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Woman This and Woman that

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Woman This and Woman that

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Woman This and Woman that
(Lawrence Housman)

We went up to Saint Stephen's with petitions year by year;
'Get out!' the politicians cried, 'We want no women here!'
M.P.s behind the railings stood and laughed to see the fun,
And bold policemen knocked us down, because we would not run.
   For it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and 'Woman, go away!'
   But it's 'Share and share alike, ma'am!' when the taxes are to pay;
   When the taxes are to pay, my friends, the taxes are to pay,
   O it's 'Please to pay up promptly!' when the taxes are to pay.

We went before a magistrate, who would not hear us speak,
To a drunken brute who beat his wife he only gave a week,
But we were sent to Holloway a calendar month or more
Because we dared, against his will, to knock at Asquith's door.
   For it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and 'Woman, wait outside!'
   But it's 'Listen to the ladies!' when it suits your party's side;
   When it suits your party's side, my friends, with M.P.s on the stump
   And shaking in their shoes at how th

When women go to work for them the government engage
To give them lots of contract jobs at a low starvation wage,
But when it's men that they employ they always add a note -
'Fair wages must be paid' -- because the men have got the vote.
   For it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and 'Woman, learn your place!'
   But it's 'Help us, of your charity!' when trouble looms apace;
   When trouble comes apace, my friends, when trouble comes apace,
   Then it's 'O, for woman's charity!' to help and save the race!

You dress yourselves in uniforms to guard your native shores,
But those who make the uniforms do work as good as yours;
For the soldier bears the rifle, but the woman bears the race -
And that you' d find no trifle if you had to take her place!
   O it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and 'Woman cannot fight!'
   But it's' Ministering Angel!' when the wounded come in sight;
   When the wounded come in sight, my friends, the wounded come in sight,
   It's a 'ministering angel' then who nurses day and night!

We may not
We are only human beings who have wants much like your own,
And if sometimes our conduct isn't all your fancy paints
It wasn't man's example could have turned us into saints!
   For it's 'woman here', and 'woman there', and 'Woman on the streets!'
   And it's how they look at women with most men that one meets,
   With most men that one meets, my friends, with most men that one meets -
   It's the way they look at women that keeps women on the streets!

You talk of sanitation, and temperance, and schools,
And you send your male inspectors to impose your man-made rules;
'The woman's sphere's the home,' you say, then prove it to our face:
'Give us the vote that we may make the home a happier place!'
   For it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and Woman, say your say!'
   But it's 'What's the woman up to?' when she tries to show the way;
   When she tries to show the way, my friends, when she tries to show the way -
   And the woman means to show it -- that is why she's out today!

c. 1916.
An 'echo of a barrack room ballad',

From My Song Is My Own, Henderson, Armstrong and Kerr
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III