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To The Leaders Of Both Parties Post by :teknon Category :Poems Author :John Presland Date :November 2011 Read :3727

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To The Leaders Of Both Parties

January 1910

"A people's voice, we are a people yet."
--TENNYSON'S Ode on Death of the Duke of Wellington.

Think on your birthright, England! On that voice
Which sounded first the ringing clarion note
Of freedom, and the ears of mankind smote
With that brave speech, whose hearing does rejoice
The angels (in his starry sphere remote
Each sitting). Think upon your past, my land;
The heart to wish, the will to dare, the hand
To do the right, though round the senses float
The Protean shapes of evil. We have struck
To free the slave, against a world in doubt;
Have raised the grovelling from their muddy ruck
And made them men; our foes once put to rout
We give them justice; we have scorned to truck
In gold for blood, and fatten on such spoil--
To others be the gain, to us the toil.
Oh, once more, England, let that voice ring out!

Alas! thou now dost hide thy Titan self
In a drab's clothing, lies; whilst, false and shrill,
Thy people squabble for the dirty pelf
Of office, at the hustings; while they fill
Our streets with lies, that, from the naked walls,
Mouth blatantly upon us, open shame;
While throughout Europe goes thy honoured name,
Grimacing in a mask of Party brawls.

Bethink you, Leaders! How will history place
Your name beside her others, if you fight
With such-like weapons? Oh, be bold to face
The conflict, tell the truth, as in your sight
It does appear, with nothing false or base,
--The nation's heart will know to choose aright--
Be brave! Be true these days! Will you forget
You are our Leaders, we, a people yet?

(The end)
John Presland's poem: To The Leaders Of Both Parties

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