Thursday, April 23, 2009

England Arise

England, arise! The long long night is over,
Faint in the east behold the dawn appear;
Out of your evil dream of toil and sorrow
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
From your fields and hills
Hark! the answer swells:
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
Long, long have been the anguish and the labour,
Dark, dark the clouds of unbelief unrolled,
Dreadful the night when no man trusted neighbour,
Shameful the nightmare-greed of gain and gold;
Yet from fields and hills
Hark! the song now swells:
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
By your young children's eyes so red with weeping,
By their white faces aged with want and fear,
By the dark cities where your babes are creeping
Naked of joy and all that makes life dear;
From your wretched slums
A voice of pity comes:
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
By all your workshops where men sweat and sicken,
Foredone to death, in toil and hope deferred,
Where cheeks are flushed and pulses start and quicken,
Not with glad life but by dark hatred stirred;
From each bench and forge
A sound comes like a surge:
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
By your high homes of wealth and wasteful living,
By your rich tables piled, without good cheer,
By the ennui, ill-health, and sickly striving --
Not great to be, but only to appear;
O'er the weary throng
Strangely floats the song:
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
By your rich orchards, lands of corn and pasture,
Where all day long the voice of joy should ring,
Now mute and desert, by land-grabbers wasted,
Robbed of the love the peasant longs to bring;
From the stricken land
Hark! the words ascend:
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
People of England, all your valleys call you,
High in the rising sun the lark sings clear;
Will you dream on, let shameful slumber thrall you?
Will you disown your native land so dear?
Shall it die unheard --
That sweet pleading word?
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
Over your face a web of lies is woven,
Law that are falsehoods pin you to the ground;
Labour is mocked, its just reward is stolen,
On its bent back sits Idleness encrowned;
How long, while you sleep,
Your harvest shall it reap?
Arise, O England, for the day is here.
Out of your ruin rich men thrive and fatten,
Your merchants rub their hands when food is dear,
Capital says your claims are not forgotten
If wages keep you just starvation-clear;
People of England, when
Will ye rise like men?
Rise and be freemen, for the day is here!
Hear, England, hear! Deliverance is within you;
Though like a man whom death is very near,
Though sick the head, the whole heart faint within you,
Dare to be true! -- and even from the bier
Where your body lies
A new life shall arise,
England shall rise again to life sincere.
Yet thus I warn you: long shall be the struggle,
Not one but many men in it shall die;
This cancerous disease and devil's juggle
Shall not pass in the twinkling of an eye;
To undo their wrong
The people shall strive long:
O that they fail not! for the day is here.
Forth then, ye heroes, patriots and lovers!
Comrades of danger, poverty and scorn!
Mighty in faith of Freedom, your great Mother,
Giants refreshed in joy's new-rising morn!
Come and swell the song
Silent now so long --
England is risen and the Day is here!

Thus one Edward Carpenter, writing at a time when the condition of the English poor was improving as fast as at any time in its history. Carpenter, another public-school socialist, was the archetype sandalista (he introduced them to the UK) and pointy-head, criticised by Hyndman (home tutor, Cambridge, MCC and Sussex) for attempting to turn the Social Democratic Federation into "depository of old cranks, humanitarians, vegetarians, anti-vivisectionists, and anti-vaccinationists" and by George Orwell (Eton) who attacked "every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal wearer [and] sex maniac" in the socialist movement. Sometimes (often ?) debate in the workers movement seemed awfully short on input from actual workers. Carpenter was one of those 'back to the land' drippy hopouts who could only live the dream with Daddy's dosh :

"When his father Charles Carpenter died in 1882, he left his son a considerable fortune. This enabled Carpenter to quit his lectureship to start a simpler life of market gardening."
Well, long indeed has been the anguish and the Labour - nearly 12 years now. But I don't see quite as many white faces among the young children these days - certainly not in the dark cities. Obviously Sure Start has removed want and fear from the young. More excellent news is that the sweated workshops - indeed pretty much any workshops - appear to be a thing of the past. We are all free to wear sandals, start our own little market gardens, and sleep with whom we wish. Enough. The seminal work 'The Breaking of the English Working Class' remains to be written - and Mr Carpenter's spiritual descendants will have played their parts in that breaking.

Remember today - and remember the great English genius - perhaps the greatest - whose birthday it is.

"Naught shall make us rue,
If England to itself do rest but true"

A big 'if'. There lies the task. Not a small one, is it ?


Anonymous said...

"The seminal work 'The Breaking of the English Working Class' remains to be written"

Get scribblin' then, Labes, babes!

Anonymous said...

New Labour is an abomination. It has nothing to do with the Labour party of old. Kier Hardie must be spinning in his grave. The idiots running it are not “working class boys and girls who’ve done well”. They are all middle and upper class trendy university refectory sit in types. Gordon Brown? Son of the Manse? That is as middle class as it is possible to be in Scotland. Harman? She’s a posh old bird. Jackie Spliff – same.

Self serving twats the lot of them. Has any of them ever held a proper job? Don’t think so. Has any of them ever served the country in the military?

All they are interested in doing is hanging on to power for it’s own sake. They are all utterly insulated form the awful realities of the UK they have created.

Has any country ever given itself away the way the UK has? The streets are full of foreign criminals who we can’t send home. No one makes anything any more. Universities have been dumbed down to the level of a secondary school. Schools are out of control. The army has been butchered. The navy has almost been cancelled and the RAF is almost grounded. The police are a political organ of the state. Prisons are full and the streets are utterly lawless. Power stations are coming to the end of their designed lives but this has been a huge surprise and we haven’t built more…..Oh we can’t we don’t have engineers left anymore with the required skills…..

I’m glad I emigrated to Oz. Everything is clean and works…if I go into a hospital the staff all speak English and it is clean. The government here conducts all it’s business in English and makes no apologies for it. British political correctness is held up here as a subject of ridicule…and they’re right.

Martin said...

The status of 'son of the manse' is not middle class. It is a genus of its own, more upper than middle class.

Anonymous said...

There be a whole school of historians, journalists writing the history of the British Working Class.
I even started a book myself, which was to be called' Where's your Yashmak, darling?'

The title referred to a phrase I heard working class women shout at 'Feminists' who were leading an anti-racist march through East London in the early 90s.

For some reason they thought these 'liberated' women should be opposed to Islam.

Anonymous said...

To quote a more recent bard, late of these shores:

England is mine and it owes me a living.Perhaps this could be stamped on all future birth/indefinite leave to remain certificates.