The End of Pain

Engraving, 1793

Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

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In December 1792 Thomas Paine, who had escaped from England one step ahead of arrest, was tried and convicted in absentia of seditious libel. Those who regretted that he had not been hung took satisfaction in seeing him burned in effigy. But to the tune of “God Save the King” the English radicals sang:

God save great Thomas Paine
His “Rights of Man” explain
To every soul.
He makes the blind to see
What dupes and slaves they be,
And points out liberty.
            From pole to pole.

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