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The Immigrant Weaver (1842)

"The starving weavers of Spitalfelds would make excellent shepherds."--Sydney Herald.

Oh listen, Mr. Editor, attend unto my ditty,
And then I'm sure the people here my hard case will pity.
I came here by the Roxborough, many months ago,
And here I am in Sydney, badly off as you must know;
By trade I am a weaver, but here there is no loom,
So I am pacing Sydney streets crying, "Will you buy a broom?"
(Handy things they are, sir, for an editor's room.)
My wife is very weakly, my children very small,
And all are very hungry, which is the worst of all.
I cannot work as gardener, as I will show to you,
For all out-door work to me is really something new;
The sun it is too hot for me, indeed I'm very weak,
I have not got the strength to wheel a barrow down the street.
The place that best would suit me, sir, is footman to some snob,
Or if you'd try me at your office, I'd gladly take a job;
I cannot run on errands, I just own to the truth,
For all the exercise I've had, sir, was taken in my youth.
For I was placed in factory, to pick and pull out yarn,
Little thinking at the time it would do me any harm.
But it has nearly killed me, my lungs are very weak,
If I call out to the bullocks, sir, they cannot hear me speak.
My bones ache very badly, believe me, when it rains,
I'm likewise quite distracted with acute rheumatic pains.
They tell me it is easy work a flock of sheep to tend,
If you, good sir, have faith in this I pray you be my friend.
There's Mr. --------- of Bathurst, J. C. of Camden town,
Have advertised for shepherds, do you think they'd take me down?
My luggage is not great--two boxes and a bed,
Besides my darling Billy, and Joe, and Jack, and Ned,
The eldest six years old, likewise their mother dear.
Say, will you give them food and me twelve pounds a year?
Or if too much, just name the sum, I am not over nice,
My pockets are quite empty, my children look like mice--
My spirits gone, my purse is empty,
I'm starving in this land of plenty.



From the NSW Newspaper the Australasian Chronicle Thu 22 Sep 1842 p. 2.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory