Martin Farquhar Tupper

(July 17, 1810 - November 1889 / London)

A Dozen Ballads About White Slavery. Sonnets Introductory


They tell of horrors on another shore,
Injustice, thraldom, chains and goads and whips,
And human-nature smothered to the lips
In selfwrung seas of tears and sweat and gore:
O Heaven,- avenge such woes for evermore!
But, England! somewhat is there against Thee;
Too oft thy Sun is shrouded in eclipse,
Thy Glory sinks to Shame: too often here
Thy sons and daughters, children of the free,
Beneath oppression's heel in pain and fear
Are but as bondsmen,- but not long shall be:
Already our taskmasters and their slaves
Seem changing places; and the coming year
Shall bring more changes on its winds and waves.

Yes, be of better comfort, English heart!
The day has dawn'd when our whole scheme of Wrong
After its toils and griefs and suffering long
Must end,- and all that train of ills depart:
Not now a weed, O labouring man, thou art;
Thews are not cheap and common, worthless stock,
But scarcer rise in value; social ill
Works its own cure, and wealth no more shall mock
The rights of labour, nor the freeman's will:
Strikes - let them fail! but Industry and Skill
Shall wrestle down the despots, till they crave
Help of all helpers; ay, and Time's old clock
Will soon strike Freedom for our British slave,
The long-hoped hour his handcuffs to unlock.

Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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