Only a Working Girl

Original Text: 
Marie Joussaye, The Songs that Quinte Sang (Belleville: Sun, 1895): 66-67. Internet Archive
1I know I am only a working girl,
2    And I am not ashamed to say
3I belong to the ranks of those who toil
4    For a living, day by day.
5With willing feet I press along
6    In the paths that I must tread,
7Proud that I have the strength and skill
8    To earn my daily bread.
9I belong to the "lower classes;"
10    That's a phrase we often meet.
11There are some who sneer at working girls;
12    As they pass us on the street,
13They stare at us in proud disdain
14    And their lips in scorn will curl,
15And oftentimes we hear them say:
16    "She's only a working girl."
17"Only a working girl!" Thank God,
18    With willing hands and heart,
19Able to earn my daily bread,
20    And in Life's battle take my part.
21You could offer me no title
22    I would be more proud to own,
23And I stand as high in the sight of God
24    As the Queen upon her throne.
25Those gentle folk who pride themselves
26    Upon their wealth and birth,
27And look with scorn on those who have
28    Naught else but honest worth,
29Your gentle birth we laugh to scorn
30        For we hold it as our creed
31That none are gentle, save the one
32    Who does a gentle deed.
33We are only the "lowerclasses,"
34    But the Holy Scriptures tell
35How, when the King of Glory
36    Came down on earth to dwell,
37Not with the rich and mighty
38    'Neath costly palace dome,
39But with the poor and lowly
40    He chose to make His home.
41He was one of the "lower classes,"
42    And had to toil for bread,
43So poor that oftentimes He had
44    No place to lay His head.
45He knows what it is to labor
46    And toil the long day thro',
47He knows when we are weary
48    For He's been weary too.
49O working girls! Remember,
50    It is neither crime or shame
51To work for honest wages,
52    Since Christ has done the same,
53And wealth and high position
54    Seem but of little worth
55To us, whose fellow laborer
56    Is King of Heaven and Earth.
57So when you meet with scornful sneers,
58    Just lift your heads in pride;
59The shield of honest womanhood
60    Can turn such sneers aside.
61And some day they will realize
62    That the purest, fairest pearls
63'Mid the gems of noble womankind
64    Are "only working girls."
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
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