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Chanson traditionnelle américaine
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1. When John Henry was a little baby,
a-sitting on his Poppa's knee.
He picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel,
and he said: "Hammers gonna be the death of me, Lord, Lord."
And he said: "Hammer's gonna be the death of me."

2. Well, the captain said to John Henry,
"Gonna bring that steam drill 'round.
Gonna bring that steam drill out on the job.
Gonna whop that steel on down, Lord, Lord,
gonna whop that steel on down."

3. John Henry said to the captain,
"Lord, a man ain't nothin' but a man,
but before I let your steam drill beat me down,
I'll die with my hammer in my hand, Lord, Lord,
I'll die with my hammer in my hand."

4. John Henry said to his shaker,
"Shaker, why don't you sing?"
"I'm a-throwin' pounds from my hips on down.
Just listen to that cold steel ring, Lord, Lord,
just listen to that cold steel ring."

5. John Henry said to his shaker,
"Shaker, why don't you pray?"
"Cause if I miss this little piece of steel.
Tomorrow be your buryin' day, Lord, Lord,
tomorrow be your buryin' day."

6. John Henry, he drove fifteen feet,
the steam drill only made nine.
But he hammered so hard that he broke his poor heart.
And he laid down his hammer and he died, Lord, Lord,
and he laid down his hammer and he died.

7. They took John Henry to the graveyard
and they buried him in the sand.
And every locomotive comes a-roaring by
Says: "There lies a steeldriving man, Lord, Lord!"
Says: "There lies a steeldriving man."