Too Long

Too long they have been harnessed to the mill
That of ten thousand lives grinds life for one ;
Too long denied an hour of blessed sun,
From dark ere dawning sweating blood until
Again the dark of night. So did they fill
Your coffers to the brim with gold fine spun
Of brain and tissue ; and their labour done,
Found grudged rest beneath a lone grass hill.

And dare they hope, ye ask, the break of day,
Whom we accorded leisure of the night ?
Presume to harvest any they have sown ?
Aye, do they dare ! And who shall them gainsay,
Or ban a little hour of waning light ?
Aye, they do dare to hope and have their own !

Edmund B. Fitzgerald.