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'Twas just at the time when in sorrowful strain,
Old England was grievously groaning,
Her natives in sadness, to add to the scene,
The loss of their trade was bemoaning;
To give some redress, in this age of distress,
Some worthies (tho' few in the nation)
As a scheme that might tend, to some favourable end,
Were resolved to promote navigation.

In Lancashire view what a laudable plan,
And brought into fine execution
By Bridgewater's duke; let us copy the man,
And stand to a good resolution;
If the waters of Trent with the Mersey have vent,
What mortal can have an objection!
So they do not proceed, to cut into the Tweed,
With the Scots so have greater connection.

A free intercourse with our principal port,
For trade must be certainly better;
When traffic's extended, and goods easy vended,
In consequence things will be cheaper:
Our commerce must thrive, and the arts will revive
Which are now in a sad situation;
If we follow this notion, from ocean to ocean,
To have a compleat navigation.

To the land what advantages soon must proceed,
When once we have opened our sluices?
Our cattle, and even the land where they feed,
Will be turn'd into far better uses:
'Tis this will enable our merchants abroad
To vie with each neighbouring nation:
Who now, as they tell us, in fact undersell us
For want of this free navigation.
From the 'Gentleman's Magazine', March 1766. As printed in 'Canal Songs' by Jon Raven.
Tune : Marquis of Granby

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