Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968). rn The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.

The Rough Rider

Carman, Bliss

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

Devise a legal way

Our common right and justice

“To sell, deny, delay.”

Not yesterday nor lightly

We came to know that breed;

Our quarrel with that cunning

Is old as Runnymede.

We saw enfranchised insult

Deploy in kingly line,

When broke our sullen fury

On Rupert of the Rhine.…

Now, masking raid and rapine

In debonair disguise,

The foe we thought defeated

Deludes our careless eyes,

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,

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,

He drives our sons to thieving,

Our daughters to the street.…

Against the grim defenses

Where might and murrain hide,

Unswerving to the issue

Loose-reined and rough we ride

Full tardily, to rescue

Our heritage from wrong,

And stablish it on manhood,

A thousand times more strong.