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Utopia of Usurers and other Essays

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(1907)



A SONG OF SWORDS



"A drove of cattle came into a village called Swords; and was stopped by the rioters."--Daily Paper.



In the place called Swords on the Irish road

It is told for a new renown

How we held the horns of the cattle, and how

We will hold the horns of the devils now

Ere the lord of hell with the horn on his brow

Is crowned in Dublin town.



Light in the East and light in the West,

And light on the cruel lords,

On the souls that suddenly all men knew,

And the green flag flew and the red flag flew,

And many a wheel of the world stopped, too,

When the cattle were stopped at Swords.



Be they sinners or less than saints

That smite in the street for rage,

We know where the shame shines bright; we know

You that they smite at, you their foe,

Lords of the lawless wage and low,

This is your lawful wage.



You pinched a child to a torture price

That you dared not name in words;

So black a jest was the silver bit

That your own speech shook for the shame of it,

And the coward was plain as a cow they hit

When the cattle have strayed at Swords.



The wheel of the torrent of wives went round

To break men's brotherhood;

You gave the good Irish blood to grease

The clubs of your country's enemies;

you saw the brave man beat to the knees:

And you saw that it was good.



The rope of the rich is long and long--

The longest of hangmen's cords;

But the kings and crowds are holding their breath,

In a giant shadow o'er all beneath

Where God stands holding the scales of Death

Between the cattle and Swords.



Haply the lords that hire and lend

The lowest of all men's lords,

Who sell their kind like kine at a fair,

Will find no head of their cattle there;

But faces of men where cattle were:

Faces of men--and Swords.








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