MAN’S UNIVERSAL HYMN

James Henry  1798 – 1876

 

The Lord’s my God and still shall be,
For a kind God he is to me,
And gives me a carte-blanche to rob
His other creatures, and to fob
For my own use their property,
So good and kind he is to me.
He bids me pluck the goose and take
Her soft warm down my bed to make,
Then turn her out with raw skin bare
To shiver in the cold, night air;
Her new-laid eggs he bids me steal
To make me a delicious meal,
And, when she has no more to lay,
Commands me cram her every day
With oaten meal ’till she ‘s so plump
The fat ‘s an inch deep on her rump,
Then cut her throat and roast and eat
And thank him for the luscious treat.

The Lord ‘s my God and still shall be,
For a kind God he is to me;
He makes the bee construct his cell
Of yellow wax and fill it well
With honey for his winter store,
And, when it ‘s so full ’twill hold no more,
Comes and points out the hive to me,
And says: — ‘I give it all to thee;
Small need ‘s for winter store the bee
Who never a winter is to see;
Kill him and eat his honey thou,
I’m the bee’s God, and thee allow.’

I love the Lord my God, for he
Loves all his creatures tenderly,
But more than all his creatures, me.
He bids me from the dam’s side tear
The tender lambkin and not spare: —
‘Piteous though bleat the orphan’d dam,
Turn a deaf ear and dine on lamb.’

I love the Lord my God, for he
Loves all his creatures tenderly,
But more than all his creatures, me.
He bids the gallant horse live free
And more than life love liberty;
Then says to me: — ‘The horse is thine;
Thou shalt in slavery make him pine;
Confine him in a dungeon dim,
Fetter him every joint and limb,
Maim him, cut off his tail and ears —
Thou know’st the use of knife and shears —
A red-hot brand the bleeding sears;
Don’t mind his quivering or his groans,
I’d have men’s hearts as hard as stones.
So far so good, but much remains
Still to be done ere for thy pains
Thou hast a willing, servile brute,
Who shall not dare the will dispute
Of his taskmaster; a bold, free
And noble spirit he has from me,
And worse than death hates slavery;
This noble spirit how to quell
I ‘ll teach thee now — remember well
I am the God and friend of both
The horse and thee, and would be loth
Either to one or to the other
Aught ill should happen; thou ‘st a brother
In every creature great or small;
The same Lord God has made ye all —
So when thou ‘st cropped him ears and tail,
And maimed him so he ‘s neither male
Nor female more, fasten a strong
Stout bar of iron with a thong
Between his jaws; then through a ring
In the bar’s near end run a string
Of twisted hemp, and hold it tight
In thy left hand, while with thy right
Thou scourgest him with a long lash so
That, will-he nill-he, he must go —
Not onward, for thou hast him bound
Fast by the jaw, but round and round,
Thou in the middle standing still
And plying the lash with right good will;
At first, no doubt, he ‘ll fume and fret
And fall perhaps into a sweat
Of agony, and upward rear,
And spurn the ground, and paw the air —
What is ‘t to thee? lash thou the more;
When tired behind, begin before,
Still holding him by the muzzle fast;
Pain breaks the stoutest heart at last;
Ere a short month he ‘ll do thy will,
Gallop, trot, canter or stand still
At thy least bidding, carry, draw,
And labour for thee until raw
And galled his flesh and blind his eyes
And lame his feet, and so he dies,
If thou so little know’st of thrift
And of the right use of my gift
Of all my creatures unto thee
Both great and small whate’er they be,
As to allow thine old worn-out
And battered slave to go about
Consuming good food every day
And standing awkward in the way,
When for the fee of his shoes and hide
Thou might’st have all his wants supplied
By the knacker’s knife; be merciful
And when he can no longer pull,
Nor carry thee upon his back,
To the knacker send thy hack.’

Ye little birds, in God rejoice,
And praise him with melodious voice:
Small though ye are, he minds ye all,
And ‘never to the ground shall fall
A sparrow without his consent,’
By which beyond all doubt is meant —
Man, take thy victim; clip his wing;
Put out his eyes that he may sing
As sweet in winter as in spring;
Confine him in close prison-house
Where scarcely could turn round a mouse;
What though I made him wild and free
In the wood to range from tree to tree
And more than life love liberty,
Let it not fret thee, he is thine
By virtue of a writ divine —
Cage him, if he sings soft and sweet;
If bad his voice, kill him and eat.

Indwellers of the deep, blue sea,
To praise the Lord unite with me;
Ye grampuses and mighty whales
That lash the water with your tails
Into a foam, and spirt it high
Up through your nostrils to the sky,
Rejoice with me; the Lord of heaven
Into my hands your lives has given,
And taught me how best to pursue
And hunt ye through the waters blue
With barbed harpoon, till far and wide
The ocean with your life’s blood ‘s dyed.

Ye salmon, herring, wide-mouthed cod,
Praise in your hearts the Lord your God,
Who has made you of the ocean free,
Then whispered in the ear to me: —
‘Go, take thy nets and trawl for fish;
On fast-days they ‘re an excellent dish
With vinegar, mustard and cayenne’ —
Praise ye the Lord; I ‘ll say Amen.

Come hither every living thing,
And in full chorus with me sing
The praise of him who reigns above,
The God of justice, and of love,
Who for my use has made ye all,
Bird, beast, fish, insect; great and small.
For me ye build, for me ye breed;
For me ye work, for me ye bleed;
I fatten on ye; ye are mine;
Come praise with me the work divine
And its great author, just and good,
Who has given ye all to me for food,
Clothing or pleasure, or mere sport;
His praise to all the ends report
Of the wide earth: sing, ever sing
The all-righteous maker, father, king.

 

 

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