In The Market Place

By George Sterling

Rev. xviii: 10-13

In Babylon, high Babylon,
    What gear is bought and sold?
All merchandise beneath, the sun
    That bartered is for gold:
Amber and oils from far beyond
    The desert and the fen,
And wines whereof our throats are fond-
    Yea ! and the souls of men!

In Babylon, grey Babylon,
    What goods are sold and bought?
Vesture of linen subtly spun,
    And cups from agate wrought;
Raiment of many-colored silk
    For some fair denizen,
And ivory more white than milk—
    Yea ! and the souls of men !

In Babylon, old Babylon,
    What cargoes on the piers?
Pearls from a tepid ocean won,
    And gems that are as tears;
Arrows and javelins that prevail
    Against the lion's den,
And brazen chariots and mail—
    Yea! and the souls of men!

In Babylon, mad Babylon,
    What get you for your pence?
A moiety of cinnamon,
    Of flour and frankincense;
But let the shekels in your keep
    Be multiplied by ten,
And you shall purchase slaves and sheep—
    Yea! and the souls of men!

In Babylon, sad Babylon,
    What chattels shall invite?
A wife whenas your youth, is done,
    Or leman for a night.
Before Astarte's portico
    The torches flare again;
The shadows come, the shadows go—
    Yea! and the souls of men!

In Babylon, dark Babylon,
    Who take the wage of shame?
The scribe and singer, one by one,
    That toil for gold and fame.
They grovel to their masters' mood;
    The blood upon the pen
Assigns their souls to servitude-
    Yea! and the souls of men!

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