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.
The Revolution

By Richard Wagner

(It is not generally recalled that the composer of the world’s greatest music-dramas, 1813–1883, was an active revolutionist, who took part in street fighting in the German Revolution of 1848, and escaped a long imprisonment only by flight.)
UNHAPPY man! uplift thine eyes, look up to where a thousand thousand gather on the hills in joyous expectation of the dawn! Regard them, they are all thy brothers, sisters, the troops of those poor wights who hitherto knew naught of life but suffering, have been but strangers on this earth of Joy; they all are waiting for that Revolution which affrights thee, their redeemer from this world of sorrow, creator of a new world that blesses all! See there, there stream the legions from the factories; they have made and fashioned lordly stuffs,—themselves and children, they are naked, frozen, hungry; for not to them belongs the fruit of all their labor, but to the rich and mighty one who calls men and the earth his own! So, there they troop, from fields and farmyards; they have tilled the earth and turned it to a smiling garden, and fruits in plenty, enough for all who live, have paid their pains,—yet poor are they, and naked, starving; for not to them, nor to others who are needy, belongs earth’s blessing, but solely to the rich and mighty one who calls men and the earth his own. They all, the hundred-thousands, millions, are camped upon the hills and gaze into the distance, where thickening clouds proclaim the advent of emancipating Revolution; they all, to whom nothing is left to grieve for, from whom men rob the sons to train them into sturdy gaolers of their fathers; whose daughters walk the city’s streets with burden of their shame, an offering to the baser lusts of rich and mighty; they all, with the sallow, careworn faces, the limbs devoured by frost and hunger, they all who have never known joy, encamp there on the heights and strain their eyes in blissful expectation of its coming, and listen in rapt silence to the rustle of the rising storm, which fills their ears with Revolution’s greeting.  1

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