BY THE bodies and minds and souls that rot in a common sty|
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,
And 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 brows of the unemployed;
By the struggling mothers and wives and the girls on 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 right,
And banish to slum and stew the poor from the sun and light,
And the hellborn law that drives the exile o’er sea to roam,
We swear to strike when the time arrives for Happiness, Hearth, and Home.
By the little of manhood left in a world of want and sin,
By the rift in the dark clouds reft 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 kith and kin.
The little 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—
We swear to strike ere that time has birth with the whole of our gathered might.