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Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
 
The Cave of Mammon
(From “The Faerie Queene”)

By Edmund Spenser

(Old English poet, 1552?–1599)
 
AT last he came unto a gloomy glade
  Cover’d with boughs and shrubs from heavens light,
Whereas he sitting found in secret shade
  An uncouth, salvage, and uncivile wight,
  Of griesly hew and fowle ill-favour’d sight;        5
His face with smoke was tand, and eies were bleard,
  His head and beard with sout were ill bedight,
His cole-blacke hands did seem to have ben seard
In smythes fire-spitting forge, and nayles like clawes appeard.…
 
And round about him lay on every side        10
  Great heapes of gold that never could be spent;
Of which some were rude owre, not purifide,
  Of Mulcibers devouring element;
  Some others were new driven, and distent
Into great ingowes and to wedges square;        15
  Some in round plates withouten moniment;
But most were stampt, and in their metal bare
The antique shapes of kings and kesars straung and rare.…
 
“What secret place,” quoth he, “can safely hold
  So huge a mass, and hide from heavens eie?        20
Or where hast thou thy wonne, that so much gold
  Thou canst preserve from wrong and robbery?”
  “Come thou,” quoth he, “and see.” So by and by
Through that black covert he him led, and fownd
  A darksome way, which no man could descry,        25
That deep descended through the hollow grownd,
And was with dread and horror compassèd arownd.…
 
So soon as Mammon there arrived, the dore
  To him did open and affoorded way:
Him followed eke Sir Guyon evermore,        30
  Ne darknesse him ne daunger might dismay.
  Soone as he entred was, the dore streightway
Did shutt, and from behind it forth there lept
  An ugly feend, more fowle then dismall day:
The which with monstrous stalke behind him stept,        35
And ever as he went dew watch upon him kept.
 
Well hopèd hee, ere long that hardy guest,
  If ever covetous hand, or lustfull eye,
Or lips he layd on thing that likte him best,
  Or ever sleepe his eie-strings did untye,        40
  Should be his pray: and therefore still on hye
He over him did hold his cruell clawes,
  Threatning with greedy gripe to doe him dye,
And rend in peeces with his ravenous pawes,
If ever he transgrest the fatall Stygian lawes.        45
 
In all that rowme was nothing to be seene
  But huge great yron chests, and coffers strong,
All bard with double bends, that none could weene
  Them to efforce by violence or wrong;
  On every side they placèd were along.        50
But all the grownd with sculs was scattered
  And dead mens bones, which round about were flong;
Whose lives, it seemed, whilome there was shed,
And their vile carcases now left unburièd.
 
 
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