A Song of the Millennium [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

A Song of the Millennium

When the flunkeys cease from flunking, and the crawlers crawl no more —
When the lackeys’ spines grow stiffer, the millennium will roar ;
It will clatter in the distance — it will thunder up the stairs
When the fools cease genuflecting, and the snobs leave off their airs ;
When we’re free of small, cheap titles, and the gauds are swept away,
The millennium will rattle, o’er the pavement in a dray !
When we sell our dukes and dukelings, when we hail the Men who Work,
The Millennium will happen with an instantaneous jerk.
But till then we wait it vainly, stretching ear and straining eye —
The millennium still shuns us, and the Mean Things cringe and cry !

When the wasters quit their wasting, and the bounders bound no more,
The millennium will clamour like Jehannum at the door.
When the cad becomes good-mannered, and the “gent” becomes extinct,
Lo ! the bright millennial garlands to the planets shall be linked.
Then the “bookie” boors are banished, and the usurers are dead,
We shall see the pink auroras dancing polkas overhead.
When the waiter is transmuted into something like a Man,
The millennium will caper like a show-horse in a van.
To the sound of gladsome music we shall gambol down the years ;
But just now Utopia’s hidden, and beyond the stars it jeers.

Aye, when brains are more than boodle our Atlantis will arrive ;
It will ride the great sea-serpent through the city’s teeming hive ;
When the man of genius prospers, and the poet’s rent is paid,
The millennium will come prancing with a splendid cavalcade !
When the virtuous may remain so, and exist in comfort still,
Prester John shall show his banners on the crest of yonder hill !
When a bird may preen its plumage, undisturbed by stone or gun,
Lo ! the gods will straightway volley gifts and blessings by the ton !
When a flower may bloom ungathered — human blossoms with the rest —
Then the glow of unknown glories shall light up the spacious West !

When a woman’s fame is sacred in the eyes of every man,
The Chimera will confront us, striped with blue and black and tan !
When the wanton world remembers that sweet Love should rule supreme,
We shall get the final bearings of Alnaschar’s precious dream !
When we help a sister upward, and prevent her sinking down,
Nick will slam the gates of Tophet with a melancholy frown.
When our love of Right is real, and we’re bogus saints no more,
We shall see the Flying Dutchman as we stand upon the shore !
When the things I’ve named have happened, the millennium will whizz :
But it’s not in sight at present, and I don’t know where it is !

Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 189-191

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