Progress and Poverty

by Emma Lazarus

Oh splendid age when Science lights her lamp
At the brief lightning’s momentary flame.
Fixing it steadfast as a star, man’s name
Upon the very brow of heaven to stamp,
Launched on a ship whose iron-cuirassed sides
Mock storm and wave. Humanity sails free;
Gayly upon a vast untraveled sea,
O’er pathless wastes, to ports undreamed she rides.
Richer than Cleopatra’s barge of gold,
This vessel, manned by demi-gods, with freight
Of priceless marvels. But where yawns the hold
In that deep, reeking hell, what slaves be they
Who feed the ravenous monster, pant and sweat,
Nor know if overhead reign night or day?

Published in the New York Times, October 2, 1881

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