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Graft! Graft! Graft! song lyrics

Song: Graft! Graft! Graft!
Lyrics: Collin Davis

Music: Frank J. Richmond
Year: 1905(2)
Country: USA

Today ev'rywhere you hear a simple little word,
But this word is bigger that it looks.
It's one Mister Webster didn't know and never heard,
When he wrote his dictionary books.
It hasn't many letters and the first one is a "G",
No matter what the others are the last one is a "T".
The politicians know it but they hate to hear the sound,
From Maine to California it's a power in every town.

Listen, I will spell it now, G-R-A-F-T,
In our City Halls and Legislature you will see
Grafters big and grafters small, the country's going daft,
For ev'ry body wants to get the Graft, Graft Graft.

The contracting agent know the game, no one denies,
U.S. Senators are daily chaffed,
And John Hazen Hyde (3) and Chauncey M Depew (4) were wise,
When they used insurance for a graft.
All steamboat lines and railroads have a man to turn the trick,
And doctors split their profits if you bring them someone sick,
Ane even in religion, modern graft today it holds,
For hasn't Doctor Dowie (5) made a fortune saving souls.

Grafting is an art to day, not so hard to learn,
If your bus'ness is so bad, your store you want o burn
See your fire insurance man and tell him you'll go half,
Then buy some kerosene and work the Graft, Graft, Graft.
This song was originally posted on
Today when you want a wife you advertise for her,
You state if youy want her fat or lank,
The Bureau of Matrimony knows that you prefer
A wife with some money in the bank.
They furnish you a homely fright to hold the married fort,
You marry her and find a dozen children to support.
The Bureau gets her money and you only get the laugh,
This marriage is a failure, just another kind of graft.

Advertising for a wife, one with lots of dough,
Isn't very prof'table as any one should know.
So start a matrimonial Bureau, it's a paying craft,
And marry all the fools you can and Graft, Graft, Graft.

Of course you have read in Ev'rybody's Magazine,(6)
How John Rockefeller (7) gets his rocks.
Of course Mister Lawson (8) never got a single bean;
He says that he only got the knocks.
It takes a thief to catch a thief as ev'ry-body knows,
And Tommy finds enjoyment stepping hard on "Rocky's" toes;
But have you ever stopped to think just what is Lawson's scheme?
Who draws the dividends from Ev'rybody's Magazine?

There are several ways to kill, ways to kill a cat,
Selling magazines by millions makes your income fat.
Rockefeller doesn't care no matter how he's chaffed,
For quietly he gathers in Graft, Graft, Graft.
This song was originally posted on
Our flag now is firmly planted in the Phillipines(9),
The boys in the army put it there.
The point is to educate the natives, so it seems,
And also help the millionaires.
We're building schools to help the little natives how to read
The daily papers so that they can hear of graft and greed.
They get an education from your Uncle Sammy's hand,
While Uncle, with his other hand, politely gets their land.

The place to get the money now is the Phillipines,
What's the difference if the soldiers live on pork and beans?
They can do the fighting, get the glory or the chaff,
While the millionairs are getting all the Graft, Graft, Graft.


1 - Transcribed from the sheet music in May 2012

2 - Published by M. Witmark & Songs, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, London.

3 - John Hazen Hyde was the son of Henry B. Hyde, who died in 1899, leaving his son a majority share of Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States.

4 - Chauncey M Depew was a Senator from New York from 1899 to 1911 but was also an attorney for the Vanderbilt's railroad interests and President of the New York Central Railroad System.

5 - Doctor Dowie could possibly be John Alexander Dowie, (1847-1907).

6 - Everybody's Magazine existed from 1899 to 1929. It was known for its 1904 "Frenzied Finance" scandal series of stories.

7 - John Rockefeller was an industrialist and the founder of Standard Oil Company. He was the brother of William Rockefeller a financier in his own right.

8 - Thomas William Lawson joined with William Rockefeller and Henry Rogers to form the Amalgamated Copper Mining Company.

9 - During the Spanish-American War, Filipino rebels fought the Spanish, but under the Tready of Paris agreement of 1898, the American's paid Spain $20 million to "own" the Phillipines. This was followed by the Philippine-American War starting in 1899.