The Temple of Folly.


Ay ! hew them down on every side,1
The brave old English trees ;2
Why should we seek a shelter now3
From native plants like these ?4
Why to the broad and aged elm5
A longer respite give6
Than to the myriad men at home7
Who know not how to live ?8


Yes ! hew the wood and rear the pile,9
Build up your foreign hive !10
Let British industry be crushed11
And alien labour thrive.12
Complete the work so well begun,13
The task so wondrous wise ;14
Nor fear to lack, ere all be done,15
A plenteous sacrifice !16


The sacrifice of tears and woe,17
And pain, and want, and toil,18
From those who labour at the loom,19
Or turn the British soil.20
The sacrifice of wasted hearts21
At Mammon’s filthy shrine22
The sacrifice of homeless men23
Who die, and make no sign !24


Why was it that our fathers fought25
So valiantly and long,26
Why went our levied armies forth27
To battle with the strong ?28
Why rode our navies east and west,29
The terror of the sea,30
If not to keep this land of ours31
As great as it was free.32


To keep it free from foreign foot,33
And free from foreign spoil ;34
To shield the hardy peasant’s hut,35
To guard the workman’s toil.36
To give and take as brethren should37
With kind and open hand,38
And rear the brave old English race39
Secure on English land.40


Send out your ships—you need them all,41
Though not for cotton bales.42
Go—drive the clansmen from the hills,43
The peasant from the dales,44
And send your bravest and your best45
In other lands to dwell ;46
Since naught but foreign work is prized47
In that they loved too well.48


And build your stately temple up,49
Spare neither stone nor tree,50
And heap it full of costly things51
For starving men to see.52
Throw wide your gates to all the world,53
Yea, throw them wide to all54
Be sure the greedy foreigners55
Will answer to your call !56
We know them well—the bearded Russ,57
The German, and the Gaul.58


They seek your gold—be bountiful,59
And give them all they need :60
What though for every glittering coin61
Some British heart must bleed ?62
Another rule than that of old63
The modern statesman knows64
He taxes none but Englishmen,65
And favours but their foes.66


O wise and good ! O good as wise !67
For this great deed, be sure68
Hereafter on your head shall light69
The blessings of the poor.70
And that same monument you rear71
Shall stand in after days,72
The fittest trophy of your worth :73
Your honour, and your praise.74


Down with the trees ! for long enough75
They’ve stood in grandeur there ;76
The axe is laid unto the root—77
Smite on, and do not spare.78
For foreign shows our English wood79
Will furnish rafters rare.80
Ay—roof them in ! ’tis stranger’s work—81
Let English homes go bare !82