The Eight-Hour System

Bob Hart

Source: America Singing: 19th Century Song-Sheets:
HTML: for in April, 2002.

Respectfully Dedicated to Mr. James Davis and Employees.

AIR– Whack row-de-row.

Come, workmen, all, both great and small,
Pay attention to my ditty,
'Tis something interests you all
That labour in this city.
Be wide awake,
An interest take–
Don't wait for legislation;
The greatest aim of all mankind,
It is self-preservation.


Whack row-de-row,
How are you, eight-hour system;
Whack row-de-row,
We are bound to put it through.

Our claims are just– we know they're right,
As honest men will all agree;
We wage no war on capital,
That every one can see.
If you want to know,
We can soon show,
Without any exaggeration,
We'll do as much in eight now
With a little more exertion.

CHORUS. Whack row-de-row, &c.

We will take the hours of the day,
And divide them up by three;
First, take eight for labour, say,
Which we'll do honestly;
Eight for rest,
Which, at the best,
Gives our strength time to recover;
And eight more to attend the wants
Of our distressed worthy brothers.

CHORUS. Whack, row-de-row, &c.

You may talk about your heroes,
But where is one so grand,
Who kindness to his fellows shows,
And rightly understands.
One of this kind
You're sure to find,
If the trouble you will take, sirs.
At twenty-seven Julia street,
Is the prince of boiler-makers.

CHORUS. Whack row-de-row, &c.

Here the honest sons of Vulcan
In their glory you may find;
Their hammers click, the time flies quick,
They never are behind.
The secret's one
That all my own,
It will cost you but the trial,
The eight-hour system is the thing–
It's a fact, and there's no denial.

CHORUS. Whack row-de-row, &c.