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.
In the Market-Place
(From “Beyond the Breakers”)

By George Sterling

(California poet, born 1869)
IN Babylon, high Babylon,
  What gear is bought and sold?
All merchandise beneath the sun
  That bartered is for gold;
Amber and oils from far beyond        5
  The desert and the fen,
And wines whereof our throats are fond—
  Yea! and the souls of men!
In Babylon, grey Babylon,
  What goods are sold and bought?        10
Vesture of linen subtly spun,
  And cups from agate wrought;
Raiment of many-colored silk
  For some fair denizen,
And ivory more white than milk—        15
  Yea! and the souls of men!…
In Babylon, sad Babylon,
  What chattels shall invite?
A wife whenas your youth is done,
  Or leman for a night.        20
Before Astarte’s portico
  The torches flare again;
The shadows come, the shadows go—
  Yea! and the souls of men!
In Babylon, dark Babylon,        25
  Who take the wage of shame?
The scribe and singer, one by one,
  That toil for gold and fame.
They grovel to their masters’ mood;
  The blood upon the pen        30
Assigns their souls to servitude—
  Yea! and the souls of men!

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