1794.16 - "The Tender's Hold, Or, Sailor's Complaint"

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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1794.16
The Tender's Hold,
Or, Sailor's Complaint

Anon
The Cambridge Intelligencer (September 6, 1794)

While Landmen wander uncontrol'd,
    And boast the rights of Freemen,
Oh! view the tender's loathsome hold,
    Where droop your injur'd Seamen:
Dragg'd by Oppression's savage grasp,
    From ev'ry dear connection;
'Midst putrid air, Oh! see them gasp,
    Oh! mark their deep dejection.

        Blush then, Oh! blush ye pension'd host,
            Who wallow in profusion,
        For our foul cell proves all your boast
            To be but mere delusion.

If Liberty be ours, Oh! say
    Why are not all protected;
Why is the hand of ruffian sway
    'Gainst Seamen thus directed?
Is this your proof of British rights?
    Is this rewarding bravery?
Oh! shame to boast your Tars' exploits,
    Yet doom those Tars to slavery.

        Blush, then, &c.

But just return'd from noxious skies,
    And winter's raging ocean,
To land the sun-burnt Seaman flies,
    Impell'd by strong emotion.
His much-lov'd KATE, his children dear,
    Around him cling delighted,
When, lo! th' Impressing Fiends appear,
    And every joy is blighted,

        Blush, then, &c.

Thus from each soft endearment torn,
    Behold the Seaman languish,
His wife, his children, left forlorn,
    The prey of bitter anguish.
'Reft of those arms, whose vigorous strength
    Their shed from want defended,
They droop, and all their woes at length
    Are in a workhouse ended!

        Blush, then, &c.

Mark then, ye minions of a court,
    Who prate of Freedom's blessing,
Yet every hell-born war support,
    And vindicate Impressing,
A time will come, when Things like you,
    Mere baubles of creation,
No more will make mankind pursue
    The work of devestation.

        Blush then, Oh! blush, ye pension'd host,
            Who wallow in profusion,
        For our foul cell proves all your boast
            To be but mere delusion.


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Published @ RC

September 2004