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A Curse For A Nation
by [?]


PROLOGUE.

I heard an angel speak last night,
And he said “Write!
Write a Nation’s curse for me,
And send it over the Western Sea.”

I faltered, taking up the word:
“Not so, my lord!
If curses must be, choose another
To send thy curse against my brother.

“For I am bound by gratitude,
By love and blood,
To brothers of mine across the sea,
Who stretch out kindly hands to me.”

“Therefore,” the voice said, “shalt thou write
My curse to-night.
From the summits of love a curse is driven,
As lightning is from the tops of heaven.”

“Not so,” I answered. “Evermore
My heart is sore
For my own land’s sins: for little feet
Of children bleeding along the street:

“For parked-up honours that gainsay
The right of way:
For almsgiving through a door that is
Not open enough for two friends to kiss:

“For love of freedom which abates
Beyond the Straits:
For patriot virtue starved to vice on
Self-praise, self-interest, and suspicion:

“For an oligarchic parliament,
And bribes well-meant.
What curse to another land assign,
When heavy-souled for the sins of mine?”

“Therefore,” the voice said, “shalt thou write
My curse to-night.
Because thou hast strength to see and hate
A foul thing done within thy gate.”

“Not so,” I answered once again.
“To curse, choose men.
For I, a woman, have only known
How the heart melts and the tears run down.”

“Therefore,” the voice said, “shalt thou write
My curse to-night.
Some women weep and curse, I say
(And no one marvels), night and day.

“And thou shalt take their part to-night,
Weep and write.
A curse from the depths of womanhood
Is very salt, and bitter, and good.”

So thus I wrote, and mourned indeed,
What all may read.
And thus, as was enjoined on me,
I send it over the Western Sea.