Digital Tradition Mirror

After the Strike

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After the Strike
(Joseph A. Hemer)
     Air-"After the Ball"

Once a pretty maiden climbed an old man's knee
  Asked for a story-"Papa tell me,
Why are you lonely, why are you sad,
  Why do your shopmates call you a scab?"
I had friends, pet, long, long ye-ars ago,
  How I lost them you soon shall know;
I'll tell it all, pet, tell all my shame;
  I was a scab, pet, I was to blame."

cho: After the strike is over,
     After the men have won,
     After the shops have opened,
     After the notice is down;
     Many the heart is aching,
     Though the hope seems bright
     That many a scab will vanish
     After the strike.

Brave men were fighting, standing side by side,
  Fighting for justice, fighting with pride,
I then was with them---with them heart and soul,
  But when the test came, I left them in the cold,
I thought it best, pet, best to turn a scab;
  Best to return, pet, to the job I had,
That's why I'm lonely, that's why I'm sad,
  That's why my shopmates call me a scab.


Many years have passed, pet, since I won that name,
  And in song and story they have told my shame,
I have tried to tell them, tried to explain,
  But they will not listen, pleading is in vain;
Everywhere I wander, everywhere I roam,
  The story of my shame is sure to find my home,
I'd give my life, pet, I'd give my all,
  If I had not turned traitor, or scabbed at all.


From American Labor Songs of the Nineteenth Century, Foner
Note: published in the United Mine Workers' Journal, May 24, 1894

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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