At the very end of chapter VII of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, the narrator reports that the song “Beasts of England,” which had once helped inspire the animals to rebel, was eventually replaced with a much different kind of song. When Squealer is asked why this is so, he responds by saying,
'It's no longer needed, comrade . . . . Beasts of Englandwas the song of the Rebellion. But the Rebellion is now completed. The execution of the traitors this afternoon was the final act. The enemy both external and internal has been defeated. In Beasts of England we expressed our longing for a better society in days to come. But that society has now been established. Clearly this song has no longer any purpose.'
Beasts of England has now been superseded by a song beginning,
Animal Farm, Animal Farm,
Never through me shalt thou come to harm . . .
Whereas the old song had encouraged the animals to be radical and brave in seeking better lives, the new song encourages them to be conservative and acquiescent. Whereas the earlier song had emphasized the possibility of a vastly improved society, the new song encourages the animals to accept the present society as the best that can be achieved. Whereas the earlier song had focused on the need to overcome enemies, the new song encourages the animals to renounce any possibility that they themselves might ever oppose the current regime.
However, the narrator wryly notes that although this new song “was sung every Sunday morning after the hoisting of the flag,”
somehow neither the words nor the tune ever seemed to the animals to come up to Beasts of England.