Riot; or, half a loaf is better than no bread
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Or, HALF a LOAF is better than no BREAD.
In a DIALOGUE between Jack Anvil and Tom Hod.
To the Tune of " A Cobler there was," &c.
COME neighbours, no longer be patient and
Come let us go kick up a bit of a riot ;
I am hungry, my lads, but I've little to eat,
So we'll pull down the mills, and ſeize all the meat :
I'll give you good ſport, boys, as ever you ſaw,
So a fig for the Juſtice, a fig for the law.
Then his pitchfork Tom ſeiz'd—Hold a moment
I'll ſhew thee thy blunder, brave boy, in a crack,
And if I don't prove we had better be ſtill,
I'll aſſiſt thee ſtraitway to pull down every mill ;
I'll ſhew thee how paſſion thy reaſon does cheat,
Or I'll join thee in plunder for bread and for meat.
What a whimſey to think thus our bellies to fill,
For we ſtop all the grinding by breaking the mill !
What a whimſey to think we ſhall get more to eat
By abuſing the butchers who get us the meat !
What a whimſey to think we ſhall mend our ſpare
By breeding diſturbance, by murder and riot !
Becauſe I am dry 'twould be fooliſh, I think
To pull out my tap and to ſpill all my drink ;
Becauſe I am hungry and want to be fed,
That is ſure no wife reaſon for wafting my bread ;
And juſt ſuch wife reaſons for mending their diet
Are us'd by thoſe blockheads who ruſh into riot.
I would not take comfort from others diſtreſſes,
But ſtill I would mark how God our land bleſſes ;
For tho' in Old England the times are but ſad,
Abroad I am told they are ten times as bad ;
In the land of the Pope there is ſcarce any grain,
And 'tis ſtill worſe, they ſay, both in Holland and
Let us look to the harveſt our wants to beguile,
See the lands with rich crops how they every
where ſmile !
Mean time to aſſiſt us, by each Weſtern breeze,
Some corn is brought daily acroſs the ſalt ſeas,
Of tea we'll drink little, of gin none at all,
And we'll patiently wait and the prices will fall.
But if we're not quiet, then let us not wonder
If things grow much worſe by our riot and plunder ;
And let us remember whenever we meet,
The more Ale we drink, boys, the leſs we ſhall eat.
On thoſe days ſpent in riot no bread you brought home,
Had you ſpent them in labour you muſt have had ſome.
A dinner of herbs, ſays the wife man, with quiet,
Is better than beef amid diſcord and riot.
If the thing can't be help'd I'm a foe to all ſtriſe,
And I pray for a peace every night of my life ;
But in matters of ſtate not an inch will I budge,
Becauſe I conceive I'm no very good judge.
But tho' poor I can work, my brave boy, with
Let the King and the Parliament manage the reſt ;
I lament both the War and the Taxes together,
Tho' I verily think they don't alter the weather.
The King, as I take it, with very good reaſon,
May prevent a bad law, but can't help a bad ſeaſon.
The Parliament-men, altho' great is their power,
Yet they cannot contrive us a bit of a ſhower ;
And I never yet heard, tho' our Rulers are wife ;
That they know very well how to manage the ſkies ;
For the beſt of them all, as they found to their coſt,
Were not able to hinder laſt winter's hard froſt.
Beſides I muſt ſhare in the wants of the times,
Becauſe I have had my full ſhare in it's crimes ;
And I'm apt to believe the diſtreſs which is ſent,
Is to puniſh and cure us of all diſcontent.
—But harveſt is coming—Potatoes are come !
Our proſpect clears up ; Ye complainers be dumb !
And tho' I've no money, and tho' I've no lands,
I've a head on my ſhoulders, and a pair of good
So I'll work the whole day, and on Sundays I'll ſeek
At church how to bear all the wants of the week.
The Gentlefolks too will afford us ſupplies ;
They'll ſubſcribe—and they'll give up their puddings
Then before I'm induc'd to take part in a Riot,
I'll aſk this ſhort queſtion—What ſhall I get by it ?
So I'll e'en wait a little till cheaper the bread,
For a mittimus hangs o'er each Rioter's head ;
And when of two evils I'm aſk'd which is beſt,
I'd rather be hungry than hang'd, I proteſt.
Quoth Tom, thou art right ; If I rife, I'm a Turk,
So he threw down his pitchfork, and went to his work.
[ Entered at Stationers Hall. ]
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