Henry Salt Archive

Henry Salt (1853-1939) was the author of the Life of Henry David Thoreau, Animals Rights and A Plea for Vegetarianism which inspired Gandhi for follow a vegetarian diet.

A Song of "Freedom"

I marvel that no sings
Of “individual Freedom,”
And what unnumbered gifts she brings—
Except to those who need ‘em.

Her choicest favours fall, we see,
Oh this enfranchised nation;
Free contrast, competition free,
Free trade, and free—starvation.

Here dwells the freedom of the Press;
Free speech, and free repling;
Here orators are free, well—yes,
They're free enough—in lying.

Here surely is the age of gold,
The land of milk and honey,
Where everything is freely sold
To all—who have the money.

We British workmen, so they say,
Are free; and who can doubt it?
For if we do not like our pay,
We're free—to go without it.

Unlike the helpless negro slave,
Our tryant-driven brother,
If one employer prove a knave,
We're free—to find another.

To travel, too, we can afford,
With this slight limitation,
That though we're free to step on board,
They call it—emigration.

Or, if we dread this long flight,
And vow our homes to cherish,
We have an immemorial right
To stay behind—and perish.

Thus free-men all our lives are we,
Each in his own vocation;
And when old age is come, we're free—
To die of slow starvation.

So, hey! for England's glorious rights;
Free sellin' and free buyin';
Free libraries; free prews; free flights;
And a free ditch—to die in!

H. S. S.
Justice, February 14, 1885 - No. 57