Funny Rigs of Good and Tender-hearted Masters

Come townsmen all and women too,
There is no end of fun
When masters will as masters may
The rig of fancy run.
Of old and steady workmen late
Our masters sadly tired,
Searched England through and through
And then some new ones briskly hired.

Lean-fleshed and lousy, scant of clothes,
Almost as when first born,
Cooked meat they never could have seen
Nor smelt John Barleycorn.
We wondered much, we asked how long
Unhandcuffed they had been,
And others asked if ever they
A carpet loom had seen.

No, they replied,
But masters want experiments to make.
They told us that their pleasure
Was apprentices to take.
Well, said our friends, that's brave,
Pray do your best and learn,
But mind when first you candles snuff
You don't your fingers burn.

Well, quickly unto looms they got,
To work they tried their best;
The masters and the foremen too
Thought they could do the rest.
The lishes, treddles, sword and all
Danced to such a crazy tune
That each loom thought its master
Turned into a crazy loon.

The shuttle vowed whene'er he stirred
He always went astray,
And then he swore that he'd not been
Once right throughout the day.
The draw boys too, God bless the lads
And keep them all from evil,
Wished that strange medley anywhere,
Perhaps unto the devil.

To good workmen they'd long been used,
Able, long-tried and sure,
But such tenpenny fools as these
They never could endure.
They knew by English feeling taught
When law the tyrant plays,
And vowed that rather than submit
They'd suffer all their days.

But masters I'd almost forgot,
And ragamuffins too,
How they went on when I know myself
I'll surely tell to you.
Meantime, could anything cause mirth
Among such great disasters,
It would be such funny rigs
Of good and tender-hearted masters.
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