Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tiding,
Of the golden future time.
These lines from Chapter I constitute
the first verse of the song that Old Major hears in his dream and
which he teaches to the rest of the animals during the fateful meeting
in the barn. Like the communist anthem “Internationale,” on which
it is based, “Beasts of England” stirs the emotions of the animals
and fires their revolutionary idealism. As it spreads rapidly across
the region, the song gives the beasts both courage and solace on
many occasions. The lofty optimism of the words “golden future time,”
which appear in the last verse as well, serves to keep the animals
focused on the Rebellion’s goals so that they will ignore the suffering
along the way.
Later, however, once Napoleon has cemented his control
over the farm, the song’s revolutionary nature becomes a liability.
Squealer chastises the animals for singing it, noting that the song
was the song of the Rebellion. Now that the Rebellion is over and
a new regime has gained power, Squealer fears the power of such
idealistic, future-directed lyrics. Wanting to discourage the animals’
capacities for hope and vision, he orders Minimus to write a replacement
for “Beasts of England” that praises Napoleon and emphasizes loyalty to
the state over the purity of Animalist ideology.