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Grandpa Pencil's
Australian colonial verse and song

Convict's Lament

Convict's Lament

I am a native of the land of Erin,
And lately banished from that lovely shore,
I left behind my aged parents,
And a girl I did adore.
In transient storms as I set sailing
Like mariner bold my course did steer;
Sydney Harbour was my destination -
That cursed place at length drew near.

I then joined banquet in congratulation
Of my safe arrival from the briny sea;
But, Alas, Alas! I was mistaken -
Twelve years transportation to Morton Bay.
Early one morning as I carelessly wandered,
By the Brisbane waters I chanced to stray;
I saw a prisoner sadly bewailing,
Whilst on the sunlit banks he lay.

He said, 'I have been a prisoner at Port Macquarie,
At Norfolk Island and Emu Plains;
At Castle Hill and cursed Tongabbie -
At all those places I've worked in chains,
But of all the places of condemnation,
In each penal station of New South Wales,
Morton Bay I found no equal,
For excessive tyranny each day prevails.

Early in the morning, as the day is dawning,
To trace from heaven the morning dew,
Up we are started at a moment's warning,
Our daily labour to renew.
Our overseers and superintendents -
These tyrants' orders we must obey,
Or else at the triangles our flesh is mangled -
Such are our wages at Morton Bay

!For three long years I've been beastly treated;
Heavy irons each day I wore;
My poor back from flogging has been lacerated,
And ofttimes painted with crimson gore.
Like the Egyptians and ancient Hebrews,
We were sorely oppressed by Logan's yoke,
Till kind Providence came to our assistance,
And gave this tyrant his fatal stroke.

Yes, he was hurried from that place of bondage,
Where he thought he would gain renown;
But a native black, who lay in ambush,
Gave this monster his fatal wound.
Fellow prisoners, be exhilarated;
Your former sufferings you will not mind,
For it's when from bondage you are extricated,
You'll leave such tyrants far behind.

unknown to Grandpa


'A World of Trivia', 'Dear Grandpa Pencil' and 'A Cheapskate's Guide to Exploring Tasmania By Car'
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Published by Robin A Cartledge ~ ABN 19 924 273 138 ~ Low Head, Tasmania ~ Contact/Comment