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The Great Songs Of The British Isles: from Arielle Gabriel

Van Diemen's Land

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Van Diemen's Land
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The Low Back'd Car
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I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
The Mulligan Guard
Sweet Rosie OGrady
She Moved Through The Fair
Are You There Moriarity?
Abroad As I Was Walking
As I Roved Out One Morning
The Barnyards Of Delgaty

Come, all you gallant poachers,
That ramble free from care,
That walk out of a moonlight night,
With your dog, your gun, and snare;
Where the lusty hare and pheasant
You have at your command,
Not thinking that your last career
Is on Van Diemen's Land

There was poor Tom Brown from Nottingham,
Jack Williams, and poor Joe,
Were three as daring poachers
As the country well does know;
At night they were trapannèd
By the keepers hid in sand,
And for fourteen years transported were
Unto Van Diemen's Land.

Oh! when we sailed from England
We landed at the bay,
We had rotten straw for bedding,
We dared not to say nay.
Our cots were fenced with fire,
(we slumber when we can,)
To drive away the wolves and tigers
Upon Van Diemen's Land.

Oh! when that we were landed
Upon that fatal shore,
The planters they came flocking round,
Full twenty score or more;
They ranked us up like horses,
And sold us out of hand,
They yoked us to the plough, my boys,
To plough Van Diemen's Land.

There was one girl from England,
Susan Summers was her name,
For fourteen years transported was,
We all well knew the same;
Our planter bought her freedom,
And he married her out of hand,
Good usage then she gave to us,
Upon Van Diemen's Land.

Oh! oft when I am slumbering,
I have a pleasant dream:
With my sweet girl I am sitting,
Down by some purling stream,
Through England I am roaming,
With her at my command,
Then waken, brokenhearted,
Upon Van Diemen's Land.

God bless our wives and families,
Likewise that happy shore,
That isle of sweet contentment
Which we shall see no more.
As for our wretched females,
See them we seldom can,
There are twenty to one woman
Upon Van Diemen's Land.

Come all you gallant poachers,
Give ear unto my song,
It is a bit of good advice,
Although it is not long:
Lay by your dog and snare;
To you I do speak plain,
If you knew the hardships we endure
You ne'er would poach again.

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