Posted by: Democratic Thinker | September 2, 2011

Labor Day

Roughnecks in the Oklahoma Oil-Patch.

 

LABOR.

—————

HO! ye who at the anvil toil
And strike the sounding blow,
Where from the burning iron’s breast,
The sparks fly to and fro,
While answering to the hammer’s ring,
And fire’s intenser glow,—
Oh! while ye feel ‘tis hard to toil
And sweat the long day through,
Remember it is harder still
To have no work to do!

Ho! ye who till the stubborn soil,
Whose hard hands guide the plow,
Who bend beneath the summer sun,
With burning cheek and brow,—
Ye deem the curse still clings to earth,
From olden time till now;
But while ye feel ‘tis hard to toil,
And labor all day through,
Remember it is harder still
To have no work to do!

Ho! ye who plough the sea’s blue field,
Who ride the restless wave,
Beneath whose gallant vessel’s keel
There lies a yawning grave,
Around whose bark the wintry winds
Like fiends of fury rave,—
Oh! while ye feel ‘tis hard to toil,
And labor long hours through,
Remember it is harder still
To have no work to do!

Ho! ye upon whose fevered cheeks
The hectic glow is bright,
Whose mental toil wears out the day
And half the weary night,
Who labor for the minds of men,
Champions of truth and right,—
Although ye feel your toil is hard
Even with this glorious view,
Remember it is harder still
To have no work to do!

Ho! all who labor,—all who strive,—
Ye wield a lofty power:
Do with your might, do with your strength,
Fill every golden hour;
The glorious privilege to do
Is man’s most noble dower.
Oh! to your birthright, to yourselves,
To your own hearts be true!
A weary, wretched life is theirs
Who have no work to do!

—C. F. Orne.

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