Pierre Dupont 1846

The Song of the Workers

Source: The Commonweal, Vol. 6, No. 228, May 24, 1890, p. 165.
Transcribed: by Zdravko Saveski.

(Translated in the original measure, to be sung to the original tune.)

Let us who hear the shrill voiced cock
        With clarion blast disturb our slumbers,
Who to the mill and forge must flock
        At early morn in countless numbers;
Who for a scanty wage must sell
        Our arms and limbs but to our sorrow,
The fear of want can ne'er dispel,
        Nor make provision for the morrow.

                Chorus—Be brothers, let our glasses clink
                                Together; never more we'll sunder,
                                Though shot and shell around us thunder,
                                                                We'll drink
                                An end to avarice and plunder.

The jealous wave, the stubborn soil,
        Yield up their treasure to our labours;
Our arms are stiff with ceaseless toil
        To pamper those whom fortune favours.
We gather from the hill and vale,
        From sea and shore, from mine and meadow,
Those piles of wealth the eyes regale,
        Yet die ourselves beneath their shadow.

                Chorus—Be brothers, etc.

Poor sheep! our backs rich garments give
        The gilded few who scorn our station;
In pride and luxury they live
        While toil and want degrade the nation.
Machines are we; we sweat and bend
        To raise great buildings high as heaven;
Without us soon the world would end
        Yet from the hives like bees we're driven.

                Chorus—Be brothers, etc.

The puny heir of some domain
        Our wives oft nurse to health and vigour,
And yet with them this Son of Cain
        At play or feast would blush to figure.
In olden days the lords might take
        The bride from out her groom's embraces;
Now cold and want our daughters make
        The prey of such as deal in laces.

                Chorus—Be brothers, etc.

Ill clothed, ill housed, in cellars foul,
        Beneath the thatch, in ruins hoary,
We live companions of the owl
        And thief—in truth a piteous story!
Yet the red blood within our veins
        Impetuous runs in bounding measure—
Ah, could we sport upon the plains,
        Or seek the green wood for our pleasure!

                Chorus—Be brothers, etc.

And when, as oft, we shed our gore
        In streams that all the wide world cover,
The tyrant only reaps the more
        From fields o'er which the vultures hover.
We have been fools: henceforth our power
        We'll spend in breaking slavery's fetter,
And fill with mirth the passing hour
        That brings the world from good to better.

                Chorus—Be brothers, etc.


J. G.