The Martyrs of Hell
Not your martyrs anointed of heaven,
The ages are red where they trod;
But the hunted – the world’s bitter leaven,
Who smote at your imbecile God:
A being to pander and fawn to;
To propitiate, flatter, and dread
As a thing that your souls are in pawn to,
A dealer that barters the dead;
Who gloats with a vengeance unsated,
And sells the lost souls in His snares
Who were trapped in the lusts He created –
For incense and masses and prayers.
They are crushed in the coils of your halters:
‘Twere well, by the creeds ye have nursed,
To send up a cry from your altars,
A mass for the martyers accursed.
Just a passionate prayer for reprieval,
For the Brotherhood not understood –
For the heroes who died for the evil,
Believing the evil was good.
Here’s a toast that has never been given;
Listen, thralls of the Book and the Bell:
To the souls of the martyrs unshriven,
The bondmen who dared to rebel –
To the Breakers, the Bold, the Despoilers,
Who dreamed of a world overthrown;
They who died for the millions of toilers,
Few – fronting the nations alone;
To the Outlawed of men and the Branded,
Whether hated or hating they fell,
I pledge the devoted, red-handed,
Unfaltering heroes of hell!
‘The Martyrs of Hell,’ Mother Earth 4.2 (Apr 1909): 33-34.
See also ‘A Toast,’ The Ghetto 1918: 62-63.