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The People's Anthem

BY EBENEZER ELLIOTT

(One of the leaders of the Chartist movement in England, 17811849; known as the "Poet of the People," and by his enemies as the "Corn-law Rhymer")

WHEN wilt thou save the people?

WHEN

O God of mercy! when?

Not kings and lords, but nations!

Not thrones and crowns, but men!
Flowers of thy heart, O God, are they!
Let them not pass, like weeds, away!
Their heritage a sunless day!

God save the people!

Shall crime bring crime for ever,
Strength aiding still the strong?
Is it thy will, O Father!

That man shall toil for wrong?

"No!" say thy mountains; "No!" thy skies;
"Man's clouded sun shall brightly rise,

And songs be heard instead of sighs."
God save the people!

When wilt thou save the people?

O God of mercy! when?

The people, Lord! the people!

Not thrones and crowns, but men!
God save the people! thine they are;
Thy children, as thy angels fair;
Save them from bondage and despair!
God save the people!

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The World's Way

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

(One of the series of sonnets in which the English dramatist, 15641616, voiced his inmost soul)

IRED with all these, for restful death I cry—

TIRE

As, to behold desert a beggar born,

And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,

And gilded honor shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,

And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,

And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,

And captive Good attending captain Ill:—

Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my Love alone.

Written in London, September, 1802

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

(One of the great sonnets of England's poet of nature; 1770-1850. Poet laureate in 1843)

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FRIEND! I know not which way I must look

For comfort, being, as I am, opprest

To think that now our life is only drest

For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,
Or groom! We must run glittering like a brook
In the open sunshine, or we are unblest;
The wealthiest man among us is the best;
No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense,
This is idolatry; and these we adore;
Plain living and high thinking are no more:
The homely beauty of the good old cause
Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
And pure religion breathing household laws.

The Preface to “Les Miserables"
BY VICTOR HUGO

(The poet and humanitarian of France, 1802-1885, has in this passage set forth the purpose of one of the half-dozen greatest novels of the world)

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O long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age-the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night -are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.

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