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A poem by James Parkerson

An Address To The Norfolk Yeoman On The Importation Of Foreign Grain

Title:     An Address To The Norfolk Yeoman On The Importation Of Foreign Grain
Author: James Parkerson [More Titles by Parkerson]

On Foreign grain a duty lay,
Good Ministers I pray I pray,
If you our humble suit decline,
How can we meet and take our wine;
Chat about prices at Mark Lane,
To drink a bottle an’t’ prophane;
Did Mr. Pitt one night decline,
To call to aid the generous wine.
C---s cannot at times keep sober,
If they are tempted by October;
Sometimes a R---t---r takes a glass
Of spirits with a pretty lass;
Another thing I can define,
A B---p may get drunk with wine;
If it is placed within his view,
He acts as other people do;
Like us sometimes is prone to sin,
When Satan is alive within;
Sometimes successful he may be,
With B---s Sir as well as we;
And oft it does my feelings shock,
To see how dizzy is their flock;
So hard will they horses ride,
As if it was their daily pride.
Themselves and order to disgrace,
By being at a Foxes chase;
To see a cock fight won’t decline,
A country P---n tho’ divine;
But oh! upon a sabbath day,
How grave they look how much they pray.
Perhaps for sinners in this life,
Or to chat with neighbours wife.
A P---n in a country place,
Not long ago incur’d disgrace,
A neighbour went a dame to see,
A merry one as well could be;
A cock’d hat laid upon a chair,
This Sir is true I do declare;
She call’d, she knock’d, no answer made,
Upstairs she went without perade;
The P---n quick the curtains drew,
To keep the stranger from his view;
The neighbour said I make thus free,
As you invited me to tea;
But as you have a stranger here,
I do intrude I greatly fear.
I oft have heard the people say,
She took the P---n’s hat away;
But ere she reached her happy home,
The P---n to her quick did roam,
Says he good woman that’s my hat!
You know not what you have been at;
Give it me and never say,
What you have witness’d and I’ll pay
You well to let the matter rest,
Within your own untroubled breast
No no, says she this hat I’ll give,
Your wife as I do hope to live;
And tell her where I found it laid,
My trouble will be well repaid;
So R---d Sir to you adieu,
Your conduct I’ll expose to view.
I’ll speak of foreign grain again,
Hope your attention to detain;
Let Ministers a duty lay,
And make the foreign farmer pay
A certain sum on all he send,
Of grain into this fertile land.
Corn Laws are needless I protest,
To be without them would be best;
When crops are thin then grain would sell,
No doubt in Mark Lane very well:
At such a year then foreign grain,
Would flock into our ports again;
Soon an ’twas found enough was sent,
To answer every good intent,
A privy council should declare,
No more should come the present year;
We give to foreign farmers aid,
And starve our own I am afraid.
Free the farmer of all taxes,
The present ones their minds perplexes;
Double or quit the landlords say,
Ease the farmer, make them pay.
Their farms produce them such high price,
In paying taxes can’t be nice;
Let P---s ease the farmers cares,
Theirs is all wheat they get no tares:
The tithes they have advanced so high,
That make the farmer almost cry,
Compel them to throw back a part,
At least a tenth to cheer the heart;
Out of the sum that’s paid for tithe,
That would the farmers mind revive
And tenth of rent they ought to pay,
To drive the farmers grief away:
Yeomen are forced to go to plough,
Then make a P---n milk a cow;
Keep sheep that task they can’t decline,
Or help to feed the fowls and swine.
I think that is a cleaver plan,
’Twould often save a lad or man;
And as they share a tenth produce,
They are bound to make themselves of use;
They ought to teach the youth the creed,
And little girls to spell and read:
They like a fox chase or a play,
To kill the vacant time away;
Or cards or balls or such like things,
Fit only for the eye of Kings.
On Sundays see how quick they walk
Into a church to preach or talk;
So quick they’ll range the sermon o’er,
As you their folly must deplore.
A pointer and a spaniel lay,
Behind the R—t—r. when he pray;
And now and then the dogs will bark,
Which much disturb the sleepy clerk;
He takes and pull them by the ears,
Which much disturb the man of prayers.
Soon as he thinks his dinner’s fit,
He hurries home to ease the spit:
Thank God he has no more to pray,
To clowns until next sabbath day;
When that arrives oh how he sigh,
To know his trouble is so nigh!
Reluctant he to church repair,
Yet not omit to view the fair:
So as to catch the darting eye,
The P---n give when he descry;
She is at leisure to impart,
A smile to cheer his drooping heart:
Soon as he leaves the sacred place,
He anxiously the female trace,
To pass with her a merry joke,
Or else her passion to invoke,
In such a way as suits his mind,
If she is to sly fun inclined.
Many a poor man feeds a boy,
Where P---s leisure time employ;
A poor man’s wife I’ve seen dress fine,
And gain the means from a D—e;
If they have money for to spare,
They’ll will bestow it on the fair
The Cambridge ladies know it well,
I only do the truth now tell;
I’ve known a footman gain a place,
To save a C---e from disgrace;
He gains a calf as well as cow,
To manage matters they know how;
Poor Tom don’t mind if he can find,
The P---n have a generous mind;
They always should to business stick,
Correct their flock read to the sick;
Too oft they do that task delay,
They are the first to go astray.
They ne’er should be a M---g---e,
It makes the people oft them hate;
From them no milk of kindness flow,
It’s seldom mercy they will show.
Too oft they do to prison send,
A man his future life to mend;
He learns in such a place to be,
A hardened villian you may see.
Soon as his liberty he gain,
From acts of tumult wont abstain;
From every virtue he’s bereft,
By company he’s lately kept;
Small faults it’s better to look o’er,
And tell them for to sin no more:
A bridewell often inmates have,
Who do for others riches crave:
In the same cell a boy is placed,
That have incur’d some slight disgrace;
Often he’s placed with such a man
As teach him mischief all he can.
The boy goes out well versed in art,
That his late inmates did impart;
As soon as he his freedom gain,
Do that which causeth grief and pain;
Grown more familiar to a plan,
Of robbing others all he can.
And whilst in prison he was taught,
To tell a lie to screen a fault;
His brother prisoners did him teach,
To crib all trifles in his reach;
Too oft he’s led by poachers where
To fang a bird or catch a hare:
And by advice he choose a spot
Where rambling Keepers see him not.
Poachers I think are less to blame
Then those that often buy the game.
There is a God that dwells on high,
Who will all mortals faults descry;
Should he no mercy to them show,
And send the men of prayers below,
Where Satan dwells and where he reigns,
To plant on sinners chains and pains;
With man let mercy constant rest,
For ever in the mind and breast.
Mercy I fear they never knew,
Or if they did it from them flew;
For virtue only can be found,
Where hearts are good minds are sound;
Humanity few e’er possess’d,
They cannot keep it in their breast.
No, arrogance and pride there dwell,
The poor around all know it well;
Seldom will ope a gaudy door,
To give a penny to the poor:
Yet glad would do it any day,
To turn the applicant away;
Or else to prison send the man,
And gladly punish all they can.
All fain would be a Demi God,
To hold the sharp chastising rod;
Esteem’d by few, by none revered,
And by the poor man greatly feared;
No longer I’ll this theme pursue,
But bid the haughty Sirs, adieu.
A good divine shall be my theme,
The villiage did him much esteem;
A poor distress’d Italian youth,
Whose features bore the marks of truth;
Call’d at the parson’s door to say,
The night was dark he’d lost his way;
The good divine observed the lad
Was sorrowful and thinly clad,
“Step in” says he and shut the door,
“Sometimes I feed the needy poor.
Your outward guarb bespeaks distress,
This night I’ll make your troubles less.”
The youth with gratitude replied,
To earn my living is my pride;
Pictures I sell and glasses too,
Much cheaper then you’ll find a jew;
And soon most pleasing to his eye,
Was ushered a good mutton pie;
And further to afford relief,
Beside the pye a piece of beef;
And likewise quick his heart to cheer,
Between the two a pint of beer.
All night he staid the morning came,
The Parson asked the boy his name;
My name is luckless he replies,
Tears were streaming from his eyes;
Pray do you like this wandering life,
No says the lad it causeth strife.
A joiners business sir I crave,
From selling pictures could I save
Enough, I’d soon a master find,
And to him myself I’d bind.
The Parson soon a master found,
Cloathed the youth and gave ten pound.
He served his time so well ’tis said,
As soon his charity repaid.
He gained a living by his trade,
The Parson gave without parade.
And at the Reverend’s death ’twas found,
He left his boy five hundred pound,
He call’d the boy tho’ grown a man,
Excel this action if you can.

[The end]
James Parkerson's poem: Address To The Norfolk Yeoman On The Importation Of Foreign Grain