I remember well the plague, the old man muttered low,
Its origins were vague, would were the outcome so!
I think it started back, he said, when poor benighted dupes
Listened to the demagogues and split us into groups.
Have pride! they cried, not in your deeds, nor even in your thoughts.
Have pride! they cried, in social weeds, and things that count for nought.
Have pride! they cried, in whence you came, not in what you create.
Give credit not to temperate thought, for differences have hate.
And those who knew, and those who had, put on their gloves of glass.
Let us not soil our hands with this, for it will surely pass.
The fabric of the nation's will fell limp, and then unwound.
A search was raised for guilty threads, but nothing could be found.
Then some, in desperation, grasped at brightly colored rags—
This is our soul! they swore an oath, It lives within the flags!
I sat aside and saw appalled, the coming edge of night,
And thought with fear, God help us all, these tweedledums are right!
Thus in our morn of promise came a premature demise,
When we fell prey to hollow claims that wealth would make us wise,
And good would come of cruelty, the strong must use the weak,
For surely any fool could see what happens to the meek.
Get it while you've got the strength, grab it while you can,
If your neighbor falls on back a length, then you're the better man.
We did not drop, we did not stop, there was no judgment day.
All our many groups begot. The nation died of disarray.