Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
Wat Tyler

By Robert Southey

(One of the so-called “Lake School” of English poets, which included Wordsworth and Coleridge; 1774–1843. Poet-Laureate for thirty years. The refrain of this song was the motto of Wat Tyler’s rebels, who marched upon London in 1381)
“WHEN Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman?”
Wretched is the infant’s lot,
Born within the straw-roof’d cot;
Be he generous, wise, or brave,        5
He must only be a slave.
Long, long labor, little rest,
Still to toil, to be oppress’d;
Drain’d by taxes of his store,
Punish’d next for being poor:        10
This is the poor wretch’s lot,
Born within the straw-roof’d cot.
While the peasant works,—to sleep,
What the peasant sows,—to reap,
On the couch of ease to lie,        15
Rioting in revelry;
Be he villain, be he fool,
Still to hold despotic rule,
Trampling on his slaves with scorn!
This is to be nobly born.        20
“When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman?”

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