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Petition of the Pigs in Kent


The “humble Petition of the Pigs, to restore their ancient Privilege of foraging in the Woods during the Acorn Season” appeared in the November 1809 edition of the Sporting Magazine. The bottom line of the poem states “East Kent, Oct. 12—VIGO”.

Tundra sang the Petition of the Pigs in Kent in 1978 on their Sweet Folk and Country album A Kentish Garland. They noted:

Porcine plaisanterie at its peak! It may seem trivial to you or me but foraging for acorns in the woods was a basic pleasure of life for pigs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Imagine their disgruntlement at the removal of this their ancient right. The question is—who originally wrote the song? Was it Shakespeare, or—Bacon?

Andy Turner learned the Petition of the Pigs in Kent from Tundra’s album and sang it as the 8 August 2013 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.


Petition of the Pigs in Kent in Sporting Magazine

Ye owners of woodlands, with all due submission,
We humbly beg leave to present our petition,
That you will be pleas’d to recall your decree,
Which tells us that acorns no longer are free.
In Sussex, in Surrey, and Middlesex too,
Pigs may ramble at large without such ado;
And why, then, in Kent should pretences be found
To drive us like culprits and thieves to the pound?
Since we, and our fathers, and others before ’em
Have rang’d in your woods with, all proper decorum?
No poachers are we, for no game we annoy,
No hares we entrap, and no pheasants decoy;
Contended are we, if an acorn we find,
Nor wish for a feast of a daintier kind.
Besides, we are told (and perhaps not mistaken)
That you and your friends love a slice of good bacon;
But if of good bacon you all love a slice,
If pigs are to starve, how can bacon be nice?
For these and for other wise reasons of state,
We again our petition most humbly repeat,
That you will repeal this severest of laws,
So your woods shall resound with our grunting applause.