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

By Heinrich Heine

(German poet and essayist, one of the most musical and most unhappy of singers; 1797–1856)
 
THEIR eyelids are drooping, no tears lie beneath;
They stand at the loom and grind their teeth;
“We are weaving a shroud for the doubly dead,
And a threefold curse in its every thread—
    We are weaving, still weaving.        5
 
“A curse for the Godhead to whom we have bowed
In our cold and our hunger, we weave in the shroud;
For in vain have we hoped and in vain have prayed;
He has mocked us and scoffed at us, sold and betrayed—
    We are weaving, still weaving.        10
 
“A curse for the king of the wealthy and proud,
Who for us had no pity, we weave in the shroud;
Who takes our last penny to swell out his purse,
While we die the death of a dog—yea, a curse—
    We are weaving, still weaving.        15
 
“A curse for our country, whose cowardly crowd
Hold her shame in high honor, we weave in the shroud;
Whose blossoms are blighted and slain in the germ,
Whose filth and corruption engender the worm—
    We are weaving, still weaving.        20
 
“To and fro flies our shuttle—no pause in its flight,
’Tis a shroud we are weaving by day and by night;
We are weaving a shroud for the worse than dead,
And a threefold curse in its every thread—
    We are weaving—still weaving.”        25
 
 
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