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THE VOICE OF TOIL

I HEARD men saying, Leave hope and praying.
All days shall be as all have been;
To-day and to-morrow bring fear and sorrow,
The never-ending toil between.

When Earth was young 'mid toil and hunger,
In hope we strove, and our hands were strong;
Then great men led us, with words they fed us,
And bade us right the earthly wrong.

Go read in story their deeds and glory,
Their names amidst the nameless dead;
Turn then from lying to us slow-dying
In that good world to which they led;

Where fast and faster our iron master,
The thing we made, for ever drives,
Bids us grind treasure and fashion pleasure
For other hopes and other lives;

Where home is a hovel and dull we grovel,
Forgetting that the world is fair;
Where no babe we cherish, lest its very soul perish;
Where mirth is crime, and love a snare.

Who now shall lead us, what god shall heed us
As we lie in the hell our hands have won?
For us are no rulers but fools and befoolers,
The great are fallen, the wise men gone.

I heard men saying, Leave tears and praying,
The sharp knife heedeth not the sheep;
Are we not stronger than the rich and the wronger,
When day breaks over dreams and sleep?

Come, shoulder to shoulder ere the world grows older!
Help lies in naught but thee and me;
Hope is before us, and the long years that bore us
Bore leaders more than men may be.

Let dead hearts tarry and trade and marry,
And trembling nurse their dreams of mirth,
While we the living our lives are giving
To bring the bright new world to birth.

Come, shoulder to shoulder ere earth grows

older! The Cause spreads over land and sea; Now the world shaketh, and fear awaketh, And joy at last for thee and me.

William Morris (1834-1896)

TOM DUNSTAN, OR, THE POLITICIAN

Now poor Tom Dunstan's cold,

Our shop is duller;
Scarce a story is told,
And our chat has lost the old

Red-republican color!
Though he was sickly and thin,

'Twas a sight to see his face-
While, sick of the country's sin,
With bang of the fist, and chin

Thrust out, he argued the case!
He prophesied folk should be free,

And the money-bags be bled-
“She's coming, she's coming!” said he;
"Courage, boys! wait and see!

Freedom's ahead!”

All day we sat in the heat,

Like spiders spinning,
Stitching full fine and fleet,
While the old Jew on his seat

Sat greasily grinning:
And there Tom said his say,

And prophesied Tyranny's death,
And the tallow burnt all day,
And we stitched and stitched away

In the thick smoke of our breath,
Wearily, wearily,

With hearts as heavy as leadBut "Patience, she's coming!" said he; “Courage, boys! wait and see!

Freedom's ahead!”

And at night, when we took here

The rest allowed to us,
The paper came with the beer,
And Tom read, sharp and clear,

The news out loud to us;
And then, in his witty way,

He threw the jests aboutThe cutting things he'd say Of the wealthy and the gay!

How he turned them inside out! And it made our breath more free

To hearken to what he said, "She's coming, she's coming!" said he; “Courage, boys! wait and see!

Freedom's ahead!”

But grim Jack Hart, with a sneer,

Would mutter, “Master,
If Freedom means to appear,
I think she might step here

A little faster!”
Then it was fine to see Tom flame,
And
argue

and

prove and preach, Till Jack was silent for shame, Or a fit of coughing came

O’ sudden to spoil Tom's speech. Ah! Tom had the eyes to see,

When Tyranny should be sped; "She's coming, she's coming!" said he; “Courage, boys! wait and see!

Freedom's ahead!”

But Tom was little and weak;

The hard hours shook him;
Hollower grew his cheek,
And when he began to speak

The coughing took him. Ere long the cheery sound

Of his chat among us ceased, And we made a purse all round,

That he might not starve, at least; His pain was sorry to see,

Yet there, on his poor sick-bed, “She's coming, in spite of me! Courage, and wait!” cried he,

“Freedom's ahead!”

A little before he died,

To see his passion! “Bring me a paper!” he cried, And then to study it tried

In his old sharp fashion; And with eyeballs glittering

His look on me he bent, And said that savage thing

Of the lords of the Parliament. Then, darkening, smiling on me,

“What matter if one be dead? She's coming, at last!” said he; “Courage, boys! wait and see!

Freedom's ahead!”

Ay, now Tom Dunstan's cold,

The shop feels duller;
Scarce a story is told,
And our talk has lost the old

Red-republican color.
But we see a figure gray,

And we hear a voice of death, And the tallow burns all day, And we stitch and stitch away,

In the thick smoke of our breath; Ay, while in the dark sit we,

Tom seems to call from the dead"She's coming, she's coming!" says he; Courage, boys! wait and see! “Freedom's ahead!"

How long, O Lord, how long

Doth Thy handmaid linger?
She who shall right the wrong?
Make the oppressèd strong? -

Sweet morrow, bring her!
Hasten her over the sea,

O Lord, ere hope be fled-
Bring her to men and to me!
O slave, pray still on thy knee-
“Freedom's ahead!”

Robert Buchanan (1841-1901)

THE COMMON STREET

The common street climbed up against the sky,
Gray meeting gray; and wearily to and fro
I saw the patient common people go,
Each, with his sordid burden, trudging by.
And the rain dropped; there was not any sigh
Or stir of a live wind; dull, dull and slow
All motion; as a tale told long ago
The faded world; and creeping night drew nigh.

Then burst the sunset, flooding far and fleet,
Leavening the whole of life with magic leaven.
Suddenly down the long wet glistening hill
Pure splendor poured-and lo! the common street,
A golden highway into golden heaven,
With the dark shapes of men ascending still.

Helen Gray Cone (1859

TO A NEW YORK SHOP-GIRL DRESSED FOR

SUNDAY

TO-DAY I saw the shop-girl go
Down gay Broadway to meet her beau.

Conspicuous, splendid, conscious, sweet,
She spread abroad and took the street.

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