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VAN DIEMAN'S LAND
Traditional

 
                                    Come all you gallant poachers that ramble free from care,
                                    That walk out on a moonlight night with your dog, your gun, your snare;
                                    The harmless hare and pheasant you have at your command,
                                    Not thinkin' of your last career upon Van Dieman's land.
 
                                    'Twas poor Jock Brown frae Glesca, Will Guthrie and Munro,
                                    They were three daring poachers, the country well did know;
                                    The keepers caught them hunting with all their guns in hand,
                                    They were fourteen years transported unto Van Dieman's land.
 
                                    The very day we landed upon that fatal shore,
                                    The settlers they came round us, some forty score or more;
                                    They herded us like cattle and sold us out of hand,
                                    And yoked us to the plough, my boys, to plough Van Dieman's land.
 
                                    There came a lass frae sweet Dundee, Bess Logan was her name,
                                    And she was given sentence for playing of the game;
                                    The captain bought her freedom and married her out of hand,
                                    And she gave us all good usage going to Van Dieman's land.
 
                                    Although the poor of Scotland do labour and do toil,
                                    They're robbed of every blessing and produce of the soil;
                                    Your proud imperious landlords, if you break their commands,
                                    They'll send you on the British hulks to plough Van Dieman's land.
 
Footnote: The 1820 Radicals transported to Australia landed in Port Jackson on 23 May 1821, so this week it seemed appropiate to have a transportation ballad. Of all the transportation ballads 'Van Dieman's Land' has by far the widest circulation - it exists in many variants, not only in the British Isles and Ireland but in Australia and North America as well.

 


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