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Sea Green Singers - We Are All Under The Stars - Text for Levellers Day reading
To print score pages 1 and 2 on 1 A4 sheet

The Putney Debates were a series of discussions between factions of Cromwell’s New Model Army and the Levellers about who should vote, about a new constitution for England, and what constitutes human rights. The debates were held at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Putney, London in October and November 1647.

The song Under the Stars was written by Ali Burns and was commissioned by Sheffield Socialist Choir for their 25th anniversary. We are singing it here with direct quotes taken verbatim from the debates. In between verses I will be speaking the words of the famous Leveller Thomas Rainborough about who should have the right to vote.

1. [Read before choir starts singing]
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he;

Sop/Alto/Tenor sing chorus

2. [read to section ey...ey...]
and therefore truly, sir, I think it's clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under;

Sop/Alto/Tenor + Bass sing chorus

3. [read to section ey...ey...]
If writings be true, there have been many scufflings between the honest men of England and those that have tyrannized over them; And if it be true what I have read, there is none of those just and equitable laws that the people of England are born to, but that are entrenchments on the once enjoyed privileges of their rulers.

Sop/Alto/Tenor/Bass + High Sop sing chorus

4. [read to section ey...ey...]
But if the people are not freemen, I know no reason that should deter me, either in what I must answer before God or the world, from endeavouring by all means to gain anything that might be of more advantage to them than the government under which they live.

Sop/Alto/Tenor/Bass/High Sop + Bass 2 sing chorus

5. [read to section ey...ey...]
There was one thing spoken: that if the poor and those in low condition were given their birthright it would mean the destruction of this kingdom. I think this was but a distrust of Providence.
I do think the poor and meaner of this kingdom -- I speak as in relation to the condition of soldiers, in which we are -- have been the means of the preservation of this kingdom.

All sing chorus and stop singing

6 . [Repeat para 1 reading]
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he;