Songs Of Activism And Revolution: World Turned Upside Down

Written by Leon Rosselson, the song honored the Diggers Commune of 1649. I often thought of this song during the height of the Occupy movement.

You poor take courage
You rich take care
This earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
All people one
We come in peace
The orders came to cut them down.

Wikipedia:

It is often thought that "The World Turned Upside Down" (not to be confused with the 17th century ballad of the same title), composed by Leon Rosselson in 1975, taken into the charts in 1985 by Billy Bragg, and performed by several other artists, is a version of "Diggers' Song". In May 2009 Leon Rosselson corrected this belief in the Guardian newspaper:[1]

I wrote the song in 1974 ... It's the story of the Digger Commune of 1649 and their vision of the earth as 'a common treasury'. It's become a kind of anthem for various radical groups, particularly since Billy Bragg recorded it [1985], and is not adapted from any other song. The title is taken from Christopher Hill's book about the English revolution.

Lyrics:

In 1649 to St. George’s Hill,
A ragged band they called the Diggers
Came to show the people’s will
They defied the landlords
They defied the laws
They were the dispossessed reclaiming what was theirs

We come in peace they said
To dig and sow
We come to work the lands in common
And to make the waste ground grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it will be
A common treasury for all

The sin of property
We do disdain
No man has any right to buy and sell
The earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Now everywhere the walls
Spring up at their command

They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feeds the rich
While poor folk starve

We work we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to the masters
Or pay rent to the lords
Still we are free men
Though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory
Stand up now

From the men of property
The orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers
To wipe out the Diggers’ claim
Tear down their cottages
Destroy their corn
They were dispersed
But still the vision lingers on


↓ Story continues below ↓

You poor take courage
You rich take care
This earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
All people one
We come in peace
The orders came to cut them down.

About Susie Madrak

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