A Song for the Workers

Let Man toil to win his living,
 Work is not a task to spurn;
Poor is gold of others' giving,
 To the silver that we earn.

Let Man proudly take his station
 At the smithy, loom, or plough;
The richest crown-pearls in a nation
 Hang from Labour's reeking brow.

Though her hand grows hard with duty,
 Filling up the common Fate;
Let fair Woman's cheek of beauty
 Never blush to own its state.

Let fond Woman's heart of feeling
 Never be ashamed to spread
Industry and honest dealing,
 As a barter for her bread.

Work on bravely, GOD 's own daughters!
 Work on stanchly, GOD 's own sons!
But when Life has too rough waters,
 Truth must fire her minute guns.

Shall ye be unceasing drudges?
 Shall the cry upon your lips
Never make your selfish judges
 Less severe with Despot-whips?

Shall the mercy that we cherish,
 As old England's primest boast,
See no slaves but those who perish
 On a far and foreign coast?

When we reckon hives of money,
 Owned by Luxury and Ease,
Is it just to grasp the honey
 While Oppression chokes the bees?

Is it just the poor and lowly
 Should be held as soulless things?
Have they not a claim as holy
 As rich men, to angels' wings?

Shall we burthen Boyhood's muscle?
 Shall the young Girl mope and lean,
Till we hear the dead leaves rustle
 On a tree that should be green?

Shall we bar the brain from thinking
 Of aught else than work and woe?
Shall we keep parched lips from drinking
 Where refreshing waters flow?

Shall we strive to shut out Reason,
 Knowledge, Liberty, and Health?
Shall all Spirit-light be treason
 To the mighty King of Wealth?

Shall we stint with niggard measure,
 Human joy, and human rest?
Leave no profit—give no pleasure,
 To the toiler's human breast?

Shall our Men, fatigued to loathing.
 Plod on sickly, worn, and bowed?
Shall our Maidens sew fine clothing,
 Dreaming of their own, white shroud?

No! for Right is up and asking
 Loudly for a juster lot;
And Commerce must not let her tasking
 Form a nation's canker spot.

Work on bravely, GOD 's own daughters!
 Work on stanchly, GOD 's own sons!
But till ye have smoother waters,
 Let Truth fire her minute guns!
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