Young men of every station, that dwell within this nation,
Pray hear my lamentation, a sad and mournful tale.
Concerning of five fine young men that lately were confined
And heavily bound in irons in Oakham county gaol.
On the ninth of January, against the laws contrary
Five young men quite unwary, a-poaching went, we hear.
Through Uppinham Woods they rambled, through bushes and through brambles,
And fired at pheasants random, which brought the keepers near.
The keepers did not enter, nor dared those woods to venture
But outside near the centre, an ambush where they stood
These young men being tired, to fly away required
Till at length young Perkins fired, and spilt the keeper's blood.
Then homewards they were making, nine pheasants they were taking
Another keeper faced them, they fired at him also.
He on the ground lay crying, like one that was a-dying
And no assistance nigh him, his blood in streams did flow.
Taken we were with speed for this inhuman deed,
Which caused our hearts to bleed, we were to prison sent;
The assizes drawing near, one of our comrades swore,
That we three brothers fired, for which we now repent.
Their names I now will mention, John, Robert and George Perkins
Three brothers tried for poaching, found guilty as we hear;
Unto the judge they cried, pray mercy don't deny us,
Oh do, my lord, have mercy all on our tender years.
May He who feeds the raven, grant these men peace in Heaven.
And their sins be forgiven, ere they resign their breath;
Never before was known three brothers confined together
Within a dreary prison and sentenced unto death.
So all young men take warning and don't the laws be scorning,
For in our day just dawning, we're cut off in our prime.
So don't the laws encroach on; two of them are transported
And the other hung at Oakham; may God forgive their crime.
As published in "The Foggy Dew" - More songs from the Hammond & Gardner MSS by Frank Purslow.