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A Song Of Empire (1911)

These Your foundations, O Empire, that clasps the broad earth in a girdle
Red as the fountain of life that flowed on the making of you.
Sorrows to bid hot tears fall, and horrors to make warm blood curdle,
Innocence smirched in its bud, or torn from the stalk as it grew.

Groans hushed by hypocrite prayers : shrieks by machinery's roaring ;
Calvary's life-blood and sweat drained out in a day's agonies,
Massacred women and babies their cries with their last strength out-pouring,
Could God sit still in His heaven, nor stir at such doings as these?

Oh, for a pen of red fire to sear the fair page as it writeth !
Oh, for foul ink from black hell to tell the mere ghost of such wrong !
Is no avenger at hand, is there none just that requiteth?
Still is the fight to the great, the victory aye to the strong ?

Nay ! such foundations are sand : behold your proud edifice shaking,
Tottering down to its doom where the dry bones shall rise and condemn.
Tremble, ye tyrants, and quake ! and when comes that dreadful awaking,
Pray that they do not to you as ye did aforetime to them.

--Rose E. Sharland.

A hundred strike-breakers have been injured in riots arising out of the, tramwaymen's
strike at Des Moines, Iowa (US.). The strike-breakers sought refuge in a stationary train,
where the unionists stoned and beat them.


From the Brisbane newspaper the Worker Saturday 26 August 1911, p. 15.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory