Thursday, October 13, 2011

Aimless Reading: The O's, Part 11 (George Orwell)

Animal Farm by Michael_Kelleher
Animal Farm, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.
Orwell, George
Animal Farm

This likely came from the school bookstore at LaSalle Academy in New York, where I taught high school English from 1992-1994. My best guess is that this was my teaching copy. It's in remarkably good shape for a cheap paperback. I was surprised to discover the pages still intact upon opening it. Usually book like this start fall apart after five years on the shelf. The funny thing is that I don't remember teaching this book. Or rather, I don't remember what I tried to teach the students about it. I have vivid memories of teaching 1984, which I'll talk about in the next post, but none of Animal Farm. I don't remember much about the story, either, come to think of it. Except the ineffable slogan, "Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad."

from Animal Farm

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the golden future time.

Soon or late the day is coming,
Tyrant Man shall be o'erthrown,
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Rings shall vanish from our noses,
And the harness from our back,
Bit and spur shall rust forever,
Cruel whips no more shall crack.

Riches more than mind can picture,
Wheat and barley, oats and hay,
Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels
Shall be ours upon that day.

Bright will shine the fields of England,
Purer shall its waters be,
Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
On the day that sets us free.

For that day we all must labour,
Though we die before it break;
Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,
All must toil for freedom's sake.

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken well and spread my tidings
Of the golden future time.

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