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Musings in Maoriland

The Bad Old Times

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The Bad Old Times.

Spirit of Progress, raise thy cheerful voice,
  And chant the death-song of the Bad Old Times;
Unfettered peoples of the earth rejoice!
  At length ye triumph o'er the Bad Old Times.
Young heirs of Freedom, children of her choice,
  Builders of Empires in the Golden Climes,
Oh learn a lesson from the perished past—
Before you lies the future, clear and vast:
  'Tis yours, to shape and mould the Coming Times.

Look down, my brothers, from this lofty height,
  Into the murky depths of yon ravine,
Where Ages dead, float o'er the pool of night—
  Whose stagnant dregs submerge Earth's fairest green,
Where gasping freedom, with her torch alight,
And banner blazoned with the crest of Right!

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Bursts from the tyrant grasp of brutal Might,
  To 'scape the dungeons where her cage hath been.
Oh, Brother Freemen! when the nations lay
  Beneath the shadow of the Bad Old Times,
Fierce, crimson-handed Bigotry held sway—
  (Curs'd mother of the blackest, foulest crimes),
And marshalled all her fiends in grim array
  To nurture Hate, and banish Love away;
Her footprints still remain on Earth to-day.
  Erase them, brothers, from our Golden Climes!

Oh, Brother Freemen, when the night was dark,
  Injustice sat enthroned on scaffold high—
True Manhood, branded with the Traitor's mark,
  Found no approach to Justice, save to die.
But Freedom's embers slept in Reason's Ark—
  Unquenched, though black, until the People's cry
Fanned into life one grand Promethean spark,
  Which flash'd athwart the clouds and cleared the sky.

Oh, Brother Freemen, we have reached the hill;
  Our giant sires have formed and made the track,
Their axes cleared our path with manly will—
  Press onward up the mountain, turn not back;
Below us sink the cruel, Bad Old Times,
Swept by an avalanche of blood and crimes,
  With screw and gibbet, torture-wheel and rack

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Into Time's whirlpool, there to lie until
  Our mountain torrents, in translucent flood,
Rush from the lofty peaks of Freedom fair,
  And sweep away the stagnant pools of blood
That still with noisome breath pollute the air.
  Then white-robed Peace, with mantle pure and rare,
Shall veil the mem'ry of the Bad Old Times—
  When War's red corse lies in its purple lair;
  When Love reigns King, and Tyrants shall not dare
To stain Earth's Olden Lands or Golden Climes.