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Price of Freedom

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The Price of Freedom

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The Price of Freedom

Air:"Annie Laurie"

The night is dark about me;
I hear the midnight bell;
Before another midnight
It will ring my funeral knell,
     It will ring my funeral knell,
     Oh! the hours are speeding by
     When to buy the toiiers' freedom
     I shall pay the price and die.

To-night my babes are crouching
By their weeping mother's side,
For this country's sake the father
Leaves his children and his bride.
     Leaves his children and his bride.
     When men for succor cry,
     Then to buy the toilers' freedom
     I shall pay the price and die.

Pent in a dismal dungeon,
Forbidden to be free,
A slave in chains and prison,
O, what were life to me?
     0, what were life to me?
     Speak out, my heart, reply,
     That to buy the toilers' freedom
     I will pay the price and die.

What greater love hath mortal
For one whom he holds dear,
Than for his sake to gladly
Meet death without a fear!
     Meet death without a fear
     Yes, such a love have I,
     And to buy the toilers' freedom
     I pay the price and die.
The night will soon be over;
For me 'twill be the last;
And the night of wrong, my country,
From thee shall soon have passed,
     From thee shall soon have passed,
     I see the star on high,
     So to buy the toiler's freedom
     I will pay the price and die.

Weep not above my ashes,
This is no hour for tears,
Let every man stand ready
When he the bugle hears,
     When he the bugle hears,
     Let every man reply:
     We to buy the toiler's freedom
     Will pay the price and die.

From American Labor Songs of the Nineteenth Century, Foner
Originally published in Labor Enquirer, December 17, 1887
Note: "At midnight preceding the Inorning of his execution
     Albert R. Parsons' voice rang out clear and proud through
     the corridors of the jail as he sang in distinct tones the
     beautifui ballad, `Annie Laurie.' " The following was
     prompted by reading the above item in the daily papers.

Parsons, along with six others were hanged for
     allegedly having written or said things that might have
     incited a person or persons unknown to throw a bomb at
     a rally for the Eight-Hour Day held at Chicago's Haymarket
     Square in 1886. RG
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III