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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
judy Work Songs & Labor Movement (52* d) Lyr Add: THE REQUEST OF THE POOR^^ 23 Oct 97

Here's one I learned off a record called "Staverton Bridge" about being out of work. Although being old (sixpence a day for wages) it rings a bell about how poor people on welfare are regarded and how minumum wage just doesn't make it. My son figured out how much a person would make on minimum wage and before we had finished taking out rent, food and car costs, the amount was in the negative numbers.

The Request of the Poor

Ye gentlemen of England wherever you be
I pray give attention and listen unto me
Relieve the poor in time of distress
For they stand in great need and the lord will you bless
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh

The times are so hard and you very well do know
Thousands of men have no work for to do
If they go to the parish to ask for relief
They're disdained as a beggar, looked on as a thief
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh

If we are young and single the officers say
You may work on the roads for sixpence a day
Sixpence a day! It is shocking to hear
It will not find us food, for provisions are so dear
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh

We must pray to the graziers to afford us relief
To reduce the high prices of mutton and beef
I don't know the reason why meat is so dear
So little is consumed by those that are poor
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh

Our little master tradesmen, their trade is so bad
With rents, rates and taxes, it drives them half mad
They feel the oppression of these times I am sure
And the bailiff they scarcely can keep from the door
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh

There's such pinchin' and gripin' amongst great and small
But pinch in the belly's the worst pinch of all
I had t'other day these few lines from a friend
But I hope in my heart that these bad times will mend
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh

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