Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Anti-War 'Nursery Rhyme' discovered



Transcription:

SING A SONG OF EUROPE
HIGHLY CIVILISED;
FOUR AND TWENTY NATIONS
WHOLLY HYPNOTISED –
WHEN THE BATTLE OPENS
THE BULLETS START TO SING:
ISN’T THAT A SILLY WAY
TO ACT FOR ANY KING?
THE KINGS ARE IN THE BACKGROUND
ISSUING COMMANDS
THE QUEENS ARE IN THE PARLOUR
PER ETIQUETTE’S DEMANDS.
THE BANKERS IN THE COUNTING-HOUSE
ARE BUSY MULTIPLYING;
THE COMMON PEOPLE AT THE FRONT
ARE DOING ALL THE DYING.



Thanks for this (and the satirical ‘If’ parody below), to Alison Ronan, who found it in the papers of a local Manchester Conscientious Objector, Arthur Turtle.
Ali is a feminist historian interested in dissent and resistance. Her current research is about anti-war and pacifist women in Manchester and North-West England, 1914-1918.
Her book 'A Small Vital Flame: anti-war women in NW England 1914-1918’ is published by The Scholars' Press.


An online search finds inter alia that the nursery rhyme was published anonymously in: THE IRON WORKER Vol.1 No 4 1928, but the 'If'' parody does not appear to have been widely distributed, if at all.

2 comments:

  1. For another anti-war poem, The Deserter by Albert Young, see http://smothpubs.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/a-plea-for-rhyme-and-reason.html

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  2. About the author of 'If' as above:-
    "In July The Imperial War Museum London will open new First World War Galleries that include object that highlight what it meant to be a conscientious objector during WWI. Objects include the Holy Bible of William Harrison who was sentenced to hard labour by a court martial..." - http://bridgetwhelan.com/2014/05/15/today-is-international-conscientious-objectors-day/

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