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Poem by Gerald Massey
Yes, Peace is beautiful, and I do yearn, For her to clasp the world's poor tortured heart, As sweet spring-warmth doth brood o'er coming flowers. But peace with these leviathans of blood— Who pirate crimson seas devouring men? Give them the hand of brotherhood—whose fangs Are in our hearts with the grim blood-hound's grip? Would'st see Peace, idiot-like, with smirk and smile, A planting flowers to coronal truth's grave? Peace, making merry round the funeral pyre, Where Freedom, fiery-curtained weds with death? Peace mirroring her form by pools of blood— Crowning the Croat in Vienna's fosse, With all sweet influences of thankful eyes, For murder of the glorious Burschenschaft? Peace with Oppression, which doth tear dear friends And brothers from our side to-day, and comes To eat OUR hearts and drink OUR blood to-morrow? Out, out! it is the Tyrant's cunning cant, The robe of sheen flung o'er its deadly daggers, Which start to life, whene'er it hugs to death. I answer war! war with the cause of war, War with our misery—want and wretchedness, War with curst gold, which is an endless war, On Love and God and our Humanity! Brothers, I bid ye forth to glorious war Patch fig-leaves o'er the naked truth no more, The stream of time runs red with our best blood! Time's seed-field we have sown with fratricide, And dragon's teeth have sprung, aye, in our hearts. O! we have fought and bled on land and sea, Heapt glory's car with myriads of the brave, Spilt blood by oceans—treasures by the million, At every tyrant's beck, had we but shed Such warm and eloquent blood for Freedom's faith, War's star in heaven had lost its name ere now, "Brothers!" I cried, well Brothers, brother slaves! Slaves, who have writ, "Content" upon their lintels, To save the unforgiven of the Lord, From his mid-night avenger,—gore-gorged Pharoahs! Who yet must taste the Red Sea's bitter waters. O! but to give ye Slaves, THEIR valiant heart, Whose dumb, dead dust, is worth your living souls— Dear God! twere sweet to kiss the scaffold-block! I'd proudly leap death's darkness, to let shine The Future's hope through your worn sorrow's tears, Sorrow? ah no, ye feel not sense so holy, The worm of misery riots in your hearts— Ye hear your younglings in the drear midnight Make moan for bread, when ye have none to give— Ye drain your life, warm, for the vultures' drink! The groaning land is chokt with living death, O! ye are mated to the things of scorn. And I have heard your miserable madness Belcht forth in drunken peans to your tyrants— Pledging your murderers to the hell they've made! Ah Christ! was it for this, thou sudden sun, Did'st lamp these centuries with thy dying smile? Was it for this; so many and so many, Have hackt their spirit-swords against our fetters And killing cords, that bleed our hearts to death— Wept griefs, might turn the soul grey in an hour— Broke their great hearts for love—and in despair, Dasht their immortal crowns to earth, and died? Was it for this the countless host of martyrs, Becrown'd and robed, in fiery martyrdom, Beat out a golden-aged Future from The angel-metal of their noble lives— Clomb the red scaffold—strain'd their weary eyes, Upon the mists of ages for one glimpse, Of midnight burning into that bright dawn Now bursting golden, up the skies of time? When will ye put your human glory on? How long will ye lie darkling desolate, With barren brain, blind life, and fallow heart? The hollow yearning grave, will kindly close, And flowers spring where the mould lay freshly dark! The leaves will burst from out the naked'st boughs, Fire-ripen'd into glorious greenery, Waste Moor and Fen, will kindle into spring, How long will ye lie darkling, desolate? Lord God Almighty ! what a spring of freedom Awaits to burst the winter of our world! Worn, wasted, crucified between the thieves, Ere night-fall ye might sup in paradise! O! if aught moving thrills a brother's love, Which pleads for utterance in blinding tears, Then let these words burn living in your souls, Snatch Fear's cold hand from off your palsied hearts, And send the intrepid shudder through your veins. Helots of Albion! Penury's nurslings, rise And swear in God's name, and in Heaven's, aye Hell's, Ye will bear witness at the birth of Freedom! Arise, and front the blessed light of Heaven, With tyrant-quailing manhood in your looks! Arise! go forth to glorious war for right, And justice, and mankind's high destiny! Arise! 'tis Freedom's bleeding fight, strike home, Wherever tyrants lift the gorgon-head! There is a chasm in the coming years, A-gape for strife's Niagara of blood— Or to be bridged by brave hearts linkt in love. The world is stirring with its mighty purpose, No more be laggards in the march of men! The vulture Despotism spreads its wide wings Right royally, to give ye broader mark! And the hag Evil sickens unto death, With her sore travail o'er the birth of Good. And soon shall War's red-lettered creed die out, Where blood is gushing, shall the wild-flowers blow, Where men are groaning, shall their children sing, And peace and love, re-genesis the world.
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