Béranger's "Ma Vocation"

A poem by Eugene Field

Misery is my lot,
Poverty and pain;
Ill was I begot,
Ill must I remain;
Yet the wretched days
One sweet comfort bring,
When God whispering says,
"Sing, O singer, sing!"

Chariots rumble by,
Splashing me with mud;
Insolence see I
Fawn to royal blood;
Solace have I then
From each galling sting
In that voice again,--
"Sing, O singer, sing!"

Cowardly at heart,
I am forced to play
A degraded part
For its paltry pay;
Freedom is a prize
For no starving thing;
Yet that small voice cries,
"Sing, O singer, sing!"

I was young, but now,
When I'm old and gray,
Love--I know not how
Or why--hath sped away;
Still, in winter days
As in hours of spring,
Still a whisper says,
"Sing, O singer, sing!"

Ah, too well I know
Song's my only friend!
Patiently I'll go
Singing to the end;
Comrades, to your wine!
Let your glasses ring!
Lo, that voice divine
Whispers, "Sing, oh, sing!"

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