Menella Bute Smedley

In The Meantime

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“In the meantime England, France, and Austria are making representations at St. Petersburg on behalf of Poland.”

(Telegram) “Leo Frankowski, having recovered from his wounds, was executed at Lüblin.”

In the meantime do not hurry the sword out,
Let them be patient,—they surely can wait;
Will all the blood of their noblest when poured out
Alter in England a tax or a rate?
Wrongs may be bitter, we have not to bear them;
Cannot hearts break without making a fuss?
Heroes are plenty, and Europe can spare them;
We never stir till the shoe pinches us.
Let the rocks split under tyranny's hammer,
Crush the great thought by the pitiful fact;
Women and children are welcome to clamour,
We, too, can talk, but don't ask us to act!
In the meantime, while sweet morning is breaking,
Scenting the world with the dew of her breath,
One noble victim, with wounds freshly aching,
Feebly and gallantly moves to his death.
Three months ago how they dreaded and cursed him!
How rose the land at the flash of his eye!
Now with stern patience his captors have nursed him
Till he can stand while they lead him to die.
One wistful glance to the far faint horizon,
Somewhere on earth there is freedom he knows;
Then to the scaffold—the altar he dies on!
What shall the sacrifice gain for his foes?
This! Men shall tell it, indignant and breathless,
Weep for the anguish and blush for the crime;
This death of shame shall in honour be deathless—
But we avenge it not, in this mean time!
Land in the midst of rich Europe that starvest,
Stretching thy hands, in thy weakness sublime!
This is thy seedtime, be sure of the harvest,
Martyrs are earning it in the meantime!

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