e2bn E2BN
Victorian Crime and Punishment
HomePrisoner case studiesPrisoners19th Century JusticeTeachers Area

19th Century Justice homepage

 
Inmates

Prisoner Poem

These rhymes were written by a prisoner at Maidstone gaol and found in his cell on 26th October 1878.

I cannot take my walk abroad
I'm under lock and key
And much the Public I applaud
For all their care of me

Not more than others I deserve
In fact much less than more
Yet I have food while others starve
Or beg from door to door

The honest pauper in the street
Half naked you behold
While I am clad from head to foot
And covered from the cold

Thousands there are who ne'er can tell
Where they may lay their head
But I've a warm and well-aired cell
A bath, good books and bed

While they are fed on workhouse fare
And grudged their scanty food
Three times a day my meals are there
Sufficient, wholesome, good

Then to the British Public, health!
Who all our care relieves;
While thus they share with us their wealth
They'll never want for thieves