Author of " Plain Talk in Psalm and Parable'
"Tolstoy and His Message" etc. etc
FUNK and WAGNALLS COMPANY,
44-60, East 23rd Street,
FEER beholding things divine,
Prophet of the olden line,
Trumpeting a message clear
For the few with ears to hear,
What though man be deaf to-day ?
Truth is bound to make its way.
Soon the world will be content
To uprear your monument.
Pardon my impatient pen
That it cannot wait till then.
Fare you better, fare you worse,
If upon this scroll of verse
One whom you have taught to think
Writes your name in fading ink ?
" CO is the kingdom of God,
A s if one should cast seed in the ground,
And should sleep and arise, night and day,
And the seed should spring and grow up,
He knoweth not how, for the earth
Bringeth forth fruit of herself."
Thus would I sow to the winds
Broadcast the seed that may bear
Fruit in the harvest to be.
Others may rase and destroy,
Tear down, demolish and waste ;
Others may frame and construct,
Fitting together the stones,
As they think, of the city of God.
Mine be the lowlier task,
Mine be the dropping of seed
In the long silent furrows of earth,
Where she bringeth forth fruit of herself.
DEDICATION. To EDWARD CARPENTER ... 5
" Seer beholding things divine."
" So is the kingdom of God."
" I saw laws and customs and creeds."
FROM THE SANSCRIT 26
" As the young mother clasps her infant son."
STIGMATA LIBERTATIS '27
" Tell me what the signs may be."
GOD'S GIFT '28
" Where is my gift," said God, " that I gave to men ? "
THE LAND OF THE NOONDAY NIGHT A MINER'S
" We have eyes to see like yours."
THE COTTON MILL 31
" Ogre dread ! Slavery raised from the dead ! "
THE STOKER 35
" Now and then a stoker came up to breathe 'tween decks."
THE ESCUTCHEON 35
" Pounce on the innocent, Powers-that-be ! "
" Lo, the peoples, all of them, "
BEATUS ILLE 37
" Happy the man who, probing what is meant."
To ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI 37
" Dear Francis, did Assisi's burghers frown."
THE SCHOOL OF RICHES 38
" Blessed are the poor who know."
LOOK SHARP ! 39
" Look sharp ! thou art one of God's eyes."
NOT A CHRISTIAN 40
" So you condemn him once for all."
" Passionless, contemplative, free from desire."
" The childish mistaking of pictures for facts."
" Nay, flee not from me."
To NERO 45
" Nero, old dog, I see myself looking out."
" See the apple orchard."
SPRING THOUGHTS 50
" The leaves are not yet out."
" Bow before God in prone humility."
IN THE GARDEN 59
" 1 spied beside the garden bed."
WINE OF ETERNITY 60
" God took a vial from its place."
" To-day and to-morrow will change "
" There is nothing but moods."
THE SEERS 72
" Like mountain peaks."
IN THE SADDLE 72
" Mounted on Ahmar, flying at a mad run."
ON THE SUEZ CANAL 74
" A starry night on the Suez Canal ! "
" On the first of the lengthening days."
JUDGE NOT 78
" Why do I punish ? "
TOWN PICTURES 79
" I have travelled many ways."
COUNTRY PICTURES 96
" Tramping down the broad green, valley."
THE LIVING UNIVERSE 102
" What are you, stars of night ? "
" When I thought you were perfect."
GOD'S WINDOW 106
" God has a house that's wide and tall."
MY SOUL 107
" What must I do to be saved ? "
MY SOUL AGAIN 1 20
" ' Here where I live ' thus spake my soul. "
" I would not break your will."
" I split a grain of common sand."
A PRAYER 122
" Come to me, woo me, Soul of the All ! "
" Little care we for the mark."
" I pulled up the flowers in my garden."
" When these new ideas of our* b*eom trito."
I SAW laws and customs and creeds and
Bibles rising like emanations from men
I saw the men and women bowing down and
worshipping these cloudy shapes, and I
saw the shapes turn upon them and rend
Nay, but men and women are the supreme
How rarely have men revered the truly
reverend, and respected the truly respect-
How much of reverence has been, and still is,
mere fetish-worship !
Reverence for Moloch and Juggernaut, who
shall count its victims ?
Respect for tyrants and despots, for lying
priests and blind teachers, how it has
darkened the pages of history !
There is only one true respect, the respect for
the conscious life that fulfils its true
Revere humanity wherever you find it, in the
judge or in the farm hand, but do not
revere any institution or office or writing.
As soon as anything outside of divine humanity
is revered and respected, it becomes
And every step forward in the annals of man
has been over the prostrate corpse of some
ancient unmasked reverence.
And yet I am no abolitionist.
I would abolish nothing except by disuse.
Slavery is good for those who believe in slavery,
for in a world of slaves there must be
' masters, and men with the hearts of slaves
had better be slaves.
Government is good for those who believe in
government, and punishment for those
who believe in punishment, and war for
those who believe in war.
Anything is good enough for the man who
believes in it, and the first step upward is
not abolition but disbelief.
They write histories of the French Revolution
as if it were over.
The French Revolution is not over ; it never
will be over.
That episode was a mere skirmish on the
The duel between oppression and freedom is
the very essence of life.
The French Revolution began ages before
David gathered his Coxey army at the
cave of Adullam, ages before the great
labour-leaders Moses and Aaron put them-
selves at the head of the Hebrew brick-
It will not end before the earth freezes into a
Spitzbergen or is scorched into a Sahara.
The lists are open ; the combat is on.
The brute-man of the past and the God-man
of the future must fight it out while heaven
and earth look on expectant.
You can easily distinguish them by their wea-
The brute-man fights with claws and teeth,
with spear and sword, with bayonet and
cannon and bomb.
The God-man has for his artillery naught but
the naked truth and undissembled love.
Yet the brute-man blanches with the sure
presentiment of his speedy overthrow, and
winces as the God-man gazes upon him
with infinite compassion.
A murder on behalf of the people ?
That is no place for murders, they belong on
the other side.
Poor, brave, cowardly, cruel fool, who thought
the people could be helped by murder, and,
thinking to lay low oppression, well-nigh
laid freedom low !
But there are other fools, those who suppose
that a foul deed can for long set back the
:l hands of time.
Can a crime alter facts ?
Can any mad assassin kill the eternal truth ?
Clear the field for the grand tournament of
The struggle to think the best thought and to
express it best in tone and colour and form
The struggle to do the greatest deeds and lead
the noblest and most useful lives,
The struggle to see clearest and know truest and
Your other blood and bludgeon contests but
postpone the real fray.
The true knights are yearning to enter the lists,
and you block the high festival with your
Is it possible that you mistake this horse-play
for the real event of history ?
Away with all your brutal disorder, and clear
the field for the tournament of Man.
I do not wish to be above people ; I wish to be
The tiresome, hateful climb upward on their
heads and shoulders,
(It hurts their heads and shoulders, but it hurts
my feet still more),
The thin, empty air, thinner and emptier and
less satisfying the higher I get,
The platform of envious faces on which I
The continual scrambling and elbowing round
me and over me,
The aimlesSness and cruelty of it all,
I ajn sick to death of it.
The soles of my feet yearn for the feel of God's
I do not wish to be above people.
I wish to be with people.
The common people, why common people ?
Does it not mean common life, common aspira-
tions, community of interests, communion
of man with man ?
Does it not imply the spirit of communism, of
fellowship, of brotherhood ?
Does it not suggest that human life down at the
bottom is more fluid and intermingled and
social than up at the top ?
Is not all this hidden away in the words " com-
mon people ? "
Would you make brothers of the poor by giv-
ing to them ?
Try it, and learn that in a world of injustice it
is the most unbrotherly of acts.
There is no gulf between men so wide as the
There is no wall so impassable as money given
There is nothing so unfraternal as the dollar, it
is the very symbol of division and discord.
Make brothers of the poor if you will, but do it
by ceasing to steal from them ;
For charity separates and only justice unites.
Peace between capital and labour, is that all
that you ask ?
Is peace then the only thing needful ?
There was peace enough in southern slavery.
There is a peace of life and another peace of
It is well to rise above violence.
It is well to rise superior to anger.
But if peace means final acquiescence in
wrong, if your aim is less than justice
and peace, forever one then your peace
is a crime.
I am homesick,
Homesick for the home that I never have
For the land where I shall look horizontally
into the eyes of my fellows,
The land where men rise only to lift,
The land where equality leaves men free to
differ as they will,
The land where freedom is breathed in the air
and courses in the blood,
Where there is nothing over a man between him
and the sky,
Where the obligations of love are sought for as
prizes and where they vary with the moon.
That land is my true country. I am here by
some sad cosmic mistake, and I am
A strange lot this, to be dropped down in a
world of barbarians,
Men who see clearly enough the barbarity of all
ages except their own,
Who shudder at the thought of wheel and fag-
got, of putrid heads displayed not so long
ago on Temple Bar, of stinking corpses
hanging in chains along the highways while
vultures devoured them, of mere boys
put to death for stealing a shilling, and
who notwithstanding are snugly contented
with the survival of gibbets and the happy
invention of electrocution chairs,
Who are outraged at the picture of black priests
hovering about the flames of an auto-da-fe,
but applaud their successors to-day as they
encourage with their blessings the butchery
Who deplore the ancient miseries of the galleys,
the torture of witnesses, the agonies of
captives crucified or given to the lions, but
see nothing wrong in our overcrowded
prisons, our vice-breeding jails and our
cold, relentless machine of justice,
Who look down on the ages when there were no
societies for the prevention of cruelty to
animals, and yet are blind to the horrors
of our abattoirs and laboratories, and take
pleasure in killing and maiming helpless
birds and harmless little brother beasts,
Who condemn the brutality of the Spanish In-
quisition, but sanction the writhing pains
of the battle-field, the sabred face, the
dynamite gun and the dum-dum bullet,
Who abhor chattel slavery, but accept the dis-
mal, hopeless enslavement of factory hands
and the starvation of thousands out of
work as heaven-born arrangements,
Who sing paeans over the fall of political des-
potism, while they have scarcely a word
of criticism for the industrial tyrants who
tread us under foot,
And who strangest of all are absolutely
ignorant of the fact that future generations
will consider them just as barbarous as
It is a curious destiny indeed to be planted in
the midst of such a people.
And yet they boast of their high breeding and
accuse us of despising it.
Despise high breeding ? Nay, but we should be
fools indeed to throw overboard such a
Good manners, the nice sense of what is fitting,
the refinement which is so difficult to learn
in a single lifetime, far be it from us to
risk these hard-earned possessions of the
race in any social cataclysm.
But is it not you, rather, who put them in
You who would monopolize these gifts and re-
strict them to your narrow circle ; you, who
hoard them like your gold and silver ;
who find the chief value of them in the
fact that others have them not ?
"Noblesse oblige," fine thought, fair flower of
feudalism, foretelling a summer of even
fairer bloom. But " Manhood obliges,"
is not that finer still ?
What are good manners but the traditional
expression of a good heart ?
They are the small change of unselfishness, and
if the heart is not pure metal, they ring
false on the counter.
If you are selfish within if you wish to keep
these graces to yourselves, by that very
fact they become the cheap trimmings of
As for us, we would make unselfishness common
to all, and the natural expression of it in
outward life would follow.
We have nothing against aristocracy, we wish
to spread it abroad and its manners.
We herald the advent of the true aristocracy,
the rule of the best over the worst in every
We would not for the world rob mankind of one
gracious word or action ;
But our aim is to make of the treasures which
you lock up in your palaces the common
coin of the realm.
The few, with their accumulation of money,
shall not rule.
Have we rid ourselves of kings for nothing ?
Is an exorbitant railway fare or telegraph charge
less tyrannous taxation than ship-money
or a duty on tea ?
Charles the First and George the Third have
risen from the dead, but industrial equality
will come as political equality came.
Our fathers died for the shadow, we demand
The few shall not rule.
It was all so simple in the old days, when people
saw, or thought they saw, tyranny and
oppression centred in one person, and in
attacking and destroying that person were
sure they were saving mankind.
How easy it is to treat a boil just as a boil and
to forget the corrupt blood that produced
it, running into every nook and cranny of
the body !
To-day, alas, the tyrant spreads like a vicious
kind of nervous system throughout the
entire frame of society.
I am part tyrant, part slave, as we all are in
varying degree, and there seems to be no
other alternative possible.
We are caught in the meshes of our own web.
We must disentangle the tyrant from us, and
this new Gordian knot will not yield its
secret to the sword.
We must thresh the chaff from the corn, and
each grain has its separate outworn casing
waiting to be winnowed away.
Alas, it is no simple rebellion on the old lines
that calls for our adhesion and support ;
It is rather a complicated labour of unravelling
and extricating and liberating from the net-
work of poisonous creepers of the ages,
whose roots are in our own hearts.
Democracy, what called you into being ?
What induced you to persist in struggling for
centuries to tear off your chains, one after
It was the longing for freedom, the desire to
grow and develop and thrive untrammelled
and unrestrained, the determination to
have no masters but your own wisdom and
conscience and will.
Now that you have nearly reached the goal,
now that you have almost achieved the
task, how is it that you have forgotten
your object and renounced the freedom for
which you began the strife ?
Instead of knocking off the last shackles you
are busy patching and riveting your broken
You are having recourse to restriction and
interference, tying the hands of those who
would aid you, hampering the free play of
the nation's life.
Will you be your own Napoleon, bringing your
own revolution to naught to usher in again
the old regime ?
Beware, beware of chains, though they be of
your own making ; they were ever your
curse, and how can they become a blessing?
You have rid yourselves of your ancient tryants,
but their death was in vain if you try to
adopt their manner of reigning.
Stretch forth your free arms, breathe the un-
limited air, and think no more of using
force against your members.
Liberty, sad, dethroned queen, though all the
world turn against you, I will be true to
Dragged in triumph at the wheel of Coercion's
chariot, bowed down, dishevelled, foot-
sore, though you be,
Though the fickle populace, which but yester-
day hailed your accession with frantic joy,
now hoot and hiss you and deride,
Yet I still perceive the majesty of your mien
and look and gait, and I acknowledge my-
self proudly to be your loyal subject.
Why have the people changed ?
Do they say that you did not give them the
prosperity that you promised ?
Ah, but when did they ever trust you with even
half the power ?
When did they ever fairly wrest your realm
from the sway of your victorious rival ?
His acts of tyranny have ever afflicted the land.
He always held tight in his fetters the soil, the
source of all, and trade, the distributor of
Were they so foolish as to charge these wrongs
to you ?
Because Coercion bore heavily upon the people,
must they for this extend his rule so as to
make, as it were, a balance of his mis-
Shout for the usurper, you mad, incoherent
Little reck you that he will add to your yoke,
and, where there were whips, chastize you
Many a weary year may pass along, ere you
bethink you again of your lawful queen.
Dear America !
Vast, vigorous, boastful, untidy mother !
I dwell upon your faults, not as an unfilial son,
but as an anxious father, for you are my
You have made me what I am, and now it is
my turn to make you what I would have
Let others toil to prepare you fitting millinery ;
Let them seek to assure you health and strength
of body ;
My part will rather be to aid quietly in forming
If we can but succeed in creating for you a
spirit commensurate with your greatness,
the rest will take care of itself.
The folds of your garments, the lines of your
face and figure, will surely take on the
beauty of your soul.
What nobler task is there on earth than shap-
ing the soul of a people ?
To make men pull together,
That was the aim which civilization set before
Men pulled together at the word of command ;
The pyramids rose, Rome swallowed the earth,
men worked long and wearily and
without a doubt that here was the finality
Their dreamers and sages and saints could pic-
ture no golden age without slaves,
And the strong arm of the law made them toil.
But man grew, and looked, and asked why,
and slavery shrivelled and died.
And still the object was to make men pull to-
And the wage-system showed the way.
One man grasped all the good things he could
and hugged them, and said to those who
had none, " Work for me and I will give
you a little."
Men pulled together again with hunger in their
Factories sprang up, railways encircled the
earth, men laboured long and eagerly
and without a doubt that here was the
finality of things.
Their dreamers and sages and saints could pic-
ture no golden age without the wage-
And the strong arm of the law guarded the piles
of good things and let the men go,
For now men strove to get work, and it was
no one's interest to keep them through the
winter, and the death of a man, such as
once fetched his weight in com, was no
longer of consequence, for another would
do as well.
But man grows and looks, and asks why, and
the wage-system quivers with terror.
There is a new way to make men pull
Love, free co-operation, equal service, true
honour and honesty, have you never
thought of these things ?
Let us dream better than the old-dreamers,
and pull together.
Men's laws, laws of tsars or of majorities
counted by the nose
Call them laws if you will, but they are no laws.
Enforce them ; drag them after you like a
corpse in a hearse.
No matter how long your procession, how
grand your plumes and high-stepping
You are advancing to the grave, and, go as
slow as you please, before long you will get
God's laws are other than these.
They live and breathe and enforce themselves.
They lead the way onward with back turned
to the cemetery.
If only one man feels the attraction and follows,
he becomes by that alone the autocrat of
When two or three join him, you have a divine
When the people are at last won over, there is
God's laws are living germs and they quicken
the blood in spite of votes and edicts.
Where are the leaders who will show us the
Where are the discoverers who will search out
the secret of true living and then apply it
in their lives ?
We are ready to follow them.
When they discovered the uses of steam, we
adopted their invention although we com-
prehended it not.
When they lassoed the lightning, and broke it
in, and taught it to carry our words and
voices and bodies, and steadily to illum-
inate the darkness, then we appropriated
their inventions, though we did not under-
When men shall have discovered the proper
functions of human energy and the way to
apply it to free and social living, again we
shall not be slow to adopt their invention,
whether it passes our comprehension or
It is always enough that a few find the best
path, forthwith the world follows.
We do not want more education or books or
We have too much education, too many books,
too many laws already.
We need only, here and there, a leader to
discover and apply God's laws of social
industry, and we will throng after them ;
not one of us will be left behind.
And who will lead the way ?
The good and wise must lead.
He that loves most is the best and wisest and
he it is that leads already.
Where the best lover sits is always the head of
Tell the great secret to the people.
Let the people love and they will lead.
No cunning device of ballot-machinery can
give them the power.
No system of common-schools, spending its
energies on mind alone, can give them the
No campaign against monopoly and oppression,
however it may promise to succeed, can
give them the power.
Nay, but let the people love, and theirs is the
From the Sanscrit
AS the young mother clasps her infant son,
So let us cherish, as our course we run,
A boundless friendly mind toward every one.
STIGMATA LIBERTATIS 27
TELL me what the signs may be
Which forever mark the free.
First, they love all living things
Humbly, yet as proud as kings.
Then of man they think no ill,
Let him do whate'er he will.
And this shows their freedom too,
That they grant the same to you.
Neither are they filled with woe
Over those who ripen slow,
For they know that, in the prime
Of the spirit's harvest-time,
Comes to every soul the hour
When it opens like a flower,
While the universe stands by,
Ever ready to supply
Lovingly its magic aid,
Never hurried, never stayed.
Lastly, thus we know the free,
That they live right openly,
Standing naked as they are,
Unabashed by sun or star,
For they deem it grievous sin
To secrete the truth within.
Each of these is freedom's sign.
How I wish that it were mine !
28 GOD'S GIFT
WHERE is my gift," said God, "that I
gave to men
The sun-wed, fruitful earth, with her freight of
For all their wants ? What mean these prayers
for food ?
Are there poor in a world which bursts with its
golden stores ?
Who are the few that dare to withhold from all
My gift to all of the fruitful, sun-wed earth ? "