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The Contented


The Contented

So why should any man complain
Or why disturb his heart and brain
At this new alteration?
Since that which has been done's no more
Than what has oft been done before
And that which will be done again
As long as there are ambitious men
Who strive for domination.

In this mad age there's nothing firm
All things have their period and turn
For rising and declining.
Without our help affairs of state
They pass at their ordained rate.
We watch but neither cheer nor frown
Which e'er sides up, we're always down.
There's no use for cheers or whining.

So still we commons must indeed
be made a starveling hackney steed
For all in turns will ride us.
This side or that, no matter which,
For both do ride with spur and switch
Till soon we tire and then at last
We stumble and our riders cast
For they'll not feed nor guide us.

The lawyers must leave by their books
They and the clergy quite mistook
Thought crowns were gained by prating.
Tis' not the black coat but the red
has power to take and be the head
Nor is it psalms nor laws nor tears
But muskets and full bandoleirs
Have power of legislating.

Such wit and valour, root all things,
They pull down and they set up Kings
We'll not presume to judge them
For that side's always right that's strong
And that that's beaten must be wrong.
We common folks stay fast at home
And Heaven help the slack-brained mome
That law or scripture quotes from tome
Thinking with right to gain his own
He's from his living quickly thrown
And was but a fool to oppose them.

First printed in 1691, dating to the English civil war.
This version and the tune was written by Greg Butler in
1986, after an anonymous original printed in "Merry Drollery
Complete" 1691. Reprinted in "The Old Lamb and Flag:  The
Songs and Story of Preston and its Guild."  by Tom Walsh
and Greg Butler, Lancashire, England: Carnagie Pub., Ltd., 1992.