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The Factory Slave, song lyrics

Song: The Factory Slave
Lyrics: Phillips Thompson

Music: To the air of "Way Down upon the Swanee River"
Year: late 19th century
Country: USA

Toiling amid the smoke and clamor
From morn till night,
Deafened by noise of wheel and hammer
Far from the glad sunlight.
Piling up store of wealth for others
While we grow poor,
Tell me, oh, suffering, toiling brothers,
How long shall this endure.

All my life is full of sorrow,
Welcome seems the grave;
Oh when will freedom's bright to-morrow
Dawn on the factory slave?

Often in search of work we wander,
Hungry we pine;
While wealth we earn our masters squander,
Feasting in palace fine.
Hard to behold the pallid faces
Of wife and child,
Stifled in foul and lathsome places,
Thoughts fits to drive me wild.
This song was originally posted on

Hard is the lot of honest labor,
Crushed and oppressed;
Where each is taught to rob his neighbor,
Greed steeling every breast.
Each has to freedom, air and earth right,
Such Heaven gave;
Rich men have robbed us of our birthright -
Landless, a man's a slave.



1 - The Labor Reform Songster, 1892, by Phillips Thompson, published in Philadelphia, Journal of the Knights of Labor, 1892, p.10-11