The Industrial Workers of the World

I stood by a city prison,
In the twilight's deepening gloom,
Where men and women languished
In a loathsome, living tomb.
They were singing! And their voices
Seemed to weave a wreath of light,
As the words came clear with meaning:
"Workers of the World, unite!"

As it was with Galileo,
And all thinkers of the past,
So with these Industrial Workers,
Tyrants' shackles hold them fast.
In the bastilles of the nations,
They are bludgeoned, mugged and starved,
While upon their aching bodies
Prints of whips and clubs are carved.

Yet with spirits still unbroken
And with hope for future years
They are calling to their fellows:
"Come, arise! and dry your tears.
Wake, ye toilers, get in action,
Break your bonds, exert your might–
You can make this hell a heaven,
Workers of the World, unite!"

Hail! ye brave Industrial Workers,
Vanguard of the coming day,
When labor's hosts shall cease to cringe
And shall dash their chains away.
How the masters dread you, hate you,
Their uncompromising foe;
For they see in you a menace,
Threatening soon their overthrow.

Text: Laura Payne Emerson

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