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A Miner's Lament (1910)
Lines on reading "Truth's" announcement on the reformation of the Queensland Mines Department...
With apologies to D.F. Mac.
Men of mining, heirs of sorrow,
Wronged, insulted, scorned, oppressed,
Will you never see that morrow
When your weary hands may rest?
Lift vour eyes, you outraged creatures--
Nay look up for men, you art--
Lift them see the cunning features
living from your fiery dart.
Think, reject, enquire, examine;
Is it for this God gave you birth--
To he trampled on by damning
All your work upon this earth?
Do your mines contain no treasures
Fit for vou, like them, to wear?
Will their lives, abound in pleasure,
Which with you they'll never share?
Look ! The people now are waking,
Every, wrong they soon will burst;
At the crystal founts of Justice
They will quench their burning thirst.
Yes, this thirst from you is fieeing,
Leaves unlocked the mines for you,
And with gold and silver, gleaming,
Take your share, for it's your due.
History's lessons, if you'll read them,
All proclaim this truth to you,
That the Mining Act of Queensland
Was to protect alone the chosen few.
Know all men, that big, fat stations
Gauged that law, right through and through,
For some men who doled out ratlons
To the ... ships and crew.
Know your wretched, foul conditions ;
For to this, you have been brought.
The Fat Man lives on rich fruition
of the labor you have wrought.
Yes, they crushed and scorned and damned you ;
Those to whom you paid your gold
Are the foremost now to down you,
Be you young or be you old.
Not as mining beggars, bending,
Not in pity, not in tears ;
But a voice of thunder sending
Through the mining tyrants' ears.
Tell your members they're not your masters,
Make them teach this tyrant crew,
Who has brought on you. disasters,
On yourselves and children too.
Tell them of your woes and sadness,
And the struggles of your years ;
Make them feel your own heart's gladness,
And the wiping of your tears.
Tell them that the mines are given,
Not to plutes who rob and prey ;
But are the wondrous, gifts of heaven,
To the miners of to-day.
NotesFrom the Brisbane Newspaper the Truth Sun 6 Mar 1910 p. 12.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory