The Proletariat

Who hammers, brass and stone? 
Who raiseth from the mine? 
Who weaveth cloth and silk? 
Who tilleth wealth and wine? 
Who worketh for the rich to feed, 
Yet live themselves in sorest need ?— 
It is the men who toil, the Proletariat. 

Who strives from earliest morn? 
Who toils till latest night? 
Who brings to others wealth, 
Ease, luxury, and might? 
Who turns alone the world’s great wheel, 
Yet has no right in commonweal ?— 
It is the men who toil, the Proletariat. 

Who is from aye a slave, 
To all the tyrant brood? 
Who oft for them must fight? 
Oft sacrifice his blood? 
O folk! Thou not yet perceived! 
’Tis thou that ever art deceived! 
Awake, ye men who labour! Up, Proletariat!

Together join your powers; 
And swear to banner red! 
For Freedom boldly fight! 
To win ye better bread! 
Then quicken ye the despot’s fall! 
Bring peace unto the nations all! 
To battle, ye who labour! Up, Proletariat! 

In your hands lie the means!
Work but with unity! 
Hold ye but firm together 
Then ye will soon be free. 
With quick-march forward to the fight, 
Though scorn the foe in grape-shot might! 
Then win, ye men who labour! Win, Proletariat! 


[Printed as ‘Hymn of the Proletariat’ with tune given as ‘Zu Mantua in Banden’ in a leaflet from the Labour Literature Society Same title and tune in Commonweal, 11 October 1890]

From: Our May Day Manifesto, 1906.