Upon This Hill
The True Levellers Standard Advanced (1649)
Commissioned by the Kinhaven Music School
in honor of Jane Hanks
Performance: Le Train Bleu conducted by Ransom Wilson.
David Graeber, narrator
David Southorn violin 1, Owen Dalby violin 2, Margaret Dyer viola, Mihai Marica cello, Tony Flynt double bass.
Chris Matthews flute, Carl Oswald oboe, Wojin Cho clarinet, Brad Balliett bassoon
Hugo Moreno trumpet, Jennifer Griggs trombone
David Friend, piano
Recorded: KAS Studios, 2/4/2013
Text: In the beginning of time god made the earth to be a common treasury to preserve beasts, birds, fishes and man. Not one word was spoken in the beginning that one branch of mankind should rule over on another.
But since human flesh began to delight himself in the objects of the creation more than in reason or righteousness, selfish imaginations taking possession of the five senses set up one man to teach and rule over one another and thereby the spirit was killed and man was brought into bondage and became a slave to such of his own kind.
And hereupon the land was hedged into enclosures by the teachers and rulers. The people were made servants and slaves and the earth was bought and sold and kept in the hands of a few. In this the great creator was dishonored as if he were delighted in the comfortable livelihoods of some and rejoiced in the miserable poverty and straights of others.
And the earth has been enclosed and bought and sold not by a law of righteousness but by selfishness and greed and by open and violent force. Wherefore is it that war after war afflicts all the nations of the earth and wherefore are men so mad to destroy one another.
But only to uphold civil property of honor dominion and riches over one another.
This is the curse creation groans under waiting for deliverance. Those who have property have got it by murder or theft and all landlords live in the breach of the seventh and eighth commandments though shalt not steal nor kill.
And their oppression is manifest thus: By their subtle and covetous wit they got the plain hearted poor poor to work for them for small wages and by their work got a great increase. For the poor by their labors lifts up tyrants to rule over them. And by their covetous wit they have outreached to the plainhearted in buying and selling and thereby enriched them selves but impoverished others. Or else by their subtle wit they have forced people to pay money for a public use and have divided much of it into their private purses and thus have got it by oppression.
Then secondly for murder they have by subtle wit and power pretended to preserve the people in safety by the power of the sword. And what by large pay much free quarter and other booties which they call their own they get much monies and with this they buy land and then become landlords and if once landlords then they rise to be justices rulers and state governors as experience shows. But all this is a bloody and subtle thievery countenanced by a law that covetness made and is thus a breach of the eighth commandment thou shalt not steal and the seventh commandment, thou shalt not kill.
And we will not free ourselves from that bondage of civil property by force of arms for that we abhor. For it is your work to kill one another. And if we give our blood into thy hand for thee to spill know this: by working and sharing our work we endeavor to lift up creation. And thus is the reason for why we have begun to dig upon this hill.