I used to sing this song in shows a lot but it seems to have been nudged out. I’ve yet to hear anyone else sing or record it. Might pop that on the to do list… Taken from Roy Palmer’s excellent The Painful Plough.
Says the Master to me is it true as I’m told,
Your names on the book of the Union enrolled,
I can never allow that a workman of mine,
With wicked Disturbers of Peace should combine.
Said I to the Master it’s perfectly true,
That I’m in the Union I’ll stick to it too,
And if between Union and you I must choose,
I’ve plenty to win and little to lose.
For twenty years mostly my bread has been dry,
And to butter it now I will certainly try,
And though I respect you remember I pray,
No Master in England shall trample on me.
Says the Master to me in a word or two more,
We never have quarreled on matters before,
If you stick to the Union ‘ere long I’ll be bound,
You’ll come and ask me for more wages all round.
Now I cannot afford more than two bob a day,
And look at the taxes and rent that I pay,
And the crops are so injured by game as you see,
If it’s hard for you it’s hard for me.
Says I to the Master I do not see how,
Any need has arisen for quarreling now,
And though likely enough we shall ask for more wage,
I promise you we shall be first in a rage.