“The Swinish Multitude”


Give me the man who bids "the sun of Freedom rise" against tyrants, and the soul who "inlists for Freedom's cause." May you "no longer unavenged be called 'The swinish multitude.'" Freedom is coming to the world. Dare to die pursuing statecraft's crimes.


Moylan: "Edmund Burke in his _[Reflections on the Revolution] in France_ described the common people as the 'swinish multitude'.... The phrase was adopted as a mock compliment by sympathizers with the revolution and several United Irish songs played upon the phrase." - BS

Burke's precise quote is "Learning will be cast into the mire, and trodden down under the hoofs of the swinish multitude."

Thomas Pakenham, _The Year of Liberty_, p. 173, reports that the United Irishmen of Henry Joy McCracken sang a "workingmen's song called 'The Swineish (sic.) Multitude." If he has a source for this, it appears to be E. Thompson, _Working Class_, p. 90. - RBW


  1. Moylan 80, "The Swinish Multitude" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Moyl080


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1804 (_Paddy's Resource_, according to Moylan)
Keywords: nonballad political