A Poor Man’s Queries. Addressed to his Friend by George Saville Carey

Our betters seem to make a rout,
To find the cause of famine out,
Pretend the myst’ry is too great,
To tell us why we have no meat;
Nor can our ablest St—s—n’s head,
Find out the cause we have no bread.
The reason’s plain, I tell you why,
I don’t believe they ever try.

But should they want to lay a tax
Upon our heavy-laden backs,
There is not one but knows the way,
To do it for us any day.

Like dog i’the fair they shift about,
To-day in place, to-morrow out,
Nor shall you find the best resign,
Without some motive or design
To wriggle into better bread;—
Then can you think he’ll plague his head
About such things as you or I,
Who were but born to starve and die?

QUERY I.
Were they like you and I to feel
An appetite, without a meal;
Say, would they not soon find the way,
To move this obstacle away?

II.
Would forestallers and regrators
Until now have ‘scap’d their betters,
If some great rogue ‘tween you and I,
Had not giv’n them authority?
Thieves are seldom hang’d for stealing,
Where my Lord’s a fellow feeling.

III.
If one knave should chance to swing,
O that wou’d be a happy thing.
In such a case, ’tis ten to four,
But he’d impeach a hundred more;
And then I’d lay you nine to ten,
That half of them were N—n,
Or such to whom we give the name,
For they by birth assume the claim,
And have not in reality
The smallest claim to quality.
Titles that once were bravely won,
That have thro’ generations run,
May grace at last a worthless fool,
Perhaps some haughty fav’rite’s tool,
In some base office exercis’d,
And by his countrymen despis’d.

From: Carey, George Saville, The Hills of Hybla: being a collection of original poems, 2008, University of Michigan Library: Ann Arbor, Michigan, pp. 30-32.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/004786427.0001.000)

Date: 1767

By: George Saville Carey (1743-1807)

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