The Helots

By George Sterling

Now the grim lords of Europe have their will,
    And war is on the world, and war's despair.
    The monster that they nurtured with such care
At battle's crimson river drinks its fill,
And the rent veins of men cease not to spill,
    And the red fangs cease not to pierce and tear,
    And the mad ranks press ever on, and bare
Their bosoms, that its food be given still.

Such is the price, O brothers, that ye pay
    For tyrant, prince and war-lord; thus your fate
        To madman and to despot is consigned.
In peace, ye toil that folly have its way;
    In war, ye bleed in misery and hate;
        In war or peace, ye labor deaf and blind.

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