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This is probably an allusion to the Night Poaching Act of 1828 by which poachers were sentences to transportation across the seas. and Game Act 1831, established a close season when birds could not be taken legally.[i] The poet is romanticising the past when he says that 'A poor man could shoot a hare, Or bird upon the wing. And not be shot by a gamekeepers'. The Black Act of 1723 included clauses intended to deter poaching by threat of transportation or even death. [ii] and was in force when George III was king. References: [i] [ii]


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