Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 3. THE LAW OF EQUALITY, by EDWARD CARPENTER

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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 3. THE LAW OF EQUALITY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: You cannot violate the law of equality for long
Last Line: And the life which is eternal.
Subject(s): Equality

YOU cannot violate the law of Equality for long.
Whatever you appropriate to yourself now from others, by that you will be
poorer in the end;
What you give now, the same will surely come back to you.
If you think yourself superior to the rest, in that instant you have
proclaimed your own inferiority;
And he that will be servant of all, helper of most, by that very fact
becomes their lord and master.

Seek not your own life—for that is death;
But seek how you can best and most joyfully give your own life
away—and every morning for ever fresh life shall come to you from over the

Man has to learn to die—quite simply and naturally—as the child
has to learn to walk.
The life of Equality the grave cannot swallow—any more than the finger
can hold back running water—it flows easily round and over all obstacles.
A little while snatching to yourself the goods of the earth, jealous of
your own credit, and of the admiration and applause of men,
Then to learn that you cannot defeat Nature so—that water will not run
up hill for all your labors and lying awake at night over it:
The claims of others as good as yours, their excellence in their own line
equal to your best in yours, their life as near and dear to you as your own can
So letting go all the chains which bound you, all the anxieties and cares,
The wearisome burden, the artificial unyielding armor wherewith you would
secure yourself, but which only weighs you down a more helpless mark for the
Having learned the necessary lesson of your own identity—
To pass out, free, O joy!—free, to flow down, to swim in the sea of
To endue the bodies of the divine Companions,
And the life which is eternal.

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