Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nov. 5, 1850 - Oct. 30, 1919


The Chain

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Men have outgrown the worthless creed
Which bade them deem it God's good will
That labour sweat and starve, to fill
And glut the purse of idle greed.

They have outgrown the poor content
That breeds oppression. Forged by pain,
Mind links to mind in one great chain
Of protest and of argument.

And by the hand of progress hurled,
This mighty chain of human thought,
In silence and in anguish wrought,
Encompasses the pulsing world.

And he who will not form a link
Of new conditions, soon to be,
Ere long must stand aghast, and see
Old systems toppling down the brink.

They cannot, and they shall not last.
The broader impulse of the day
Will gain and grow and sweep away
The rank injustice of the Past.

Let no man think he can despoil
And rob his kind by trick and fraud,
And at the last make peace with God
By tossing alms to honest toil.

The purport of the hour is vast.
The world wants justice. It demands
United hearts, united hands --
The day of charity is past.

More labour for the selfish few,
More leisure for the burdened mass;
These things shall surely come to pass
As old conditions change to new.

They change through strain, and strike, and strife;
The worst but speeds the final best.
Work for all men -- for all men rest,
And time to taste the joys of life.


Poems of Pleasure
Copyright 1900
Gay And Bird, 22 Bedford Street, Strand, London