Ave Labor!

Year: 1899

Ave, Labor!

         Written for the Worker.
 
Ye famed musicians, hearken,
And you, earth's singers sweet,
Who sound your wondrous music,
In the homes of 'the elite,'
Who waste, in scenes of splendour,
'Mid riches, riot, wine,
'Mid idle talk and chatter,
Your charms of art devine.
Come forth, and sing the people,
Your stirring songs and grand,
No fear but they will listen.
No doubt they'll understand.
For the workers who strive and struggle,
With the banner of toil unfurled—
Oh ! they are the men who own the right
To the music of the world.
 
* * *
 
And ye, earth's tender poets,
Who tell, in flowing rhyme,
The praise of by-gone heroes,
And kings of olden time, —
Who write for cultured classes,
With graceful, facile pen,
See ye no grace or beauty,
In deeds of common men ?
See ye no courage, grandeur,
In the patient peoples' lives—
In the hard, sad lot of working men,
The harder, of their wives?
Oh! sing of their struggles and trials,
Till a better spirit be born,
And men shall behold the greatness,
Of the people they crush and scorn.
 
* * *
 
Poet, painter, singer,
Come, if your aim be true,
Give freely to the many,
What wasn't meant for the few.
Give all your melting music
To the men who need it most ;
Sing all your songs of gladness
To the workers' mighty host.
Paint on the glowing canvas,
Their deeds of humble fame,
And shout in the ear of the listening world,
The pride of Labor's name.
 
                  ALICE GUERIN.
 

The Worker 16 December, 1899, p27