Article information




Tune, "Chevy-Chase."

ALL you who wonder at the times, That they so hard do grow, Come hither, listen unto me, And you the cause shall know,

O Muses, your assistance lend, While such things I rehearse, As neither goose nor eagle's wing, E'er wrote in prose or verse,

Man nothing less than lord was made, For nothing less was meant: That all things else he should subdue, He to the world was sent.

But not content with this large sway, Their brethren Men subdue; And all the godlike race is made, Subservient to a few.

O earth and heaven and all therein, Your wonder high express, That rational beings like dumb brutes, Ought earthly should depress!

Yet so it is that worse than they, Nought nat'ral they can claim; Nor hip, nor haw, nor nut, nor sloe, Nor ought that you can name.

If grass or nettles they could eat, The same would be deny'd; For my lord's land and herbage reach, Close to the highway side.

'A Hare or partridge they may dress, They're nature's common gift;' My Lords ground fed them, why should he Of his RIGHTS be bereft?

'To fish then you will them allow; The river's not my Lord's.' Do not mistake, the water's his, And all that it affords.

To fish or hunt they have no right, Since they no land can claim; Whatever lives be't great or small, The land supports the same.

So they must work to other men, Whether they will or no; For idle up and down the world, No landless men must go.

For why, in truth they cannot live, On air or the highway; Trespass they must then on the grass, If suffer'd thus to stray.

And yet no laws are made that so, The rich them work may give; But when they've serv'd their turn on them, They care not how they live.

So worse than horse or oxen thus Is their unhappy lot; For horse and oxen they maintain, Whether they work or not.

Their wages too by law they stint, As men their labour too, Should have no right, as best they can, To sell to that vile crew.

But not so with their ill got lands, Do they themselves confine, As much as they can get's the rule By which they let the same.

Like tygers lurking for their prey, So on the watch they keep, Lest tenants they by any means, Their labours' fruit should reap.

If only sixpence more they think The tenant he can pay, As soon as e'er his lease is out The same on him they lay.

Like hungry hawks the farmers then Are forc'd with hearts full sore, The poor at market hard to gripe, To stop the landlord's roar.

If backward in their rents they run, Indulgence they find small, Their lord does like a rav'ning wolf, On goods and cattle fall.

The landlords what they thus have reav'd, In other lands do spend! And while we've landlords things will worse, But never once will mend.

O! there is a land,* as I hear say, Where landlords none there be! O! Heavens! might I that happy land Before I die but see.

The rents thoughout that happy state, Each parish deals so fair, That every housholder therein Does get an EQUAL SHARE.**

Of equal shares of land or goods, They never once do dream; But in each parish, part the rents: Which better far they deem.

As all the world belongs to all, So does a land to those That dwell therein, the likeness then, Down to a parish goes,

So by this simple RULE OF RIGHT, All things in order move, In church and state 'mongst rich and poor, All's harmony and love.

For as the poor their nat'ral rights, And lordships thus enjoy, The rich unenvy'd live in peace, None wish them to annoy.

Then lord have mercy on all lands, This happy change soon bring, That, brethren-like, men may divide Their rents, and gladly sing.

So if by sickness or mischance To poverty some wane, Their dividend of rents will come To set them up again.

Ye priests and lawyers, who men's RIGHTS, Gloss o'er deceitfully. Our common claim to rents will stand 'Gainst all your sophistry.

* Spensonia.

** Though the inhabitants in every country have an undoubted right to divide the WHOLE of the rents equally among themselves, and suffer the state and all public affairs to be supported by taxes as usual; yet from the numrous evils and restraints attending revenue laws, and the number of collectors, informers, &c. appendant on the same, it is supposed, they would rather prefer, That after the whole amount of rents are collected in a parish from every person, according to the full value of the premises which they occupy, so much per pound, according to act of parliament, should be set aside for support of the state instead of all taxes; that another sum should be deducted for support of the parish establishment, instead of tolls, tythes, rates, cessets, &c and that after these important matters were provided for, the remainder should be equally divided among all the settled inhabitants, whether poor or rich.