Lyrics: Charles Kingsley.
The merry brown hares came a-leaping
Over the crest of the hill,
Where the clover and corn lay a-sleeping
Under the moonlight so still.
Leaping so late and so early
Under their bite and their tread,
The swedes and the wheat and the barley
Lay cankered and trampled and dead.
A poacher’s poor widow sat sighing
On the side of the moss patterned bank
Where under the gloom of the fir woods
One acre of ground laying rank.
She watched over barely-grown clover
Where rabbit or hare never ran
For the ground that it all covered over
Hid the blood of a good, murdered man.
She thought of the shaded plantation
And the hares and her husband’s own blood.
And the voice of her own indignation
Rose up to the throne of her God.
There’s blood on your new, foreign shrubs, Squire;
There’s blood on your pointer’s cold feet.
There’s blood on the game that you sell, Squire,
And there’s blood on the game that you eat.
You have sold out the laboring man, Squire,
Both body and soul for to shame,
To pay for your seat in the House, Squire,
And to pay for the feed of your game.
You made him a poacher yourself, Squire,
When you’d give not the work nor the meat.
And your barley-fed hares robbed the garden
At our starving, poor little ones’ feet.
When packed into one tiny chamber,
Man, mother, and little ones lay,
While the rain pattered in on our bride bed
And the walls barely held out the day,
When we lay in the heat of the fever,
On the mud and the clay of the floor,
‘Til you parted us all for three months, Squire,
And we knocked at the workinghouse door.
So, to kennels and liveried varlets,
Where you starved your own daughter of bread,
And worn out with liquor and harlots,
See your heirs at your feet lying dead.
When you follow them into your heaven,
And your soul rots asleep in your grave,
Then, Squire, you will not be forgotten
By the free men you took as your slaves.