Modern Street Ballads


Good people all, attend awhile,
Whilst I relate a story,
How the farmers in old England,
Did once support their glory.
When masters liv’d as masters ought,
And happy in their nation,
Until at length, their stinking pride,
Has ruined all the Nation.

Let’s pray that hungry bellies may
Be filled when they are empty,
And where a servant gets ten pounds,
I wish he may get twenty.

A good old fashioned long grey coat,
The farmers us’d to wear, Sir,
And on old Dobbin they would ride,
To market or to fair, Sir,
But now fine geldings they must mount,
To join all in the chace, Sir,
Dressed up like any lord or ‘squire,
Before their landlord’s face, Sir.

In former times, both plain and neat,
They’d go to Church on Sunday,
And then to harrow, plow, or sow,
They’d go upon a Monday.
But now, instead of the plough tail,
O’er hedges they are jumping,
And instead of sowing of their corn,
Their delight is in fox hunting.

The good old dames, God bless their names,
Were seldom in a passion,
But strove to keep a right good house,
And never thought on fashion.
With fine brown beer their hearts to cheer,
But now they must drink swipes, Sir,
It’s enough to make a strong man weak,
And give him the dry gripes, Sir.

The farmer’s daughters used to work
All at the spinning wheel, Sir,
But, now, such furniture as that,
Is thought quite ungenteel, Sir.
Their fingers they’re afraid to spoil,
With any kind of sport, Sir,
Sooner than handle mop or broom,
They’d handle a piano-forte, Sir

Their dress was always plain and worm,
When in their holiday clothes, Sir,
Besides, they had such handsome cheeks,
As red as any rose, Sir.
But now, they’re frilled and furbelowed,
Just like a dancing monkey,
Their bonnets and their great black veils,
Would almost fright a donkey.

When wheat it was a guinea a strike,*
The farmers bore the sway, Sir,
Now with their landlords they will ride,
Upon each hunting day, Sir.
Besides, their daughters they must join
The ladies at the ball, Sir,
The landlords say, we’ll double their rents,
And then their pride must fall, Sir,

I hope no one will think amiss,
At what has here been penned, Sir,
But let us hope that these hard times
May speedily amend, Sir.
It’s all through such confounded pride,
Has brought them to reflection,
It makes poor servants’ wages low,
And keeps them in subjection.

* A strike is four pecks or one bushel, strike measure, which would make wheat eight guineas per quarter.

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