The Ninety and Nine

Original Text: 
Marie Joussaye, Selections from Anglo Saxon Songs ([Dawson, Yukon]: Dawson News Publishing Co., [1920?]: 14-15. National Library of Canada
2    In hunger and want and cold,
3That one may revel in luxury,
4    Enwrapped in its silken fold,
5And the one owns houses, and gold, and lands,
6But the Ninety and Nine have empty hands.
7Long have they bowed 'neath the terrible yoke
8    Of Greed, Oppression and Wrong,
9And the cry of their souls goes up to God,
11And the answer comes from the great, white throne,
12"Rejoice! for Labor shall have her own."
13They build the palaces, stately and fair,
14    They labor in field and mine,
15And all that is costly and grand and rare,
16    Is wrought by the Ninety and Nine.
17Yet the rulers own all the houses and lands,
18And the Ninety and Nine have empty hands.
19That the rich man's coffers may never lack gold,
20    They loose the red hounds of War,
23And the feasts of the mighty are red with wine,
24Poured from the veins of the Ninety and Nine.
25Sometimes they wonder if God is dead,
26    Or if He has refused to hear
27The prayer of His people, but God has heard,
28    And the hour is drawing near,
29When all shall glean in the common field,
30Sharing alike in the harvest yield.
31And Greed and Labor shall strive no more,
32    For Greed shall be overthrown.
33And the scales of Justice shall balance at last,
34    And Labor shall have her own.
35And the builders will own whatever they build,
36And the hands of the Ninety and Nine be filled.

Notes

1] A play on the parable of the lost sheep: "How think ye? if a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish" (Matthew 18.12-14; a;sp Luke 15.3-7). Back to Line
10] From Psalm 13.1: "How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?" Back to Line
21] See Revelation 20: 11-15: "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Back to Line
22] Revelation 8.11: "And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter." Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
Form: