Present Condition of British Workmen

Now Poor_Laws¹ thus breaks God's commands
For it parts man and wife
Though at the altar hand in hand
Vowed they ne'er would part in life. [Note 316.4]
And thus they treat an Englishman
Where they boast of Christianity
Where Liberty's flag it is unfurled
No one knows their destiny

Now when in work relations will
In numbers visit you
But if unemployed or taken ill
Then your company will not do
Its neglect, or else he is lazy
Or fresh work he might procure
The only friend left is your wife
She stands by you when you are poor.

Trade everywhere is at a stand
The poor man's hopes are destroyed
Let us hope that they'll find labour soon
To support the unemployed
Now wives and suffering children dear
Before their maker kneel
They ask of God what they're to do
They must neither beg nor steal.

Now men you'll find in every trade
In towns both far and near
Without a place to lay their heads
And know not where to steer.
The planets we are born under
There's no one can tell true
We'll put our trust in providence
Our friends are but few

Our master, shopmates¹ and our friends
Have changed since we've grown poor
They have nothing they could give or lend
With spirits broken left their doors. [Note 316.1]
Let us hope that trade will flourish soon
And all bad times away
Perhaps a cloudy morning may
Bring a sun-shiny day.

Mechanics¹ and poor labourers
Are wandering up and down
There is nothing now but poverty
In country and in town;
Machinery and steam-power has
The poor man's hopes destroyed
The pray behold the numbers of
The suffering unemployed.

The invention of machinery
Has caused many to weep and moan;
It has thrown thousands out of work
And drove them from their homes.
Where a hundred hands were once employed
Now there's not more than ten
And this is through machinery
God help poor working men

There is nothing but starvation now
In all parts of England
Shopmates cannot assist now
Though once we went hand in hand
Our friends they used to treat us kind
When we could pay our way
But you know friends change with the times
Now tell us they poor-rates pay

Poor people has now comfort now
There is no bread upon the shelves
Let us pray to God to help the poor
For the rich can help themselves
Now if we to the Union¹ goes
How they will sweat our bones
For a night's shelter or a loaf of bread
They will send us breaking stones. [Note 316.2]

The Parish says they won't relieve
Us without we go in [Note 316.3]
Which caused our families for to grieve
But poverty it is no sin
In the House¹ we are treated worse than slaves
The truth I will impart
If we look or speak we're bad behaved
From our families forced to part.