Arise ye prisoners of want and And at last ends the age of cant.

Arise ye prisoners of want
And at last ends the age of cant

What do ye, of want and of cant mean?

‘Ye’ is an archaic way of saying ‘you (plural)’.

Want in this case is a noun form of the verb. As a noun, ‘want’ means something lacking, needed, or desperately needed. It can also refer to poverty (i.e. if you’re extremely poor, you’re wanting many basic things.) So ‘prisoners of want’ is like saying ‘prisoners of poverty’, or ‘prisoners of need’. The idea is that the poverty/need is keeping some people as captives, or holding them back.

I’m assuming that cant is just a typo for can’t, and the age of can’t would mean the end of the time of can’t, or the time of not being able to do something.

So, the lyrics are telling those in povererty or need to stand up, and do something, and end their time of not doing anything.

The lines come from the Internationale, a hymn for communist party members all over the world. The original French lyrics were written in1871 Eugène Pottier and set to music by Pierre Degeyter in 1888.

For more, click here, including French and Russian lyrics, with French and Russian mp3 files.

‘Cant’ means ‘insincere or hypocritical statements of high ideals’.

Odd’s are that’s the word in question.