The following poem was written by someone known only as “E.L.E.” and published in the Monthly Magazine in February 1837. It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
Stephen Basdeo is a historian and writer based in Leeds, UK.
The Chartist History of England: Henry I (1849) | Edwin Roberts
Selfish, haughty and arrogant…and can merit nothing but the severest censure. All his actions, when closely scrutinized, fill us with the most unequivocal contempt.
A Song of Hatred (1849) | Georg Herwegh
Georg Herwegh’s ‘A Song of Hatred’ expresses contempt for the German ruling class and was translated by the Fenian activist James Clarence Mangan in 1849.
Victor Hugo’s “Songs of Twilight” (1835) | G. W. M. Reynolds
In the present age, everything, whether ideal or fact, whether connected with society in general, or with a single individual—everything is in a state of twilight. But of what species is that twilight? Oh! who shall solve so profound a mystery—the most sublime of all those that are agitated during times of doubt and uncertainty?
Degradation of Toil (1835) | Charles Cole
Charles Cole was one of the finest radical poets of the early nineteenth century. ‘Degradation of Toil’ was first printed in Cole’s collection of poetry in 1835.
Eugene Sue’s Epic Socialist Novel “The Mysteries of the People” (1848): “The Casque’s Lark”
It was to me, strange and unaccountable as it may seem, as if I abhorred Neroweg by reason of the future as much as of the present; as if that hatred was to perpetuate itself not only between our two races of Franks and Gauls, but also between our families, individually.
Once as the Oak: A Pro-Democracy Poem (1835) | Charles Cole
Charles Cole was one of the finest radical poets of the early nineteenth century. ‘Once as the Oak’ was first printed in 1835 and has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
A Canadian Tale of Horror | Anonymous
I rose cautiously from the bed…One look, and the blood chilled in my veins, and I could feel the hair rising upon my head!
We Are Winning Now! (1839) | Anonymous
The following pro-democracy song appeared in Hugh Williams’s National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). The identity of the author is now lost to history but their work has been newly transcribed.
My Heart is in the Battlefield | “W.”
‘My Heart is in the Battlefield’ was first written in November 1839 and has been newly-transcribed for Reynolds’s News! Subscribe now for more 19th century short texts!
The Revolution of 1830 | Victor Hugo
This poem celebrating the 1830 Revolution in France was written by Victor Hugo and translated by George W.M. Reynolds (1814–79).
The Glorious Fourth of July | Anonymous
This poem from 1849 celebrates American Independence on the 4 July 1776. It was originally published in the Democratic Review
Hymn to France | Victor Hugo
This poem ‘Hymn’ was written by Victor Hugo and celebrates the heroes of the French Revolution of 1830. The poem was translated by G.W.M. Reynolds and published in the Monthly Magazine.
History of the British Aristocracy: Part One (1849) | Anonymous
The greatest and most fatal error in the annals of the world was suffering the growth and formation of an Aristocracy; it is the direst plague with which this earth is cursed, filling it with eternal bitterness.
Genius of France | Victor Hugo
This poem ‘The Genius of France’ was written by Victor Hugo and translated by G.W.M. Reynolds and published in the Monthly Magazine. It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo in 2021.
George W.M. Reynolds’s Exposure of Army Brutality | Stephen Basdeo
G.W.M. Reynolds launched a personal crusade against army brutality, speaking out against it in both his fiction and his journalism.
Cheer up! Cheer up! Ye Chartist Boys! | Anonymous
The following song was written in 1839 after the government’s rejection of the first Chartist petition. The tone of the poem is clear: the working classes need to fight on!
Death of Napoleon | Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo’s poem about Napoleon’s death was originally published in G.W.M. Reynolds Monthly Magazine in 1838.
Welcome to the Refugees (1851) | W.L. Costine
In the 1850s the United Kingdom became home to a number of European refugees who fled political persecution. Welcome to the Refugees celebrates the arrival of persecuted people on British shores.
Eve: Humankind’s First Revolutionary (1851) | Daniel Stern
She preferred grief to ignorance, death to slavery. She seized with a bold hand the guarded fruit, and moved the man to participate in her act of daring. The All-powerful chastised both, banished them.
The Capitalist | “R”
The Capitalist was a socialist poem written in 1850 and printed in George Julian Harney’s Red Republican magazine. It tells of the coming day of vengeance by the working classes against the ruling class.
A Song for the Democracy (1839) | H. Vincent
A Song for Democracy was written by H. Vincent and originally appeared in Williams’s National Songs in 1839. Reprinted here for the first time in nearly 200 years.
Is there yet spirit in England? (1839) | Anonymous
The following poem was written anonymously and published in Hugh Williams’s National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). Its sympathies are with the struggle for democracy and the emerging Chartist movement.
Loud the Song of Triumph (1839): A Chartist Song | Anonymous
The following poem appeared in the Chartist song book titled National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). It celebrates the fight for liberty and the vote in all four corners of the British Isles — from a time when there was no tension between the expression of a healthy patriotism and support for progressive causes.