Saturday, September 17, 2011

Botany Bay - A New Song




Words: Unknown
Tune: Traditional (I've Been A Wild Boy)




Non-flash audio for iPhone, iPad etc


Right-click to download


Let us drink a good health to our schemers above,
Who at length have contriv'd from this land to remove
Thieves, robbers, and villains, and send them away
To become a new people at Botany Bay.

Such men as have talents, and trades to get bread,
Yet spunge on the public to be cloathed and fed;
Who spend all they get, and turn night into day,
Such sots should be all sent to Botany Bay.

When gay powder'd coxcombs and proud dressy fops,
With very small fortunes set up in great shops;
If they run into debt:—with design not to pay,
They should all be transported to Botany Bay.

The bankrupt who gets his certificate sign'd,
And once more to take in his friends is inclin'd;
All such depredators our ships should convey,
With other less villains, to Botany Bay.

The tradesmen who play at cards, billiards, and dice,
Must pay for their goods an extravagant price;
No, faith, I'm mistaken,—such rogues never pay,
And therefore should all go to Botany Bay.

If at an election an agent is found
Corrupting the voters, or handing bribes round;
Such dabblers in dirty work, send them away,
With those that employ them, to Botany Bay.

When men that are married to good-natur'd wives
Run after lewd wenches, and lead debauch'd lives,
Our wise legislature should send such away
To support their new system at Botany Bay.

The night-walking strumpets that swarm in each street,
Proclaiming their calling to each man they meet,
Are become such a pest, that without more delay,
Those despoilers of youth should be sent to the Bay.

If any proud parson his flock should neglect,
And more than his bible the tythe laws inspect,
Or if he's too lazy to preach or to pray,
Such a drone would be sent out to Botany Bay.

When clerical coxcombs affect the bon ton,
Keep hunters, grooms, footmen, girls, dogs, and a gun;
Much more than their income they squander away,
And are very fit objects for Botany Bay.

If monopolizers will add to their store,
By cruel oppression, and squeezing the poor,
Or jobbers or farmers grow rich in that way,
Such foes to the public should go to the Bay.

If great men above, or our gentry below,
Who talk much of honour, and make a great show,
If they the poor tradesmen don't annually pay,
Send off such defaulters to Botany Bay.

When lecherous whoremasters practise vile arts,
To ruin young virgins, and break parents' hearts,
Or from the fond husband the wife leads astray,
Let such debauch'd stallions be sent to the Bay.

When rakes are promoted they ought to be watch'd,
For some will pass sentence on girls they've debauch'd;
If men break the peace—who to keep peace are paid,
Send off such transgressors to Botany Bay.

Then whores, pimps, and bastards, a large costly crew,
Maintain'd by the sweat of the labouring few,
Should have no commissions, place, pension, or pay;
Such locusts should all go to Botany Bay.

And that our foul nation may cleanly be swept,
Send off all the keepers as well as the kept;
Who beggars his children his bunter to pay,
Should work for a breakfast at Botany Bay.

The hulks and the jails have some thousands in store,
But out of the gaols are ten thousand times more
Who live by fraud, cheating, vile tricks, and foul play,
And should all be sent over to Botany Bay.

Should any take umbrage at what I have writ,
And here find a bonnet, or cap that will fit;
To such I have only this one word to say,—
They're welcome to wear it to Botany Bay.


From the County Magazine, November, 1786.

There is a discussion on Mudcat of this and a (possibly earlier) alternate version.

A version has been recorded by Warren Fahey to a different tune on his Rare Convict Ballads and Broadsides album. (Villikins and his Dinah is sometimes suggested as a tune for this one, but I found it a bit too jaunty.)


The illustration to this post is a lithograph, A government jail gang, Sydney NSW, (Augustus Earle, 1830, lithograph), Rex Nan Kivell Collection, National Library of Australia.

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