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The Convict’s Farewell
by [?]

Farewell ye partner of my woes, farewell!
The finest language could but faintly tell,
What I now feel in writing this adieu,
What you must suffer when I’m far from you.
There was a time when happiness my lot,
I liv’d serenely in my little cot;
No wicked thoughts did then disturb my rest,
My children round me, by a father prest;
No father now, methinks I hear them say,
He’s gone from us, he’s hurried far away.
Nightly I’ve view’d them in my flurri’d dreams,
Seen their wet eyes and heard their dreadful screams;
Methought my wife came to my lonely cell,
To say adieu, to bid a long farewell;
Soon I awoke and to increase my pains,
I felt my legs encompass’d round with chains;
Then, then I cried oh drunkenness thou cause,
Of this distress, and made me break those laws
That wise men made for every man to keep,
By them deluded, plung’d in crimes so deep.
First step to ruin was a love of dice,
With cards the great promoter of our vice;
I wish those men who do with such things play,
Would ever cast them from their hands away;
I wish all Magistrates would search around,
And punish Publicans where they are found:
They caused me first my Master to neglect,
And after lost me honest men’s respect;
They also led me from a virtuous wife,
And mostly caused me sad disgrace and strife.
View Public Houses, every wealthy Squire,
And force by ten, the spendthrift to retire;
By such a plan, the labouring poor would rise,
Soon as the Sun adorns the heavenly skies:
I’ve stated what have brought me to this end,
And what has lost me every earthly friend;
Except a wife—oh God protect and bless,
Her and our offspring now in great distress.
Young men be cautious how ye spend your time,
A bad acquaintance hurries on a crime;
Sometimes an artful female tries her power,
To trap the giddy in a thoughtless hour;
When she has work’d the captive to her will,
She gladly sees you taking sorrow’s pill;
Cause you to leave a virtuous homely wife,
And lead a sad disgraceful wicked life;
Allur’d by art she’ll bring you to distress,
And like a Millwood to you falsely press;
Then be the first your actions to betray,
A fiend like such caused me to go astray
From them I love, from those my heart hold dear,
And shall till death their memories revere;
When I am clos’d in transport on the sea,
Doubtless my love you’ll sometimes sigh for me.
Bring up my little ones in such a way,
As they will holy keep the sabbath-day;
Early in life do in their minds reveal,
The dreadful crimes to swear, to lie, or steal.
Hannah my eldest daughter place her where,
She’s constant under virtue’s eye and care;
Let her not learn the weaving trade, you’ll find,
That such a course may injure much her mind;
Females are ready to acquire that art,
Soon as they wish fair virtue to depart;
Unwilling oft in service for to be,
Where they can’t dress and have their liberty;
But if with parents they can work at home,
Nightly they hope with idle folks to roam:
At my late sentence I can not complain,
Altho’ the law my body do detain;
Justice tho’ slow has overtaken me,
Abroad for life, I shall be kept from thee;
On a just God for ever I will trust,
I know his will is always right and just.
Tis now too late again to speak to you,
Which is the cause of writing this adieu.
No partner now to sooth my aching heart,
Reflection galls me, at myself I start,
With aching heart and in my lonely cell,
I bid my babes and you—a long farewell.
Methinks I see the transport full in view,
And I with horror meet the harden’d crew;
Full well I know I ne’er shall see you more,
Nor plant a foot-step on my native shore;
On foreign land I’m doom’d my days to toil,
And with vile wretches cultivate the soil.
Stripes I must bear perhaps when quite unwell,
And hear the convicts’ melancholy yell;
A pang I feel when e’er I close the night,
And wish a virtuous wife was in my sight:
England adieu, may you in trade increase,
And free from inward tumults rest in peace.
Our chaplain well I know, will soon impart,
His friendly aid to cheer the drooping heart;
I hope my children he will learn to read,
And teach them early to peruse the creed:
The bell is rung, the waggon is in view,
Wife and dear children now, adieu! adieu!
At thoughts of leaving this my native shore,
Unmans me quite and I can say no more;
I will thro’ life, a better course pursue,
Tho’ far away still leave my heart with you.