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Thirty Cents a Day!

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Thirty Cents a Day!

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Thirty Cents a Day!

In a dim-lighted chamber a dying maiden lay,
The tide of her pulses was ebbing fast away;
In the flush of her youth she was worn with toil and care,
And starvation showed its traces on the festures once so fair.

cho: No more the work-bell calls the weary one,
     Rest, tired wage-slave, in your grave unknown;
     Your feet will no more tread life's thorny, rugged way,
     They have murdered you by inches upon thirty cents a day !

From earliest childhood she'd toiled to win her bread,
In hunger and rags, oft she wished that she were dead;
She knew naught of life's joys or the pleasures wealth can bring,
Or the glory of the woodland in the merry days of spring.

cho:

By the rich she was tempted to eat the bread of shame,
But her mother dear had taught her to value her good name;
Mid want and starvation she waved temptation by,
As she would not sell her honor she in poverty must die.

cho:

Too late, Christian ladies! You cannot save her now,
She breathes out her life --- see the death-damp on her brow;
Full soon she'll be sleeping beneath the churchyard clay,
While you smile on those who killed her with thirty cents a day.

cho:

From American Labor Songs of the Nineteenth Century, Foner
Note: A Knights of Labor Song: somewhere between 1865 and 1890,
I'd guess. RG
tune: Faded Coat of Blue
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III