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.
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.
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.
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