Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bones of Wrath

I transcribed the following tract many years ago on a Macintosh Classic when I was in college. Since Thom brought-up the subject of Thomas Paine the other day, I decided to dig it up. The Word program it was written on was so old that Word 2007 would not allow it to be opened unless I made some registry modifications. After the Revolution, Paine was regarded by many of his former comrades-in-arms as a pain in the posterior, and wanted little to do with him. His end was ill-fated, but I will let him tell the sad tale:

“I, Thomas Paine, here do solemnly submit to the american People–who owe a great Debt to my person for their very Freedom–a humble request to remember their dear Brother and embark on a Mission to recover his poor Bones and return them to their proper resting Place.

‘Tis’ a sad Tale of public Forgetfulness, whilst the People drool over sporting Heroes and thieving Merchants whilst memories of defenders of Liberty fly from the avaricious Mind.

‘Whilst the perpetrators of Tyranny display their deceased Despots in open Forum for the oppressed masses to cast fearful Glances upon, this poor Foghorn for the public Welfare hast his poor Remains interred in some Moldering Box in an english Attic in a part Unknown.

‘Reviled and scorned I was by the american People when I advanced to carry my Ax and rent a Path through the Jungle of religious Superstition, for declaiming the odious enslavement of the black Race and the plain Murder of the Native Race, damnably Perjured by the beneficiaries of my Labors, abandoned by my Friends, and at last departing from the living Penniless and Forgotten. Refused proper burial in a Cemetery, my unhappy Body was interred on a weed-run Farm–and my gravestone Profaned by the rabble of Liberty.

‘For ten years Common Sense wept bitter Tears until an englishman perceived the errors of the ignorant Thoughts of my countrymen, and endeavored to restore my Repute to good Standing throughout the Known World.

‘Unhappily, William Cobbett, as he was known, animated by a great oversupply of Idolatry, stole away my troubled Bones and sailed forth to england.
‘Greatly distressed by my Removal from my beloved Land of Liberty, further indignities awaited me as my poor Bones were deposited in a wooden Box and ogled upon by the Gross eyes of Freakish nature.

‘Mister Cobbett, who displayed such great Devotion for my life work, soon tired of my Bones. But yet desirous of constructing a Monument in my Honor, he removed locks of Hair from my poor Skull to sell to souvenir Leaches and thus raise funds for this Project. This Enterprise was for naught, however–asking for too low a Price for my Locks.

‘For well nigh sixteen Years my bones languished in London Town, until Mister Cobbett received his just Desserts and expired. His son sought to auction away my Bones, but the auctioneer Refused, since not all englishmen are lacking in Humanity. Consequently my remains were left to idle Forgotten within this attic, its precise location obscured by the passage of the many Years.

‘In light of all of these various and sundry Outrages, I call upon you–the ungrateful Heirs of Liberty–to remove yourselves from your tired Fundaments and refrain from empty Exalting and endeavor to conduct a Search for the Humble T. Paine’s Bones and bring them hither to the land he Created.

‘But in the event that my Bones are now but Dust, let it be remembered that my curse upon the Conscience of Malfeasants will not be so easily cast aside. Let the Woe of my present Disposition, my Friends, serve as a warning to you as to the fate of misemployed Liberty–that it too may crumble beneath the weight of countless lies and misdeeds that pass without heed beneath the fog of Apathy.

‘If this be in truth the ultimate disposition of both my remains and my legacy at the hands of daylight Heroes who twitter upon the sound of ‘worn’ Honor and ‘jaded’ Principles, then indeed these are Times that try a dead man’s Soul.”

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