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.
 
The Rough Rider

By Bliss Carman

(American poet of nature, 1861–1929)
 
TAKE up, who will, the challenge;
  Stand pat on graft and greed;
Grow sleek on others’ labor,
  Surfeit on others’ need;
Let paid and bloodless tricksters        5
  Devise a legal way
Our common right and justice
  “To sell, deny, delay.”
 
Not yesterday nor lightly
  We came to know that breed;        10
Our quarrel with that cunning
  Is old as Runnymede.
We saw enfranchised insult
  Deploy in kingly line,
When broke our sullen fury        15
  On Rupert of the Rhine.…
 
Now, masking raid and rapine
  In debonair disguise,
The foe we thought defeated
  Deludes our careless eyes,        20
Entrenched in law and largess
  And the vested wrong of things,
Cloaking a fouler treason
  Than any faithless king’s.
 
He takes our life for wages,        25
  He holds our land for rent,
He sweats our little children
  To swell his cent per cent;
With secret grip and levy
  On every crumb we eat,        30
He drives our sons to thieving,
  Our daughters to the street.…
 
Against the grim defenses
  Where might and murrain hide,
Unswerving to the issue        35
  Loose-reined and rough we ride
Full tardily, to rescue
  Our heritage from wrong,
And stablish it on manhood,
  A thousand times more strong.        40
 
 
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