Broadside Ballad: ‘The Poor Man Pays For All’

This is just a video of me reading the lyrics for a ballad written in 1630, lamenting that ‘The Poor Man Pays For All’ and playing the tune accompanying it. It’s a bitter attack on the exploitation of the poor by the rich of various professions, including usurers, courtiers, lawyers, pub landlords, brewers, candle-makers, bakers and maltsters. It was written during a period of high inflation caused by the influx of gold from the Spanish colonies in South America. This caused the poor to become poorer, while benefiting enterprising landlords, yeomen farmers and merchants. So like today’s cost of living crisis, the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

Words and music from Roy Palmer, A Ballad History of England from 1588 to the Present Day (London: B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1979)


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One Response to “Broadside Ballad: ‘The Poor Man Pays For All’”

  1. trev Says:

    Some things never change. The poor are always the ones to blame too, the most vulnerable have no voice and are a convenient scapegoat for Society’s ills and the shortcomings of bad leaders. Rachel Reeves gleefully joins in with that tradition; “Labour will be tougher than the Tories on Welfare”, “if you live on State Benefits Labour is not the party for you, we do not represent you” etc.

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