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Should I Ever Be a Soldier, song lyrics

Song: Should I Ever Be a Soldier
Lyrics: Joe Hill

Music: to the tune of "Colleen Bawn" by J. Fred Helf
Year: 1913
Country: USA

We're spending billions every year,
For guns and ammunition.
"Our Army" and "our Navy" dear,
To keep in good condition;
While millions live in misery,
And millions died before us,
Don't sing "My Country 'tis of thee,"
But sing this little chorus.

Should I ever be a soldier,
'Neath the Red Flag I would fight;
Should the gun I ever shoulder,
It's to crush the tyrant's might.
Join the army of the toilers,
Men and women fall in line,
Wage slave of the world! Arouse!
Do your duty for the cause,
For Land and Liberty.

And many a maiden, pure and fair,
Her love and pride must offer,
On Mammon's2 altar in despair,
To fill the master's coffer.
The gold that pays the mighty fleet,
From tender youth he squeezes,
While brawny men must walk the street,
And face the wintry breezes.
This song was originally posted on

Why do they mount their gatling gun,
A thousand miles from ocean,
Where hostile fleet could never run;
Ain't that a funny notion?
If you don't know the reason why,
Just strike for better wages,
And then, my friends, if you don't die,
You'll sing this song for ages.
This song was originally posted on


1 - More information on the life and death of Joe Hill in Wikipedia.

2 - Mammon information from Wikipedia.

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