I've lived all my life i' Keighley,
I'm a Yorkshire artisan;
An' when I were just turned seventy
I became an Englishman.
Nat'ralised German! nay, deng it!
I'm British-born, same as thee!
But I niver thowt mich to my country,
While(1) my country thowt mich to me.
I were proud o' my lodge an' my union,
An' proud o' my town an' my shire;
But all t' consans o' t' nation,
I left to t' parson an' t' squire.
Class-war were t' faith that I Iived for,
I call'd all capit'lists sharks;
An' "T' workin' man has no country,"
Were my Gospel accordin' to Marx.
When I'd lossen my job back i' t' eighties,
An were laikin' for well-nigh two year,
Who said that an out-o'-wark fettler
Were costin' his country dear?
Owd England cared nowt about me,
I could clem(2) wi' my barns an' my wife;
Shoo were ower thrang wi' bui1din' up t' empire
To build up a brokken life.
"Ivery man for hissen," shoo said,
"An' t' dule can catch what he can;
Labour's cheap an' trade's worth more
Nor t' life of a workin' man."
When t' country were chuff,(1) an' boasted
That t' sun niver set on her flags,
I thowt o' wer back-to-back houses,
Wer childer i' spetches(2) an' rags,
When t' country drave by i' her carriage,
Wi' flunkies afore an' behind,
I left her to bettermy bodies,
An' I gav her a taste o' my mind.
But when shoo were liggin' i' t' gutter,
Wi' a milit'rist mob at her throit,
"Hands off her!" I cried, "shoo's my mother:"
An' I doffed my cap an' my coit.
I'd gien ower wark at seventy,
But I gat agate once more;
"I'll live for my country, not on her"
Were my words on t' fettlers' floor.
Shoo's putten her trust i' us workers,
We'll save her, niver fear;
Feight for her, live for her, dee for her,
Her childer that loves her dear.
Eight o' my grandsons has fallen,
My youngest lad's crippled i' t' arm;
But I'll give her choose-what(3) shoo axes,
Afore I'll see her tak harm.
T' war is a curse an' a blessin',
If fowks could understan';
It's brokken my home an' my childer,
But it's made me an Englishman.
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