Bread and Roses

Judy Collins
Language: English

List of versions

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Lyrics by James Oppenheim
Music by Martha Coleman or Caroline Kohlsaat (1910s)

Interpretata da Judy Collins in "Bread and Roses" (1976)
e da Joan Baez con la sorella Mimi Farina

Una canzone sullo sciopero delle operaie tessili a Lawrence, Massachusetts, nel 1912.

Bread and Roses

New Year's Day, 1912, ushered in one of the most historic struggles in the history of the American working-class. On that cold January 1st, the textile workers of Lawrence, Massachusetts, began a nine-week strike which shook the very foundation of the Bay State and had national repercussions.

In its last session, the Massachusetts State Legislature, after tremendous pressure from the workers, had finally passed a law limiting the working hours of children under the age of 18 to 54 hours a week. Needless to say, the huge textile corporations had viciously opposed the law.

As an act of retaliation, the employers cut the working hours of all employees to 54 hours, with a commensurate cut in wages, of course. The workers in the Lawrence factories, some 35,000 of them, answered this with a complete walk-out.

The strike itself was unique on many counts, but principally because the workers realized that they had to ignore the existing craft-union set-up. The craft unions were composed only of skilled, English-speaking workers, which excluded most of the workers. Instead, under the leadership of the International [sic] Workers of the World (IWW), a blow was struck on behalf of industrial unionism with the uniting of all textile workers in the strike.

In the course of the strike, the workers presented the bosses with the following demands:

* A 15 per cent wage increase;
* Abolition of the "premium system* (a version of present-day "incentive plans");
* Double pay for overtime;
* No discrimination against strikers;
* An end to speed-up;
* An end to discrimination against foreign-born workers.

The song... was inspired by one of the demonstrations which took place during the course of the strike. During a parade through Lawrence, a group of women workers carried banners proclaiming "Bread and Roses". This poetic presentation of the demands of women workers for equal pay for equal work together with special consideration as women echoed throughout the country.

James Oppenheim, many of whose poems reflect a working-class content and sympathy, picked up the phrase and made it into a poem. Martha Coleman set the poem to music, and the song has become a part of the singing tradition of the American working-class.

The song is more than an interesting piece of historic literature and is presented here... as a song for today, for the complete emancipation of women, who still demand "Give Us Bread -- And Give Us Roses!"
As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: "Bread and roses! Bread and roses!"

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler -- ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

Contributed by Alessandro - 2008/3/26 - 14:22

Language: Italian

La versione italiana dal canzoniere femminista a cura del Centro Femminista di Padova.
“Il pane e le rose” fu anche il nome di una pubblicazione uscita tra il 1973 e il 1976 come supplemento ai Quaderni Piacentini.
Il testo – con leggere variazioni – fu pubblicato anche sulla rivista femminista “EFFE”, luglio –agosto 1976.

“Il comunismo è pane e rose, il necessario e il superfluo, una società dove si mangia meglio e di più (non solo pane), dove si lavora meglio e di meno, ma anche una società dove si è più felici, realizzati, liberi.” (lo diceva Karl Marx, e aveva ragione… peccato che poi l’essere umano – quello comunista compreso – sia spesso nei suoi consessi fondamentalmente una merdaccia…)

Mentre avanziamo marciando, marciando, innumerevoli donne morte
gridano nel nostro canto la loro antica richiesta di pane
I loro spiriti sfiniti dal lavoro conobbero ben poco l’arte, l’amore la bellezza;
sì, è per il pane che lottiamo… ma anche per le rose!

Mentre avanziamo marciando, portiamo giorni migliori
la rivolta delle donne è la rivolta della razza.
Non più schiave e oziose, non più dieci che faticano ed uno che riposa,
ma la divisione delle grazie della vita: Pane e rose! Pane e rose!

Mentre avanziamo marciando, marciano nello splendore del giorno
Un milione di cucine affumicate, un migliaio di grigi solai dove si lavora
sono colpiti dalla luce che un sole improvviso rivela
perché la gente ci sente cantare: Pane e rose! Pane e rose!

Mentre avanziamo marciando, marciando lottiamo anche per gli uomini
perché sono figli delle donne; grazie a noi nascono di nuovo.
Nella nuova vita ci sarà dolcezza dalla nascita fino alla fine;
le anime come i corpi possono morire di fame; dateci pane, ma dateci anche le rose!

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2014/6/3 - 14:39

Language: French

Traduzione francese dal sito della Chorale Les Barricades

Alors que nous marchons, marchons dans la beauté du jour,
Un million de cuisines noircies et mille usines moroses,
Sont illuminées par les rayons qu’un soleil soudain envoie,
Pour que les gens nous entendent chanter: «Du pain et des roses !»

Alors que nous marchons, marchons, nous nous battons pour les hommes aussi,
Nos frères en lutte et ensemble nous vaincrons.
Nos vies ne doivent pas être exploitées de notre naissance jusqu’à notre mort.
Nos cœurs sont affamés comme nos corps, donnez-nous du pain, mais aussi des roses.

Alors que nous marchons, marchons, par delà le tombeau, des femmes innombrables,
Vont pleurer à travers notre chant, leurs anciennes complaintes pour du pain.
Corvéables à merci, elles connurent peu les arts, l’amour et la beauté!
Oui, c’est pour le pain que nous nous battons, mais nous nous battons pour les roses aussi!

Alors que nous marchons, marchons, nous apportons des jours meilleurs.
Pour que l’émancipation des femmes soit aussi celle de la race humaine.
Assez des bêtes de somme et de l'oisif; des millions qui peinent quand un se prélasse,
Mais un partage des bonheurs de la vie : «Du pain et des roses !»

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2016/1/12 - 09:31

Language: German

La versione tedesca di Peter Maiwald / R. Fresow
Deutsche Version / Übersetzung von Peter Maiwald - R.Fresow


Wenn wir zusammen gehen, geht mit uns ein schöner Tag,
durch all die dunklen Küchen und wo grau ein Werkshof lag,
beginnt plötzlich die Sonne unsre arme Welt zu kosen,
und jeder hört uns singen: |:Brot und Rosen:|

Wenn wir zusammen gehn, kämpfen wir auch für den Mann
weil unbemuttert kein Mensch, auf die Erde kommen kann.
Und wenn ein Leben mehr ist, als nur Arbeit Schweiß und Bauch,
woll'n wir mehr, gebt uns das Leben, doch |:gebt uns Rosen auch!:|

Wenn wir zusammen gehn, gehn unsre Toten mit,
ihr ungehörter Schrei nach Brot, schreit auch durch unser Lied,
sie hatten für die Schönheit, Liebe, Kunst erschöpft nie Ruh,
drum kämpfen wir ums Brot, und |:um die Rosen dazu.:|

Wenn wir zusammen gehn, kommt mit uns ein bessrer Tag.
Die Menschen die sich wehren, wehren aller Menschen Plag.
Zu Ende sei, dass kleine Leute schuften fuer die Großen!
Her mit dem ganzen Leben: |:Brot und Rosen!:|

Contributed by Riccardo Venturi - 2017/4/15 - 10:26

La canzone cantata in coro in una scena del film Pride (2014)

2017/4/9 - 23:12

Language: Polish

The Polish version was translated by Mateusz Trzeciak.

Idziemy ramię w ramię, zmierzamy w nowy dzień,
Z poddaszy i suteren, gdzie wieczny zaległ cień.
Dziś wreszcie słońca promień rozświetli każdą z burz,
Gdy śpiew nasz dźwięczy skargą: chcemy chleba, chcemy róż.

Idziemy ramię w ramię, tworzymy lepszy świat,
Bez kajdan, bez okopów, bez biedy, głodu, krat.
By w pocie, łzach i znoju nie tyrać aż po grób,
Bo my już nie będziemy żyć bez chleba, żyć bez róż.

Idziemy ramię w ramię, a w naszej pieśni brzmi
Wspomnienie płaczu kobiet i ich przelanej krwi.
Bo głód, co ciała gnębi, nie szczędzi naszych dusz,
Tak, dziś o chleb walczymy, ale chcemy także róż!

Contributed by Paweł Dembowski - 2018/6/2 - 01:54

Language: Yiddish

Yiddish Brivele's version

Rose Schneiderman and Helen Todd are both (separately) credited with coining the slogan “Bread and Roses.” Both were suffragists: Todd a labor activist and Schneiderman a labor union leader. The slogan inspired James Oppenheim’s poem “Bread and Roses,” published in December 1911 in The American Magazine. The Lawrence, MA textile strike began in January 1912 and was also known as the “Bread and Roses Strike.”

Melody by Mimi Fariña.

English lyrics revised by Brivele for May Day 2018.

Yiddish translation by Aron Gonshor and Edit Kuper, for the 2018 production of A Bintl Brief at Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre in the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, Montreal, Canada.
Ven mir kumen on marshirn
In a sheynem heln tog
Kikhn tunkele milyonen
A toyznt shaps oyf shtok
Baputst vern mit shtraln
Ven di zun’s aroys-geshprungen
Vayl di mentshn hern zingen
“Broyt un royzn, broyt un blumen”

Ven mir kumen on marshirn
Far mener oykh kemft men
Vayl froyens zin un brider
Mames zaynen mir geven
S’vet fun undz keyn shveys nit rinen
Fun geburt biz ende lebn
Hertzer hungern, oykh kerper:
Git undz broyt, un git undz blumen

Ven mir geyen marshirn
Brengen mir besere teg
Vayl vos shtarker mir di froyen
Vert alts shtarker oykh di velt
On shklaferay, on leydik geyers
Arbetn tsen, genist nor eyner
Teylt zikh mit dem guts fun lebn
Broyt un royzn! Broyt un blumen!

Contributed by Dq82 - 2022/9/25 - 19:14

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