To be able to see every side of every question; To be on every side, to be everything, to be nothing long; To pervert truth, to ride it for a purpose, To use great feelings and passions of the human family For base designs, for cunning ends, To wear a mask like the Greek actors- Your eight-page paper-behind which you huddle, Bawling through the megaphone of big type: "This is I, the giant." Thereby also living the life of a sneak-thief, Poisoned with the anonymous words Of your clandestine soul. To scratch dirt over scandal for money, And exhume it to the winds for revenge, Or to sell papers, Crushing reputations, or bodies, if need be, To win at any cost, save your own life. To glory in demoniac power, ditching civilization, As a paranoiac boy puts a log on the track And derails the express train. To be an editor, as I was. Then to lie here close by the river over the place Where the sewage flows from the village, And the empty cans and garbage are dumped, And abortions are hidden.
Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley, The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter? All, all are sleeping on the hill.
One passed in a fever, One was burned in a mine, One was killed in a brawl, One died in a jail, One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith, The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?- All, all are sleeping on the hill.
One died in shameful child-birth, One of a thwarted love, One at the hands of a brute in a brothel, One of a broken pride, in the search for heart's desire, One after life in a far-away London and Paris Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Maggy- All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily, And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigny Houghton, And Major Walker who had talked With venerable men of the revolution?- All, all are sleeping on the hill. They brought them dead sons from the war, And daughters whom life had crushed, And their children, fatherless, crying- All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where is old Fiddler Jones Who played with life all his ninety years, Braving the sleet with hared breast, Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin, Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven? Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago, Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary's Grove, Of what Abe Lincoln said One time at Springfield.