Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund


The Law the Lawyers Know About - (2008)    

Harry Douglas Clark Pepler

for medium voice and piano


The law the lawyers know about
Is property and land;
But why the leaves are on the trees,
And why the winds disturb the seas,
Why honey is the food of bees,
Why horses have such tender knees,
Why winters come and rivers freeze,
Why faith is more than what one sees,
And hope survives the worst disease,
And charity is more than these,
They do not understand.

[ 3 pages, circa 1' 20" ]

"Justice is Blind"


Harry Douglas Clark Pepler (1878–1951), who changed his name to Hilary Pepler during a conversion to Roman Catholicism, was an English printer, writer and poet. He was an associate of both Eric Gill and G. K. Chesterton, working on publications in which they had an interest. He was co-founder with Gill and Desmond Chute in 1920 of a Catholic community of craftsmen at Ditchling, Sussex, that took the name The Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic. Pepler founded in 1915 or 1916 the St. Dominic's Press circa 1915-16. It published hand-printed works of James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Augustus John, and Chesterton. After Chesterton's death in 1936 , Pepler assisted in running The Weekly Review, the successor publication to Chesterton's Weekly. Among Pepler works are Justice and the Child, Care Committees, The Devil's Devices: Pertinent and Impertinent, Plays for Puppets, and various mimes. The text above appeared in a 1923 hand-printed booklet with wood cut art works by Eric Gill and David Jones, as published by St. Dominic's Press, Ditchling.



The sentiment expressed in this thoughtful poem complains clearly that the "greater" laws of the universe are outside the province of the lawyers. This sentiment is, of course, wholly in line with the "greater power" argument of, for example, Alcoholics Anonymous and other counseling groups which require the sensible admission that the individual is powerless before certain powers. Man-made law is the smallest portion of the great laws of the cosmos, which Pepler reminds us can only control "property and land." It is worth considering, as he asks rhetorically "why?" Having recently set Carl Sanburg's The Lawyers Know Too Much, I found this equally an equally amusing and complimentary notion to "the Law," as both suggest lawyers' interest is in "property and land," which is ultimately the small part of life.



The score for The Law the Lawyers Know About is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


The Law the Lawyers Know About