Song Of The Emigrant.
By John Baron.

AWAY o’er the sea with the Lancashire witches;
Away o’er the sea with the Lancashire boys;
In our colonies bright there is labor and riches,
And the shanty abounds with its primitive joys.
Leave the bell of the tyrant – the noise of the engine
To rot in the tower and to whirr in the shed,
Whilst the sword of the hero falls bright and avenging
On the cold-blooded, plague-spotted slave-owner’s head.
Leave your taskmasters, heartless as was the Egyptian,
And grasping as is the usurious Jew;
Make your home in the bush, though of lowliest description.
‘Twill an Eden soon prove to your children and you.
Away o’er the deep! leave your hypocrites hoary; -
Corrupt politicians, and maw-worms in weed
Seek to keep you at home with some counterfeit story
Like swine in your bug-crowded death sheds to feet.
Leave your cloud-spitting chimnies and brick-blooming meadows,
There is health in the forest, and wealth in the woods;
Come and toil where the sycamore tree overshadows
Perennial verdue and pearl-sprinkled floods.
New Zealand or Queensland, Oh! how they invite us,
Yea, Canada beckons us over the deep;
Our dear Fatherland hath few charms to delight us,
Green pastures await us, rich harvest to reap.

Title:Song of the Emigrant

Author:John Baron

Publication:The Blackburn Times

Published in:Blackburn

Date:July 11, 1863

Keywords:emigration, poverty, slavery, song, war


John Baron’s song offers a vision of emigration as a positive alternative to capitalist exploitation. Canada, New Zealand, and Queensland are portrayed as simple, pastoral places, where the industrial worker might appreciate the natural world and free themselves from the cares of modern life. Bosses and politicians alike are seen as tyrants, preserving their own interests at the expense of working people. The racist tropes present in the third stanza are unfortunately not uncommon in literature of the period, reflecting some of the stereotypes in circulation in Victorian culture. – RM.