When close upon the sunset hour
The welcome whistle blows,
The workman takes his dinner pail
And homeward gaily goes.
He finds the table neatly spread,
And supper smoking hot,
And softly hums a little tune,
Contented with his lot.
He trots the baby on his knee,
And when the paper’s read,
Knocks out the ashes from his pipe,
And early goes to bed.
His health is good, his heart is light,
His slumber sweet and sound—
How different is it with the men
Who make the wheels go round!
The banker sits before his desk
Till far into the night,
A thousand things demand his care
And thread his locks with white.
The manufacturer is late
When notes are falling due,
And threatened strikes and damage suits
The merchant’s path pursue.
Eight hours, and then the toiler drops
His yoke beside his tools,
Eight hours, and all the spindles rest,
The flaming furnace cools.
But still the business man, although
His eyes for sleep are dim,
Must grind away, there is as yet
No eight-hour law for him.