Awakened!

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   Slowly the People waken; they have been,
   Like weary soldiers, sleeping in their tents,
   While traitors tiptoed through the silent camp
   Intent on plunder. Suddenly a sound—
   A careless movement of too bold a thief—
   Starts one dull sleeper; then another stirs,
   A third cries out a warning, and at last
   The people are awake! Oh, when as one
   The many rise, united and alert,
   With Justice for their motto, they reflect
   The mighty force of God’s Omnipotence.
   And nothing stands before them. Lusty Greed,
   Tyrannical Corruption long in power,
   And smirking Cant (whose right hand robs and slays
   So that the left may dower Church and School),
   Monopoly, whose mandate took from Toil
   The Mother Earth, that Idleness might loll
   And breed the Monster of Colossal Wealth—
   All these must fall before the gathering Force
   Of public indignation. That old strife
   Which marks the progress of each century,
   The war of Right with Might, is on once more,
   And shame to him who does not take his stand.

   This is the weightiest moment of all time,
   And on the issues of the present hour
   A nation’s honour and a country’s peace,
   A People’s future, ay, a World’s, depends.

   Until the vital questions of the day
   Are solved and settled, and the spendthrift thieves
   Who rob the coffers of the saving poor
   Are led from fashion’s feasts to prison fare,
   And taught the saving grace of honest work—
   Till Labour claims the privilege of toil
   And toil the proceeds of its labour shares—
   Let no man sleep, let no man dare to sleep!

 

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