[Editor: This poem by “Aristarchus” was published in Hermes: The Magazine of the University of Sydney (Sydney, NSW), 20 November 1894.]
A Song of Progress.
The time is anigh when the weary earth
Shall draw new force from a conqueror race,
And strong in the strength of a second birth,
Kill the morbid growths that now disgrace
The fairness of our resting place.
Soon, soon shall an end be of all the ills
That mar the beauties of earth’s face,
When the strong, warm blood shall thrill through her veins
And new life throb with her heart apace.
Onward, ye workers of stalwart frame —
Unworn of body, unwarped in mind —
Yours is the task to assoil life’s shame —
Ye are the race by the years designed
To waken the life of effete mankind.
Wipe from earth’s visage all trace of tears;
Loosen us quickly the fetters that bind
To all that is evil of by-gone years;
Give hope to the weary, new light to the blind.
Hermes: The Magazine of the University of Sydney (Sydney, NSW), vol. 10 no. 6, 20 November 1894, p. 6
anigh = (archaic) nigh: near, close, especially regarding time or place (e.g. “the time was nigh”); approaching, nearly; almost
assoil = (archaic) to absolve, acquit, clear of wrongdoing, free from blame, pardon; to atone for; expiate
by-gone = something dating from, or something which occurred in, an earlier era or distant past (also spelt “bygone”; usually used in the plural form “bygones”, as in the phrase “let bygones be bygones”, i.e. to reconcile by letting conflicts or offences of the past be put aside, forgiven, forgotten, or ignored)
effete = lacking force of character, stamina, strength, vigour, or vitality; incapable of strong or effective action; marked by decadence, over-refinement, or weakness; delicate, soft, weak, powerless, or ineffectual (especially from being molly-coddled or pampered); effeminate or weak; incapable of producing; sterile
fetter = a chain, manacle, or shackle placed around a prisoner’s ankle; something which confines or restrains; to put fetters upon; to confine, restrain, or restrict (usually used in the plural form: fetters)
visage = someone’s face, facial expression, countenance, or appearance; something’s appearance, aspect, image, or manifestation