Friday, 23 October 2009

The Goose and the Commons

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don’t escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.

17th century protest against English enclosure

2 comments:

goncalves said...

como ficaria escrito em português ? : )

Roger said...

Thank you, A.S., for posting "The Goose and the Commons". A friend whom I greatly admire gave forth this poem spontaneously in the middle of a conversation two days ago, describing it correctly as an English protest poem - - my only clue to its origins. His giving of the poem astonished and pleased us. Thanks to you, I am glad to learn the full text (so that I may try to replicate our friend's feat of memory), and also its context in English political history. Best luck to you in your studies!