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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GerryM Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook (986* d) RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia 20 Dec 20


Mary Parker's Lament
Judy Small

There's a little more grey in the hair nowadays
As I sit here and watching my grandchildren play
And I wonder if they have the faintest idea
Of the life that their grandmother knew.

For it's oh and alas for you Mary my girl
To be torn from the life you knew half round the world
And never again to see home.

It was back in the eighties, a younger girl then
With auburn hair flashing I'd walk with my man
And he'd tell me the places he'd take me to see
If only that he had the means.
But then I was with child and I saw him no more
In the pain of our parting I thought I should die
And I stole from my master some blankets and cloth
Just to keep me and baby alive

But t'was all for a nought for the baby he died
It felt like a part of me perished inside
And for stealing I's sent as a transport to sea
Never knowing for where I was bound.

And it's oh and alas for you Mary my girl
To be torn from the life you knew half round the world
And never again to see home.

Seven long years was the sentence I bore
It felt like a lifetime as I came ashore
And I wept when I saw the life waiting for me
As a chattel, a whore and a slave.

So I married a convict, the safer to be
From the soldiers and the freed men who chased after me
And for seven long years we did work for our keep
Ever dreaming of England and home.

And the children I bore were the joy of my days
I longed for my mother to see them at play
And our hands grew rough from the scrubbing and dirt
And the sun turned our fair skins to brown.

Then on ticket of leave we were granted some land
And worked it and ploughed it by sweat of our hands
And forgot about England except in our dreams
And called New South Wales our true home.

And now here I sit watching my grandchildren play
And looking back over the length of my days
And it's clear in my mind is the Plymouth I knew
And I weep for my mother again.

For it's oh and alas for you Mary my girl
To be torn from the life you knew half round the world
And never again to see home.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

The details of the song are fiction, but there was a convict named Mary Parker who came to Australia with the First Fleet, and Judy Small is a direct descendant. Recording by Judy Small here.


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