The Song of the Classes

by Ernest Jones

Chartist leader and poet, 1819-1869; sentenced in 1848 to two years’ imprisonment.

We plow and sow — we’re so very, very low

That we delve in the dirty clay,

‘Till we bless the plain — with the golden grain,

And the vale with the fragrant hay.

Our place we know — we’re so very low,

‘Tis down at the landlord’s feet:

We’re not too low — the bread to grow,

But too low the bread to eat.

Down, down we go — we’re so very, very low

To the hell of the deep sunk mines,

But we gather the proudest gems that glow

Where the crown of a despot shines,

And whenever he lacks — upon our backs

Fresh loads he deigns to lay:

We’re far too low to vote the tax,

But not too low to pay.

We’re low — we’re low — mere rabble we know

But at our plastic power

The mould at the lordling’s feet will grow

Into palace and church and tower —

Then prostrate fall — in the rich man’s hall,

And cringe at the rich man’s door:

We’re not too low to build the wall,

But too low to tread the floor.

We’re low — we’re low — we’re very, very low,

Yet from our fingers glide

The silken flow — and the robes that glow

Round the limbs of the sons of pride.

And what we get — and what we give —

We know, and we know our share:

We’re not too low the cloth to weave

But too low the cloth to wear.

We’re low — we’re low — we’re very, very low,

And yet when the trumpets ring,

The thrust of a poor man’s arm will go

Through the heart of the proudest king.

We’re low — we’re low — our place we know

We’re only the rank and file,

We’re not too low to kill the foe,

But too low to touch the spoil.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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