Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE NEW SLAVERY (GERMAN EXPATRIATION OF CIVIL POPULATIONS OF BELGIUM), by ROBERT UNDERWOOD JOHNSON



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THE NEW SLAVERY (GERMAN EXPATRIATION OF CIVIL POPULATIONS OF BELGIUM), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Men of freedom, for whose ease
Last Line: December 15, 1916.
Subject(s): Belgium; World War I; First World War


MEN of Freedom, for whose ease,
Man for man, some hero died:
Hear ye, over shuddering seas,
What the winds have sobbed and cried?
In the mirror of the moon
Have ye read the shame of noon?
Men of Freedom, hear!

Have ye heard the savage creed
Of the War Lord's iron hand:
Though the world's last drop shall bleed,
Over all, the Fatherland --
Over honor, over truth,
Over love and over ruth?
Men of Freedom, hear!

Not the Germany we knew --
Lessing's heart and Goethe's mind,
Schiller's vision, far and true,
And the peace that Kant divined;
But a land of lords and braves --
Half of masters, half of slaves.
Men of Freedom, see?

Of another world are these --
Lords of war with hearts of lead;
Boasting of new cruelties, --
Brine for water, stones for bread.
Ye with grief and pity wrung,
These have never learned your tongue.
Men of Freedom, see!

Now the latest horror cries
Unto heaven -- and unto earth!
Trebly ravaged Belgium lies
Tortured for the Teuton mirth.
Was there of the Belgian heart
Left enough to tear apart?
Men of Freedom, see!

By the silent harps that hung
On the banks of Babylon,--
By the saints that Milton sung, --
By the crowns of martyrs won, --
By all human tragedies, --
By the death that exile is,
Men of Freedom, speak!

By the weakness of our great
Who bequeathed a nation's sin
To their sons to expiate,
With a soul, to lose or win;
By his strength who overthrew
That despair and held us true,
Men of Freedom, speak!

By the red of Serbia's sod;
Poland, paved with little bones;
Lone Armenia's wail to God;
Widowed Europe's haunting moans;
By the million ills that flow
From one King's choice of war and woe,
Men of Freedom, speak!

By the things ye hold most fair,
Love of home and love of breath;
By the child's faith in his prayer;
By things more great than Life and Death,
Lest your grave be shamed of ye,
Speak! -- and . . . if the need shall be,
Men of Freedom, strike!

December 15, 1916.





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