The Spirit of the Nation/The Monopolists' Lie


"For our own part we are not ashamed to say that we hate the word cheapness in its ordinary acceptation, because we have never seen commodities cheap, as the term is commonly applied, without the accompaniment of ruinous distress among one class or other of our countrymen; whereas we have generally seen what are denominated dear seasons, always seasons of extraordinary prosperity to the majority of the people."—Standard.


How the mockery stinks in the nostrils of Heaven!
How the arrogant falsehood insults the wide earth!
To the fiends in deep hell, for a moment 'tis given,
'Mid their torment, to gibber in horrible mirth!
Oh! yes, 'tis a blessing that bread is so dear!
Yes, yes, 'tis a comfort that rent is so high!
Give the rich man his chariot, the poor man his bier;
'Tis a favor, untaxed, to be suffered to die!


Crawl on, ye vile slaves! chaffer roots with the swine!
They are good enough, churls! for your under-bred maws;
Earth's treasures are skimmed, when your masters would dine,
While ye starve by their merciful, master made laws!
Toil, sweat, and make huger their huge money-bags;
Serfs, train up your daughters to batten their lust!
As they roll by in splendour, crouch, crouch in your rags!
As they loll at the banquet, pay thrice for your crust!


Oh, God's earth is fair! and a glimpse you may catch,
As you peer o'er the wall of some neighbouring park,
Of lawn, grove, and paddock—but lift not a latch,
Or be torn by the dogs at your footsteps that bark!
Sweet valley and glade, beauteous lake, stream, and river,
Bestud ev'ry turn in our evergreen isle;
Ye have heard they are lovely, but glanced at them never,
Save yoked like scorned beasts to unrecompensed toil!


Crawl on, ye vile slaves! not a sod is your own,
Of the soil where your fathers coursed free as the airs;
Not a bird dare ye shoot, where their footsteps have flown;
Not a fish dare you draw from the streams that were theirs!
With your sweat your land-tyrants their 'scutcheons adorn,
And would coin your heart's blood, as your hearts they have riven!
You have asked for free bread—they refuse it with scorn;
If you starve at their will, you deserve it, by Heaven!