UNIT FIVE

THE SONG OF THE WAGE-SLAVE

By Ernest Jones (1819-1869)

The land it is the landlord's,
The trader's is the sea,
The ore the usurer's coffer fills -
But what remains for me?

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The engine whirls for master's craft;
The steel shines to defend,
With labour's arms, what labour raised,
For labour's foe to spend.
The camp, the pulpit, and the law
For rich men's sons are free;
Theirs, theirs the learning, art, and arms -
But what remains for me?
The coming hope, the future day,
When wrong to right shall bow,
And hearts that have the courage, man,

To make that future now.
I pay for all their learning,
I toil for all their ease;
They render back, in coin for coin,
Want, ignorance, disease:
Toil, toil - and then a cheerless home,
Where hungry passions cross;
Eternal gain to them that give
To me eternal loss:
The hour of leisured happiness
The rich alone may see;
The playful child, the smiling wife -
But what remains for me?
They render back, those rich men,
A pauper's niggard fee,
Mayhap a prison, - then a grave
And think they are quits with me;

But not a fond wife's heart that breaks,
A poor man's child that dies,
We score not on our hollow cheeks
And in our sunken eyes;
We read it there, where'er we meet,
And as the sun we see,
Each asks, "The rich have got the earth,
But what remains for me?"
We bear the wrong in silence,
We store it in our brain;
They think us dull, they think us dead,
But we shall rise again:
A trumpet through the lands will ring;
A heaving through the mass;
A trampling through their palaces
Until they break like glass:
We'll cease to weep by cherished graves,
From lonely homes we'll flee;

125

And still, as rolls our million march,
Its watchword brave shall be -
The coming hope, the future day,
When wrong to right shall bow,
And hearts that have the courage, man,
To make that future now.

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