The humble Petition of a poor Rioter, now under sentence of Death; addressed to his most gracious Sovereign.
Father of Britain, bend thine ear!
To thee the wretched bow.
From dungeons dark, and fest’ring chains,
Groans, poverty and woe.
Oh! Prince belov’d, guilty we plead,
But where can mercy shine,
If perfect innocence alone,
Must feel the beam divine.
Say, shall the rich, th’ unfeeling rich,
Foes to the common cause,
Suffer the poor to go unfed,
Yet sternly threat with Laws?
Since the rich Farmer, who can buy,
Half his proud Lord’s domain,
For private gain exports that food,
The Labourer earns in vain.
Must there, Oh Prince! unpunished go,
And justice only fall,
On the poor, sinful, hungry wretch,
Who acts from Nature’s call?
The hapless Sons of Poverty,
A milder doom implore,
Yet we may serve our native land,
Though banished from her shore.
In distant realms, that own thy sway,
We’ll breast the unfurrowed land,
Where barren plains now useless lie,
And ask the Tiller’s hand.
There will we work, and there will pray,
For thee our gracious Sire,
And there our children shall be taught,
Thy goodness to admire.