'LIBERTY?' Is that the cry, then?
We have heard it oft of yore.
Once it had, we think, a meaning;
Let us hear it now no more.
We have read what history tells us
Of its heroes, martyrs too.
Doubtless they were very splendid,
But they're not for me and you.
There were Greeks who fought and perished,
Won from Persians deathless graves.
Had we lived then, we're aware that
We'd have been those same Greeks' slaves!
Then a Roman came who loved us;
Caesar gave men tongues and swords.
Crying 'Liberty,' they fought him,
Cato and his wild-beast lords.
When he'd give a broader franchise,
Lift the mangled nations bowed,
Crying 'Liberty!' they killed him,
Brutus and his cut-throat crowd.
We have read what history tells us,
O the truthful memory clings!
Tacitus, the chartered liar,
Gloating over poisoned kings!
'Liberty!' The stale cry echoes
Past smug homesteads, tinsel thrones,
Over smoking fields and hovels,
Murdered peasants' bleaching bones.
That's the cry that mocked us madly,
Toiling in our living graves,
When hell-mines sent up the chorus;
'Britons never shall be slaves!'
'Liberty!' We care not for it!
What we care for's food, clothes, homes,
For our dear ones, toiling, waiting
For the time that never comes!

More verses by Francis William Lauderdale Adams