No Libel to Think

In a state of oppression, we’ll sigh our complaints;
It may seal our destruction, to tell out our wants;
For we’ve freedom enough, while we’ve freedom to think.

We may speak (it is true) if we mind what we say;
But to speak all we think, will not suit in our day:
Tho’ our tongues be cut out, or chain’d fast with this link,
Who dares say we’re not free, while we’ve freedom to think?

They tell us our state is both perfect and pure,
The ills we point out do not want any cure;
To believe such a doctrine, our reason must sink;
So we’ll think as we please, while we’ve freedom to think.

Can a man clothe his back, or eat his own bread?
Can he marry his wife, or bury his dead?
All such matters as these, will make his coin chink –
We can think of such things while we’ve freedom to think.

Can a man use his eyes, his hands, or his tongue,
But must pay for the services these members have done?
And yet more than all these are just on the brink;
What strange thoughts we have when we’ve freedom to think!

From the sole of the foot, to the crown of the head,
They stamp us, and tax us, both living and dead!
And yet at such hardship they wish us to wink;
But we cannot do this —  while we’ve freedom to think.

When the sunshine of LIBERTY breaks on our sight,
The reform of abuses we’ll claim as our RIGHT:
“The Friends of Reform” is the toast we will drink,
And we’ll think of our Rights —  while we’ve Freedom to THINK!

By T. G.
(Sheffield, 19 April 1793)

Printed in the Sheffield Register No. 307, 19 April 1793 (currently held in Sheffield University Library Special Collections)

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