Digital Tradition Mirror

Henry the Poacher

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Henry the Poacher

Come all you wild and wicked youths, wherever you may be
I pray you give attention and listen unto me,
The fate of us poor transports as you shall understand
The hardships that we under go up on Van Dieman's Land.0

Cho: Young men, all now beware,
     Lest you be drawn into a snare.

My parents reared me tenderly, good learning gave to me,
Till bad company did me beguile which proved my destiny,
I was brought up in Warwickshire, near Southam town did dwell,
My name it is Young Henry in Harbourne known full well.

Me and five more went out one night into Squire Dunhill's Park,
To see if we could get some Fame. The night it prov'ed dark;
But to our great misfortune they trepanned us with speed,
And sent us off to Warwick gaol which made our hearts to bleed.

It was at the March Assizes to the bar we did repair,
Like Job we stood with patience to hear our sentence there;
There being some old offenders, which made our case go hard,
My sentence was for fourteen years, then I was sent on board.

The ship that bore us from the land, the Speedwell was her name
For full five months and upwards, boys, we ploughed the raging main;
Neither land nor harbor could we see; believe it is no lie.
All around us one black water, boys; above us one blue sky.

The fifteenth of September, 'twas then we made the land.
At four o'clock we went on shore all chained hand in hand.
To see our fellow sufferers we felt I can't tell how;
Some yoked unto a harrow, and others to a plough.

No shoes or stockings they had on, nor hat had they to wear,
But leathern frock and linsey drawers; their feet and heads were bare.
They chained them up by two and two like horses in a dray;
The driver he stood over them, with his Melackey cane.

Then I was marched to Sydney town, without no more delay,
Where a gentleman he bought me, his bookkeeper to be.
I took this occupation, my master liked me well.
My joys were out of measure, and I'm sure no one can tell.

We had a female servant, Rosanna was her name,
For fourteen years a convict was, from Wolverhampton came.
We often told our tales of love when we were blest at home,
But now we're rattling of our chains in a foreign land to roam.

From Bonnie Bunch of Roses, Milner

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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