Dora B. Montefiore 1919

“The Call”

Source: The Call, 6 November 1919, p. 6
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Those who named our revolutionary paper “The Call” were well inspired. From the day of its baptism its voice has been uplifted in a wilderness of war against militarism, against imperialism, against privilege, against the entrenched fortress of capitalism itself, and as the years have passed its voice has grown stronger, its “Call” more appealing, for those to whom it speaks know that its “Call” is the call of truth and of right interpretation.

It was launched into the world, our CALL, on the eve of revolution, and it had grown to; some degree of Strength when the great miracle of the birth of the Soviet Republic happened, so that THE CALL was able to greet fraternally the concrete, new Social Order established in Russia, and to share the honour with “Avanti,” “Die Rote Fahne,” “La Nouvelle Internationale,” and “The International Socialist” of South Africa of telling the truth to the peoples about the makers of the Russian Revolution, their aims, and their achievements. When the history of the last two years shall be written, the people will know that no fouler nor more hypocritical plot was ever hatched by capitalism against the aspirations of the proletariat than the Paris Peace Conference plot against the Soviet Republic of Russia. By blockade, by armed intervention, by the reckless spending of taxes wrung from the workers of France, Britain, and America, by the pouring into the country for the use of the military clique of the “White Army” of munitions, commissariat, tanks, and poison gas; by bombardment by the British fleet, and by organised bombings by Allied air forces, they have sought to destroy the living symbol of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. But another CALL, has gone forth from Soviet Russia; a call to the proletarians of all other countries to rally to the New Social Order, to overthrow the old hypocrisies and to join the Moscow International. THE CALL responds to the appeal, and publishes week by week, so that we in Great Britain may know, and make, when the time comes, a reasoned choice, the decrees, the messages, and accounts of the administration of the Commissaries of the Russian People. And THE CALL would remind its readers that in the pages of English literature there is blazoned in words of fiery beauty and prophetic insight an appeal similar to that which the risen proletariat of Russia is addressing by word and by action to the awakening proletariat of the world. No one, can read Swinburne’s magnificent “Marching Song” without being struck with the supreme sense of unity that exists between his poet’s vision and the present world actualities.

THE CALL, in its anniversary number, quotes some of the most striking of the stanzas:—

We mix from many Lands,
We march from very far;
In hearts and lips and hands
Our staffs and weapons are;
[he light we walk in darkens sun and moon and star.

From the edge of harsh derision,
From discord and defeat,
From doubt and lame division,
We pluck the fruit and eat;
And the mouth finds it bitter and the spirit sweet.

We are girt with our belief,
Clothed with our will and crowned;
Hope, fear, delight, and grief,
Before our will give ground;
Their calls are in our ears as shadows of dead sound.

All but the heart forsakes us,
All fails us but the will;
Keen treason tracks and takes us
In pits for blood to fill;
Friend falls from friend, and faith for faith lays wait to kill.

Earth gives us thorns to tread,
And all her thorns are trod;
Through lands burnt black and red
We pass with feet unshod;
Whence we would be man shall not keep us, nor man’s God.

O nations undivided,
O single people and free,
We dreamers, we derided,
We mad blind men that see,
We bear you witness ere ye come that ye shall be.

Ye sitting among tamibs,
Ye standing round the gate,
Whom fire-mouthed war consumes,
Or cold-lipped peace bids wait,
All tombs and bars shall open, every grave and gate.

The locks shall burst in sunder,
The hinges shrieking spin,
When time whose hand is thunder,
Lays hand upon the pin,
And shoots the bolts reluctant, bidding all men in.

These eyeless times and earless,

Shall these not see and hear,
And all their hearts burn fearless
That were afrost for fear?
Is not day hard upon us, yea, not our day near?

France! from its grey dejection
Make manifest the red
Tempestuous resurrection
Of thy most sacred head!
Break thou the covering cerecloths; rise up from the dead.

And thou whom sea-walls sever,
From lands unwalled by seas,
Wilt thou endure forever,
O Milton’s England, these?
Thou, that wast his Republic, wilt thou clasp their knees?

These royalties rust-eaten,
These worm-corroded lies,
That keep thine head storm-beaten
And sun-like strength of eyes
From the open heaven and air of intercepted skies;

These princelings with gauze winglets
That buzz in the air unfurled,
These slimmer-swarming kinglets,
These thin storms crowned and curled,
That bask and blink arid warm themselves about the world;

These masters of thee mindless
That wear thee out of mind,
These children of thee kindless
That use thee out of kind,
Whose hand, strew gold before thee, and contempt behind;

Who have turned they name to laughter
Thy sea-like sounded name,
That now none hearkens after
For faith in its free fame,
Who have robbed thee of thy trust and given thee of their shame;

Lest thine own sea disclaim thee,
Lest thine own sons despise,
Lest lips shoot out that name thee,
And seeing thee men shut eyes,
Take thought with all thy people, turn thine head and rise.

Turn thee, lift up thy face,
What ails thee to be dead,
Ask of thyself for grace,
Seek of thyself for bread,
And who shall starve or shame thee, blind or bruise thine head?

O people, O perfect nation,
O England that shall be,
How long till thou take station?
How long till thralls live free?
Haw long till all thy soul be one with all thy sea?

O sorrowing hearts of slaves,
We heard you beat from far,
We bring the light that saves,
We bring the morning star;
Freedom’s good things we bring you, whence all good things are.

The strife of things and beauty,
The fire and light adored,
Truth, and life-lightening duty,
Love without crown or sword,
That by his might and godhead makes man god and lord.

These have we, these are ours,
That no priests give nor kings,
The honey of all these flowers,
The heart of all these springs;
Ours, for where freedom lives not, there live no good things.

Rise, ere the dawn be risen,
Come, and be all souls fed,
From field and street and prison, Come, for the feast is spread,
Live, for the truth is living; wake, for night is dead.