The Pavement Stones
A Song Of The Unemployed
When first I came to town, resolved To fight my way alone, No prouder foot than mine e’er trod Upon the pavement stone; But I am one in thousands, And why should I repine? The pavement stones have broken springs In stronger feet than mine. I brought to aid me all the hope And energy of youth; And in my heart I felt the strength Of plain bucolic truth: The independence nourished Amid the hills and trees But, ah! the city hath a cure For qualities like these. I wonder oft how e’er I made The efforts that I made, For after three long weary years I taught myself a trade. And two more years and I was free With strength and hope elate, For he that hath a trade, they say, Hath also an estate. I tramped the streets and looked for work And begged for work in vain, Until I recked not, though I ne’er Might touch my tools again. I tramped the streets despairing; My cheeks grew white and thin; I felt the pavement wearing through The leather, sock, and skin. The bitter war goes on between The idlers and the drones, Until the hearts of men grow cold And hard as pavement stones; But I am one amid the crowd, Then why should I repine? The pavement stones have broken springs In stronger feet than mine.