Quotation by John Ball

When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman?
John Ball (hanged 1381), British priest, agitator. Attributed.

Verse preached to rebels at Blackheath, outside London, June 12, 1381, during the Peasants' Revolt. The lines, which have been traced back to c. 1340, are said to have breathed "a spirit fatal to the whole system of the Middle Ages."
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