filled with dreariness,
Toil, till my heart is a wreck in its weariness,
Toil for ever, for tear-steept 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.

Gerald Massey

Gerald Massey's other poems:
  1. Love in Idleness
  2. A Maiden's Song
  3. A Night-Musing
  4. Long Expected
  5. A Lyric of Love

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