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The Printer's Song (1842)

Print, comrades, Print ; a noble task
Is the one we gaily ply ;
'Tis ours to tell to all who ask
The wonders of earth and sky.
We catch the thought, all glowing warm,
As it leaves the student's brain ;
And place the stamp o enduring form
On the poet's airy strain.
Then let us sing as we nimbly fling
The slender letters round.
A glorious thing is our labouring,
Oh, where may its like be found ?

Print comrades print ; the fairest thought
Ever limned in painter's dream,
The rarest form e'er sculptor wrought
By the light of beautie's gleam,
Though lovely, may not match the power
Which our proud art can claim--
That links the past with the present hour,
And its breath-the voice of fame.
Then let us sing as we nimbly fling
The slender letter's round--
A glorious thing is our labouring,
Oh, where may its like be found ?

Print, comrades, print ; God hath ordained
That man by his toll should live ;
Then spurn the charge that we disdained
The labour that God would give !
We envy not the sons of ease,
Nor the lord in princely hall ;
But bow before the wise decrees
In kindness meant for all,
Then let us sing as we nimbly fling
The slender letters round--
A glorious thing is our labouring,
Oh, where may its like be found ?

Notes

From the NSW Newspaper the Sydney Gazette Apr 1842 p. 4.

Print unions were among the first unions to be formed in Australia. Historian Jim Hagan titled his 1966 book "Printers and Politics: A History of the Australian Printing Unions 1850-1950"

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australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory