Edwin James Brady

(7 August 1869 - 22 August 1952 / Carcoar / New South Wales)

Vive Anarchy


With the lifting of the curtain,
Distance, dim, but grimly certain,
Breaks my vision of a city, populous and great,
To my senses, sorrow-sated,
Senses sad and satiated, Faintly comes the thunder peal of treasured wrong and hate
Broken down,
Beaten down,
By awakened people and the iron arm of Fate.
Pallid forms, by famine shrunken,
Helots, harlots, ribald, drunken,
Wine and blood-wet, onward thro' the torchlit highways sweep,
Through a city disunited,
Through a city flame ignited,
To the sound of song and trumpet and the cannon's deep
Distant boom,
Through the gloom,
While the fire fiends madly leaps from tower to temple steep.

Reinforced from slum and alley,
By this wild and weird reveille,
Pours the army of the people where their banners drape,
In a city barricaded,
In a city fusilladed
By the deadly rifle and the Gatling and the grape,
Crashing down,
Smashing down
Lanes and alleys filthy, and the foul abode of rape.

Tyrants flee and cowards falter-,
For a lamp-post and a halter
Wait for every tyrant at the corner of the street,
In the hour of retribution,
In the night of revolution,
When on common ground the tyrant and the helot meet,
Endless wrongs,
Countless wrongs,
Burning in the helot's bosom - fanned to fever heat.

Let the tyrant beg no pity-
His the palace, his the city,
His the silken raiment and the costly food and wine;
Ours the forms emaciated,
Of the women violated,
Ours the endless torture in the workshop and the mine;
Hunted down,
Hounded down
To the level of the felon and the concubine.

By our women fever-stricken,
Where the foetid odours thicken
In the homes of hunger, where the children cry for bread;
By your soulless apathetic,
Scorning of our wrongs pathetic,
By the seas of blood and tears by generations shed,
Stealing down,
Streaming down-
Now we ask, with smoking rifle, "vengeance on your head."

Marching on with footsteps steady,
Shotted guns and bayonets ready,
Goes the army of the people, in the days to be,
Through a city barricaded,
Through a city fusilladed,
Where the discontented masses struggle to be free,
Breaking down,
Beating down
Wrongs of ages to the song of "Long Live Anarchy."

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Stuart Svensen (6/17/2008 10:44:00 PM)

    This poem was published in the Australian Workman,27 December 1890, after the defeat of the workers in the Maritime Strike. It was also published as 'A Vision of the Future', in Brisbane Worker,7 March 1891 during the Shearers' Strike. It is reproduced in my book on the Maritime Strike, The Sinews of War. Brady worked for Dalgety's at the time of the Maritime Strike, but was dismissed after refusing to serve as a special constable. For further information on Brady see http: //www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A070395b.htm (Report) Reply

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