We Only Want The Earth

“No revolutionary movement is complete without its poetical expression. If such a movement has caught hold of the imagination of the masses, they will seek a vent in song for the aspirations, the fears and hopes, the loves and hatreds engendered by the struggle. Until the movement is marked by the joyous, defiant, singing of revolutionary songs, it lacks one of the distinctive marks of a popular revolutionary movement, it is the dogma of a few, and not the faith of the multitude.”

James Connolly, Songs Of Freedom, published in New York, 1907.

james_connolly

Today, the 12th May 2016 is the centenary of the execution of James Connolly. He was one of the leaders of Ireland’s 1916 rising, and a socialist of long standing. Like many Irish socialists he wrote songs, poetry and political articles. When asked for his occupation in 1903 he replied: “Agitator.”
This song is from the collection Songs of Freedom and is to the tune of A Nation Once Again.

Some men, faint-hearted, ever seek
Our programme to retouch,
And will insist, whene’er they speak
That we demand too much.
’Tis passing strange, yet I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most modest are,
We only want the earth.

“Be moderate,” the timorous cry,
Who dread the tyrants’ thunder.
“You ask too much and people fly
From you aghast, in wonder.”
’Tis passing strange, for I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are,
We only want the earth.

Our masters all a godly crew,
Whose hearts throb for the poor,
Their sympathies assure us, too,
If our demands were fewer.
Most generous souls, but please observe,
What they enjoy from birth
Is all we ever had the nerve
To ask, that is, the earth.

The “labour fakir” full of guile,
Such doctrine ever preaches,
And whilst he bleeds the rank and file
Tame moderation teaches.
Yet, in despite, we’ll see the day
When, with sword in its girth,
Labour shall march in war array
To realize its own, the earth.

For labour long with groans and tears,
To its oppressors knelt.
But never yet, to aught save fears,
Did the heart of tyrant melt.
We need not kneel; our cause is high,
Of true men there’s no, dearth
And our victorious rallying cry
Shall be, we want the earth!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s