Utopia of Usurers, and Other Essays

Author: G. K. Chesterton

A Song of Swords

"A drove of cattle came into a village called Swords; and was stopped by the rioters."—Daily Paper.

In the place called Swords on the Irish road It is told for a new renown How we held the horns of the cattle, and how We will hold the horns of the devils now Ere the lord of hell with the horn on his brow Is crowned in Dublin town.

Light in the East and light in the West, And light on the cruel lords, On the souls that suddenly all men knew, And the green flag flew and the red flag flew, And many a wheel of the world stopped, too, When the cattle were stopped at Swords.

Be they sinners or less than saints That smite in the street for rage, We know where the shame shines bright; we know You that they smite at, you their foe, Lords of the lawless wage and low, This is your lawful wage.

You pinched a child to a torture price That you dared not name in words; So black a jest was the silver bit That your own speech shook for the shame of it, And the coward was plain as a cow they hit When the cattle have strayed at Swords.

The wheel of the torrent of wives went round To break men’s brotherhood; You gave the good Irish blood to grease The clubs of your country’s enemies; you saw the brave man beat to the knees: And you saw that it was good.

The rope of the rich is long and long— The longest of hangmen’s cords; But the kings and crowds are holding their breath, In a giant shadow o’er all beneath Where God stands holding the scales of Death Between the cattle and Swords.

Haply the lords that hire and lend The lowest of all men’s lords, Who sell their kind like kine at a fair, Will find no head of their cattle there; But faces of men where cattle were: Faces of men—and Swords.


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Chicago: G. K. Chesterton, "A Song of Swords," Utopia of Usurers, and Other Essays, trans. Garnett, Constance Black, 1862-1946 in Utopia of Usurers, and Other Essays (London: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1831), Original Sources, accessed July 1, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=67XLZGDTFN98HLP.

MLA: Chesterton, G. K. "A Song of Swords." Utopia of Usurers, and Other Essays, translted by Garnett, Constance Black, 1862-1946, in Utopia of Usurers, and Other Essays, London, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1831, Original Sources. 1 Jul. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=67XLZGDTFN98HLP.

Harvard: Chesterton, GK, 'A Song of Swords' in Utopia of Usurers, and Other Essays, trans. . cited in 1831, Utopia of Usurers, and Other Essays, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, London. Original Sources, retrieved 1 July 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=67XLZGDTFN98HLP.