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.


(A parody upon a poem by Rudyard Kipling; author unknown. The poem is frequently, but incorrectly, attributed to Mr. Kipling)
WE have fed you all for a thousand years,
  And you hail us still unfed,
Tho’ there’s never a dollar of all your wealth
  But marks the workers’ dead.
We have yielded our best to give you rest,        5
  And you lie on crimson wool;
For if blood be the price of all your wealth
  Good God, we ha’ paid in full!
There’s never a mine blown skyward now
  But we’re buried alive for you;        10
There’s never a wreck drifts shoreward now
  But we are its ghastly crew;
Go reckon our dead by the forges red,
  And the factories where we spin.
If blood be the price of your cursed wealth        15
  Good God, we ha’ paid it in!
We have fed you all for a thousand years,
  For that was our doom, you know,
From the days when you chained us in your fields
  To the strike of a week ago.        20
You ha’ eaten our lives and our babies and wives,
  And we’re told it’s your legal share;
But, if blood be the price of your lawful wealth,
  Good God, we ha’ bought it fair!

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