The Wants of the People by Charles Mackay

What do we want? Our daily bread;
  Leave to earn it by our skill:
Leave to labour freely for it,
  Leave to buy it where we will;
For ‘tis hard upon the many,
  Hard—unpitied by the few,
To starve and die for want of work,
  Or live, half-starved, with work to do.

What do we want? Our daily bread;
  Fair reward for labour done;
Daily bread for wives and children;
  All our wants are merged in one.
When the fierce fiend Hunger grips us,
  Evil fancies clog our brains,
Vengeance settles on our hearts,
  And Frenzy gallops through our veins.

What do we want? Our daily bread—
  Sole release from thoughts so dire:
To rise at morn with cheerful faces,
  And sit at evening round the fire;
To teach our babes the words of blessing,
  Instead of curses, deep though mute;
And tell them England is a land
  Where man is happier than a brute.

What do we wants? Our daily bread:
  Give us that; all else will come;
Self-respect and self-denial,
  And the happiness of home;
Kindly feelings, Education,
  Liberty of act and thought;
And surety that, whate’er befall,
  Our children shall be fed and taught.

What do we want? Our daily bread;
  Give us that for willing toil:
Make us sharers in the plenty
  God has shower’d upon the soil;
And we’ll nurse our better nature
  With bold hearts, and judgment strong,
To do as much as men can do,
  To keep the world from going wrong.

What do we want? Our daily bread,
  And trade untramell’d as the wind;
And from our ranks shall spirits start,
  To aid the progress of mankind.
Sages, poets, mechanicians;
  Mighty thinkers shall arise,
To take their share of loftier work,
  And teach, exalt, and civilise.

What do we want? Our daily bread:—
  Grant it:— make our efforts free;
Let us work and let us prosper;
  You shall prosper more than we;
And the humblest homes of England
  Shall, in proper time, give birth
To better men than we have been,
  To live upon a better earth.

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