The Unhappy Convict's Mournful Lamentation

O, 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, I'll tell you out of hand
The hardships that we undergo upon Van Dieman's land.

My parents rear'd me tenderly, good learning gave to me,
Until bad company me beguil'd, which prov'd my destiny;
I was brought up in Scotland, in Edinburgh town did dwell,
And by the police officers I was known there full well.

Full many depredations I had committed there,
And often had to be content with Bridewell's scanty fare;
But the robbing of a grocer's till I now repent full sore,
For that's what caused my banishment unto a foreign shore.

For four full months or upwards our vessel plough'd the main,
And we bade adieu to Britain's isle, no more to see't again
I often look'd behind me towards my native shore,
And thought on my dear parents whom I shall ne'er see more.

The fifteenth of September then we did make the land,
At four o'clock we went ashore, all chained hand to hand,
To see our fellow-sufferers, we felt - I can't tell how,
Some chain'd unto a barrow, and others to a plough.

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

Then I was marched to Sydney town without more delay,
Where a settler he bought me his servant to be;
And now I'm forced to toil all day beneath a burning sun,
Without the slightest prospect left of happier days to come.

O could my old companions see our piteous state,
They would refrain their evil ways before it is too late;
Of ill health or bad usage we dare not to complain,
For fear of a good flogging with the smart Malackey cane.

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin