Laughter in the Senate

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In the South lies a lonesome, hungry Land;
He huddles his rags with a cripple’s hand;
He mutters, prone on the barren sand,
      What time his heart is breaking.

He lifts his bare head from the ground;
He listens through the gloom around:
The winds have brought him a strange sound
      Of distant merrymaking.

Comes now the Peace so long delayed?
Is it the cheerful voice of Aid?
Begins the time his heart has prayed,
      When men may reap and sow?

Ah, God! Back to the cold earth’s breast!
The sages chuckle o’er their jest;
Must they, to give a people rest,
      Their dainty wit forego?

The tyrants sit in a stately hall;
They jibe at a wretched people’s fall;
The tyrants forget how fresh is the pall
      Over their dead and ours.

Look how the senators ape the clown,
And don the motley and hide the gown,
But yonder a fast-rising frown
      On the people’s forehead lowers.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.