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  • Writer's pictureHaydn Wheeler

The Western Husbandman's Lamentation Half Penny song, March 1645

Sketch by Stewart MacArthur

"And them the Roundheads fetched away, A mischief be their speed. And had six horses left me whole, And them the Cavaliers stole"

On the above section of verse the King and Parliament were both agreed when it came to plunder.

With the soldiers of both King and Parliament through the English Revolution in quarter, and passing through the Counties, they had in common agreement the act of plunder. With the unruly troops from both sides a

ditty in notice of this agreement was sung by the people who the plundering fell upon.

Said to have originated from a Somerset man and from a 17th century manuscript.

The Western Husbandman's Lamentation Half Penny song.

Us people will work no more Thoust think will labour to be poor? No I have more a do: If of the world this be the trade, That I must break so knaves be made be will a blundering too. Will sell my cart and break my plough, And get a sword if I know how, For I mean to be fight: Will learn to swear, and drink, and roar, And (Gallant leek) will keep a whore, No matter who can fight. God bless us what a world is here, It can near last another year, For I can't be able to so: Thoust think that ever had the heart, To plow the ground up with my cart? My beasts be all a go. But must a Warrant I will get From master Captain, that a cert Will make a shrewd a do: For then have power in any place, To steal a horse without disgrace, And beat the owner too.

I had six oxen the other day, And them the Roundheads fetched away, A mischief be their speed. And had six horses left me whole, And them the Cavaliers stole: we poor men be agreed. Here I do labour, toil, and sweat, And endure the cold, with dry and heat, And what dost think I get? Hast just my labour for my pains, The garrisons have all the gains, There goes my corn, and beans, and peas, I do not dare them to displease, They do so swear and vapour: When to the Governor I do come, And pray him to discharge my sum, Gave nothing but a paper. You dost think that paper will Keep warm my back, and belly fill? No, no, go with thy note: If that another year my field No profit do unto me yield, I may go cut my throat. When any money have in store, Then strait a Warrant comes therefore, Or I must plundered be: And when have shuffled out one pay Then comes another without delay, Was ever the leek a be? If all this be not grief now, They have a thing cold quarter too O is a vengeance waster: A pox upon 't, they call it free, I'm sure they make us slaves to be, And every rogue our master.

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