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