This seems to me to fit well into the Earth for All collection, though it is more recent than most of what Crosby included. It is longish, but it says a couple of things particularly well.
A poem the object of which is to show the futility of organized effort on the part of the
toiling millions to secure justice so long as the fact of their being disinherited is
by them ignored, and to explain how, without wronging any one,
justice to all may be attained and universal brotherhood
achieved -- not in a forced by natural way.
AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED TO
AND OTHERS OF DuQUOIN, ILLINOIS,
Who, by word and deed, at a time that put the manhood of the minority to the test, proved not only their confidence in me as a man and their love for me as a friend, but attested their unfaltering devotion to the cause of freedom and right, which every advocate of "Single Tax" holds dear.
by Robert Cumming
All Rights Reserved.
IN union there is strength that might avail,
But, misdirected, giant forces fail.
Behold our comrades of the sunless life,
Firm-banded brothers in a hopeless strife,
Ten thousand strong, in union staunch and true,
In vain resisting their oppressors few.
THINK not the evil here begins or ends--
It far and wide o'er every land extends,
For who oppression's galling yoke would bear,
With Freedom beckoning him any-where?
The ebb and flow of man's affairs reveal
The universal spread of woe or weal:
Where Trade hath sign or Commerce sail unfurled
'Tis felt, and wafted round and round the world.
SISTERS and brothers, know you not the wrong
That makes the many weak, the few so strong;
That robs the toiler of his rightful share
And burdens life with more than life can bear;
Divides one family into "high" and "low"
And fills the bounteous earth with want and woe;
Calls Death to o'er-taxed victims ere their time,
Till Hell itself might blush to own the crime ?
WE are all equal heirs of Mother Earth --
On her dependent from the hour of birth;
But from the cradle to the closing grave
Who shares her treasures but as lord or slave?
Who for the right to toil another pays
But for a master plods his weary days?
While rents the coffers of the landlord fill
In place of flowing to the public till,
Where is the industry that buys consent
But slavery's purpose is attained in rent?
For who the owner of the needed land.
But can his own terms for its use command?
What lord but takes all life in need will give
For access to the soil — the right to live?
Then where are strikers strong enough but must
At last resign the loaf to gain the crust?
In vain must all United Labor hope
By mere inertia with this pow'r to cope;
The landlord's will successfully defies
All Labor's host that on the strike relies.
Would not the contest be as wisely planned
To say Hold thou thy breath as Stay thy hand?
In plundered swarms bereft of hive and flow'r
Read your own fate and learn th' oppressors' pow'r.
Turned out of doors, shut from the mine and field —
Such is the strike, the lock-out —Who must yield?
The land withheld at will the end invites
That for the scorn'd crust whets our appetites.
THEY own the fish who own the waters, and
They own the laborers who own the land;
The sea tribes thrown upon the sandy beach
Struggle in vain. Their futile efforts teach
That you are doomed, now struggling shut from land
As gasping fishes on the sealess sand.
STRIKE for the land or you shall strike in vain
For Charity is but a show'r of rain
Upon the stranded fishes. Hold in scorn
Aught that assumes you are dependent born,
Beggarly pleas for an advance of pay
Or fewer hours to be a working day!
Leave willing slaves to beg a lighter task
And beggars, blind, a penny more to ask.
Leisure and treasure 'wait you in the soil —
Go, gird your loins and claim your right to toil!
IN His own image God made man, and He
Designed him upright — not on bended knee.
With Fatherhood and Motherhood began
Divine provision for the wants of man:
With every mouth there comes a pair of hands
And Heaven-lent value to the peopled lands.
Hands meant for home and loved ones to provide;
Rent, as a fund for Public Wants supplied.
As fills with nourishment the mother's breast,
Which does a purpose and a law attest,
So from the bosom of our Mother Earth
Provision flows where social life has birth.
As social growth and social needs expand
So, in proportion, grows the worth of land —
Distinct from structural value, wood or stone,
Due but to social growth, to that alone,
Thus yielding social sustenance. So here
The purpose and the law alike are clear.
What Mother Earth's bare bosom has to give
Decaying empires need but drink and live —
Drink from the fount that flows at need or call,
Despoiling no one to provide for all;
The State maintain and streets and parks adorn;
Yes, keep old age from want, neglect and scorn
And be the widows' and the orphans' stay —
That the departed rest in peace alway.
THOUGH robbed and wronged no child is pauper born —
The law of birthright wards the weak and worn
With growing fund to meet augmenting needs
As Civilization on its mission speeds.
WHILE ragged children swarm on every street,
With strong men forced to beg a bite to eat,
While strikes and lockouts everywhere abound
And hardest workers are in hovels found —
Who boasts our wealth, our freedom, as a rule
But proves himself a demagogue or fool!
WRONG for a time may thrive — usurp the soil
And levy tribute for the right to toil,
Bribe Courts and Senates, and, 'gainst Public Weal,
Usurp the functions of the State, and steal
Colossal fortunes, iron steeds' high-ways,
Special privileges and subsidies;
But Common Int'rest everywhere makes known
We strive in vain to bless ourselves alone;
That while Injustice friend or foe enthrall,
The wrong is vital and concerns us all.
JUSTICE would not be Justice should he sleep!
Sowing the wind man must the whirl-wind reap.
The State that rules to plunder or enslave
But builds its fun'ral pile or digs its grave.
Beware! When Hunger stalks throughout the land
Stern Retribution may be near at hand.
'Tis then the scavengers of Fate have birth
Who sweep corruption from the face of earth
But not with causey brooms nor crystal flood —
Alas, "They sweep with fire and cleanse with blood."
UNCHECKED oppression which the millions mourn
Prepares the shackles for the race unborn,
For Wrong triumphant over men today
Tomorrow rules with unrelenting sway.
Then strike for freedom, ere the bomb and brand
Spread reeking ruin o'er an erring land!
The gory hands of mad, avenging Hate
That strike at last, forever strike too late,
For Vengeance, blind to friend and foe in wrath,
Leaves, tempest-like, but ruin in its path.
. . . . . . .
THE land by part and not by all possessed
Explains the misery of the world oppressed;
And in the powers of taxation lie
Alike the evil and the remedy.
THE fruits of labor are the lab'rers own,
Ground rent is Caeser's, — is the State's alone.
Ground rent, which varies with the worth of land,
Our equal birthright yields on every hand;
And rent, for all reclaimed, as it should be,
Will make the land now and forever free.
Tax but the unearned worth of land; that done,
Quickly the dog will from the manger run,
And work for all as free as air abound
On land and sea and underneath the ground.
The full fruits of their toil will freemen bless,
Since "No one will for others work for less
Then he by working for himself can earn."
Thus strife will end. Let man the lesson learn!
This is the law whose truth will make you free —
The law of birthright, of divine decree —
'Tis freedom's law, for thus to free the land
Masters and tyrants shall in vain command.
WHAT more than freedom's soil need mortal warn
To 'scape oppression and the tyrant's taunt?
With freedom blest the weakest may with scorn
Defy the will of all the tyrants born.
To sow in freedom, all the harvest reap.
What master's terms could then disturb your sleep?
"Come back," he'd cry, "I'll give you what you ask"
(The higher wages or the lighter task).
"Come work for us," competitors would smile.
"We know that we can make it worth your while."
Thus will Inventions' powers he employed,
And ease and luxury by all enjoyed.
As water seeks a common level, so
Will every blessing unobstructed how.
DOWN with obstructions then on every hand!
From trade sweep all restrictions — free the land!
Untax your houses, horses, cattle, sheep,
Make land unprofitable for idle keep;
Untax your tables — laugh to see them groan
Beneath their burdens, and relieve your own.
Tax but the worth of land and eat your fill.
Laugh while all industry invites your skill.
Nay, tax is wrong, — collect the word should he —
The "unearned increment" is Heaven's decree
To equalize and keep our birthright free;
Heaven planned the "unearned increment" to give
To each and all the equal right to live.
Then take for all what God to all has giv'n —
The "Single Tax" conveys the gift from Heav'n,
Removes all burdens now on labor laid,
Makes all men free and frees the law of trade.
For social ills 'tis Nature's wond'rous wand
The magic of whose touch will free the land;
Yes, every bond from hand and brain release
And safely usher in the reign of Peace
Despite the signs portentous now of ill
Which well might with alarm the wakeful fill.
Disguise it as we may, the listening ear
The distant rumbling of the storm can hear;
But clouds will vanish from the darkening sky
And all the world be blest with peace and joy
If Law and Custom will but cease to stand
Between God's children and the right to land.
Strike down the Wrong that forces men to give
Their very lives in toil for leave to live —
And what a horde of Evils, old and young,
Will vanish with the Curse from which they sprung!
JUSTICE will find Love waiting at the gates
Of freedom — even as a queen who waits
The coming of her exiled King — to save,
To smite the tyrant and to free the slave.
When peace and plenty all the world shall bless —
"Free trade, free land, free men" mean nothing less —
When fear of want is gone, and every day
Dawns with its boundless opportunity —
Then Greed shall hide itself — ashamed to grasp;
Hand will clasp hand with heartier, nobler clasp,
And all the varied walks of life will show
The world with beauty and with love aglow —
The nobler impulses of heart and mind
Will thus bring forth according to their kind.
TIS vain invoking Love where Wrongs despoil —
Love cannot reign except on freedom's soil!
Let Justice but the gates of freedom gain
And Love, unbidden, will begin her reign.
BLEST but with freedom, Progress knows no bounds
In "Single Tax" millennium's trumpet sounds!
Then ply the wand — the "Single Tax" apply —
Man made the wrong and God the remedy!