The People of the Abyss eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about The People of the Abyss.

There can be no mistake.  Civilisation has increased man’s producing power an hundred-fold, and through mismanagement the men of Civilisation live worse than the beasts, and have less to eat and wear and protect them from the elements than the savage Innuit in a frigid climate who lives to-day as he lived in the stone age ten thousand years ago.

CHALLENGE

I have a vague remembrance
   Of a story that is told
In some ancient Spanish legend
   Or chronicle of old.

It was when brave King Sanche
   Was before Zamora slain,
And his great besieging army
   Lay encamped upon the plain.

Don Diego de Ordenez
   Sallied forth in front of all,
And shouted loud his challenge
   To the warders on the wall.

All the people of Zamora,
   Both the born and the unborn,
As traitors did he challenge
   With taunting words of scorn.

The living in their houses,
   And in their graves the dead,
And the waters in their rivers,
   And their wine, and oil, and bread.

There is a greater army
   That besets us round with strife,
A starving, numberless army
   At all the gates of life.

The poverty-stricken millions
   Who challenge our wine and bread,
And impeach us all as traitors,
   Both the living and the dead.

And whenever I sit at the banquet,
   Where the feast and song are high,
Amid the mirth and music
   I can hear that fearful cry.

And hollow and haggard faces
   Look into the lighted hall,
And wasted hands are extended
   To catch the crumbs that fall

And within there is light and plenty,
   And odours fill the air;
But without there is cold and darkness,
   And hunger and despair.

And there in the camp of famine,
   In wind, and cold, and rain,
Christ, the great Lord of the Army,
   Lies dead upon the plain.

LONGFELLOW

Footnotes: 

{1} This in the Klondike.—­J.  L.

{2} “Runt” in America is the equivalent of the English “crowl,” the dwarf of a litter.

{3} The San Francisco bricklayer receives twenty shillings per day, and at present is on strike for twenty-four shillings.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
The People of the Abyss from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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