Ada Cambridge

Mirage

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Is it a will-o'-the-wisp, or is dawn breaking,
That our horizon wears so strange a hue?
Is it but one more dream, or are we waking
To find that dreams, at last, are coming true?


Aye, surely, in that golden glimmer streaking
The cloudy sky-line of the life of man
We see the blessed day he has been seeking
In all directions since the world began.


Sign to each struggling and exhausted nation
Of hope fulfilled, redemption and release;
Sign of the end of needless tribulation,
And the beginning of the reign of Peace.


Country with country, brother with his brother,
Content to share, and not to grab and steal;
Ceasing the wild-beast battle, each with other,
To work in concert for the common weal.


No class-strife more, neighbour with differing neighbour;
No waste or want, to breed the plague or crime;
No soul-debasing pomp and sordid labour,
No wars, no famines, in the coming time!


But swords of slaughter--valour and brains and money--
Turned into ploughshares for the lands redeemed,
To fill men's homes, as full as hives of honey,
With wealth unknown and happiness undreamed.


Great Art no more the plaything of the idle,
But nurse and minister to every need;
Nature no longer cowed with bit and bridle;
Conscience enfranchised and Religion freed.


All round our darksome isle the tide encroaches,
Distant and dim as yet, but spreading fast.
The reign of Love and Liberty approaches!
The heirs are coming to their own at last!


Hark! What was that? The vanquished devil howling,
With guns and bombs, for brother devil's blood?
The primal savage out again--befouling
All this fair promise with his primal mud?


Alas! So soon to see our lovely morning
Back in the hopeless night whence it arose,
And have no time to wait another dawning!
O Lord, how long--how long . . . . . . . .

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