The Convicts’ Departure [song, 1790]

[Editor: Published in The Political Songster, by John Freeth, 1790.]

The Convicts’ Departure.

Tune — Early one morn a jolly brisk Tar.

What if the parting day is at hand,
Never at fate be railing,
Though from a rich and plentiful land,
We must be quickly sailing;
Let not our bosoms fear display,
Future events concerning,
Though we are going to Botany Bay,
Never from thence returning.

Food that’s as good as heart can wish,
Soon may be there acquir’d,
Finest of Fowl, and sweetest of Fish,
What can be more desir’d?
Labour apart — where every day
Nature is kindly giving,
Plenty to have, and nothing to pay,
That is the land to live in.

We’ll not for England care a pin,
If when abroad well treated,
Give us good store of Holland’s gin,
Then is the work compleated.
Care who the great ones will attend,
Seldom the mind perplexes,
When thro’ the year there’s no demand
Either for Rent or Taxes.

Laws which made here the Makers shame!
Every year want mending;
When afar off about the Game,
There will be no contending;
Pheasants, and Ducks, and Hares we’ll kill,
All with the sport delighted,
And not a soul, go where he will,
Ever shall be indicted.

Having these glorious things in view,
Why any dread at starting,
Hang’d be the wretch whose heart can shew
Any regret at parting;
Over the waves our course we’ll bend,
Glad the fond hope to cherish,
Better to range in a foreign land,
Than in a prison perish.

John Freeth, The Political Songster: Or, a Touch on the Times, on Various Subjects, and Adapted to Common Tunes (sixth edition), Birmingham (England): Thomas Pearson, 1790, pages 126-127

Editor’s notes:
compleated = older spelling of “completed”

shew = older spelling of “show”

[Editor: Corrected “indited” (meaning to compose, write, or dictate) to “indicted” (meaning to charge someone with a crime).]

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