By Gerald O'Conel Desmond
Note:—The Paris Commune of 1871 is generally considered to mark a most important event—the first proletarian rebellion of modern times. It was recently celebrated by socialists all the world over.
The spirit of freedom spoke to France
in eighteen seventy-one
“This is the time when a blow must be
struck and a mighty deed be done;
This is the time for the sword to be drawn
and a bold defiance hurled,
This is the time for the men of France
to waken the sleeping world”!
They heard, and the bells of Paris rang
out their wild alarms,
All through the giant city the people
sprang to arms,
Grim, unyielding, determined, militant,
Grasping the sword of freedom, chanting
her battle song.
Tyranny mustered its forces, rushed to
the fierce attack
Bravely they struck and struggled,
pressing the despots back,
Never a word of surrender, or a sign of
Till at last, men and women, together
they died at the barricade.
What tho’ they died? The world has
seen the hearts of the peoples stirred
All thro’ the wakened nations went out
the rallying word;
And the spirit of freedom shouted above
the Commune’s slain,
“Ye died for me, my children. Think
not ye died in vain.”
This is nineteen hundred and nine, the
swift years roll along,
Louder today than ever rises the rebel
Faster the people gather; comrades,
the day comes soon—
The day of the consummation, the day
of the great commune.
But theirs be the place of glory, theirs
be the place of pride,
The first who dared the conflict, the
first who bravely died,
Hail to them, Heroes, heroines; honor
each glorious name,
Defeated, yet still victorious; crowned
with immortal fame.
Cotton's Weekly, April 8, 1909