By the bodies and minds and souls that rot in a common stye
In the city’s offal-holes, where the dregs of its horrors lie —
By the prayers that bubble out, but never ascend to God,
We swear the tyrants of earth to rout, with tongue and with pen and sword!
By the child that sees the light, where the pestilent air stagnates,
By the woman, worn and white, who under the street-lamp waits,
By the horror of vice that thrives in the dens of the wretched poor,
We swear to strike when the time arrives, for all that is good and pure!
By the rights that were always ours — the rights that we ne’er enjoyed,
And the gloomy cloud that lowers on the brow of the unemployed;
By the struggling mothers and wives — by girls in the streets of sin —
We swear to strike when the time arrives, for our kind and our kith and kin!
By our burning hate for men who rob us of ours by might,
And drive to the slum and den, the poor from the sun and light,
By the hell-born greed that drives our sons o’er the world to roam,
We swear to strike when the time arrives, and strike for our friends and home.
By the little of manhood left in a world of want and sin,
By the rift in the dark cloud’s brow where the light still struggles in,
By the love that scarce survives in a stream that is sluggish and thin,
We swear to work till the time arrives for ourselves and our kind and kin.
The little of love may dry in its stream that scarcely flows,
The little of manhood die and the rift in the dark clouds close,
And hope may vanish from earth and all that is pure and bright,
But we swear to strike eer that time has birth with the whole of our gathered might!
More verses by Henry Lawson
- The Imported Servant
- The Jolly Dead March
- The King (Ii)
- The Leader And The Bad Girl
- The Lady Of The Motor Car