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"I've paid for all my hundred dead,
I've paid, I've paid, I've paid."
His ragged laughter rang, and died—
For he was sore afraid.

"I've paid for wooden hall and stair,
I've paid to strain my floors,
I've paid for rotten fire-escapes,
For all my bolted doors.

"Your fat inspectors came and came-
I crossed their hands with gold.
And now I want the thing I bought,
The thing the System sold."

The District Leader filled a glass
With whiskey from the bar,
(The little silver counter where
He bought men's souls at par.)

And well he knew that he must give

The thing that he had sold,

Else men should doubt the System's word, Keep back the System's gold.

The whiskey burned beneath his tongue:

I

"A hundred women dead!

guess

the Boss can fix it up,

Go home and hide," he said.

All day they brought the bodies down
From Max Rogosky's place-

And oh, the fearful touch of flame

On hand and breast and face!

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

(English painter, member of the Royal Academy, 1817-1904)

All day the white-lipped mothers came
To search the sheeted dead;

And Horror strode the blackened walls,
Where Death had walked in red.

But Max Rogosky did not weep.
(He knew that tears were vain.)
He paid the System's price, and lived
To lock his doors again.

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(A tragedy at Coal Creek, Tennessee, May 19, 1902)

HE lord of us he lay in his bed

THE

Good right had he, good right!
But we were up before night had fled,
Out to the mine in the dawning red;
Slaves were we all, by hunger led
Into the land of night.

The master knew of our danger well,

We also knew-we knew.

His greed for profits had served him well,

But he over-reached him, as fate befell,
And I alone am left to tell,

Death's horrors I lived through

The master dreamed, mayhap, of his gold,
But we were awake-awake,

Buried alive in the black earth's mold;
And some who yet could a pencil hold,
Wrote till their hands in death grew cold,
For wife or sweetheart's sake.

Letters they wrote of farewell-farewell,
To mother, sweetheart, wife:

What words of comfort could they tell-
Comfort for those who loved them well,
Up from the jaws of the earth's black hell
That was crushing out their life.

The master cursed, as masters do-
Good right had he, good right!

But the fear of our vengeance stirred him, too;
He sailed, with some of his pirate crew,
To Europe, and reveled a year or two;
Great might has he great might!

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