Published: International Socialist Review, Vol 1, 1900-1901;
Transcribed: Sally Ryan for marxists.org in 2000.
There's a crash of anguish breaking,
There's a hush both deep and long,
There's an echoing cry of triumph
As they crush out shame and wrong.
Swirling, hinging through the darkness
Stretch a million gleaming hands;
They are swift and sure in judgment,–
Hark! they're breaking iron bands.
From the gulfs where blackness shudders
Cry on cry is ringing out–
Cries of hope long centuries sunken,
Deep within the depths of doubt.
'Twill take long, you say, to break them–
All these fetters–every chain?
Know you then, we're growing stronger,
Strong in body, heart and brain,
Till with all our strength united,
In some future sun-lit day,
We will free each man in justice,
Till the last bond fall away.
There's no time to wait or question
"Is this best?" or "Is this right?"–
All is best which leads to freedom–
And all freedom ends in light.
And you'll know at last, O proud one,
That your brother standing there
Has more love and God-sent beauty
Than you ever thought to share.
Ah! you're dazzled by the glory
Since you thought a sordid life
Lay beneath the wreck and ruin
Of the centuries' blood and strife.
'Tis not so–tho' inner radiance,
First faint glimmering through the night
Flung itself upon the darkness–
Sprang to meet the outer light.
Freedom! freedom! freedom–silent,
With resistless mighty force
Is forever sweeping onward
From the one exhaustless source.
Rose Alice Cleveland.