by Lauren Cooper
(1964 - 1999)

Bound to the mortgage; bound to the wife:
That just ain't his sort of life.
Bound to the struggling arms of a child,
When he was born to be free and wild;
Oh!  He was born to be free.

Cocktail parties are less than fun
To him who was born to race and run.
Crowded, racketing swimming bath
Was never for him who was born to have
All sorts of wildness, and be free.

Stinking chippies that drown in grease
Were never this man's homely place.
One blasted heath and a frisking horse
Are more a free man's scene and course,
Oh, he was born to be free.

His wife understands; she gives him his will:
"You can go off a-hiking if that's your kind of thrill.
"And when you come back, be in a better mood!"
He goes off praising a wife who understood.
She knew he was born to be free.

He gallops in heather, he comes off in gorse;
His cheeks burn and blossom with the keen wind's force.
He pitches his tent on the purple and grey,
And lives out his life one day after day.
And oh - how good to be free!

He runs out of milk; he runs out of eggs;
He misses the kid leaning on his legs;
The birds start a-wailing far more than the child,
And the stags start a-belling so rough and so wild,
It gets scary out there, being free!

Miles to the nearest village he strides,
His horse too tired to give anymore rides,
The old man he is now is weary and worn,
But still he insists he was to freedom born.
But oh, 'tis lonesome living free.

He glues back his buttons without needle or thread;
He longs for his wife to warm him in bed;
The pans they go rusty; he longs for the town,
For a chippy in grease where he can sit down;
At last, he's fed up being free.

His horse grows thinner; the October chill
Turns into November, and grows cooler still!
He wraps his blained feet in towels soaked in vine,
And wishes his wife were with him to dine;
Oh!  He so longs not to be free.

The first Christmas gale tears his tent in half,
The pegs all get frozen, and he's had enough;
He leaves out his canvas to reek and to rot,
And takes the poor horse to a farm to be shot,
For he's done with the whim to be free.

His wife has, meanwhile, found another sweetheart,
And when she beholds him, she gives such a start -
His whiskers all matted with purple and grey;
His thin, haggard face the sign of decay.
"Oh husband - were you happy being free?"

He curses and clambers upstairs for a shave,
But her lover's displeased, and does rant and rave.
The lover grabbs hold of the husband's long beard,
And throws him outside saying he was too weird
A sight for his young family.

Now Grizzle Beard rises and creeps back to his tent;
He withers and wrinkles tibl his strength is all spent.
He's wasted his life that God had him lent,
He lies down and rots - too late to repent:
He dies on the moor being free.


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