Bernard O Dowd Poems >>
Young Democracy

HARK! Young Democracy from sleep 
Our careless sentries raps: 
A backwash from the Future's deep 
Our Evil's foreland laps. 

Unknown, these Titans of our Night         
Their New Creation make: 
Unseen, they toil and love and fight 
That glamoured Man may wake. 

Knights-errant of the human race, 
The Quixotes of to-day,         
For man as man they claim a place, 
Prepare the tedious way. 

They seek no dim-eyed mob's applause, 
Deem base the titled name, 
And spurn, for glory of their Cause,         
The tawdry nymphs of Fame. 

No masks of ignorance or sin 
Hide from them you or me: 
We're Man-no colour shames our skin, 
No race or caste have we.         

The prognathous Neanderthal, 
To them, conceals the Bruce; 
They see Dan Aesop in the thrall; 
From swagmen Christ deduce. 

Tho' butt for lecher's ribaldry         
And scarred by woman's scorn, 
In baby-burdened girl they see 
God-motherhood forlorn. 

With them, to racial siredom glides 
The savage we deprave;         
That eunuch brilliant Narses hides: 
A Spartacus, that slave. 

They Jesus find in manger waif; 
In horse-boys Shakespearehood: 
And earthquake-Luthers nestling safe         
In German miner's brood. 

The God that pulses everywhere 
They know fills Satan's veins; 
No felon but they see Him there 
Behind His mirror's stains.         

'Tis theirs Earth's charnel rooms to clear, 
And ruthless sweep away 
The Lares and Penates dear 
To man in his decay. 

Their restless energy supplies         
Munitions that will wreck 
The keeps whence feudal enemies 
Our free banditti check. 

Their unrelenting wars they wage, 
These Furies of the Right,         
Where myriad Falsehood's legions rage, 
Artilleried by Might; 

Where Fashion's stupid iron clamps 
Young Innovation's head, 
And Law the stalwart Present cramps         
In Past's Procrustes-bed; 

Where Pride of learning, substance, blood, 
Or prowess in the strife, 
Exacts from teeming lowlihood 
The lion's share of life;         

Where Gluttony would to the brutes 
Degrade his loose-lipped gangs; 
Where Tyranny his venom shoots 
From one or million fangs; 

Where Cruelty, in Wisdom's mask,         
Piths fame from writhing beasts; 
Where blest is racial Murder's task 
By Christ's apostate priests. 

In Punic or in Persian fray 
With Love's and Conscience' foes,         
Unadvertising Romans they, 
And Spartans free from pose. 

Abused as mad or traitors by 
The trolls they would eject; 
Cold-shouldered by wan Apathy;         
Of motives mean suspect; 

Outcast from social gaieties; 
Denied life's lilied grace; 
They mount their hidden Calvaries 
To save the human race.         

The bowers of Art a few may know; 
A few wait highly placed: 
Most bear the hods of common woe, 
And some you call disgraced. 

But whether in the mob or school,         
In church or poverty, 
They teach and live the Golden Rule 
Of Young Democracy:- 

'That culture, joy and goodliness 
Be th' equal right of all:         
That Greed no more shall those oppress 
Who by the wayside fall: 

'That each shall share what all men sow: 
That colour, caste's a lie: 
That man is God, however low-         
Is man, however high.'