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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Self-Made Man


A hundred people I employed,
But when they struck for higher pay,
I was so damnably annoyed
I told them they could stay away.
I simply shut my business down;
I closed my doors and locked them out,
And now you'll find all round the town
A lot of idle men about.

Of course I know it is my loss,
And I their point of view can see,
But I must show them I'm the boss,
And any raise must come from ME.
But when they claim it as a right,
And send their Union leaders round,
Why then, by God, I'm out to fight,
Or burn my workshop to the ground.

I've risen from the ranks myself;
By brawn and brain I've made my way.
Had I bet, beered and blown my pelf,
I would have been as poor as they.
Had I wed young to thrift's unheed,
I might have been a toiler now,
With rent to pay and kids to feed,
And bloody sweat upon my brow.

Ah there's the point! "I might have been."
I might have been as peeved as they,
And know what misery can mean,
And ask like them a raise of pay.
I see myself. . . . "The telephone!"
. . . Had I not been so bloody wise -
(A poor old rich man all alone) . . .
"Hullo! Strike's off. I grant the rise."

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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