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We Have Fed You All for a Thousand Years, song lyrics

Song: We Have Fed You All for a Thousand Years
Lyrics: poem by Rudyard Kipling(1)

Music: put to song by Rudolf von Liebich(2)
Year: 1908 or earlier(1)
Genre: March
Country: USA


We have fed you all for a thousand years,
And you hail us still unfed,
Though there's never a dollar of all your wealth.
But marks the workers' dead.
We have yielded our best to give you rest
And you lie on crimson wool.
And if blood be the price of all your wealth,
Good God! We have paid in full!
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
There is never a mine blown skyward now.
But we're buried alive for you.
There's never a wreck drifts shoreward now,
But we are its ghastly crew.
Go reckon our dead by the forges red
And the factories where we spin.
If blood be the price of your cursed wealth,
Good God! We have paid it in!

We have fed you all for a thousand years -
For that was our doom, you know;
From the days when you chained us in your fields
To the strike a week ago.
You have taken our lives, our husbands and wives,
And we're told it's your legal share.
But if blood be the price of your lawful wealth,
Good God! We have bought it fair!


Notes:

1 - The Industrial Union Bulletin, Chicago, April 18, 1908, Vol. II, No. 8, p. 2, gives the credit to Rudyard Kipling, but it appears to be an unattributed rewriting of his 1893 poem "The Song of the Dead".

2 - Rebel Song Book, Eighty-seven Socialist and Labor Songs for Voice and Piano, Rand School Press, New York, NY, 1935, p. 66-67.