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THE SONG OF THE SHIRT.

ITH fingers weary and worn, 02 With eyelids heavy and red, LOS A woman sat, in unwomanly rags, Plying her needle and thread,

Stitch! stitch ! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt ;

And still with a voice of dolorous pitch She sang the “Song of the Shirt !"

“ Work ! work! work!
While the cock is crowing aloof!

And work — work — work,
Till the stars shine through the roof!
It's O, to be a slave

Along with the barbarous Turk,
Where woman has never a soul to save,

If this is Christian work !

66 Work — work — work ! Till the brain begins to swim

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Work — work — work
Till the eyes are heavy and dim !
Seam, and gusset, and band,

Band, and gusset, and seam, -
Till over the buttons I fall asleep,

And sew them on in a dream!

“ O men with sisters dear!

O men with mothers and wives ! It is not linen you 're wearing out,

But human creatures' lives ! Stitch — stitch — stitch,

In poverty, hunger, and dirt, — Sewing at once, with a double thread,

A shroud as well as a shirt.

“But why do I talk of death ?

That phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear his terrible shape,

It seems so like my own, -
It seems so like my own,

Because of the fasts I keep ;
O God! that bread should be so dear,

And flesh and blood so cheap !

“Work — work —work !

My labor never flags ; And what are its wages ? A bed of straw,

A crust of bread — and rags,
That shattered roof — and this naked floor-

A table — a broken chair-
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank

For sometimes falling there !

“Work — work — work! From weary chime to chine,

Work — work — work
As prisoners work for crime !

Band, and gusset, and seam,

Seam, and gusset, and band, Till the heart is sick and the brain be

numbed, As well as the weary hand.

“Work — work — work!
In the dull December light !

And work — work — work,
When the weather is warm and bright —
While underneath the eaves

The brooding swallows cling,

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