Voices of Freedom and Lyrics of
Love. By T. GERALD MASSEY, Working Man. London: J. Watson, 3, Queen's Head-passage, Paternoster-row.
ENTERTAINING a high opinion of GERALD
MASSEY'S poetry, there is that about him which we esteem of much greater value than the noblest gifts ever bestowed by Genius on her favourite sons; we allude to his chivalrous devotion to his
order—the long suffering children of Labour. True he is a "working man." That notwithstanding, there are many who, occupying his present position, would play a widely different part. We have known
such—men of some ability, and more self-conceit, who, having made some little progress from misery and obscurity, have forthwith aped "the respectables," offered themselves for purchase to those who had occasion for needy and unscrupulous instruments, and turned their backs upon the class from whom they sprang.
GERALD MASSEY is not one of this rotten tribe. On the contrary, he is proud that
"His ancient and right noble blood,
Has flowed through workers ever since the flood."
Do you admire titles? Here is his:—
Down on your knees, miserable sycophants of rank and riches, and pay homage to that title
which—ere kings and lords arose—Adam won by the sweat of his brow; a title unsullied by brigandage or corruption, which will survive all other titles, and cease to exist only when all being workers, all present distinctions will have passed away.
A "Working Man," GERALD MASSEY, dedicates his poems to another working man, his friend Walter Cooper.
This is nobly done. We happen to know that GERALD
MASSEY has friends and admirers—admirers of his poetry, if not of his
politics—amongst "Men of wealth and station," more than one of whom would have been gratified by being the recipient of the compliment paid to Walter Cooper.
A schemer would not have missed so good an opportunity to win the "Golden opinions" of influential friends.
Happily, for his fellows, GERALD MASSEY was "not made merely for money-making." In days
not long gone by, a poet must needs dedicate his rhymes to some lord, or squire, or knight of the shire.
What a revolution, when poets spring not from colleges, but from field and factory; and the young aspirant, poor but proud, turns from the dazzling temptations of wealth to dedicate his "thoughts that breathe, and words that burn" to Walter
Let us quote from this dedication:—
MY DEAR FRIEND,—You have lived the life of the poor; you have wept our tears, despaired our despairs, hoped our hopes, brooded over our wrongs, and dreamed glorious dreams of a proud destiny in the future, for our sorrow-worn humanity.
As the toiler-teacher you have won your diploma in the school of our suffering, and can well appreciate the difficulties which the self-educated working, man has to encounter; and to you do I dedicate these first-fruits of my awakenment in the dawn of Thought.
No one knows better than myself how unworthy they are of
our common cause; no one knows so well as thyself how far I have fallen short of what I had thought to perform; but the builder can only erect his edifice according to his material, and I have not much book lore.
You know that from my infancy I have had to toil hard for the bread that perishes, at the cost of which I have often had to procure the
unperishable; and that, until of late, I have been quite shut out from the great masters of the lyre, and the mighty in the realms of thought.
In my "Voices of Freedom " I have endeavoured to utter what is stirring in poor men's hearts.
The thoughts may be un-ripe, and the utterance crude, but what is written, is written in my own life's-blood; and you, at least, will not despise my earnest sincerity.
I shall be accused of sowing
class-hatred;—and yet, my friend, I do not seek to fling fire-brands among the combustibles of society. I yearn to raise my brethren into loveable beings; and when I smite their hearts, I would rather they should gush with the healing waters of love than the fearful fires of hatred: but looking on the wrongs which are daily done in the land, will sometimes make the blood rush hot to the heart, and crimson to the brow. Who can see the masses ruthlessly robbed of all the fruits of their industry, of all the sweet pleasures of life, and of that nobleness which should crown human nature as with a crown of glory, and not strive to arouse them to a sense of their degradation, and urge them to end the bitter bondage and the murderous martyrdom of toil? Not he who feels concentrated and crushing upon himself the slavery of millions.
In these heart-stirring words the poet indicates, without narrating, the pain and sorrow of his early life.
Born in poverty, and bred in suffering, the wounds of his childhood's conflict with the world are yet fresh and bleeding.
A native of Tring, in the county of Hertfordshire, he first saw the light in the month of May, 1828; he is, therefore, as yet, not quite twenty-three years old.
At eight years old, GERALD became "a factory slave," in the silk-mill at Tring, where he
worked —winter and summer—upwards of twelve hours daily, for the miserable stipend of
a shilling or fifteen pence per week. Imagine this poor child at the age of eight or nine years forced by imperious poverty from his bed at five o'clock on a winter's morning to toil through darkness, storm, and snow, to the child-slaying den where Moloch and Mammon sat enthroned on bleeding hearts and ruined souls!
GERALD MASSEY could tell from his own bitter experience the wrongs of the factory children.
Not merely those wrongs naturally and perhaps necessarily associated with the kind of labour, inseparable from factory life, but those wrongs which spring from the unbridled tyranny of heartless employers, and their brutal underlings.
Thanks to the influence of Public Opinion and the control of the Law, the factory workers of the present
day—although they have much to complain of—are protected from the abominable cruelty which once made every mill a veritable hell.
For ever blessed be the names of OASTLER, FIELDEN, SADLER, and the other good men who fought and won the battle, for the factory children.
But for their holy endeavours neither Opinion nor Law would have been called into existence to restrain that proneness to cruelty which ever accompanies a lust for riches, and which, commencing with the tyrant, is speedily shared in by his satellites.
Of a surety, the hour shall come when all the abominations of the Factory System shall be swept away, and women and children
shall be finally freed from the bondage which made the childhood of GERALD
MASSEY a term of suffering and sorrow.
A fiery visitation brought relief to the poet-child.
The mill was burned down, to the great delight of GERALD. But his joy was of short duration.
He had to exchange one kind of miserable life for another. Put to the work of straw-plaiting, he suffered, while at this employment, three years' martyrdom with ague.
The rest of the family were afflicted in like manner. Of education,
GERALD MASSEY had next to none.
During some portion of his childhood, he had attended "a penny school," and had there been taught to read.
The Bible, some religions tracts, the wonderful dreams of the inspired tinker,
BUNYAN; and DE FOE'S deathless story of "Robinson Crusoe," were the only works
GERALD could command, as long as he remained at the home of his parents.
At the age of fifteen he entered upon a new stage of existence. He came to London, and obtained employment as an errand boy, and subsequently as draper's assistant.
Thrown upon the great metropolis, he found no end of reading—good, bad, and indifferent.
Still having to bear with poverty and tyranny, his love of reading helped him to reflect on men and Institutions; and he was not slow in arriving at the conclusion usually come to by those who are under the influence of youth, poverty, and
enthusiasm—he saw and pronounced that all was very bad. In February, 1848,
came the French Revolution, and from that hour he was a Republican—aye, a Red
On the 10th of April he attended the celebrated Chartist meeting on Kennington Common, and for so doing, suffered loss of employment.
He subsequently obtained a situation at Uxbridge, and there, in conjunction with two or three more young men, started
The Uxbridge Sprit of Freedom, a penny political Periodical, published monthly.
A number of the poems in the collection before us first appeared in that publication.
His "extreme opinions," and the ardour with which he urged them, again caused him loss of employment.
Under such circumstances, without money or friends, his position in the Great Babylon may be imagined by most, but can only be thoroughly appreciated by those who have themselves wandered through the streets of this brick and mortar wilderness,
"Homeless amidst a myriad homes."
Happily, brighter days dawned. The Working Men's Associations were commenced, and
GERALD MASSEY obtained the appointment of Secretary to the Tailors' Association, 34, Castle-street, Oxford-street; which office he has continued to fill to the present time.
Our limited space compels us to pause. We hope to resume and conclude in our next number; in the meantime commending the following to the admiration of our
I CARE not a curse, tho' from birth he inherit,
The tear-bitter bread, and the stingings of scorn,
If the man be but one of God's nobles in spirit,
Tho' pennyless—richly-souled, heartsome, tho' worn—
And will not for golden bribe, lout it, or flatter,
But clings to the Right aye, as steel to the pole,
He may sweat at the plough, loom, or anvil, no matter,
I'll own him the man that is dear to my soul.
His hand may be hard, and his raiment be tatter'd,
On straw-pallet nightly, his weary limbs rest—
If his brow wear the stamp of a spirit unfettered,
I'm mining at once, for the gems in his breast,
Give me the true man who will fear not, nor falter,
Tho' Want be his guerdon, the Workhouse his goal,
Till his heart has burnt out upon Liberty's altar,
For this is the man I hold dear to my soul.
True hearts in this brave world of blessings and beauty,
Aye scorn the pour bravery of losel, and lurker,
And Toil is creation's crown, worship is duty,
And greater than gods in old days, is the Worker !
For us, the wealth-laden world laboureth ever,
For us, harvests ripen, winds blow, waters roll,
And he who gives back in his might of endeavour
I'll cherish, a man ever dear to my soul.
NO JEWELLED BEAUTY IS MY LOVE.
No jewelled Beauty is my love,
Yet in the heaven of her face,
There's such a radiant tenderness,
She needs no other gift, or grace.
Her smile, and voice, around my heart
In blessed light, and music, twine ;
And dear, O very dear, to me,
Is this sweet love of mine.
O joy ! to know there's one fond heart,
That ever beateth true to me ;
It sets mine leaping, like a lyre,
When sweetest strings make melody.
My soul up-springs, a Deity—
Heaven-crowned ! to hear her voice divine,
And dear, O very dear to me,
Is this sweet love of mine.
If ever I have sighed for wealth,
Twas all for her dear sake, I trow,
And if I win Fame's victor-wreath,
I'll twine it on her bonnie brow.
There may be forms more beautiful,
And eyes of love, with sunnier shine,
But none, O none, so dear to me,
As this sweet love of mine.
Voices of Freedom and Lyrics of
Love. By T. GERALD MASSEY, Working Man.
London: J. Watson, 3, Queen's Head-passage, Paternoster-row.
(Concluded from No. 20.)
IT is a somewhat remarkable fact that GERALD
MASSEY, although an untiring reader, had originally not the least predilection for poetry. "In fact," he writes, in a letter to the editor of a contemporary publication, "I always eschewed it; if I ever met with any, I instantly skipped it over, and passed on, as one does with the description of scenery in a novel." But a change came over our young
friend—as Tennyson sings—
Love took up the glass of Time, and turned it in glowing
Every moment lightly shaken, ran itself in silver sands.
Love took up the harp of life, and smote on all the chords
Smote the chord of self, that, trembling, pass'd in music
out of sight.
In short, GERALD "fell in love;" and, no doubt, like Byron's "
He pored upon the leaves, and on the flowers,
And heard a voice in all the winds; and then
He thought of wood-nymphs and immortal bowers,
And how the goddesses came down to men.
As a matter of course, he betook himself to rhyme. When our young friend writes his " Confessions," we hope he will impart to his readers the name of the fair one who worked this all-important change. Who knows, but that for the influence of Love,
GERALD'S reading might have led him to write Malthusian essays for Chambers's Journal, or skim-milk twaddle for Household Words, instead of revolutionary politics and love lyrics for the Spirit of Freedom! Nay, he might have written a volume of "political economy," a la
M'Crowdy, instead of the welcome work before us. We beg to propose a testimonial to the lady who first captivated
GERALD MASSEY, and inspired him to rhyme !
It does not follow that because our poet commenced with songs or sonnets to his ladye-love that therefore his love lyrics in the volume under notice should be his best; yet, considered as poetry, they are so. Notwithstanding the force and fire of his political effusions, there is a ruggedness about them by which their effect is much lessened. In elegance and felicity of expression the love lyrics decidedly surpass the political songs. Even the worshippers of BURNS and "Anacreon" MOORE must admire the
All glorious as a rainbow's birth,
She came, in springtide's golden hours,
When Heaven went hand-in-hand with Earth,
And May was crown'd and flusht with flowers
The mounting devil at my heart
Clomb faintlier, as my life did win,
The charmed heaven she wrought apart,
To wake the slumbering angel in;
With radiant mien she trode serene,
And past me smiling by;
O, who that lookt could chance but love!
Not I, sweet soul! not I.
Her budding breast, like fragrant fruit,
Peered-out, a-yearning to be prest;
Her voice shook at my heart's red root,
Yet might not break a-babe's light rest;
Her being mingled into mine,
As breath of flowers doth mix and melt,
And on her lips the honey-wine,
Was royal rich as spikenard spilt;
With love a-gush like waterbrooks,
Her heart smiled in her eye,
O, who that lookt could chance but love!
Not I, sweet soul! not I.
The rosy eyelids of the Dawn,
Ne'er opt such heaven as hers let down,
O love, such eyes have surely shone
As jewels in God's starry crown!
Her brow flasht glory like a shrine,
Or lily-bell with sunburst bright,
Where came and went love-thoughts divine,
As low winds walk the leaves in light,
She wore her beauty with the grace
Of summer star-robed sky;
O, who that lookt could chance but love?
Not I, sweet love! not I,
Night trembles o'er earth's beauty, now,
Like silvery bridal-veil, hung low!
While I with feverish heart and brow,
Awake, to weep for thee, love!
The spangled glories of the night,
Earth—saint-like—swathed in splendour light,
These cannot win my charmed sight,
Or lure a thought from thee, love!
I'm pondering o'er that short sweet time,
Our hearts drank in a summer's prime,
And blossom'd in love's Eden-clime,
When I was blest with thee, love!
There burned no beauty on the trees—
There woke no song of birds or bees;
But love's cup for us held no lees,
And I was blest with thee, love!
Then grand, and golden fancies spring
From out my heart, on splendid wing,
Chrysalis, from life's wintering—
Burst bright and summeringly, love!
And as a chief of battle lost,
Counts, and recounts, his stricken host—
Stands, tearful Memory, making most
Of all that's toucht with thee, love !
I know in Pleasure's flower-crowned bower,
My heart may half forget love's power,
But at this still and starry hour,
Does it not turn to me, love
O! by all pangs for thy sweet sake,
In my deep love, thy heart-thirst slake,
Or all-too-full, my heart must break—
Break! break! with loving thee, love!
The "Song," at page 37; "A Lyric of Love," page
60; "A Lover's Fancy," page
63; and "Love Me," page
69, deserve honourable mention.
Turning to the political songs, we find them disfigured by a fault common to all young writers, whether of poetry or
prose,—that of a painful striving for effect by means of big words and monstrous fantasies. "God," " Christ," "Hell," &c. are terms used far, far too often. In the course of eighty pages the name of God is employed upwards of a hundred times. This cannot but be offensive both to believers and unbelievers. There is far too much of "Christ's blood," "Christ's Sears," "God's immortal wine," &c. Here are two lines from one of the finest pieces in the collection made highly objectionable by the very unpleasing idea expressed in the last half of the second
O! Hungary! gallant Hungary! proud and glorious thou wert,
The world's soul-feeding, like a river, gushing from God's heart.
What kind of a river may that be? We know what like is the heart of a man, and we know what kind of "river" might be made to gush therefrom—a stream of blood. We presume this is a specimen of what our American cousins term "piling the
agony"—a kind of thing "more honoured in the breach than the observance."
Enough of fault-finding. With all their faults, the "Voices of Freedom" constitute for us the most attractive portion of the collection. Certain alleged faults (discovered by sharp-eyed critics) in these compositions, we esteem their chief merit. It has been said that they are "in idea beyond Chartism, and in expression Red Republican." Also, that they are the effusions of "a partizan." Of course they are.
GERALD MASSEY is a partizan of the Right against the
Wrong—Justice against Oppression—Liberty against Tyranny,—the suffering many against the pitiless few. One of his reviewers trusts that "Time and experience will render him more catholic and tolerant."
Never, we earnestly pray. He is now so catholic as to believe all men are
brethren—all men, be it understood, not brutes in the shape of men;—of such may he never be tolerant. Should the time ever come that will witness
GERALD MASSEY repudiating his "Song of the Red Republican," as Southey repudiated his
Wat Tyler, then may the Muse cast him off—may his brain perish, his hand lose its cunning, and may he be as despised as he is now worthily honoured and applauded. Bide in the straight path, dear
GERALD, and preserve thy soul pure, come what may. In storm and sunshine remember thine own picture of a true
———Who wilt fear not, nor falter,
Though Want be his guerdon, the Workhouse his goal,
Till his heart has burnt out upon Liberty's altar,
For this is the man I hold dear to my soul.
Of the political compositions, there are wooing for extract many more than we can find space for.
Some of the best have already appeared in the Red Republican, and
Friend of the People. We select the following:—
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 day-spring'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,
For at the sound which comes like thunder-sobbing,
The leaves from Royalty's tree, fall hour by hour;
Earthquakes leap in our temples, crumbling Throne and
Vampyres have drained the human heart's best blood,
Kings robbed, and Priests have curst 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 bowing down,
We deemed our gods divine, but, lo! instead—
They are but painted clay—with morn the charm has fled!
And is 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 maskt by gold—lips steept in pride—
Where Toil with open brow went on light-hearted,
And twain in love, Law never thrust apart?
Then, is the glory of our life departed
From us, who sit and nurse our bleeding smart,
And slink, afraid to break the laws that break the heart.
Husht be the Herald on the walls of Fame,
Trumping this people as their country's pride;
Weep rather, with your souls on fire with shame,
Bee ye not how the palaced knaves deride.
Us facile-flattered fools? how priestcraft stealthy,
Stabs at our freedom through its veil of night,
And grinds 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
There's not a spot in all this flowery land,
Where Tyranny's curst brand-mark has not been;
O! were it not for its all blasting hand,
Dear Christ, what a sweet heaven this might have been,
Has it not hunted forth our spirits brave—
Killed the red rose, which crowned our darting daughters,
Wedded our living hopes unto the grave—
Filled happy homes with strife, the world with slaughters,
And turned our thoughts to blood—to gall the heart's
Gone ! is the love that nerved our ancient Sires,
Who, bleeding, wrung their Rights from tyrannies olden,
God-spirits have been here, for Freedom fires
From out their ashes, to earth's heart enfolden ;
The mighty dead lie slumbering around—
Whose names, smite 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 ?
Go forth, when night is husht, and heaven is clothed
With smiling stars that in God's presence roll,
Feel the stirred spirit leap to them betrothed,
As Angel-wings were fanning in the soul ;
Feel the hot tears flood in the eyes upturning,
The tide of goodness, heave its brightest waves—
Then is't not hard to crush the God-ward yearning
With the mad thought that ye are still Earth's slaves ?
O ! how long will ye make your hearts its living graves ?
Immortal Liberty ! I see thee stand—
Like Morn just stept from heaven upon a mountain,
With rosy feet, and blessing-laden hand,
Thy brow star-crown'd, 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
Set 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 ?
Curst, curst be war, the World's most fatal glory,
Ye wakening nations, burst its guilty thrall !
Time waits with out-stretcht hand to shroud the gory—
Grim glave of Strife behind Oblivion's pall,
The tyrant laughs at swords, the cannon's rattle
Thunders no terror on his murderous soul.
Thought, Mind, must conquer Might, and in this battle
The warrior's cuirass, or the sophist's stole,
Shall blunt no lance of light, no onset, backward roll.
Old Poets tell us of a golden age,
When earth was guiltless,—Gods the guests of men,
Ere sin had dimmed the heart's illumined page—
And Sinai-voices say 'twill come again.
O ! happy age ! when love shall rule the heart,
And time to live, shall be the poor man's dower,
When martyrs bleed no more, nor Poets smart—
Mind is the only diadem of power—
People, it ripens now ! awake ! and strike the hour.
Hearts, high and mighty, gather in our cause.
Bless, bless oh God, and crown their earnest labour,
Who dauntless fight to win us equal laws,
With mental 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 repentant tears, that they so long have tarried.
Spirits," "The Three
Symbol," "The Kingliest
Kings," "Our Fathers are Praying for
Martyrs," "The Last of the Queens and the
Kings," "The Song of the Red Republican," &c., &c., are powerfully-written compositions.
We give one more specimen:—
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.
"Good wine needs no bush," and poetry such as the above, needs no recommendation from us.
As to praise, let the poet imagine our heart-felt admiration, and he will excuse the omission of phrases, which, easy to be coined, are not always of the value they pass current for.
Eloquent outpourings of the complaints of the people, passionate appeals for justice, lofty dreamings of the great future, when
SLAVERY and MISERY shall be no more, tributes to
BEAUTY and songs of LOVE—such are the poems of
GERALD MASSEY. May
they circulate far and wide; and may the applause of the people
stimulate him to new efforts, and those efforts crown him with an
increase of fame.