A Dialogue between a Lord of a Manor, and his Labourer

A Dialogue between a Lord of a Manor, and his Labourer.

LORD:
Well John! I’m glad thou’rt not so misled
To join the mob, and break the laws for bread.

LABOURER:
The laws I’ll keep: and I would keep my life,
My children too from starving, and my wife;
But please your worship, things are now so dear,
Our scanty wages won’t buy bread and beer.

LORD:
John! such as you, born in an humble sphere,
Should learn to live without such bread and beer:
Potatoes may serve for bread, and I think
Water is full as good for you to drink.

LABOURER:
That lace upon your coat, Sir, would buy bread
For me, and my poor children, now half dead
For want of it; you would be full as warm,
Without it, and might spare it without harm.

LORD:
You saucy Slave! must men of my degree
Unlace their coats to purchase bread for thee?
Wast not thou born to labour and to toil?
And too much feeding would thy working spoil.

LABOURER:
Your Lordship talks like any Jew or Turk;
If we can’t eat and drink how should we work?
To do much work don’t you well feed your beast?
And should not men be fed as well at least?
If we mayn’t eat, you must, for all your pelf,
Be your own Labourer, and work yourself.