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A Song of Van Diemens Land

A Song of Van Diemens Land

Come all you gallant poachers, that ramble void of care,
That walk out on a moonlight night with your dog, gun and snare,
The hare and lofty pheasant you have at your command,
Not thinking of your last career upon Van Diemens Land.

Poor Thomas Brown, from Nottingham, Jack Williams and poor Joe,
Were three determin'd poachers as the country well doth know,
At night they were trepann'd by the keepers hid in sand,
and for fourteen years transported were upon Van Diemens Land.

The first day that we landed upon the fatal shore,
The planters came around us — there might be twenty score ;—
They rank’d us up like horses and sold us out of hand,
They yolk’d us to ploughs my boys, to plough Van Diemens Land.

The cottages we live in are built with clods of clay,
and rotten straw for bedding yet we dare not say nay,
around our cots a circling fire we slumber when we can,
and drive the wolves and tigers oft upon Van Diemens Land.

Oftimes when I do slumber, I have a pleasant dream,
With my sweet girl sitting near me close by a purling stream,
Thro' England I've been roaming with her at my command,
and wakened broken hearted upon Van Diemens Land.

God bless our wives and families, likewise that happy shore,
That isle of great contentment, which we may see no more ;
as for our wretched families, see them we seldom can,
There’s twenty men for one woman upon Van Diemens Land.

There was a girl from Birmingham, Ann Summers was her name,
For fourteen years transported, we all well know the same :
our planter bought her freedom and married her out of hand —
She gave to us good usage upon Van Diemens Land.

But fourteen years is a long time — that is our fatal doom,
For nothing else than poaching — God knows that's we've done :
all You would leave off dog, gun, snare and poaching every man,
If you did but know the hardships upon Van Diemens Land.

Now if I had ten thousand pounds laid down all in my hand,
I'd give it all for liberty ; that I could command,
Again to England I’d return, and be a happy man,
and bid adieu to poaching, and to Van Diemens Land. 1

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