The Garden of England

This song reminds us all that the pernicious practise of slavery is not confined to places far away or times long ago. To our collective shame, slavery is an everyday fact in modern Britain. The refrain at the end of each verse is taken from the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson and argues that “When you put a chain round another man’s neck, the other end is round yours”.

* This song contains strong language

The Garden of England
Music: na-mara, Lyrics: P. McNamara

They came to me as friends, offered me an open hand
Put your money there son, for work in the promised land
Life was so hard, how could I refuse?
Little did I know then, how much I could lose!
When you put a chain round another man’s neck, the other end’s round yours

We were taken to a wretched house, our papers they were stowed
Told to pay a finding fee, five hundred pounds we owed!
“And its fifty quid a week boys, fifteen to a room
So, you’d better work hard you bastards, or you’ll stay ‘til Kingdom come”
When you put a chain round another man’s neck, the other end’s round yours

Though wearied from the journey, we were put to work straightway
Bussed from farm to farm, sixteen hours a day
In dust-filled chicken shacks, no mask for our face
Driven on by a gangman, in some crazy piece work race
When you put a chain round another man’s neck, the other end’s round yours

Our very first day of rest, was broken with a roar
The sound of the enforcers, kicking down the door
“You’re a bunch of workshy scum and you’ll not be paid this week
And here are the dogs and the good hard fists, to put an end to any cheek”
When you put a chain round another man’s neck, the other end’s round yours

And so the months went by, day after day
Deeper into debt, no chance to get away
Sleeping in another man’s bed, the moment he gets out
Trapped and robbed of dignity, our sanity to doubt
When you put a chain round another man’s neck, the other end’s round yours

They never knew where they were, or what they might say
I swear to you good people, this is happening today
In our Garden of England, go things good men abhor
(When you) put a chain round another man’s neck, the other end’s round yours
When you put a chain round another man’s neck, the other end’s round yours

Music: na-mara, Lyrics: P. McNamara
track number: 
5