How did people come to chant rude poems while pulling certain ropes or gathering certain fruit, and why did nobody do anything of the kind while producing any of the modern things?. . .
[There is] an indefinable something in the very atmosphere of the society in which we live that makes it spiritually difficult to sing in banks. . . There is something spiritually suffocating about our life; not about our laws merely, but about our life. Bank-clerks are without songs not because they are poor, but because they are sad. Sailors are much poorer. As I passed homewards I passed a little tin building of some religious sort, which was shaken with shouting as a trumpet is torn with its own tongue. They were singing anyhow; and I had for an instant a fancy I had often had before: that with us the super-human is the only place where you can find the human. Human nature is hunted, and has fled into sanctuary.
– “The Little Birds Who Won’t Sing”, in On Lying in Bed.
[original source unknown (to The Hebdomadarian)]