I'm not so much at singing as these high falutin' chaps,
My voice may be a little husky and a little loud perhaps,
For I have been a plowin' with a lazy team you see,
And they kept me pretty busy with my "Get-up, whoa, haw, and gee."
But if you pay attention, I have just a word to say,
About the great mistake you make and you make it every day,
In dealing with your praises and I want to tell you now,
Too often you forget the man who walks behind the plow.
You talk about your learned men, your wit and wisdom rare,
Your poets and your painters, they get praises everywhere,
They're well enough to make a show but will you tell me how,
This world would ever do without the man behind the plow?
'Tis very nice to go to school and learn to read and write,
'Tis nicer still to dress up fine and be with us, oh, so bright,
Your music, painting, and poetry, may all be hard to beat,
But tell me what you are going to do for something good to eat?
You may say my boots are muddy and my language is too coarse,
I make a fit companion for the oxen or the horse,
My face is red, my hands are hard, 'tis true I will allow,
But don't you be too quick to spurn the man behind the plow.
I like your great inventions and I'm glad you're gettin' smart,
I like to hear your music, it kinda cheers my heart,
But 'twill never fill the stomach of a real hungry man,
And so I call your attention to the kind of thing that can.
Now boys, don't be too anxious for to leave the good old farm,
Father's health is failin', soon he'll need your youthful arm,
If you're honest in your labors, at your feet the world must bow,
For the greatest of the great men is the man behind the plow.