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Knowledge

Edith Nesbit

I saw a people trampled on, oppressed,
With helpless hands, and eyes of light afraid,
With aching shoulders whereon burdens laid
By day and night choked hope and murdered rest;

A people sordid, sad, unloved, unblessed,
Whose shroud by their own hands was ever made,
Whose never-ending toil was only paid
By death-in-life, or death, of life's gifts best.

"What help," I cried, "for these whose hands are weak,
Too weak to hold the weapons they should wield;
Too weak to grasp a helping hand, or seek
With armed battalions to dispute the field,

And on the oppressors just revenge to wreak?"
Then, as I cried, the helper was revealed.

* * * * *

I saw a woman, pure, and calm, and grand,
With strong broad brows, and eyes whose keen clear flame
Lit up men's hearts and showed them glory and shame,
And what things could, and what things could not stand,

Justice and Honour stood at her right hand;
And blazoned on her forehead was her name,
Too bright for me to read; and as she came
Men bowed and worshipped her through all the land.

And evil could not live before her eyes,
And good rose up to answer her call.
"Who art thou," then I said, "that dost arise
Strong to redeem this people from their thrall?"

She answered me with tender voice and wise:
"My name is Knowledge, and I conquer all!"

Home :: Poetry :: Friendship (4) :: Knowledge

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