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- Chants for Socialists - 1/4 -


CHANTS FOR SOCIALISTS

by William Morris

Contents:

Chants for Socialists The Day is Coming The Voice of Toil No Master All for the Cause The March of the Workers Down Among the Dead Men A Death Song May Day [1892] May Day, 1894 The Message of the March Wind

THE DAY IS COMING

Come hither, lads, and hearken, for a tale there is to tell, Of the wonderful days a-coming, when all shall be better than well.

And the tale shall be told of a country, a land in the midst of the sea, And folk shall call it England in the days that are going to be.

There more than one in a thousand in the days that are yet to come Shall have some hope of the morrow, some joy of the ancient home.

For then--laugh not, but listen to this strange tale of mine - All folk that are in England shall be better lodged than swine.

Then a man shall work and bethink him, and rejoice in the deeds of his hand, Nor yet come home in the even too faint and weary to stand.

Men in that time a-coming shall work and have no fear For to-morrow's lack of earning and the hunger-wolf anear.

I tell you this for a wonder, that no man then shall be glad Of his fellow's fall and mishap to snatch at the work he had.

For that which the worker winneth shall then be his indeed, Nor shall half be reaped for nothing by him that sowed no seed.

O strange new wonderful justice! But for whom shall we gather the gain? For ourselves and for each of our fellows, and no hand shall labour in vain.

Then all Mine and all Thine shall be Ours, and no more shall any man crave For riches that serve for nothing but to fetter a friend for a slave.

And what wealth then shall be left us when none shall gather gold To buy his friend in the market, and pinch and pine the sold?

Nay, what save the lovely city, and the little house on the hill, And the wastes and the woodland beauty, and the happy fields we till;

And the homes of ancient stories, the tombs of the mighty dead; And the wise men seeking out marvels, and the poet's teeming head;

And the painter's hand of wonder; and the marvellous fiddle-bow, And the banded choirs of music: all those that do and know.

For all these shall be ours and all men's, nor shall any lack a share Of the toil and the gain of living in the days when the world grows fair.

Ah! such are the days that shall be! But what are the deeds of to-day, In the days of the years we dwell in, that wear our lives away?

Why, then, and for what are we waiting? There are three words to speak: WE WILL IT, and what is the foeman but the dream-strong wakened and weak?

O why and for what are we waiting? While our brothers droop and die, And on every wind of the heavens a wasted life goes by.

How long shall they reproach us where crowd on crowd they dwell, Poor ghosts of the wicked city, the gold-crushed hungry hell?

Through squalid life they laboured, in sordid grief they died, Those sons of a mighty mother, those props of England's pride.

They are gone; there is none can undo it, nor save our souls from the curse; But many a million cometh, and shall they be better or worse?

It is we must answer and hasten, and open wide the door For the rich man's hurrying terror, and the slow-foot hope of the poor.

Yea, the voiceless wrath of the wretched, and their unlearned discontent, We must give it voice and wisdom till the waiting-tide be spent.

Come, then, since all things call us, the living and the dead, And o'er the weltering tangle a glimmering light is shed.

Come, then, let us cast off fooling, and put by ease and rest, For the CAUSE alone is worthy till the good days bring the best.

Come, join in the only battle wherein no man can fail, Where whoso fadeth and dieth, yet his deed shall still prevail.

Ah! come, cast off all fooling, for this, at least, we know: That the Dawn and the Day is coming, and forth the Banners go.

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 younger 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 our mirth is crime, our 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 nought but thee and me; Hope is before us, 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.

NO MASTER

Saith man to man, We've heard and known That we no master need To live upon this earth, our own, In fair and manly deed. The grief of slaves long passed away For us hath forged the chain, Till now each worker's patient day Builds up the House of Pain.

And we, shall we too, crouch and quail, Ashamed, afraid of strife, And lest our lives untimely fail Embrace the Death in Life? Nay, cry aloud, and have no fear, We few against the world; Awake, arise! the hope we bear Against the curse is hurled.

It grows and grows--are we the same, The feeble band, the few? Or what are these with eyes aflame, And hands to deal and do? This is the host that bears the word,


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