Jane Wilde

27 December 1821 – 3 February 1896

The Enigma

Pale victims, where is your Fatherland?
Where oppression is law from age to age,
Where the death‐plague, and hunger, and misery rage,
And tyrants a godless warfare wage
'Gainst the holiest rights of an ancient land.
Where the corn waves green on the fair hillside,
But each sheaf by the serfs and slavelings tied
Is taken to pamper a foreigner's pride—
There is our suffering Fatherland.
Where broad rivers flow 'neath a glorious sky,
And the valleys like gems of emerald lie;
Yet, the young men, and strong men, starve and die,
For want of bread in their own rich land.
And we pile up their corses, heap on heap,
While the pale mothers faint, and the children weep;
Yet, the living might envy the dead their sleep,
So bitter is life in that mourning land.

Oh! Heaven ne'er looked on a sadder scene;
Earth shuddered to hear that such woe had been;
Then we prayed, in despair, to a foreign queen,
For leave to live on our own fair land.
We have wept till our faces are pale and wan;
We have knelt to a throne till our strength is gone;
We prayed to our masters, but, one by one,
They laughed to scorn our suffering land;
And sent forth their minions, with cannon and steel,
Swearing with fierce, unholy zeal,
To trample us down with an iron heel,
If we dared but to murmur our just demand.—
Know ye not now our Fatherland?
What! are there no MEN in your Fatherland,
To confront the tyrant's stormy glare,
With a scorn as deep as the wrongs ye bear,
With defiance as fierce as the oaths they sware,
With vengeance as wild as the cries of despair,
That rise from your suffering Fatherland?
Are there no SWORDS in your Fatherland,
To smite down the proud, insulting foe,
With the strength of despair dispair give blow for blow
Till the blood of the baffled murderers flow
On the trampled soil of your outraged land?
Are your right arms weak in that land of slaves,
That ye stand by your murdered brothers' graves,
Yet tremble like coward and crouching knaves,
To strike for freedom and Fatherland?
Oh! had ye faith in your Fatherland,
In God, your Cause, and your own right hand,
Ye would go forth as saints to the holy fight,
Go in the strength of eternal right,
Go in the conquering Godhead's might
And save or Avenge your Fatherland!
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