Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nov. 5, 1850 - Oct. 30, 1919


The Protest

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Said the great machine of iron and wood,
Lo, I am a creature meant for good.
But the criminal clutch of Godless greed
Has made me a monster that scatters need
And want and hunger wherever I go.
I would lift men's burdens and lighten their woe,
I would give them leisure to laugh in the sun,
If owned by the Many -- instead of the one.

If owned by the people, the whole wide earth
Should learn my purpose and know my worth.
I would close the chasm that yawns in our soil
'Twixt unearned riches and ill-paid toil.
No man should hunger, and no man labour
To fill the purse of an idle neighbour;
And each man should know when his work was done,
Were I shared by the Many -- not owned by one.

I am forced by the few with their greed for gain,
To forge for the many new fetters of pain.
Yet this is my purpose, and ever will be
To set the slaves of the workshop free.
God hasten the day when, overjoyed,
That desperate host of the unemployed
Shall hear my message and understand,
And hail me friend in an opulent land.


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