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Come all you gallant poachers
That ramble devoid of care,
That walketh out on a moonlight night
With a dog and gun and snare.
Here's the hares and lofty pheasants,
They stand at your command,
But you don't think on the dangers
All on Van Dieman's land.

Here's poor old Tom Brown from Nottingham,
Jack Williams and poor Joe,
They was three of the daring poachers
The country did well know.
One night they was trap-handed
By the keepers hid in sand
And for fourteen years transported
All on Van Dieman's land.

The very first day we landed
All on that fatal shore
The planters they came round us
About three score or more;
So they harnessed us up like horses
And fit us out of hand
And they yoked us to the plough my boys,
To plough Van Dieman's land.

O those wretched huts that we live in
Is built with clods and clay
And rotten straw for bedding
We dare not say Nay.
Our cottages they're all fenced with fire
We slumber whilst we can
To drive all wolf and tiger
All from Van Dieman's land.

Here is a girl from Nottingham,
Sue Somers is her name,
She got fourteen years transported
For selling of our game.
But the planter's bought her freedom
And married her out of hand
And she proved true and kind to us
All on Van Dieman's land.

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Source: Still Growing. English traditional Songs from the Cecil shearp collection.

This song was collected by Cecil Sharp from a James Prole. Jim was a millwright aged 55 years, probably working in a paper mill, he lived in Monksilver, Somerset. Sharp met Jim on 10 September 1906.

Manuscript References.
FT 1135-1141
FW 1128-1130

Roud: 519 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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