George Marshall Sloan.

The telephone of labor online

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THERE can be no
hope of progress or
freedom for the
people without the un-
restricted and complete
enjoyment of the right
of free speech, free press
and peaceful assembly.



Gift of
IRA B. CR



GIFT OF



IS




THE



TELEPHONE OF LABOR,




GEORGE MARSHALL SLOAN.



The wagon's creaking ne'er will cease
While its fifth wheel gets all the grease.



CHICAGO.

1880.



ENTERED, ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS, BY

GEORGE MARSHALL SLOAN,
IN THE OFFICE OF THE LIBRARIAN AT WASHINGTON.




DEDICATION.



For the rebel, a ruler, the exile, returned,

Who rejected the gifts of the despot he spurned

For the Man of the People, this tribute I frame,

Who, sowing for Love, reaped the harvest of Fame.

A King among men, and a Man among kings,

In the van of all Progress his trumpet voice rings.

His billowy thoughts, like an angry sea, roar

In world-sweeping waves 'gainst the turrets of

Power,

Where the bandits are 'fended, who ceaselessly spoil,
With Law's grim devices, the substance of Toil.
No fortress Pride builds upon Earth's shifting sand,
To enforce his control o'er Man driven from Land,
But has felt the fierce surges that turbulent roll
With the flood-tides of Love, from his fathomless

soul,

In seas phosphorescent with luminous wrath,
That reveal for Man's hate what they tear from his

path.

t
The lone heights of Self- Abnegation he trod,

Till his lips touched the coals on the altar of God
Till they felt the hot kiss of the Infinite pour
The white flame of Love's breath thro' his life's
glowing core.

447929



.4 c r iee . , ''', Dedication.



Of the mighty and cruel, he recks not the ban,
As he battles for Freedom, for Justice, for Man ;
Full-brother of Jesus, he strives to efface
From the brows of the lowly, the brand of the base
To lift from their mire the depraved and obscene,
While he bids them, with Nature, " Go ! wash, and
be clean ! "

Man-lover whose heart for all wretchedness burns
Who feels all his torture, and lovingly yearns
For the thrall of despair, in his squalor and stench,
For the galley-slave, naked, and chained to his

bench,

Till he kindles anew to a generous flame
The embers of Manhood, long deadened by shame ;
And Valjean, re-created by love, is revealed,
As Sympathy warms what by Hate was congealed.

Who saw in poor Fanchon the virginal heart
When, betrayed and forsaken, she brought to the

mart,

In the struggle for life, the lewd kiss, and embrace,
While despair carved a smile on her pitiful face
As pure as Lucrece, by affection defiled ;
For, sinless in sinning, she sinned for her child.
Aye ! saw her glad spirit, set free from its clay,
Bajihe in Mercy's sweet spring, and don Heaven's

array

Saw the white robes that shimmer on souls of the just,
Grow more radiant, wrapping the martyr of lust ;
For, as light in the rainbow resplendent appears,
So the soul, when Love shines thro' the prism of tears.



Dedication.



Never Martyr rejoiced with so fruited a palm ;
Never Monarch so conquered, or won such a realm ;
Never Athlete so struggled, or Toiler so wrought,
As he who, in exile, untiringly fought,
Till the Empire of Bayonets crumbled and fell,
The by- word of nations, who scoffed at its knell ;
Who forged like a Vulcan, like Jupiter hurled
Great words that breed tempests to freshen the world.
From his island Olympus, whose thunderbolts swept
To the claws of the Furies, the reptile who crept
Thro' Treason to power, from his blood-defiled den,
As the sword that gashed France, fled, appalled,
from his pen.

For the red-flag of Progress, this thread I have spun,
VICTOR HUGO, I lay at the foot of thy throne,
Due tribute to champion of all Earth's oppressed,
From their refuge and shelter, the Land of the West.



PEOEM.



For thee primordial and persistent force at base
Of warring Nature, that, untiring, strains to lift
The stubborn crust of sullen earth to higher plane ;
That raves as fiercely in the microscopic drop,
As in the Titan's heart, aflame with prisoned wrath,
Sobbing strange imprecations at the jeering gods ;
That drags the dreaming hermit to his squalid cell ;
And drives the maudlin conquerer to his rocking

throne ;

Yet mocks the equal woe of each complaining wretch ;
Hoping from purple or from sackcloth to obtain
Cure for the anguish that pervades his writhing soul
O ! Discontent, what I have delved for in the mines

of thought,
I 've coined in fretful words, in hope to swell thy

spleen to rage.

Thy piping cry that, singly, sounds as far and faint
As from another world, on the dulled ears of pride,
When muttered by the footsore tramp who slinks

from Law,

Dreading the pains of trespass on a deed-fenced land,
Once voiced by unit will of Man, the Socialist,
Outs wells the arching heavens, and frights with

savage roar
The flaming sword that fends him from his Paradise.



Proem.



Redeemer thou ! The hot cloud column in the van
Of angry myriads, struggling from their wilderness ;
Their stinging serpents, when each weakling wails

his fate
In solitary suffering.

For the self same act,
Committed by a multitude, is solemn law,
Which, if attempted by a thoughtful, lonely wight,
Is grossest treason 'gainst the ordered State.

Yea ! Killing is no Murder when a Czar's dull frown
Finds dim reflection from a desolated land,
Whose glooms are flared by Arson's nihilistic torch,
As blind Despair pries at the gates of Hell for light.
His knout is but a grieving parent's brittle switch,
His scaffold but the pulpit whence he reprehends,
Siberia but the dark room for a naughty child;
While worse than parricide is his offense who points
With nerveless hand, a threat at God's Successor,
throned.

But Discontent, grown universal, on the traitor's

brow

Wreathes Revolution's laurels, as rejoicing hails
Each creaking, shifting change of Earth's kaleido-
scope.

And Justice, like a butcher from his slaughter-house,
Her ermine scarlet-dyed with Tyrants' blood, to Love
Smells sweeter than a world perfumed by odors 'stilled
From Pity's tears, dropped on the hands of Charity.



8 Proem.



When gasping Freedom bursts thro' pangs and moans

and wails,

To lie in ecstacy on Nature's brimming breasts,
And drain the nectar she bestows Fraternity,
Like a red morning star the clotted guillotine
Mirrors the crimson tides poured from travailing

Earth,
And fades in blushing dawn that heralds perfect day.



PREFATORY.



These, my conceits, I've dressed in simple phrase :

Believe and trust them, ridicule, condemn
Ignore them utterly, and let them drown
In Time's flood, like the vamped jests of a clown.
To me alike abuse, contempt and praise

As I from Ebal, Greed's mailed hosts blaspheme.

All things I try and hold what I deem good.

No caste, no creed, no fear, contracts my sense ;
At no Gamaliel's feet I sit to grind
Husk of dead thought through wonder-gaping mind,
And all the lore of Man is here eschewed,
Unless sustained by Nature's evidence.

When I describe the shambles, I don't use

Words culled from a perfumer's glossary
I am a Man, and for my fellows feel,
Whose lives are spent in turning Ixion's wheel :
Even curses coined by fiends were weak to accuse
The dogs I egg in Nature's



What cares the Sybil, though the Augur mocks

The scrolls that tell the destiny of Rome ;
Her message laid before his sneering eyes,
Her mission ended ; let him then despise
At peril her dread preachment, she unlocks
The Future, he may read, or not, the tome,



10 Prefatory.



A tiny drop of Life's broad current, I

Must radiate the light that on me falls ;
The highest truth I see, I must proclaim,
By instinct driven. What is praise or blame
To him who stands upon the mystery

Of Hope and Dread, of Love and Death, and calls

His fellows to unbolt the gates of gloom,

In which they're prisoned ; Aye ! who shows a

key

He thinks would bring them from the crypts of creeds
To Nature's harvests, rustling with good deeds.
Even though 'tis mirage fills his eye with bloom
Beyond Faith's walls within is Misery.

Here fantasies and logic are combined,
By nature-taught, assimilating brain,
Which seeks for cause in every consequent,
And has no faith, but in experiment,

Sees nothing sacred in what men have shrined,
Has prayed with Jesus, and has curst with Cain.

Heard Darwin mourn how Rosseau's babies died ;

Knows Babeuf perished, for his love had fists.
Has fathomed on the coral reefs of thought,
The depth of bigot waves that o'er them float,
Saw Voltaire growing out the turbid tide,
And Jefferson, upbuilt on Rabelais' jests.

Something of each it has materialized ;

Has talked with Nihilists, with Fourier slept ;
Has dined with Malthus, seen Mazzini's steel ;



Prefatory. 11



Felt Louis tremble, heard Robespierre squeal.
From all that's curst, and all that's canonized,
Has jumbled words, and this expression shaped.

'Tis concentration of the myriad dreams

Have fallen through ages, on man's troubled

sleep.

If through the horn or ivory gates they tiy
Is still the argument. While some decry
Their substance, others see the gleams

Of brighter future through life's tempests sweep.

Little of Ingersoll ; his widening vest

Contains, I think, the bulk he has to spare.
Full fed, a Berkshire discontent will lie
Grumbling and grunting in his narrow sty ;
I build a sheep-fold ; he'd as loud protest,
If its full ricks gave all an equal share.

A fat man's mind is fat. A greasy world'
The chubby Cherub on rich gravies fed,
With brain of adipose, contents ; but grim
Starvation proves to bony Seraphim.

Lard is not sentient. Nerves need friction. Oiled
By the gross stomach, the absorbing head

Reasons to their periphery the skin.

And bounds its vision with what's good to eat.
'Twill sight concentrate on the brimming trough,
Deny the pail above, and ribald scoff

From roly-poly shoats wakes laughter's din,

At thought of Conscious Power that gave the
meat.



12 Prefatory.



Methinks God's love was there, though Joshua

smote

The lapping young of tigerish Canaanites :
A better breed, perhaps, than they, the Jews,
(That's where I'd quibble, but I can't refuse
It possible) and wise Love would devote

Cub with its dam, their fledglings with the kites.

if he regrets to see an adult Czar

Escape the Nihilist, a fasting week
Might clear his vision. If from cross-carved womb
The knife sent pulpy fiendlings to their doom,

The hunger-sharpened intellect would not scare,
For Progress loves to hear their dying squeak.

Who strikes a tyrant, strikes in self-defence,
For he's attacked whose fellow is assailed.
But they who dare annihilate the race
That's born for rule, by God's transmitted grace,
Aid the next age, destroy the testaments

By which wolves' rights are on wolf-cubs
entailed.

Ah ! Ingersoll. Why choke yourself with dust,

Groping from light for mummied Bull-gods, while
The pyramids that shrined them, still enfold
Their spirit, in curse-procreating Gold.

Wouldst rid earth of them ? Here your lever

thrust ;

Power, Faith-fed, based on Metal, claims your
skill.



Prefatory. 13



That's why I think 'tis right that muscled brain,

Should grant no quarter to fat-stomached jowl ;
And that 'tis time the hungry stork had ceased
Attempting share the fox's plattered feast,
And left him in his domicile, the Fane,

Where mind-starved Toil eats with the paunchy
Cowl.

How dare I say, that I have reached to light
In this agglomerate of distorted thought :
I only know the idea's in me grown,
An evolution of the Cause Unknown
Of all existence. That it aids the Right

Or Wrong, I know not. I have only wrought

Material as the All-creative Power

Here forms a porcupine and there a dove.
Instinct, selection, circumstance and man,
Alter, debase, improve on Nature's plan.
I know not if I've sown, or weed or flower,
Have scattered seed of hate or bloom of love.

Nor know I, if the crucible of brain

Has separated vulgar pyrites,
Or virgin gold. But this I know, that worth
Is born of need, that nuggets hid in earth
Were valueless as cowries till a man,
Before them abject, bent adoring knees.

The boiling blood of an unlicensed youth

With vapors clouding sense, and marring [sight,



14 Prefatory.



Is chill by years and creeps through sluggish veins,
But in the eve of life the mind attains
Some faint perception of eternal truth,

And eyes unfevered, harmonize with light.

Life's dusty highway grimes its traveler,

Plodding through jarring crowds his bickering

path.

Who would be clean, must seek its grassy lanes.
In their clear springs must cleanse his guilty stains
When shadows lengthen and the sunset's near,
For souls, like bodies, should be washed for
death.

And I, who've striven to efface the soils,
Of sordid, selfish, and discordant days,
And know the enjoyment cleanliness bestows,
Must, 'ere the hastening glooms bring me repose,
From leafy covert beckon him who toils,
To shaded rests, and water-freshened ways.

I know the man who first affronted God,

Was he who first walled in a plot of ground
And called the enclosure his, for his the expense,
Then taught his brothers to respect his fence ;
Persuaded them to join the wretched fraud,
And wound the earth by building village pound.

I know that Man is Nature's rightful heir

Of all amassed by Greed, by Toil unearned ;
From Pisgah's height, beyond the brawling ford
Of Jordan, I can see the pagan horde



Prefatory. 15



Float feudal banners o'er the lands they share,
And know, like Canaanites, they've but so-
journed

In Law's walled cities, till Toil's nation grew,

Through Egypt's long harass, and painful path
Through wilderness, to knowledge of its wrong.
Aye, even now, I see the grime-stained throng,
Eager to cross, impatient, wait review,

While Joshua voices God, and wakes their wrath.

I know if Man, not ready for a step,

Has been a dullard at Dame Nature's school
That though with Jesus' knotted cord I goad,
He'll see Chimaeras in the surveyed road,
And like a frightened baby, backward creep,
At Progress piping melancholy pule.

Progress must fit the time. In vain essay

To raise a harvest on unfurrowed ground,
And Nature's force is wasted if the sail
Is set to edge it ; zephyr then or gale

May woo, or bluster. Cogs have holiday,
The hopper grows adust, no meal is ground.

So, if my thought is born too soon, because

No man will nurse it, it must die, perforce.
If mental opium, I have smoked and seen
A mawkish vision on fantastic screen,

And each sane soul my rascal rhyme inveighs,
In either case, why should I feel remorse ?



16 Prefatory.



I have faint hope that Lazarus will hear ;

I know full well, if Dives does, I'm damned
All round the compass. Well, my days are short
And gray my head, but grayer far, my heart.
I've borne his blows, I can despise his jeer
O ! Lazarus, hearken ! 'Tis for you, I'm shamed !

Yet, he will not, for keenest thought can't pierce

The semi-conscious, gross-grained pachyderm.
Wisdom ne'er works directly on the mass,
Whose brutal passions Reason can not face ;
Fit but for conflict, noisy, jarring, fierce,
Unlicked, unwashed, with intellect in germ.

For all the multitudinous expanse

Of souls untaught, spreads bare and dessicate,
A void Zahara, under science' sun,
Incapable of growth, a dismal zone

Which ne'er felt rainfall on its seedless sands,
And swallows every rill would irrigate.

Could Lazarus think, what countless books he'd

read !

If he had time, how quickly would he learn !
But long hours' toil, and fainting overwork
A thousand brains leaves waste, that one may shirk,
Though Hygeia begs him sweat, and swears its

need,
He's sick with spending, what they die to earn.

For health is the reward of exercise,

While toil consumes, and luxury cankers life ;



Prefatory. 17



Each earns his doom who Nature disobeys,
The fool who suffers, and the fool who preys ;
And suicidal laughter, born of sighs,

Jars Heaven with peeans of earth's endless
strife.

Ah ! if dull tools a poor mechanic make,

If dastard he, who wields a pointless spear,
How can law-givers with greed's blunted brain,
A comprehensive view. of Right attain,

Who at each movement of the people quake
For plunder won by shame, is held in fear.

If from my mind has sprung a natural force

To aid my fellows climbing to the Light,
Or if brain soaked in bilious discontent,
Has railing thus at Order found a vent,
If as a seer I'm wise, or crazed and coarse,
I plead for love, or angry men excite,

What I have thought, I've writ, felt what I've

said ;

Bruised and in pain 'tis Nature bids me cry.
Though all mankind in rage and horror scream,
My tongue must tell my vision, pen my dream,
Nor from anath'mas will I shield my head,
Though all the earth proclaim my truth a lie.

My thought is born, and claims its utterance ;
I'll speak it, though it floats on idle winds ;
I'll speak it outright, though the thick thronged

square
Mock it as craziness, or vacant stare ;



18 Prefatory.



Music to me, though it be dissonance
To every ear, and discord to all minds.

For I, although a dwarf, am sure I've climbed

The shoulders of the Titans. I can clod
The low, free-pass-won Heaven that men attain,
Denying Life its instincts, Toil his gain,

And will, because I like to. I have rhymed
My pellets. Stand from under, Man-made God.

Beyond the vision of the pessimist,

I see Earth's buzzing strifes engender loves,
See Sun-warmed worlds evolve of nebula,
See breathing raptures springing from decay ;
Through every change see Nature's laws persist,
Compelling Chaos' whir to Order's grooves.



THE PEOLOGUE.



Tumbling on Time's tempestuous tides,
The world through weary ages rides,
And, deep within its foetid hold,
In darkness packs the slaves of Gold.
Since Day was born the unwieldy bulk
Of the storm-driven, battered hulk,
With rudder useless, compass lost,
Is on the scud-capped billows tossed.

Deep in their troughs it straining rolls,

With smothering freight of famished souls,

Uncheered by hope of brighter lot,

" Born but to propagate and rot "

As fish in subterranean streams,

Unvisited by gladdening beams,

Prisoned in gloom, lose optic nerve

When vision can no uses serve

Their eyeless minds no gleam discern,

Though Thought may flash and Science burn ;

By ages of Oppression's night,

So long deprived of Reason's light,

That even the power is lost, of sight.

Its engines, whose resistless force,
Heart lit, might drive them on their course,
With dampened fires, grew foul with rust,
In the dank air of noisome lust,



20 Earth's wealth producers,

Whose dense, mephitic vapors quench

All purer love with stifling stench,

Until each generation see's

A viler stand between its knees,

As if a race of foul Yahoos

Degenerated breeding Jews.

Since Savagery has "no name

For crimes, whose purple blazons shame ;

Nor can a hunger-dazed, dim eye,

Through the wild, driving mists descry

A star, the enshrouding gloom to cheer,

Or point them whitherward to steer.

Thro' op'ning seams the turbid waves
Engulf them in unnoted graves.
Toil's tears their hardened muscles drip,
To keep afloat their prison ship,
As the dumb, wearied wretches ply
The jarring pumps, in dread to die.
O'er Hate's cold, lifeless, frigid zone,
Chartless they drift through seas unknown,
While their discordant cries of pain
Are drowned in Luxury's glad refrain
For the bright cabins ring with mirth,
And swear it is a happy earth.



Such lives they lead as those who lodge
In Venice, with her doting Doge,
Power's image ; whose authority
Was held by the mysterious " Three."
His gilded palace based on slime
On Oubliettes built, awarded crime



Live in misery. 21



Of discontent with purse-ruled state,
A prison 'neath the waves that beat
Around its huge, basaltic pride,
In glooms, dank with the turbid tide ;
Was roofed with dismal, noisome caves
Where torture's engines, worked by slaves,
Resounded shrieks of wretches doomed
To breathe in pain, from life entombed
Impatient, urging fate, with cries,
For passage o'er the Bridge of Sighs ;
While all between the dismal cells
Above, below wealth-laden walls,
Where power and gold with beauty met,
Rang with the dancers' pattering feet,
Twirling in pleasure's careless round
Unheard their groans, in music drowned.



O, Toil ! what power has thus immured
Your body, and your mind obscured ?
As though Fate held you under ban
A fungous growth of mouldering man,
Existent on your own decay ;
Aspiring as your kindred clay ;
Pasted like lichen on a rock ;
When each should, as a sturdy oak,
Control the soil its rootlets tap,
Thence drawing germinating sap.

Say ! is it by decree divine,
Your stomach rattles on your spine ?
That you, from age to age, are sure
Of nothing, but that you endure,



22 Has G-od so intended ?

And live, as though the desert sands

Were harvested for your demands ?

While emerald wealth springs from the loam

Around the hut you call a home ;

Rented of some gor-bellied sot,

Coarse, truculent, unfeeling, hot,

With bailiff slinking at his back

Should you, upon the gale day, lack

The sum he claims for leave to stand

Upon God's earth ? No ; on his land !

Has some dread Demiurgus curled
His frightful coils about your world,
Forcing the soul of nature from
Her jellied, granite-banded frame ;
And pain, eternal, hopeless, wrought
By fsecal matter, stifling thought?

Is it by Nature's law you wail
In endless misery; and quail
With shrinking shoulders, quivering lip,
As Helots, at a Spartan's whip,
Before the feasting few and dare"
Scarce join your knotty hands in prayer
To Paul's and Calvin's clay-grimed God
In his huge pottery, gone mad ?
Who, fiendish in his raving zeal,
Forms on his swift revolving wheel,
Pots and spittoons in vilest delf
By myriads to o'er weight his shelf;
While scarce a mould of Parian ware,
Escapes, unbroke, his furnace fire.



.ZVb, Man, a self -tormentor. 23

Not so, O, Brethren ! Reason shows
Man works his own unceasing woes.
The laws of every state declare
Their makers in the men who share
Toil's plunder, as they grant his gain
To pitiless and scheming brain.

'Tis we, ourselves, that frame and build
The hold, with want and squalor filled,
Whence Labor, feeding all the earth,
Harvests his own perpetual dearth.
'Tis we who gild and ornament
The cabins, where the insolent
And thankless Dives holds his court,
Making Toil's agony his sport.

Man's laws are the dumb-waiters lift
With silent speed the gains of thrift,
To feed his fellow voyagers
Through life, as first-class passengers,
With every cate can please their taste,
Who never know what 't is to fast ;
While he, in steerage, dines on " duff,"
And thanks them when he gets enough.

In crass and torpid ignorance,

In superstitious reverence

Of creeds effete and blasphemous,

Labor, a brawny Lazarus,

Pigs in his narrow, reeking sty,

As 't were his natural destiny ;

Snores when he's full ; a-hungered, squeals

Up the hatchway for hogwash meals



24 Jesus, the /Socialist, shows escape?

When, had he sense to know his right,
And courage to direct his might,
One gesture of his arm could sweep
His masters from the groaning ship.

Rebel ! O, Toilers ! Seize the deck ;

Or perish in the shattered wreck.

/

Let the 'dull furnace glow with heat,
Flaming from hearts whose rhythmic beat
Pulsates the quenchless fires of love,
Through Man on earth to God above.
When that the ponderous engines feel,
Swift through the billows rolls the wheel ;
And the heart-driven brain will force,
Through every obstacle, its course.

Go ! find your compass in His life,

Who loved His foes and hated strife,

Yet waged incessant, bitter war

With every wrong that Man would mar ;

Who poured His curses like a flood

On those who dared oppress the good ;

Who tells you Heaven on Earth is won

By violence, and that alone

That you must storm its walls, since Hate

And Mammon lock and guard its gate.

Then grasp the helm of sturdy will,
That knows no fear and dreads no ill,
And Man has gained that land of Hope,
Where Reason's highest flight finds scope.



His ffeaven is Fraternity. 25

When thro' his race is spread his leaven,
Earth gains her port, and floats in Heaven.



The soul of power is Intellect ;
Which needs Love only to direct
Its motion, and its end's in view.
What Man can think, that Man can do.

Up, Brothers ! Sons of God ! He gave

You Earth to revel on why slave ?

Blood, only, wins your right to taste

Milk welling from your mother's breast.

Birth-right, inalienable ! Room

On it for all her teeming womb


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Online LibraryGeorge Marshall SloanThe telephone of labor → online text (page 1 of 16)