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

To the United States Senate

Lindsay, Vachel

Vachel Lindsay

(Poet and minstrel of Springfield, Illinois, 1879–1931; has tramped over many parts of the United States with his leaflet of “Rhymes to be Traded for Bread.” He has rediscovered the Homeric chant, and poured into it the life of the Middle West. Upon the arrival of the news that the United States Senate had declared the election of William Lorimer good and valid)

AND must the Senator from Illinois

Be this squat thing, with blinking, half-closed eyes?

This brazen gutter idol, reared to power

Upon a leering pyramid of lies?

And must the Senator from Illinois

Be the world’s proverb of successful shame,

Dazzling all State house flies that steal and steal,

Who, when the sad State spares them, count it fame?

If once or twice within his new won hall

His vote had counted for the broken men;

If in his early days he wrought some good—

We might a great soul’s sins forgive him then.

But must the Senator from Illinois

Be vindicated by fat kings of gold?

And must he be belauded by the smirched,

The sleek, uncanny chiefs in lies grown old?

Be warned, O wanton ones, who shielded him—

Black wrath awaits. You all shall eat the dust.

You dare not say: “Tomorrow will bring peace;

Let us make merry, and go forth in lust.”

What will you trading frogs do on a day

When Armageddon thunders thro’ the land;

When each sad patriot rises, mad with shame,

His ballot or his musket in his hand?