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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 7/Song for the Luddites

SONG FOR THE LUDDITES.[1]

1.

As the Liberty lads o'er the sea
Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood,
So we, boys, we
Will die fighting, or live free,
And down with all kings but King Ludd!


2.

When the web that we weave is complete,
And the shuttle exchanged for the sword,
We will fling the winding sheet
O'er the despot at our feet,
And dye it deep in the gore he has poured.


3.

Though black as his heart its hue,
Since his veins are corrupted to mud,
Yet this is the dew
Which the tree shall renew
Of Liberty, planted by Ludd!

December 24, 1816.
[First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, ii. 58.]


  1. [The term "Luddites" dates from 1811, and was applied first to frame-breakers, and then to the disaffected in general. It was derived from a half-witted lad named Ned Lud, who entered a house in a fit of passion, and destroyed a couple of stocking-frames. The song was an impromptu, enclosed in a letter to Moore of December 24, 1816. "I have written it principally," he says, "to shock your neighbour [Hodgson?] who is all clergy and loyalty—mirth and innocence—milk and water." See Letters, 1900, iv. 30; and for General Lud and "Luddites," see Letters, 1898, ii. 97, note 1.]