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Of the golden age-why not? I have neither hope

nor trust;

May make my heart as a millstone, set my face as

a flint,

Cheat and be cheated, and die: who knows? we

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When only the ledger lives, and when only not all

men lie;

Peace in her vineyard-yes!--but a company forges the wine.


And the vitriol madness flushes up in the ruffian's


Till the filthy by-lane rings to the yell of the

trampled wife,

While chalk and alum and plaster are sold to the poor for bread,

And the spirit of murder works in the very

means of life.


And Sleep must lie down arm'd, for the villainous


Grind on the wakeful ear in the hush of the

moonless nights,

While another is cheating the sick of a few last

gasps, as he sits

To pestle a poison'd poison behind his crimson



When a Mammonite mother kills her babe for

a burial fee,

And Timour-Mammon grins on a pile of chil

dren's bones,

Is it peace or war? better, war! loud war by land and by sea,

War with a thousand battles, and shaking a hundred thrones.


For I trust if an enemy's fleet came yonder round by the hill,

And the rushing battle-bolt sang from the threedecker out of the foam,

That the smoothfaced snubnosed rogue would

leap from his counter and till,

And strike, if he could, were it but with his

cheating yardwand, home.


There are workmen up at the Hall: they are coming back from abroad,

The dark old place will be gilt by the touch of a millionnaire :

I have heard, I know not whence, of the singular beauty of Maud,

I play'd with the girl when a child; she promised

then to be fair.


Maud with her venturous climbings and tumbles

and childish escapes,

Maud the delight of the village, the ringing joy of

the Hall,

Maud with her sweet purse-mouth when my

father dangled the grapes,

Maud the beloved of my mother, the moon-faced

darling of all,


What is she now? My dreams are bad. She may bring me a curse.

No, there is fatter game on the moor; she will let me alone.

Thanks, for the fiend best knows whether woman or man be the worse.

I will bury myself in my books, and the Devil may pipe to his own.

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