ON THE

DISTRESS'D CONDITION

OF

HONEST FARMERS

If man's possest of common sense,
He may well see, at the first glance,
Mankind a common system is,
And should support
Each other, in their stations here,
And them comfort.

The Governor of all the earth
Has made each being that draws breath,
And ev'ry priv'lege that man hath
'S received from GOD;
Then why should stupid mortals boast
In this abode?

Were men ever to reside
Upon this earth, and here abide,
I could forgive them, though they chide
And grasp at wealth;
Yea, even though they should go the length
Of trick and stealth.

But from the laws of GOD and Nature,
We see what's for us muckle better:
Ne'er trick, nor steal, nor be resetter;
For ill-won gear
Will never give the conscience ease,
I really fear.

For certainly, when death draws near,
Man's conscience in him must stir,
And make him start, even faint for fear,
While judgement waits him,
He should forsake and mercy crave,
Before death takes him.

And though that Fortune has bestow'd
On some great honour, wealth and gold:
If it be truth that man is told,
His charge is greater;
And he's only a steward, call'd
The poor to better.

And if a great Man does what's right,
The poor when they come in his fight,
His wealth will then give him delight,
Haste to relieve them;
Which shews the talents are not hid,
That GOD did give him.

If men of wealth were ne'er so keen,
They're but a wheel in the machine:
Inferiors may as well be seen,
And as much valu'd:
If they do act their functions well,
No more's required.

And if a man would impartial be,
He may see't well, with half an eye,
The man who is of high degree
Is much ador'd;
Yet still the pleb'an is of use
Him to uphold:

By working, drudging and what not,
Although his wage be but a groat,
And though he can't live like a sot,
As some men do,
His daily bread's all his concern,
And plenty too.

Give up to Landlords all their land,
Matters would soon be at a stand;
For work they could not with their hand,
I am no fraiser;
Their natures, sure, need to be chang'd
Like Nebu'dnezzar.

And were their natures all so chang'd,
They must, like sport dogs, all be mang'd,
When from their former soil estrang'd
That was sweet pasture,
And now turn'd out to heath'ry moors,
With great disaster!

For he who hath the wildest land,
When he gets his rent in his hand,
Can up with his companions stand,
And drink and toast,
And Fate and Fortune still defy,
That rule the roast.

But would the Lairds submissive be,
And Landlords of whate'er degree,
And think one moment, they they'll see
I'm not mistaken,
'Tis Lands o'er dear and Factors keen
Make such a breaking.

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