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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Charles Mackay 1814–89

What Might Be Done

WHAT might be done if men were wise—

What glorious deeds, my suffering brother,

Would they unite

In love and right,

And cease their scorn of one another?

Oppression’s heart might be imbued

With kindling drops of loving-kindness,

And knowledge pour,

From shore to shore,

Light on the eyes of mental blindness.

All slavery, warfare, lies, and wrongs,

All vice and crime, might die together;

And wine and corn,

To each man born,

Be free as warmth in summer weather.

The meanest wretch that ever trod,

The deepest sunk in guilt and sorrow,

Might stand erect

In self-respect,

And share the teeming world to-morrow.

What might be done? This might be done,

And more than this, my suffering brother—

More than the tongue

E’er said or sung,

If men were wise and lov’d each other.