No master high or low

No Master
William Morris, 1885

Saith man to man, We’ve heard and known
That we no master need
To live upon this earth, our own,
In fair and manly deed.
The grief of slaves long passed away
For us hath forged the chain,

Till now each worker’s patient day
Builds up the House of Pain.
And we, shall we too, crouch and quail,
Ashamed, afraid of strife,
And lest our lives untimely fail
Embrace the Death in Life?
Nay, cry aloud, and have no fear,
We few against the world;
Awake, arise! the hope we bear
Against the curse is hurled.

It grows and grows–are we the same,
The feeble band, the few?
Or what are these with eyes aflame,
And hands to deal and do?
This is the host that bears the word,
A lightning flame, a shearing sword,
A storm to overthrow.

Background image: The Brook, William Morris, tapestry / wallpaper