Questions from the Loom.

Oh, tell me, ye tyrants of earth ! 1
Ere-arrive the retributive hour,2
Tell the millions degraded, the butt of your mirth,3
What distinguishes noble from ignoble birth ?4
Whence arises, what constitutes power ?5
Now your bark is at sea, and your mariner’s sleep,6
Tho’ the dark gloom of thunder half shadows the deep.7
Oh, where is your pilot, and where8
Are your means, whence to buffet the storm ?9
Now the dark gulf beneath you behold and beware,10
From the sea rifted wreck who would shoreward repair,11
Can but reach by the raft of reform.12
Fate frowns dark on your windward, rocks rise on your
Leave the hulk of your hopes or you founder at sea.14
Ye who scoff when a nation complains,15
When all mangled it bleeds at the core !16
How, when millions in bondage shall sever their chains,17
Bidding war’s brazen trump banish peace from your plains,18
Will you silence the cannon’s dread-roar ?19
Or behold undismayed and with pitiless eyes20
Desolation’s dark columns ascend to the skies ?21
Shall those bastiles of famine late built22
For divorce—child bereavements—and woe23
Blast the land of our fathers, and cold-blooded guilt24
Stay the gripe of the torch and the dagger’s dark hilt25
In revenge ? fell despair answers no.26
For the mob on those grounds you their franchise refuse27
Having nought to protect can have nothing to lose.28
Yet that mob or what else you may please,29
They from you your grandeur derive ;30
Who the battle field brave, the deep mine and the seas ;31
But to nurture your pride, aggrandizement, and ease,32
Could expel every drone from the hive ;33
Where the check of populationists find with alarm34
That improvident marriages cumber the swarm.35
Ye despoilers o’er earth, of your kind,36
All your hope blighting prospects were vain,37
Were you still, to the times so besottedly blind38
As to deem that the mob whom your manacles bind,39
Cannot burst the vile bondage in twain.40
Inoffensive shall fall the red blade of your trust41
And your cloud-cleaving citadel crumble to dust.42
They whose thousands have passively died43
Ere a death wound to patience was given,44
As a power long insulted by impatient pride45
Shall the millions to whom due redress is denied46
Make appeal to their strength and to Heaven.47
Is that source whence your wealth and your mightiness
Restitution to reap at the roll of the drum ?49
Beard no more sleeping vengeance with deeds ;50
Such as yet you might vainly deplore ;51
Tho’ with judgement suspended morality pleads52
And with patience e’en carnal omnipotence bleeds,53
Dread the burst of an Etna the more.54
For the darkness of yore spades shall be55
By the effulgence of reason the light of the free.56
Yes ; the night of delusion is by57
And the heart gladd’ning glimpses of man58
Make the clouds of corruption dissolve as they fly ;59
And the light which illumes the political sky60
Glows the life-beam of ages unborn !61
When fell wars cease to crimson green earth and blue
And alike shall unknown be the tyrant and slave.63