The English Peep-O'-Day-Boys

Know ye not the Peep-o'-day-boys?—
Bound, both heart and hand,
To do something worth the doing
For our English land?—
Though no rebels and no traitors,
Yet a plot we've laid:
English hearts, we pray you give it
Countenance and aid;
And the watchword, if you'll join us,
You shall learn anon:
Hear it—learn it—think upon it:—
‘On—for ever on!’

Sanguine are the Peep-o'-day-boys:—
Solemn league we've sworn,
That we'll fight a strenuous battle
For each child that's born:
And maintain with growing fervor
Its inherent right,
Not to bread and raiment only,
But to mental light—
To the food of Education,
To be kept from none:—
Join the phalanx, shouting with us
‘On—for ever on!’

And we hopeful Peep-o'-day-boys,
Shamed by Vice and Crime,
Think we'll manage to reform them:
Only give us time.
And as Ignorance is mother
Of the teeming brood,
We have vow'd to cease no effort
Till she is subdued:
Sturdy war we'll make against her,
Till her strength is gone:
Aid us; and repeat the watchword,
‘On—for ever on!’

Other plots, we Peep-o'-day-boys,
Hour by hour, advance;
And such hatred have we taken
To Intemperance,
As the plague-spot of the people,
Poisoning brain and heart,
That we've sworn to struggle with it
On the People's part,
And already gain'd some triumphs
And a benison:
Join our league; and pass the watchword,
‘On—for ever on!’

Then we think the Hangman's office
Ought not to endure:
Cruel quacks are not our doctors,
Killing's not our cure.
And 'tis portion of our compact,
Sworn with earnest faith,
That we'll make a sinecurist
Of this man of death—
Both his trade and his example
Out of date are gone.
Aid the plot; and pass the watchword,
‘On—for ever on!’

And we active Peep-o'-day-boys,
Busy as we are,
Still have time to pick a quarrel
With the demon War.
Many a plot we form to thwart him:
And success, though slow,
Shall at last reward our efforts,
And we'll smite him low.
Late or early we shall vanquish
This Apollyon:
Join us—aid us—pass the watchword,
‘On—for ever on!’

Now you know the Peep-o'-day-boys;
And they are not few:—
Over all the land you'll find them
Zealous, firm, and true;
Never wearying in the struggle,
Lagging ne'er a jot:
Friend or foe, you're pledged to join us,
Now you're in the plot;
You're the master of our secret—
Power of choice is gone:—
Take the vows; and pass the watchword,
‘On—for ever on!’
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