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Poem by Gerald Massey

A Cry of the Peoples

LIKE a strong man in torture, the weary world turneth,
    To clutch Freedom's robe round her slavery's starkness;
With shame and with shudder, poor mother; she yearneth
    O'er wrongs that are done in her dearth and her darkness.
O gather thy strength up, and crush the Abhorrèd,
    Who murder thy poor heart, and drain thy life-springs,
And are crownèd to hide the Cain-brand on their forehead:
O let them be last of the Queens and the Kings!

By the lovers and friends we have tenderly cherisht,
    Who made the Cause soar up like flame at their breath,
Who struggled like Gods met in fight, and have perisht
    In poverty's battle with grim daily death:
O, by all dear ones that bitterly plead for us
    Life-flowers tied up in the heart's breaking strings
Sisters that weep for us mothers that bleed for us
    Let these be last of the Queens and the Kings!

Sun and Rain kindle greenly the graves of our Martyrs,
    Ye might not tell where the brave blood ran like rain!
But there it burns ever! and heaven's weeping waters
    And branding suns never shall whiten the stain!
Remember the hurtling the Tyrants have wrought us,
    And smite till each helm bravely flashes and rings!
Life for life, blood for blood, is the lesson they've taught
    And be these the last of the Queens and the Kings!

Ho! weary Nightwatch, is there light on the summit?
    Yearner up through the Night, say, is there hope?
For deeper in darkness than fathom of plummet,
    Our Bark thro' the tempest doth stagger and 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 heaven,
    For Death tracks the last of the Queens and the Kings!"

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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