Boots of the Bosses

Oh, Nellie I’ve mended your dress once again
So now you can wear it till the weather turns cold
A girl with no daddy must learn about men
So sit down beside me there’s things to be told
You see where we’re living in this factory town
Third story, cold water, tenement flat
Just listen to how they’re keeping us down
An you won’t act foolish, there’ too much of that

You’re dreaming I know of the house on the hill
Where the boss lives in splendor and they all eat their fill
There’s silver and crystal and the finest of wines
And the boots of the bosses, oh, how they shine

Oh, Nellie, it’s pitiful how you work such long hours
A girl should have sweethearts and time to relax
But love without money I found always sours
And you see the girls in that house by the tracks
Sunday morning the bosses in their family pews
With their wives and their daughters all murmuring prayers
But keep shy of their hands and make some excuse
When you see the boss coming down the backstairs

For they treat us like cattle without any shame
To serve ‘em and please ‘em and never complain
They sit high in the saddle their backs stiff with pride
And the boots of the bosses, oh, how they ride

It was four years back with a run on the banks
The bosses locked down all their factory yards
Your daddy was desperate in the unemployed ranks
We thought all the families in this town’d starve
When the mill whistles blew to call in the scabs
There were Pinkerton’s bulls to crack a few heads
Your dad walked the line with the brave union lads
And when the smoke cleared six of ‘em lay dead

So don’t be a-dreaming of how life might be
It is as it is and you get what you see
At a banquet that night if you happened to glance
The boots of the bosses, oh, how they dance
Your daddy, my husband, the good Matt Maguire
Face down in the cinders and oh how they dance

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