Thursday, August 04, 2005

Back to the 19th Century we go...

THE SONG OF THE LOWER CLASSES.

By ERNEST JONES.

We plough and sow—we’re so very, very low
That we delve in the dirty clay,
Till we bless the plain—with the golden grain,
And the vale with the fragrant hay.
Our place we know,—we’re so very low,
’Tis down at the landlord’s feet:
We’re not too low—the bread to grow,
But too low the bread to eat.*

Down, down we go,—we’re so very low,
To the hell of the deep sunk mines,
But we gather the proudest gems that glow,
When the crown of a despot shines.
And whenever he lacks—upon our backs
Fresh loads he deigns to lay:
We’re far too low to vote the tax,
But not too low to pay.

We’re low—we’re low—mere rabble, we know,
But, at our plastic power,
The mould at the lordling’s feet will grow
Into palace and church and tower.
Then prostrate fall—in the rich man’s hate,
And cringe at the rich man’s door;
We’re not too low to build the wall,
But too low to tread the floor.

We’re low—we’re low—we’re very very low,
Yet from our fingers glide
The silken flow—and the robes that glow
Round the limbs of the sons of pride.
And what we get—and what we give—
We know, and we know our share;
We’re not too low the cloth to weave,
But too low the Cloth to wear!

We’re low—we’re low—we’re very very low,
And yet when the trumpets ring,
The thrust of a poor man’s arm will go
Thro’ the heart of the proudest King.
We’re low—we’re low—our place we know,
We’re only the rank and file,
We’re not too low—to kill the foe,
But too low to touch the spoil.

5 Comments:

Blogger HF said...

Robert Wyatt did a remarkable version of that. And consecutively a version was released by an austrian band called "the more extended versions". They only do Robert Wyatt covers.

9:32 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

yup, i had the record, "Kingdom" (or kingdoms) by Robert Wyatt and a dance outfit called Ultramarine

great stuff

12:30 PM  
Blogger HF said...

Ah yes! You're right it was by them and not by Master Wyatt himself! The only good song on that album. I adore Wyatt. I think I'm going to dedicate him a posting on my blog...

5:56 PM  
Blogger HF said...

United Kingdoms was called... with three fairy tale kings on the cover...

5:57 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

there were a few versions on 12 inch maxisingle, with different coloured artwork, mine was green, grass i guess.

5:59 PM  

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