Patrick Regan has kindly shared the material from his Robert Buchanan site with readers of the Victorian Web, who may wish to consult the original.

                            I.

'Lords of the Bread and the Land,
    Cruel and empty of heart,
Low at your footstool we stand,
    We who are Slaves of the Mart!
Ye have conquer'd the Earth and the Sea;
    In glory of purple and gold
Your Empire rolls onward, but we
    Stand bleeding and bare as of old;
Ye have stolen the soil of our birth,
    With the flesh of our bones ye are fed, —
Who made ye the Masters of Earth?
    Answer, ye Lords of the Bread!'

                            II.

And the Lords of the Bread replied:
    'Hush, ye vain voices, be still!
With the God of the Strong for our guide
    We have triumph'd and fatten'd our fill;
And lo! in our pride we upbuild
    These Cities that look on the foam,
And the waves of the waters are stilled
    And rock 'neath the grain-ships of Rome;
And from City to City march forth
    Our legions with conquering tread:
Ye made us the Masters of Earth,
    And the fulness thereof, and the Bread!'

                            III.

Then answer'd the Slaves of the Mart:
    'Even so! ye are great, ye are strong!
But wherefore, O cruel of heart,
    Deny us our birthright so long!
We launch'd ye these ships on the waves,
    We plough'd both theEarth and the Deep,
And all that we ask for, your Slaves,
    Is tithe of the treasure ye keep.
Ye have stolen the soil of our birth,
    Your beasts with our harvests are fed, —
We made ye the Masters of Earth,
    And left ye the Lords of the Bread!'

                            IV.

The Lords of the Bread spoke again:
    'Lo, this is the Law, — so take heed, —
Who gains shall inherit his gain,
    Yea, he and his uttermost seed!
With the Sword of the Strong in our hand
    We keep what was stolen of yore,
For lo! we inherit the Land,
    And ye can inherit no more —
Behold we rejoice and make mirth,
    Though the mouth of the fool gapes unfed,
For we are the Masters of Earth,
    And the fulness thereof, and the Bread!'

                            V.

Then answer'd the Slaves of the Mart:
    'O traitors, O wolves in the fold,
The blood ye have wrung from the heart
    Ye coin into drachmas of gold;
And the gold buys our sisters and wives,
    And our children are sold for the same,
While ye stand on the wreck of our lives
    Rejoicing, and trumpet your fame!
Accurst be this Land of our birth,
    And woe to this Empire,' they said,
'If ye, the proud Masters of Earth,
    Deny us our birthright of Bread!'

(From Through the Great City)


Victorian Web Robert Buchanan Contents

Last modified 27 September 2002