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

To the Goddess of Liberty
(New York Harbor)

George Sterling

(California poet, born 1869)

OH! is it bale-fire in thy brazen hand—

The traitor-light set on betraying coasts

To lure to doom the mariner? Art thou

Indeed that Freedom, gracious and supreme,

By France once sighted over seas of blood—

A beacon to the ages, and their hope,

A star against the midnight of the race,

A vision, an announcement? Art thou she

For whom our fathers fought at Lexington

And trod the ways of death at Gettysburg?

Thy torch is lit, thy steadfast hand upheld,

Before our ocean-portals. For a sign

Men set thee there to welcome—loving men,

With faith in man. Thou wast upraised to tell,

To simple souls that seek from over-seas

Our rumored liberty, that here no chains

Are on the people, here no kings can stand,

Nor the old tyranny confound mankind,

Sapping with craft the ramparts of the Law

For such, O high presentment of their dream!

Thy pathless sandals wait upon the stone,

Thy tranquil face looks evermore to sea:

Now turn, and know the treason at thy back!

Turn to the anarchs’ turrets, and behold

The cunning ones that reap where others sow!

In those great strongholds lifted to the sun

They plot dominion. Thronèd greeds conspire,

Half allied in a brotherhood malign,

Against the throneless many.…

Would One might pour within thy breast of bronze

Spirit and life! Then should thy loyal hand

Cast down its torch, and thy deep voice should cry:

“Turn back! Turn back, O liberative ships!

Be warned, ye voyagers! From tyranny

To vaster tyranny ye come! Ye come

From realms that in my morning twilight wait

My radiant invasion. But these shores

Have known me and renounced me. I am raised

In mockery, and here the forfeit day

Deepens to West, and my indignant Star

Would hide her shame with darkness and the sea—

A sun of doom forecasting on the Land

The shadow of the sceptre and the sword.”