From Socialist Voice, June 2007

Revolutionary songs

The Citizen Army

Words by Liam Mac Gabhann
Music by Ray Collins

The Citizen Army is out today, and if you wonder why,
Go ask the lords of the banking house if their cash returns be high.
’Tisn’t the bosses who bear the brunt, ’tisn’t you and I,
But those women and kids whose tears were hid as the strikers went stumbling by.
The docker loads two hundred tons in his master’s ship per day;
At night the docker’s daughter bends her weary limbs to pray.
From the old North Wall to Liberty Hall was a dead line of unskilled;
They heaved an’ hauled when the bosses called and stopped when the bosses willed.

The Citizen Army is out today, and if you wonder why,
It’s because Jim Larkin came this way to nail the bosses’ lie.
The iron gyves on their limbs and lives would crush them till they die,
Those women and kids whose tears were hid as the strikers went marching by.

The docker and carter and heaver of coal were only the backwash then,
Till Larkin built that union up and the bosses feared again.
From the old North Wall to Liberty Hall came that dead line of unskilled
In a new-born fight for the workers’ rights that the bosses thought they’d killed.

The Citizen Army is out today, and if you wonder why,
Go ask the troops in their masters’ pay if the blood on their guns be dry.
Ah, well, they won where the baton and gun have swung where the dead ones lie,
For those women and kids whose tears were hid as the wounded went staggering by.
Jim Connolly watches ships sail out through flags at Kingstown Pier,
And starving Dublin sends its toil of guard and fusilier—
Food for the guns that over the world have thundered murder’s peal,
And Dublin’s broken union men die first on Flanders fields.

The Citizen Army is out today, and if you wonder why,
Go ask them in the grey and green why the Starry Plough flies high.
’Tisn’t only the bosses we challenge now, for Connolly has cast the die
For those women and kids whose tears were hid as the soldiers went marching by.
Four hundred bosses planned to break that dead line of unskilled;
Four hundred bosses drink tonight, for Connolly is killed;
But, dead or alive, there are those who chose a glorious thing to do,
For Connolly built that union up for the likes of me and you.

The Citizen Army is out today, and if you wonder why,
Go ask the lords of the banking house if their cash returns be high.
For they are there, and we are here: it’s a fight to the knife again;
The Citizen Army is out today—come, workers, rise again!

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