Drax

As I was passing Charlborough House
I met a man who’d stopped to stare
I asked the stranger as we stood
What kind of folk live there
What kind of folk live there

The kind of folk live there, said he
Built the wall that now divides
Own all the land that you can see
And half of Dorsetshire besides
Half of Dorsetshire besides

Half of Dorsetshire besides, said I
And all the land that I can see
Pray tell me sir, what kind of folk
Have such economy?
Have such economy?

Such economy? Said he
Why that’s the home of Richard Drax
Whose family wealth was built upon
Thirty thousand broken backs
Thirty thousand broken backs

Thirty thousand broken backs, said I
Pray tell me what you mean
Does such a man of wealth and land
Have hands that aren’t kept clean?
Hands that aren’t kept clean?

Hands that aren’t kept clean? Said he
His money came from slavery
His hands are dirty as can be
Here’s a little history
A little history, said he

That history begins with James
Whose money came from sugar cane
A pioneer of the slave trade
And Drax Hall stands today
Drax Hall stands today

Drax Hall stands today, said he
And Drax plantation too
Where brother William took the trade
And their slave numbers grew
Their slave numbers grew

Their slave numbers grew, said he
Until there came the day
That slavery was banned, said he
But it was John Drax who got paid (a fortune)
John Drax who got paid

It was John Drax who got paid, said he
And not the former slaves
The owners compensated
Not the people freed from chains
Not the people freed from chains

Not the people freed from chains, said he
And Drax lives to this day
On the wealth of land worked by slaves
That he glibly waves away
He glibly waves away

He glibly waves away, said he
He denies his history
Says it was hundreds of years ago
Nothing to do with me, says he
Nothing to do with me

Nothing to do with me, said I
When his life’s such luxury
And owns half of Dorsetshire beside
Off the proceeds of slavery
The proceeds of slavery

As I was passing Charlborough House
I met a man who’d stopped to stare
So I asked the stranger what it was
That he was doing there
What are you doing there

What am I doing here, said he
I’ve come to settle the score
This day there might be just me
But one day there’ll be more
One day there’ll be more

One day there’ll be more, said he
One day then we’ll see
The attitudes of slavers
Join their statues in the sea
Join their statues in the sea

As I was passing Charlborough House,
I met a man who’d stopped to stare
And having heard his story
I stayed and joined him there
I stayed and joined him there

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