Musa Pedestris - Three Centuries of Canting Songs
John S. Farmer
Part 4 out of 4
And got myself up pretty smart;
Then I sallied forth with a careless air,
And contented raspberry tart. 
At the first big pub I resolved, if pos., 
That I'd sample my lucky star;
So I passed a flimsy on to the boss 
Who served drinks at the there you are. 
He looked at the note, and the air began
With his language to pen and ink; 
For the mug I'd fleeced had been his head man, 
And had done him for lots of chink. 
I'm blessed if my luck doesn't hum and ha,
For I argued the point with skill;
But the once a week made me go ta-ta 
For a month on the can't keep still. 
[1: without drink]
[4: swell; row]
[5: get away]
[18: policeman; arrested; drunk and disorderly]
[19: eyes ]
[20: him; advantage]
[27: fellow; cheated]
[28: robbed; money]
[30: everlasting wheel=mill]
WOT CHER! [Notes]
_or, Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Rd._
[By ALBERT CHEVALIER].
Last week down our alley come a toff, 
Nice old geezer with a nasty cough, 
Sees my Missus, takes 'is topper off 
In a very gentlemanly way!
"Ma'am," says he, "I 'ave some news to tell,
Your rich Uncle Tom of Camberwell,
Popped off recent, which it ain't a sell, 
Leaving you 'is little Donkey Shay."
"Wot cher!" all the neighbours cried,
"Who're yer goin' to meet, Bill?
Have yer bought the street, Bill?"
Laugh! I thought I should 'ave died,
Knock'd 'em in the Old Kent Road! 
Some says nasty things about the moke, 
One cove thinks 'is leg is really broke, 
That's 'is envy, cos we're carriage folk,
Like the toffs as rides in Rotten Row!
Straight! it woke the alley up a bit, 
Thought our lodger would 'ave 'ad a fit,
When my missus, who's a real wit,
Says, "I 'ates a Bus, because it's low!"
"Wot cher!" &c.
When we starts the blessed donkey stops,
He won't move, so out I quickly 'ops,
Pals start whackin' him, when down he drops,
Someone says he wasn't made to go.
Lor it might 'ave been a four-in-'and,
My Old Dutch knows 'ow to do the grand, 
First she bows, and then she waves 'er 'and,
Calling out we're goin' for a blow!
"Wot cher!" &c.
Ev'ry evenin' on the stroke of five,
Me and Missus takes a little drive,
You'd say, "Wonderful they're still alive,"
If you saw that little donkey go.
I soon showed him that 'e 'd have to do,
Just whatever he was wanted to,
Still I shan't forget that rowdy crew,
'Ollerin' "Woa! steady! Neddy Woa!
"Wot cher!" &c.
[1: well-dressed man]
[4: died; mistake]
[5: made them stare]
[8: no mistake]
[9: wife; make a show]
OUR LITTLE NIPPER [Notes]
[By ALBERT CHEVALIER].
I'm just about the proudest man that walks,
I've got a little nipper, when 'e talks 
I'll lay yer forty shiners to a quid 
You'll take 'im for the father, me the kid.
Now as I never yet was blessed wi' wealf,
I've 'ad to bring that youngster up myself,
And though 'is education 'as been free,
'E's allus 'ad the best of tips from me. 
And 'e's a little champion,
Do me proud well 'e's a knock out, 
Takes after me and ain't a bit too tall.
'E calls 'is mother "Sally,"
And 'is father "good old pally,"
And 'e only stands about so 'igh, that's all!
'E gits me on at skittles and 'e flukes, 
And when 'e wants to 'e can use 'is "dooks," 
You see 'im put 'em up, well there, it's great,
'E takes a bit of lickin at 'is weight;
'E'll stick up like a Briton for 'is pals,
An' ain't 'e just a terror with the gals;
I loves to see 'im cuttin' of a dash,
A walkin' down our alley on the mash. 
There, 'e's a little champion,
Do me proud well 'e's a knock out,
I've knowed 'im take a girl on six foot tall;
'E'll git 'imself up dossy, 
Say I'm goin' out wi' Flossie,
An' 'e only stands about so 'igh, that's all.
I used to do a gin crawl e'vry night, 
An' very, very often come 'ome tight, 
But now of all sich 'abits I've got rid,
I al'us wants to git 'ome to the kid.
In teachin' 'im I takes a regular pride,
Not books, of course, for them 'e can't abide,
But artful little ikey little ways, 
As makes the people sit up where we stays. 
(_Spoken_)--Only last Sunday me an' the missus took 'im out for a
walk--I should say 'e took us out. As we was a comin' 'ome I says to
the old gal "Let's pop into the 'Broker's Arms' and 'ave a drop o'
beer?" She didn't raise no objection so in we goes, followed by 'is
nibs--I'd forgotten all about 'im--I goes to the bar and calls for two
pots of four 'alf; suddenly I feels 'im a tuggin' at my coat, "Wot's
up?" sez I; "Wot did yer call for?" sez 'e; "Two pots of four 'alf,"
sez I; "Oh," sez 'e, "ain't mother goin' to 'ave none?"
Well, 'e's a little champion,
Do me proud well 'e's a knock out,
"Drink up," sez 'e, "Three pots, miss, it's my call."
I sez "Now Jacky, Jacky;"
'E sez, "And a screw of baccy,"
And 'e only stands about so 'igh, that's all.
[2: shillings; pound]
[9: round of ginshops]
THE COSTER'S SERENADE
[By ALBERT CHEVALIER].
You ain't forgotten yet that night in May,
Down at the Welsh 'Arp, which is 'Endon way,
You fancied winkles and a pot of tea,
"Four 'alf" I murmured's "good enough for me."
"Give me a word of 'ope that I may win"--
You prods me gently with the winkle pin--
We was as 'appy as could be that day
Down at the Welsh 'Arp, which is 'Endon way.
Oh, 'Arriet I'm waiting, waiting for you my dear,
Oh, 'Arriet I'm waiting, waiting alone out here;
When that moon shall cease to shine,
False will be this 'eart of mine,
I'm bound to go on lovin' yer my dear; d'ye 'ear?
You ain't forgotten 'ow we drove that day
Down to the Welsh 'Arp, in my donkey shay;
Folks with a "chy-ike" shouted, "Ain't they smart?" 
You looked a queen, me every inch a Bart.
Seemed that the moke was saying "Do me proud;"
Mine is the nobbiest turn-out in the crowd; 
Me in my "pearlies" felt a toff that day, 
Down at the Welsh 'Arp, which is Endon way.
Oh, 'Arriet, &c.
Eight months ago and things is still the same,
You're known about 'ere by your maiden name,
I'm getting chivied by my pals 'cos why? 
Nightly I warbles 'ere for your reply.
Summer 'as gone, and it's a freezin' now,
Still love's a burnin' in my 'eart, I vow;
Just as it did that 'appy night in May
Down at the Welsh 'Arp, which is Endon way.
Oh, 'Arriet, &c.
[2: finest; trap]
_Rhymes Of The Canting Crew._
[Footnote: Throughout these notes free use has been made of the
_National Dictionary of Biography_; a work which, without
question, contains the latest and most accurately sifted array of
biographical information, much of which could not be obtained from any
other source whatever.]
These lines are of little interest apart from the fact of being the
earliest known example of the Canting speech or Pedlar's French in
English literature. Sorry in point or meaning, they are sorrier still
as verse. Yet, antedating, by half a century or more, the examples
cited by Awdeley and Harman, they possess a certain value they carry
us back almost to the beginnings of Cant, at all events to the time
when the secret language of rogues and vagabonds first began to assume
a concrete form.
Usually ascribed to Thomas Dekker (who "conveyed" them bodily, and
with errors, to _Lanthorne and Candlelight_, published in 1609)
this jingle of popular Canting phrases, strung together almost at
haphazard, is the production of Robert Copland (1508-1547), the author of
_The Hye Way to the Spyttel House_, a pamphlet printed after
1535, and of which only two or three copies are now known. Copland was
a printer-author; in the former capacity a pupil of Caxton in the
office of Wynkyn de Worde.
The plan of _The Hye Way_ is simplicity itself. Copland, taking
refuge near St. Bartholomew's Hospital during a passing shower,
engages the porter in conversation concerning the "losels, mighty
beggars and vagabonds, the michers, hedge-creepers, fylloks and
luskes" that "ask lodging for Our Lord's sake". Thereupon is drawn a
vivid and vigorous picture of the seamy side of the social life of the
times. All grades of "vagrom men," with their frauds and shifts, are
passed in review, and when Copland asks about their "bousy" speech,
the porter entertains him with these lines.
Lines 2 and 4. _Bousy_ = drunken, sottish, dissipated. So Skelton
in _Elynoor Rommin_ (Harl. MSS. ed. Park, I. 416), 'Her face all
_bowsie_'. _Booze_ = to drink heavily, is still colloquial;
and, = to drink, was in use as early as A.D. 1300. Line 4. _Cove_
(or _Cofe_) = a man, an individual. _Maimed nace_
(_nase_ or _nazy_) = helplessly drunk; Lat. _nausea_ =
sickness; _cf_. line 9, '_nace gere_'. Line 5. _Teare_
(_toure_ or _towre_) = to look, to see. _Patrying cove_
(_patrico, patricove_, or _pattercove_) = a strolling
priest; _cf_. Awdeley, _Frat. of Vacabondes_ (1560), p. 6.:--
"A Patriarke Co. doth make marriages, and that is untill death depart
the married folke, which is after this sort: When they come to a dead
Horse or any dead Catell, then they shake hands and so depart, euery
one of them a seuerall way." The form _patrying cove_ seems to
suggest a derivation from 'pattering' or 'muttering'--the Pater-
noster, up to the time of the Reformation, was recited by the priest
in a low voice as far as 'and lead us not into temptation' when the
choir joined in. _Darkman_
_cace_ (or _case_) = a sleeping apartment or place--ward,
barn, or inn: _darkmans_ = night + Lat. _casa_ = house etc.:
'_mans_' is a common canting affix = a thing or place: _e.g.
lightmans_ = day; _ruffmans_ = a wood or bush;
_greenmans_ = the fields; _Chepemans_ = Cheapside market
etc. Line 6. _docked the dell_ = deflowered the girl: _dell_
= virgin; _see_ Harman, _Caveat_ (1575), p. 75:--'A dell is
a yonge wenche, able for generation, and not yet knowen or broken by
the upright man'. _Coper meke_ (or _make_) = a half-penny.
Line 7. _His watch_ = he: _my watch_ = I, or me: _cf_.
'his nabs' and 'my nabs' in modern slang. _Feng_ (A. S.) = to
get, to steal, to snatch. _Prounces nobchete_ = prince's hat or
cap: _cheat_ (A. S.) = thing, and mainly used as an affix: thus,
_belly-chete_ = an apron; _cackling-chete_ = a fowl;
_crashing-chetes_ = the teeth; _nubbing-chete_ = the
gallows, and so forth. Line 8. _Cyarum, by Salmon_--the meaning
of _cyarum_ is unknown: _by Salmon_ (or _Solomon_) = a
beggar's oath, _i.e_., by the altar or mass. _Pek my jere_
= eat excrement: _cf_. 'turd in your mouth'. Line 9. _gan_ =
mouth. _My watch_, see _ante_, line 7. _Nace gere_ =
nauseous stuff: _cf. ante_, line 4: _gere_ = generic for
thing, stuff, or material. Line 10. _bene bouse_ = strong drink
_The Beggar's Curse_
Thomas Dekker, one of the best known of the Elizabethan pamphleteers
and dramatists, was born in London about 1570, and began his literary
career in 1597-8 when an entry referring to a loan-advance occurs in
Henslowe's _Diary_. A month later forty shillings were advanced
from the same source to have him discharged from
the Counter, a debtor's prison. Dekker was a most voluminous writer,
and not always overparticular whence he got, or how he used, the
material for his tracts and plays. _The Belman of London Bringing to
Light the Most Notorious Villanies that are now practised in the
Kingdome_ (1608) of which three editions were published in one
year, consists mainly of pilferings from Harman's _Caveat for Common
Curselors_ first published in 1566-7. He did not escape conviction,
however, for Samuel Rowlands showed him up in _Martin Mark-All_.
Yet another instance of wholesale "conveyance" is mentioned in the
Note to "Canting Rhymes" (_ante_). In spite of this shortcoming,
however, and a certain recklessness of workmanship, the scholar of to-
day owes Dekker a world of thanks: his information concerning the
social life of his time is such as can be obtained nowhere else, and
it is, therefore, now of sterling value.
_Lanthorne and Candlelight_ is the second part of _The Belman
of London_. Published also in 1608, it ran to two editions in 1609,
a fourth appearing in 1612 under the title of _O per se O, or a new
Cryer of Lanthorne and Candlelight, Being an Addition or Lengthening
of the Belman's Second Night Walke_. Eight or nine editions of this
second part appeared between 1608 and 1648 all differing more or less
from each other, another variation occurring when in 1637 Dekker
republished _Lanthorne and Candlelight_ under the title of
_English Villanies_, shortly after which he is supposed to have
_"Towre Out Ben Morts"_
Samuel Rowlands, a voluminous writer _circa_ 1570-1628, though
little known now, nevertheless kept the publishers busy for thirty
years, his works selling readily for another half century. Not the
least valuable of his numerous productions from a social and
antiquarian point of view is _Martin Mark-All, Beadle of Bridewell;
his Defence and Answere to the Belman of London_ (see both Notes
Martin Markall delivers himself of a vivid and "originall" account of
"the Regiment of Rogues, when they first began to take head, and how
they have succeeded one the other successively unto the sixth and
twentieth year of King Henry the Eighth, gathered out of the Chronicle
of Crackropes" etc. He then criticizes somewhat severely the errors
and omissions in Dekker's Canting glossary, adding considerably to it,
and finally joins issue with the Belman in an attempt to give "song
for song". Dekker's "Canting Rhymes" (plagiarised from Copland) and
"The Beggar's Curse" thus apparently gave birth to the present verses
and to those entitled "The Maunder's Wooing" that follow.
Stanza I, line i. _Ben_ = Lat. _bene_ = good. _Mort_ =
a woman, chaste or not. Line 3. _Rome-cove_ = "a great rogue" (B.
E., _Dict. Cant. Crew_, 1690), _i.e_., an organizer, or the
actual perpetrator of a robbery: _quire-cove_ = a subordinate
thief--the money had passed from the actual thief to his confederate.
_Rom_ (or _rum_) and _quier_ (or _queer_) enter
largely into combination, thus--_rom_ = gallant, fine, clever,
excellent, strong; _rom-bouse_ = wine or strong drink; _rum-
bite_ = a clever trick or fraud; _rum-blowen_ = a handsome
mistress; _rum-bung_ = a full purse; _rum-diver_ = a clever
pickpocket; _rum-padder_ = a well-mounted highwayman, etc.: also
_queere_ = base, roguish; _queer-bung_ = an empty purse;
_queer-cole_ = bad money; _queer-diver_ = a bungling
pickpocket; _queer-ken_ = a prison; _queer-mart_ = a
foundered whore, and so forth. _Budge_ = a general verb of
action, usually stealthy action: thus, _budge a beak_ = to give
the constable the slip, or to bilk a policeman; _to budge out_
(or _off_) = to sneak off; _to budge an alarm_ = to give
_The Maunder's Wooing_
_See_ previous Note.
Stanza II, line 2. _Autem mort_ = a wife; thus Harman,
_Caveat_ (1575):--"These Autem Mortes be maried wemen, as there
be but a fewe. For Autem in their Language is a Churche; so she is a
wyfe maried at the Church, and they be as chaste as a Cowe I have,
that goeth to Bull every moone, with what Bull she careth not." Line
5. _wap_ = to lie carnally with.
Stanza IV, line 5. _Whittington_ = Newgate, from the famous Lord
Mayor of London who left a bequest to rebuild the gaol. After standing
for 230 years Whittington's building was demolished in 1666.
Stanza V, line 2. _Crackmans_ = hedges or bushes. _Tip lowr
with thy prat_ = (literally) get money with thy buttocks,
_i.e._ by prostitution.
Stanza VI, line 2. _Clapperdogen_ = (B. E. _Dict. Cant.
Crew,_ 1690) "a beggar born and bred"; also Harman, _Caveat_,
etc. p. 44:--" these go with patched clokes, and have their morts with
them, which they call wives."
_"A Gage Of Ben Rom-Bouse"_
Thomas Middleton, another of the galaxy of Elizabethan writers
contributing so many sidelights on Shakspeare's life and times, is
supposed to have been of gentle birth. He entered Gray's Inn about
1593 and was associated with Dekker in the production of _The
Roaring Girl_, probably having the larger share in the composition.
Authorities concur in tracing Dekker's hand in the canting scenes, but
less certainly elsewhere. The original of Moll Cut-purse was a Mary
Frith (1584--1659), the daughter of a shoemaker in the Barbican.
Though carefully brought up she was particularly restive under
discipline, and finally became launched as a "bully, pickpurse,
fortune-teller, receiver and forger" in all of which capacities she
achieved considerable notoriety. As the heroine of _The Roaring
Girl_ Moll is presented in a much more favorable light than the
Line 11. _And couch till a palliard docked my dell_ = (literally)
'And lie quiet while a beggar deflowered my girl', but here probably =
while a beggar fornicates with my mistress.
_"Bing Out, Bien Morts"_
[See Note to "The Beggar's Curse"]. Dekker introducing these verses
affirms "it is a canting song not ... composed as those of the
Belman's were, out of his owne braine, but by the Canter's themselves,
and sung at their meetings", in which, all things considered, Dekker
is probably protesting overmuch.
Stanza V, line 3. _And wapping dell that niggles well_ = a harlot
or mistress who "spreads" acceptably.
Stanza IX, line 2. _Bing out of the Rom-vile;_
i.e. to Tyburn, then the place of execution: _Rom-vile_ = London.
_The Song Of The Begger_
_The Description of Love_ is an exceedingly scarce little
"garland" which first appeared in 1620; but of that edition no copies
are known to exist. Of the sixth edition, from which this example is
taken, one copy is in the British Museum and another in the library
collected by Henry Huth Esq. A somewhat similar ballad occurs in the
Roxburgh Collection I, 42 (the chorus being almost identical), under
the title of "The Cunning Northern Beggar". The complete title is _A
Description of Love. With certain Epigrams, Elegies, and Sonnets. And
also Mast. Iohnson's Answere to Mast. Withers. With the Crie of
Ludgate, and the Song of the Begger. The sixth Edition. London,
Printed by M. F. for FRANCIS COULES at the Upper end of the Old-Baily
neere Newgate, 1629._
Stanza II, line I. _If a Bung be got by the Hie-law, i.e._ by
_The Maunder's Initation_
John Fletcher(1579--1625), dramatist, a younger son of Dr. Richard
Fletcher afterwards bishop of London, by his first wife Elizabeth, was
born in December 1579 at Rye in Sussex, where his father was then
officiating as minister. A 'John Fletcher of London' was admitted 15
Oct. 1591 a pensioner of Bene't (Corpus) College, Cambridge, of which
college Dr. Fletcher had been president. Dycc assumes that this John
Fletcher, who became one of the bible-clerks in 1593, was the
dramatist. Bishop Fletcher died, in needy circumstances, 15 June 1596,
and by his will, dated 26 Oct. 1593, left his books to be divided
between his sons Nathaniel and John.
_The Beggar's Bush_ was performed at Court at Christmas 1622, and
was popular long after the Restoration.
Fletcher was buried on 29 Aug. 1625 at St. Saviour's, Southwark. 'In
the great plague, 1625,' says Aubrey (_Letters written by Eminent
Persons,_ vol. ii. pt. i. p. 352), 'a knight of Norfolk or Suffolk
invited him into the countrey. He stayed but to make himselfe a suite
of cloathes, and while it was makeing fell sick of the plague and
_The High Pad's Boast_
See Note to "The Maunder's, Initiation", _ante_.
_The Merry Beggars_
Little is known of the birth or extraction of Richard Brome, and
whether he died in 1652 or 1653 is uncertain. For a time he acted as
servant to Ben Jonson. _The Jovial Crew_ was produced in 1641 at
The Cock-pit, a theatre which stood on the site of Pitt Place running
out of Drury Lane into Gt. Wild St.
Stanza I, line 5. _Go-well and Com-well_ = outgoing and incoming.
_A Mort's Drinking Song_
_See_ Note to "The Merry Beggars," _ante_.
"A Beggar I'll Be"
This ballad is from the Bagford Collection which, formed by John
Bagford (1651-1716), passed successively through the hands of James
West (president of the Royal Society), Major Pearson, the Duke of
Roxburghe and Mr. B. H. Bright, until in 1845 it and the more
extensive Roxburghe Collection became the property of the nation.
Stanza II, line 1. _Maunder_ = beggar. Line 2. _filer_ =
pickpocket; _filcher_ = thief. Line 3. _canter_ = a tramping
beggar or rogue. Line 4. _lifter_ = a shop-thief.
Stanza IV, line 8. _Compter_ (or _Counter_), _King's
Bench, nor the Fleet_, all prisons for debtors.
Stanza V, line 6, _jumble_ = to copulate.
Stanza VIII, line 5. _With Shinkin-ap-Morgan, with Blue-cap, or
Teague_ = With a Welshman, Scotchman, or Irishman--generic: as now
are Taffy, Sandy, and Pat.
_A Budg And Snudg Song_
Chappell in _Popular English Music of the Olden Time_ says that
this song appears in _The Canting Academy_ (2nd ed. 1674) but the
writer has been unable to find a copy of the book in question. The
song was very popular, and many versions (all varying) are extant. The
two given have been carefully collated. The portions in brackets [ ],-
-for example stanza II, line 6, stanza III, lines 1--7, stanza IV,
lines 5--8 etc.--only appear in the _New Canting Dict_. (1725).
It was sung to the tune now known as _There was a jolly miller once
lived on the river Dee_.
Title. _Budge_ = "one that slips into a house in the dark, and
taketh cloaks, coats, or what comes next to hand, marching off with
them" (B. E., _Dict. Cant. Crew_, 1690). _Snudge_ = "one
that lurks under a bed, to watch an opportunity to rob the house"--(B.
E., _Dict. Cant. Crew_, 1690).
Stanza I, line 7. _Whitt_= Newgate (see Note p. 204).
Stanza V, line 3. _Jack Ketch_, the public hangman 1663-1686.
_The Maunder's Praise Of His Strowling Mort_
_The Triumph of Wit_ by J. Shirley is a curious piece of
bookmaking--scissors and paste in the main--which ran through many
editions. Divided into three parts, the first two are chiefly
concerned with "the whole art and mystery of love in all its nicest
intrigues", "choice letters with their answers" and such like matters.
Part III contains "the mystery and art of Canting, with the original
and present management thereof, and the ends to which it serves, and
is employed: Illustrated with poems, songs and various intrigues in
the Canting language with the explanation, etc." The songs were
afterwards included in _The New Canting Dict._ (1725), and later
on in _Bacchus and Venus_ (1731).
Title. _Strowling Mort_ = a beggar's trull:--"pretending to be
widows, sometimes travel the countries ... are light-fingered, subtle,
hypocritical, cruel, and often dangerous to meet, especially when the
ruffler is with them" (B. E., _Dict. Cant. Crew_, 1690).
Stanza I, line 1. _Doxy_--"These Doxes be broken and spoyled of
their maydenhead by the upright men, and then they have their name of
Doxes, and not afore. And afterwards she is commen and indifferent for
any that wyll use her".--Harman, _Caveat_, p. 73. Line 3.
_prats_ = buttocks or thighs. Line 4. _wap_ = to copulate
(also stanza IV, line i).
Stanza II, line 4. _clip and kiss_ = to copulate.
_The Rum-Mort's Praise Of Her Faithless Maunder_
Obviously a companion song to the previous example: See Note
_ante_. _Rum-Mort_ = a beggar or gypsy queen.
Stanza I, line 1. _Kinching-cove_ = (literally) a child or young
lad: here as an endearment. Line 4. _Clapperdogeon_ = "The
Paillard or Clapperdogeons, are those that have been brought up to beg
from their infancy, and frequently counterfeit lameness, making their
legs, arms, and hands appear to be sore"--_Triumph of Wit_, p.
Stanza II, line 1. _Dimber-damber_ = a chief man in the Canting
Crew, or the head of a gang. Line 2. _Palliard_ (See note Stanza
I). Line 3. _jockum_ =_penis_. Line 4. _glimmer_ =
fire; here, a pox or clap.
Stanza V, line 1. _crank_ (or _counterfeit-crank_)--"These
that do counterfet the cranke be yong knaves and yonge harlots that
deeply dissemble the falling sickness".--(Harman, _Caveat_, 1814,
p. 33). Line 1. _dommerar_= a beggar feigning deaf and dumb. Line
2. _rum-maunder_ = to feign madness. Line 3. _Abram-cove_ =
a beggar pretending madness to cover theft. Line 4. _Gybes well
jerk'd_ = pass or license cleverly forged.
_The Black Procession_
See Note as to J. Shirley on page 209.
_Frisky Moll's Song_
John Harper (d. 1742), actor, originally performed at Bartholomew and
Southwark fairs. On 27 Oct. 1721 his name appears as Sir Epicure
Mammon in the _Alchemist_ at Drury Lane. Here he remained for
eleven years, taking the parts of booby squires, fox-hunters, etc.,
proving himself what Victor calls 'a jolly facetious low comedian'.
His good voice was serviceable in ballad opera and farce. On account
of his 'natural timidity', according to Davies, he was selected by
Highmore, the patentee, in order to test the status of an actor, to be
the victim of legal proceedings taken under the Vagrant Act, 12 Queen
Anne, and on 12 Nov. 1733 he was committed to Bridewell as a vagabond.
On 20 Nov. he came before the chief justice of the Kings Bench. It was
pleaded on his behalf that he paid his debts, was well esteemed by
persons of condition, was a freeholder in Surrey, and a householder in
Westminster. He was discharged amid acclamations on his own
_The Canter's Serenade_
_The New Canting Dictionary_ (1725) is, in the main, a reprint of
_The Dictionary of the Canting_* _Crew_ (_c_. 1696)
compiled by B. E. The chief difference is that the former contains a
collection of Canting Songs, most of which are included in the present
Stanza I, line 3. _palliards--see_ Note, p. 210, ten lines from
_"Retoure My Dear Dell"_
_See_ Note to "The Canter's Serenade." This song appears to be a
variation of a much older one, generally ascribed to Chas II, entitled
_I pass all my hours in a shady old grove_.
_The Vain Dreamer_
_See_ Note to "The Canter's Serenade."
_"When My Dimber Dell I Courted"_
_See_ Note to "The Canter's Serenade." The first two stanzas
appear in a somewhat different form as "a new song" to the time of
_Beauty's Ruin_ in _The Triumph of Wit_ (1707), of which the
first stanza is as follows:--
When Dorinda first I courted,
She had charms and beauty too;
Conquering pleasures when she sported,
The transport it was ever new:
But wastful time do's now deceive her,
Which her glories did uphold;
All her arts can ne'er relieve her,
Poor Dorinda is grown old.
Stanza I, line 4. _Wap_ = the act of kind. _Dimber dell_ =
pretty wench--"A dell is a yonge wenche, able for generation, and not
yet knowen or broken by the upright man ... when they have beene lyen
with all by the upright man then they be Doxes, and no Dells."--
Stanza III, line 3. _Upright-men_--"the second rank of the
Canting tribes, having sole right to the first night's lodging with
the Dells."--(B. E., _Dict. Cant. Crew_, 1696).
_The Oath Of The Canting Crew_
Bamfylde Moore Carew, the King of the Gypsies, born in 1693, was the
son of the Rector of Bickley, near Tiverton. It is related that to
avoid punishment for a boyish freak he, with some companions, ran away
and joined the gypsies. After a year and a half Carew returned for a
time, but soon rejoined his old friends. His career was a long series
of swindling and imposture, very ingeniously carried out, occasionally
deceiving people who should have known him well. His restless nature
then drove him to embark for Newfoundland, where he stopped but a
short time, and on his return he pretended to be the mate of a vessel,
and eloped with the daughter of a respectable apothecary of Newcastle
on Tyne, whom he afterwards married. He continued his course of
vagabond roguery for some time, and when Clause Patch, a king, or
chief of the gypsies, died, Carew was elected his successor. He was
convicted of being an idle vagrant, and sentenced to be transported to
Maryland. On his arrival he attempted to escape, was captured, and
made to wear a heavy iron collar, escaped again, and fell into the
hands of some friendly Indians, who relieved him of his collar. He
took an early opportunity of leaving his new friends, and got into
Pennsylvania. Here he pretended to be a Quaker, and as such made his
way to Philadelphia, thence to New York, and afterwards to New London,
where he embarked for England. He escaped impressment on board a man-
of-war by pricking his hands and face, and rubbing in bay salt and
gunpowder, so as to simulate smallpox. After his landing he continued
his impostures, found out his wife and daughter, and seems to have
wandered into Scotland about 1745, and is said to have accompanied the
Pretender to Carlisle and Derby. The record of his life from this time
is but a series of frauds and deceptions, and but little is absolutely
known of his career, except that a relative, Sir Thomas Carew of
Hackern, offered to provide for him if he would give up his wandering
life. This he refused to do, but it is believed that he eventually did
so after he had gained some prizes in the lottery. The date of his
death is uncertain. It is generally given, but on no authority, as
being in 1770 but 'I. P.', writing from Tiverton, in _Notes and
Queries_, 2nd series, vol. IV, p. 522, says that he died in 1758.
The story of his life in detail is found in the well-known, and
certainly much-printed, _Life and Adventures of Bamfylde Moore
Carew_, the earliest edition of which (1745) describes him on the
title-page as "the Noted Devonshire Stroller and Dogstealer". This
book professes to have been "noted by himself during his passage to
America", but though no doubt the facts were supplied by Carew
himself, the actual authorship is uncertain, though the balance of
probability lies with Robert Goadby, a printer and compiler of
Sherborne Dorsetshire, who printed an edition in 1749. A correspondent
of _Notes and Queries_, however, states that Mrs. Goadby wrote it
from Carew's dictation. [_N. and Q._ 2 S iii. 4; iv. 330, 440,
Line 1. _Crank Cuffin_ = _Queer Cove_ = a rogue. Line 9.
_Stop-hole Abbey_, "the nick-name of the chief rendezvous of the
Canting Crew ".--(B. E., _Dict. Cant. Crew_, 1696). Line 17.
_Abram_ = formerly a mendicant lunatic of Bethlehem Hospital who
on certain days was allowed to go out begging: hence a beggar feigning
madness. _Ruffler crack_ = an expert rogue. Line 18.
_Hooker_ = "peryllous and most wicked Knaves... for, as they
walke a day times, from house to house, to demaund Charite... well
noting what they see... that will they be sure to have... for they
customably carry with them a staffe of V. of VI. foote long, in which
within one ynch of the tope thereof, ys a lytle hole bored through, in
which hole they putte an yron hoke, and with the same they wyll pluck
unto them quickly anything that they may reche therewith."--(Harman,
_Caveat_, 1869, p. 35, 36). Line 19. _Frater_ = "such as beg
with a sham-patent or brief for Spitals, Prisons, Fires, etc."--(B.
E.). Line 20. _Irish toyle_ = a beggar-thief, working under
pretence of peddling pins, lace, and such-like wares. Line 21.
_Dimber-damber_ = the chief of a gang: also an expert thief.
_Angler_ = hooker (see _ante_). Line 23. _swigman_ = a
beggar peddling haberdashery to cover theft and roguery.
_Clapperdogeon_ = a beggar born and bred, _see_ note p. 210,
tenth line from bottom. Line 24. _Curtal_--"a curtall is much
like to the upright man (that is, one in authority, who may "call to
account", "command a share", chastise those under him, and "force any
of their women to serve his turn"), but hys authority is not fully so
great. He useth commonly to go with a short cloke, like to grey
Friers, and his woman with him in like livery, which he calleth his
Altham if she be hys wyfe, and if she be his harlot, she is called hys
Doxy."--(HARMAN). Line 25. _Whip-jack_ = a rogue begging with a
counterfeit license. _Palliard_ = a beggar born and bred.
_Patrico_ = a hedge-priest. Line 26. _Jarkman_ = "he that
can write and reade, and sometime speake latin. He useth to make
counterfaite licenses which they call gybes, and sets to seales, in
their language called Jarkes. "--(HARMAN). Line 27. _Dommerar_ =
a rogue pretending deaf and dumb. _Romany_ = a gipsy. Line 28.
_The family_ = the fraternity of vagabonds.
_"Come All You Buffers Gay"_
In the Roxburghe Collection (ii. 504) is a ballad upon which the
present song is clearly based. It is called _The West Country Nymph,
or the little maid of Bristol_ to the time of _Young Jemmy_
(_i.e._ the Duke of Monmouth, Charles II's natural son). The
first stanza runs--
Come all you maidens fair,
And listen to my ditty,
In Bristol city fair
There liv'd a damsel pretty.
_The Potato Man_
Stanza II, line 2. _Cly_ = properly pocket, but here is obviously
meant the contents.
Stanza IV, line 1. _Blue bird's-eye_ = a blue and silk
handkerchief with white spots.
_A Slang Pastoral_
Of R. Tomlinson nothing is known. The Dr. Byrom whose poem is here
parodied is perhaps best remembered as the author of a once famous
system of shorthand. He was born in 1691, went to the Merchant
Taylor's School, and at the age of 16 was admitted a pensioner of
Trinity College Cambridge. It was here that he wrote _My time, O ye
muses_. He died in 1763, and his poems, no inconsiderable
collection, were published in 1773.
_"Ye Scamps, Ye Pads, Ye Divers"_
Stanza I, line 1. _The lay_ = a pursuit, a scheme: here =
thievery and roguery in general.
Stanza IV, line 4. _Like Blackamore Othello &c._--the reference
is to _Othello_, v. 2. "Yet she must die, else she'll betray more
men. Put out the light, and then--put out the light."
_The Sandman's Wedding_
Though George Parker's name is not formally attached to this "Cantata"
there would appear little doubt, from internal evidence, that it, with
the two songs immediately following, forms part of a characteristic
series from the pen of this roving soldier-actor. Parker was born in
1732 at Green Street, near Canterbury and was 'early admitted', he
says, 'to walk the quarterdeck as a midshipman on board the Falmouth
and the Guernsey'. A series of youthful indiscretions in London
obliged him to leave the navy, and in or about 1754 to enlist as a
common soldier in the 2Oth regiment of foot, the second battalion of
which became in 1758 the 67th regiment, under the command of Wolfe. In
his regiment he continued a private, corporal, and sergeant for seven
years, was present at the siege of Belleisle, and saw service in
Portugal, Gibraltar, and Minorca. At the end of the war he returned
home as a supernumerary excise-man. About 1761 his friends placed him
in the King's Head inn at Canterbury where he soon failed. Parker went
upon the stage in Ireland, and in company with Brownlow Ford, a
clergyman of convivial habits, strolled over the greater part of the
island. On his return to London he played several times at the
Haymarket, and was later introduced by Goldsmith to Colman. But on
account of his corpulence Colman declined his services. Parker then
joined the provincial strolling companies, and was engaged for one
season with Digges, then manager of the Edinburgh Theatre. At
Edinburgh he married an actress named Heydon, from whom, however, he
was soon obliged to part on account of her dissolute life. Returning
again to London, he set up as wandering lecturer on elocution, and in
this character travelled with varying success through England. In
November 1776 he set out on a visit to France, and lived at Paris for
upwards of six months on funds supplied by his father. His resources
being exhausted, he left Paris in the middle of July 1777 on foot. On
reaching England he made another lecturing tour, which proved
unsuccessful. His wit, humour, and knowledge of the world rendered him
at one time an indispensable appendage to convivial gatherings of a
kind; but in his later days he was so entirely neglected as to be
obliged to sell gingerbread-nuts at fairs and race-meetings for a
subsistance. He died in Coventry poorhouse in April 1800.
_The Happy Pair and The Bunter's Christening and The
See note (_ante_) to "The Sandman's Wedding". _Life's Painter
etc._ ran through several editions.
_The Flash Man of St. Giles_
Stanza II, line 7. _Drunk as David's sow_ = beastly drunk. Grose
(_Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue_) says: One David
Lloyd, a Welshman, who kept an ale-house at Hereford, had a sow with
six legs, which was an object of great curiosity. One day David's
wife, having indulged too freely, lay down in the sty to sleep, and a
company coming to see the sow, David led them to the sty, saying, as
usual, "There is a sow for you! Did you ever see the like?" One of the
visitors replied, "Well, it is the drunkenest sow I ever beheld."
Whence the woman was ever after called "Davy's sow."
_A Leary Mot_
Stanza III, line 1. _Cock and Hen Club_ = a free-and-easy for
Stanza IV, line 4. _Tom Cribb_--_see_ note p. 223.
_"The Night Before Larry was Stretched"_
Neither the authorship nor the date of these inimitable verses are
definitely known. According to the best authorities, Will Maher, a
shoemaker of Waterford, wrote the song. Dr. Robert Burrowes, Dean of
St. Finbar's Cork, to whom it has been so often attributed, certainly
did not. Often quoted in song book and elsewhere. Francis Sylvester
Mahony, better known as "Father Prout" contributed to _Froser's
Magazine_ the following translation into the French.
La mort de Socrate.
_Par l'Abbe de Prout, Cure du Mont-aux-Cressons, pres de Cork._
A la veille d'etre pendu,
Notr' Laurent recut dans son gite,
Honneur qui lui etait bien du,
De nombreux amis la visite;
Car chacun scavait que Laurent
A son tour rendrait la pareille,
Chapeau montre, et veste engageant,
Pour que l'ami put boire bouteille,
Ni faire, a gosier sec, le saut.
"Helas, notre garden!" lui dis-je,
"Combien je regrette ton sort!
Te voila fleur, que sur sa tige
Moisonne la cruelle mort!"--
"Au diable," dit-il, "le roi George!
Ca me fait la valeur d'un bouton;
Devant le boucher qui m'egorge,
Je serai comme un doux mouton,
Et saurai montrer du courage!"
Des amis deja la cohorte
Remplissait son etroit reduit:
Six chandelles, ho! qu'on apporte,
Donnons du lustre a cette nuit!
Alors je cherchai a connaitre
S'il s'etait dument repenti?
"Bah! c'est les fourberies des pretres
Les gredins, ils en ont menti,
Et leurs contes d'enfer sont faux!"
L'on demande les cartes. Au jeu
Laurent voit un larron qui triche;
D'honneur tout rempli, il prend feu,
Et du bon coup de poign l'affiche.
"Ha, coquin! de mon dernier jour
Tu croyais profiler, peut-etre;
Tu oses me jouer ce tour!
Prends ca pour ta peine, vil traitre!
Et apprends a te bien conduire!"
Quand nous eumes cesse nos ebats,
Laurent, en ce triste repaire
Pour le disposer au trepas,
Voit entrer Monsieur le Vicaire.
Apres un sinistre regard,
Le front de sa main il se frotte,
Disant tout haut, "Venez plus tard!"
Et tout has, "Vilaine calotte!"
Puis son verre il vida deux fois.
Lors il parla de l'echaufaud,
Et de sa derniere cravate;
Grands dieux! que ca paraissait beau
De la voir mourir en Socrate!
Le trajet en chantant il fit--
La chanson point ne fut un pseaume;
Mais palit un peu quand il vit
La statute de Roy Guillaume--
Les pendards n'aiment pas ce roi!
Quand fut au bout de son voyage,
Le gibet fut pret en un clin:
Mourant il tourna de visage
Vers la bonne ville de Dublin.
Il dansa la carmagnole,
Et mount comme fit Malbrouck;
Puis nous enterrames le drole
Au cimetiere de Donnybrook
Que son ame y soit en repos!
Stanza V, line 3. _Kilmainham_, a gaol near Dublin.
Stanza VI, line 7. _King William_, the statute of William III
erected on College Green in commemoration of the Battle of the Boyne.
It was long the object of much contumely on the part of the
Nationalists. It was blown to pieces in 1836, but was subsequently
_The Song of the Young Prig_
Said to have been written by Little Arthur Chambers, the Prince of
Prigs, who was one of the most expert thieves of his time. He began to
steal when he was in petticoats, and died a short time before Jack
Sheppard came into notice. Internal evidence, however, renders this
attributed authorship very improbable.
Stanza I, line 1. _Dyots Isle, i.e.,_ Dyot St., St. Giles,
afterwards called George St. Bloomsbury, was a well-known rookery
where thieves and their associates congregated.
Stanza II, line 3. _And I my reading learnt betime From studying
pocket-books._ "Pocket-book" = reader.
Stanza IV, line 1. _To work capital_ = to commit a crime
punishable with death. Previous to 1829 many offences, now thought
comparatively trivial, were deemed to merit the extreme penalty of the
_The Milling Match_
_Tom Cribb's Memorial to Congress_: With a Preface, Notes, and
Appendix. By One of the Fancy. London, Longmans & Co., 1819. There
were several editions. Usually, with good reason, ascribed to Thomas
Moore. It may be remarked that, though the Irish Anacreon's claim to
fame rests avowedly on his more serious contributions to literature,
he was, nevertheless, never so popular as when dealing with what, in
the early part of the present century, was known as THE FANCY.
Pugilism then took the place, in the popular mind, that football and
cricket now occupy. Tom Cribb was born at Hanham in the parish of
Bitton, Gloucestershire, in 1781, and coming to London at the age of
thirteen followed the trade of a bell-hanger, then became a porter at
the public wharves, and was afterwards a sailor. From the fact of his
having worked as a coal porter he became known as the 'Black Diamond,'
and under this appellation he fought his first public battle against
George Maddox at Wood Green on 7 Jan. 1805, when after seventy-six
rounds he was proclaimed the victor, and received much praise for his
coolness and temper under very unfair treatment. In 1807 he was
introduced to Captain Barclay, who, quickly perceiving his natural
good qualities, took him in hand, and trained him under his own eye.
He won the championship from Bob Gregson in 1808 but in 1809 he was
beaten by Jem Belcher. He subsequently regained the belt. After an
unsuccessful venture as a coal merchant at Hungerford Wharf, London,
he underwent the usual metamorphosis from a pugilist to a publican,
and took the Golden Lion in Southwark; but finding this position too
far eastward for his aristocratic patrons he removed to the King's
Arms at the corner of Duke Street and King Street, St. James's, and
subsequently, in 1828, to the Union Arms, 26 Panton Street, Haymarket.
On 24 Jan. 1821 it was decided that Cribb, having held the
championship for nearly ten years without receiving a challenge, ought
not to be expected to fight any more, and was to be permitted to hold
the title of champion for the remainder of his life. On the day of the
coronation of George IV, Cribb, dressed as a page, was among the
prizefighters engaged to guard the entrance to Westminster Hall. His
declining years were disturbed by domestic troubles and severe
pecuniary losses, and in 1839 he was obliged to give up the Union Arms
to his creditors. He died in the house of his son, a baker in the High
Street, Woolwich, on 11 May 1848, aged 67, and was buried in Woolwich
churchyard, where, in 1851, a monument representing a lion grieving
over the ashes of a hero was erected to his memory. As a professor of
his art he was matchless, and in his observance of fair play he was
never excelled; he bore a character of unimpeachable integrity and
_Ya Hip, My Hearties!_
Stanza III, line 8. _Houyhnhnms_. A race of horses endowed with
human reason, and bearing rule over the race of man--a reference to
Dean Swift's _Gulliver's Travels_ (1726).
_Sonnets For The Fancy_
Pierce Egan, the author of the adventures of Tom and Jerry was born
about 1772 and died in 1849. He had won his spurs as a sporting
reporter by 1812, and for eleven years was recognised as one of the
smartest of the epigrammatists, song-writers, and wits of the time.
_Boxiana_, a monthly serial, was commenced in 1818. It consisted
of 'Sketches of Modern Pugilism', giving memoirs and portraits of all
the most celebrated pugilists, contemporary and antecedent, with full
reports of their respective prize-fights, victories, and defeats, told
with so much spirited humour, yet with such close attention to
accuracy, that the work holds a unique position. It was continued in
several volumes, with copperplates, to 1824. At this date, having seen
that Londoners read with avidity his accounts of country sports and
pastimes, he conceived the idea of a similar description of the
amusements pursued by sporting men in town. Accordingly he announced
the publication of _Life in London_ in shilling numbers, monthly,
and secured the aid of George Cruikshank, and his brother, Isaac
Robert Cruikshank, to draw and engrave the illustrations in aquatint,
to be coloured by hand. George IV had caused Egan to be presented at
court, and at once accepted the dedication of the forthcoming work.
This was the more generous on the king's part because he must have
known himself to have been often satirised and caricatured mercilessly
in the _Green Bag_ literature by G. Cruikshank, the intended
illustrator. On 15 July 1821 appeared the first number of _Life in
London_; or, 'The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq., and
his elegant friend, Corinthian Jem, accompanied by Bob Logic, the
Oxonian, in their Rambles and Sprees through the Metropolis.' The
success was instantaneous and unprecedented. It took both town and
country by storm. So great was the demand for copies, increasing with
the publication of each successive number, month by month, that the
colourists could not keep pace with the printers. The alternate scenes
of high life and low life, the contrasted characters, and revelations
of misery side by side with prodigal waste and folly, attracted
attention, while the vivacity of dialogue and description never
Stanza III, line 10. _New Drop_. The extreme penalty of the law,
long carried out at Tyburn (near the Marble Arch corner of Hyde Park),
was ultimately transferred to Newgate. The lament for "Tyburn's merry
roam" was, without doubt, heart-felt and characteristic. Executions
were then one of the best of all good excuses for a picnic and
jollification. Yet the change of scene to Newgate does not appear to
have detracted much from these functions as shows. "Newgate to-day,"
says a recent writer in _The Daily Mail_, is little wanted, and
all but vacant, as a general rule. In former days enormous crowds were
herded together indiscriminately--young and old, innocent and guilty,
men, women, and children, the heinous offender, and the neophyte in
crime. The worst part of the prison was the "Press Yard," the place
then allotted to convicts cast for death. There were as many as sixty
or seventy sometimes within these narrow limits, and most were kept
six months and more thus hovering between a wretched existence and a
shameful death. Men in momentary expectation of being hanged rubbed
shoulders with others still hoping for reprieve. If the first were
seriously inclined, they were quite debarred from private religious
meditation, but consorted, perforce, with reckless ruffians, who
played leap-frog, and swore and drank continually. Infants of tender
years were among the condemned; lunatics, too, raged furiously through
the Press Yard, and were a constant annoyance and danger to all. The
"condemned sermon" in the prison chapel drew a crowd of fashionable
folk, to stare at those who were to die, packed together in a long pew
hung with black, and on a table in front was placed an open coffin.
Outside, in the Old Bailey, on the days of execution, the awful scenes
nearly baffle description. Thousands collected to gloat over the dying
struggles of the criminals, and fought and roared and trampled each
other to death in their horrible eagerness, so that hundreds were
wounded or killed. Ten or a dozen were sometimes hanged in a row, men
and women side by side.
_The True Bottomed Boxer_
_The Universal Songster_, or Museum of Mirth; forming the most
complete collection of ancient and modern songs in the English
language, with a classified Index... Embellished with a Frontispiece
and wood cuts, designed by George Cruikshank etc. 3vols. London, 1825-
Stanza I, line 1. _Moulsey-Hurst rig_ = a prize-fight: Moulsey-
Hurst, near Hampton Court, was long a favorite _venue_ for
pugilistic encounters. Line 3. _Fibbing a nob is most excellent
gig_ = getting in a quick succession of blows on the head is good
fun. Line 4. _Kneading the dough_ = a good pummelling. Line 6.
_Belly-go-firsters_ = an initial blow, generally given in the
stomach. Line 8. _Measuring mugs for a chancery job_ = getting
the head under the arm or 'in chancery'.
Stanza II, line 1. _Flooring_ = downing (a man). _Flushing_
= delivering a blow right on the mark, and straight from the shoulder.
Line 5. _Crossing_ = unfair fighting; shirking.
Stanza III, line 5. _Victualling-office_ = the stomach. Line 6.
_Smeller and ogles_ = nose and eyes. Line 7. _Bread-basket_
= stomach. Line 8. _In twig_ = in form; ready.
_Bobby And His Mary_
[See _ante_ for note on _Universal Songster_].
Stanza I, line 1. _Dyot Street_, see note page 222.
Stanza II, line 16. _St. Pulchre's bell_, the great bell of St.
Sepulchre's Holborn, close to Newgate, always begins to toll a little
before the hour of execution, under the bequest of Richard Dove, who
directed that an exhortation should be made to "... prisoners that are
within, Who for wickedness and sin are appointed to die, Give ear unto
this passing bell."
Thomas John Dibdin (1771-1841), the author of this song, was an actor
and dramatist--an illegitimate son of Charles Dibdin the elder. He
claimed to have written nearly 2000 songs.
_The Pickpocket's Chaunt_
Eugene Francois Vidocq was a native of Arras, where his father was a
baker. From early associations he fell into courses of excess which
led to his flying from the paternal roof. After various, rapid, and
unexampled events in the romance of real life, in which he was
everything by turns and nothing long, he was liberated from prison,
and became the principal and most active agent of police. He was made
chief of the Police de Surete under Messrs. Delavau and Franchet, and
continued in that capacity from the year 1810 till 1827, during which
period he extirpated the most formidable gangs of ruffians to whom the
excesses of the revolution and subsequent events had given full scope
for daring robberies and iniquitous excesses. He settled down as a
paper manufacturer at St. Mande near Paris.
Of Maginn (1793-1842) it may be said he was, without question, one of
the most versatile writers of his time. He is, perhaps, best
remembered in connection with the _Noctes Ambrosianae_, which
first appeared in _Blackwood_, and with the idea of which Maginn
is generally credited. He was also largely concerned with the
inception of _Fraser's_. Maginn's English rendering of Vidocq's
famous song first appeared in _Blackwood_ for July 1829. For the
benefit of the curious the original is appended. It will be seen that
Maginn was very faithful to his copy.
En roulant de vergne en vergne 
Pour apprendre a goupiner, 
J'ai rencontre la mercandiere, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Qui du pivois solisait, 
Lonfa malura donde.
J'ai rencontre la mercandiere
Qui du pivois solisait;
Je lui jaspine en bigorne; 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Qu'as tu donc a morfiller? 
Lonfa malura donde.
Je lui jaspine en bigorne;
Qu'as tu donc a morfiller?
J'ai du chenu pivois sans lance. 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et du larton savonne 
Lonfa malura donde.
J'ai du chenu pivois sans lance
Et du larton savonne,
Une lourde, une tournante, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et un pieu pour roupiller 
Lonfa malura donde.
Une lourde, une tournante
Et un pieu pour roupiller.
J'enquille dans sa cambriole, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Esperant de l'entifler, 
Lonfa malura donde.
J'enquille dans sa cambriole
Esperant de l'entifler;
Je rembroque au coin du rifle, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Un messiere qui pioncait, 
Lonfa malura donde.
Je rembroque au coin du rifle
Un messiere qui pioncait;
J'ai sonde dans ses vallades, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Son carle j'ai pessigue, 
Lonfa malura donde.
J'ai sonde dans ses vallades,
Son carie j'ai pessigue,
Son carle et sa tocquante, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et ses attaches de ce, 
Lonfa malura donde.
Son carle et sa tocquante,
Et ses attaches de ce,
Son coulant et sa montante, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et son combre galuche
Lonfa malura donde.
Son coulant et sa montante
Et son combre galuche, 
Son frusque, aussi sa lisette, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et ses tirants brodanches, 
Lonfa malura donde.
Son frasque, aussi sa lisette
Et ses tirants brodanches.
Crompe, crompe, mercandiere, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Car nous serions bequilles, 
Lonfa malura donde.
Crompe, crompe, mercandiere,
Car nous serions bequilles.
Sur la placarde de vergne, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
II nous faudrait gambiller, 
Lonfa malura donde.
Sur la placarde de vergne
Il nous faudrait gambiller,
Allumes de toutes ces largues, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et du trepe rassemble, 
Lonfa malura donde.
Allumes de toutes ces largues
Et du trepe rassemble;
Et de ces charlots bons drilles, 
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Tous aboulant goupiner. 
Lonfa malura donde.
[1: Vergne, _town._]
[2: Goupiner, _to steal._]
[3: Mercandiere, _tradeswomen._]
[4: Du pivois solisait, _sold wine._]
[5: Jaspine en bigorne, _say in cant._]
[6: Morfiller, _to eat and drink._]
[7: Chenu, _good._ Lance, _water._]
[8: Larton savonne, _white bread._]
[9: Lourde, _door._ Tournante, _key._]
[10: Pieu, _bed._ Roupiller, _to sleep._]
[11: J'enquille, _I enter._ Cambriole, _room._]
[12: Entifler, _to marry._]
[13: Rembroque, _see_. Rifle, _fire_.]
[14: Mesisere _man_. Pioncait, _as sleeping_.]
[15: Vallades, _pockets_.]
[16: Carle, _money_. Pessigue, _taken_.]
[17: Tocquante, _watch_.]
[18: Attaches de ce, _silver buckles_.]
[19: Coulant, _chain_. Montante, _breeches_.]
[20: Combre galuche, _laced hat_.]
[21: Frusque, _coat_. Lisette, _waistcoat_.]
[22: Tirants brodanches, _embroidered stockings_.]
[23: Footnote: Crompe, _run away_.]
[24: Bequilles, _hanged_.]
[25: Placarde de vergne, _public place_.]
[26: Gambiller, _to dance_.]
[27: Allumes, _stared at_. Largues, _women_.]
[28: Trepe, _crowd_.]
[29: Charlots bons drilles, _jolly thieves_.]
[30: Aboulant, _coming_.]
Stanza XIII, line 5. Cotton, the ordinary at Newgate.
_On the Prigging Lay_
H. T. R., the English translator of Vidocq's _Memoirs_ (4 vol.,
1828-9), says of this and the following renderings from the French
that they "with all their faults and all their errors, are to be added
to the list of the translator's sins, who would apologise to the Muse
did he but know which of the nine presides over Slang poetry." The
original of "On the Prigging Lay" is as follows:--
Un jour a la Croix-Rouge
Nous etions dix a douze
(_She interrupted herself with_ "Comme
a l'instant meme.")
Nous etions dix a douze
Tous grinches de renom, 
Nous attendions la sorgue 
Voulant poisser des bogues 
Pour faire du billon.  (_bis_)
Partage ou non partage
Tout est a notre usage;
N'epargnons le poitou 
Poissons avec adresse 
Messieres et gonzesses 
Sans faire de regout.  (_bis_)
Dessus le pont au change
Se criblait au charron, 
J'engantai sa toquante 
Ses attaches brillantes 
Avec ses billemonts.  (_bis_)
Quand douze plombes crossent, 
Ses pegres s'en retournant 
Au tapis de Montron 
Montron ouvre ta lourde, 
Si tu veux que j'aboule, 
Et piausse en ton bocsin.  (_bis_)
Montron drogue a sa larque, 
Bonnis-moi donc girofle 
Qui sont ces pegres-la? 
Des grinchisseurs de bogues, 
Esquinteurs de boutoques, 
Les connobres tu pas?  (_bis_)
Et vite ma culbute; 
Quand je vois mon affure 
Je suis toujours pare 
Du plus grand coeur du monde
Je vais a la profonde 
Pour vous donner du frais, (_bis_)
Mais deja la patrarque, 
Au clair de la moucharde, 
Nous reluge de loin. 
L'aventure est etrange,
Que suivait les roussins.  (_bis_)
A des fois l'on rigole 
Ou bien l'on pavillonne 
Qu'on devrait lansquiner 
Raille, griviers, et cognes 
Nous ont pour la cigogne 
Tretons marrons paumes.  (_bis_)
[5: Let us be cautious]
[6: Let us rob]
[7: citizen and wife]
[8: Awaken suspicion]
[9: Cried "Thief."]
[10: I took his watch.]
[11: His diamond buckles]
[12: His bank notes]
[13: Twelve oclock strikes.]
[14: The thieves]
[15: At the cabinet]
[16: Your door]
[17: Give money]
[18: Sleep at your house]
[19: Asks his wife]
[20: Says my love]
[21: These thieves]
[22: Watch stealers]
[24: Do you not know them?]
[30: The moon]
[31: Look at us.]
[35: To weep]
[36: Exempt, soldiers and gendarmes.]
[37: Palace of justice]
[38: Taken in the act]
_The Lag's Lament_
_See_ Note _ante_, "On the Prigging Lay", The
original runs as follows:--
Air: _L'Heureux Pilote_.
La sorgue dans Pantin, 
Dans mainte et mainte affaire
Faisant tres-bon choppin, 
Ma gente cambriole, 
Rendoublee de camelotte, 
De la dalle au flaquet; 
Je vivais sans disgrace,
Sans regout ni morace, 
Sans taff et sans regret. 
J'ai fait par comblance 
Giroude larguecape, 
Soiffant picton sans lance, 
Pivois non maquille, 
Tirants, passe a la rousse, 
Attaches de gratouse, 
Combriot galuche. 
Cheminant en bon drille,
Un jour a la Courtille
Je m'en etais engante. 
En faisant nos gambades,
Un grand messiere franc, 
Voulant faire parade,
Serre un bogue d'orient. 
Apres la gambriade, 
Le filant sur l'estrade, 
D'esbrouf je l'estourbis, 
J'enflaque sa limace, 
Son bogue, ses frusques, ses passes, 
Je m'en fus au fourallis. 
Par contretemps, ma largue,
Voulant se piquer d'honneur,
Craignant que je la nargue
Moi que n' suis pas taffeur, 
Pour gonfler ses valades
Encasque dans un rade 
Sert des sigues a foison 
On la crible a la grive, 
Je m' la donne et m' esquive, 
Elle est pommee maron. 
Le quart d'oeil lui jabotte 
Mange sur tes nonneurs, 
Lui tire une carotte
Lui montant la couleur. 
L'on vient, on me ligotte, 
Adieu, ma cambriole,
Mon beau pieu, mes dardants 
Je monte a la cigogne, 
On me gerbe a la grotte, 
Au tap et pour douze ans. 
Ma largue n' sera plus gironde,
Je serais vioc aussi; 
Faudra pour plaire au monde,
Clinquant, frusque, maquis. 
Tout passe dans la tigne, 
Et quoiqu'on en juspine. 
C'est un f-- flanchet, 
Douze longes de tirade, 
Pour un rigolade, 
Pour un moment d'attrait.
[1: Evening in Paris.]
[2: A good booty.]
[4: Full of goods.]
[5: Money in the pocket.]
[6: Without fear or uneasiness.]
[7: Without care.]
[8: An increase.]
[9: A handsome mistress.]
[10: Drinking wine without water.]
[11: Unadulterated wine.]
[14: Laced hat.]
[17: A gold watch]
[19: Following him in the boulevard.]
[20: I stun him.]
[21: I take off his shirt.]
[22: I steal his watch, clothes and shoes.]
[23: The receiving house.]
[25: Enters a shop.]
[26: Steals money.]
[27: They call for the guard.]
[28: I fly]
[29: Taken in the fact.]
[30: The commissary questions him.]
[31: Denounces his accomplices.]
[32: Tell a falsehood.]
[33: They tie me.]
[34: My fine bed, my loves.]
[35: The dock.]
[36: They condemn me to the galleys.]
[37: To exposure.]
[40: In this world.]
[41: Whatever people say.]
[43: Twelve years of fetters.]
Stanza II, line 2. _So gay, so nutty and so knowing_--See _Don
Juan_, Canto XI, stanza ...
Stanza VI, line i. Sir Richard Birnie the chief magistrate at Bow St.
_"Nix My Doll, Pals, Fake Away"_
Ainsworth in his preface to _Rookwood_ makes the following
remarks on this and the three following songs:--"As I have casually
alluded to the flash song of Jerry Juniper, I may be allowed to make a
few observations upon this branch of versification. It is somewhat
curious with a dialect so racy, idiomatic, and plastic as our own
cant, that its metrical capabilities should have been so little
essayed. The French have numerous _chansons d'argot_, ranging
from the time of Charles Bourdigne and Villon down to that of Vidocq
and Victor Hugo, the last of whom has enlivened the horrors of his
'_Dernier Jour d'un Condamne_" by a festive song of this class.
The Spaniards possess a large collection of _Romances de
Germania_, by various authors, amongst whom Quevedo holds a
distinguished place. We on the contrary, have scarcely any slang songs
of merit. This barreness is not attributable to the poverty of the
soil, but to the want of due cultivation. Materials are at hand in
abundance, but there have been few operators. Dekker, Beaumont and
Fletcher, and Ben Jonson, have all dealt largely in this jargon, but
not lyrically; and one of the earliest and best specimens of a
canting-song occurs in Brome's '_Jovial Crew;_' and in the
'_Adventures of Bamfylde Moore Carew_' there is a solitary ode
addressed by the mendicant fraternity to their newly-elected monarch;
but it has little humour, and can scarcely be called a genuine
canting-song. This ode brings us down to our own time; to the
effusions of the illustrious Pierce Egan; to Tom Moore's Flights of
'_Fancy;_' to John Jackson's famous chant, '_On the High Toby
Spice flash the Muzzle,_' cited by Lord Byron in a note to '_Don
Juan;_' and to the glorious Irish ballad, worth them all put
together, entitled '_The Night before Larry was stretched_.' This
is attributed to the late Dean Burrowes, of Cork. [_See_ Note, p.
220 _Ed_.]. It is worthy of note, that almost all modern
aspirants to the graces of the _Musa Pedestris_ are Irishmen. Of
all rhymesters of the '_Road_,' however, Dean Burrowes is, as
yet, most fully entitled to the laurel. Larry is quite 'the potato!'
"I venture to affirm that I have done something more than has been
accomplished by my predecessors, or contemporaries, with the
significant language under consideration. I have written _a purely
flash song_; of which the great and peculiar merit consists in its
being utterly incomprehensible to the uninformed understanding, while
its meaning must be perfectly clear and perspicuous to the practised
_patterer_ of _Romany_, or _Pedler's French_. I have,
moreover, been the first to introduce and naturalize amongst us a
measure which, though common enough in the Argotic minstrelsy of
France, has been hitherto utterly unknown to our _pedestrian_
poetry." How mistaken Ainsworth was in his claim, thus ambiguously
preferred, the present volume shows. Some years after the song alluded
to, better known under the title of '_Nix my dolly, pals,--fake
away!'_ sprang into extra-ordinary popularity, being set to music
by Rodwell, and chanted by glorious Paul Bedford and clever little
_The Game Of High Toby_
_The Double Cross_
_See_ note to "Nix my Doll, Pals, etc.," _ante_.
_The House Breaker's Song_
G. W. M. Reynolds followed closely on the heels of Dickens when the
latter scored his great success in _The Pickwick Papers_. He was
a most voluminous scribbler, but none of his productions are of high
_The Faking Boy To The Crap Is Gone_
_The Nutty Blowen_
_The Faker's New Toast_
"Bon Gualtier" was the joint _nom-de-plume_ of W. E. Aytoun and
Sir Theodore Martin. Between 1840 and 1844 they worked together in the
production of _The Bon Gualtier Ballads_, which acquired such
great popularity that thirteen large editions of them were called for
between 1855 and 1877. They were also associated at this time in
writing many prose magazine articles of a humorous character, as well
as a series of translations of Goethe's ballads and minor poems,
which, after appearing in _Blackwood's Magazine_, were some years
afterwards (1858) collected and published in a volume. The four pieces
above mentioned appeared as stated in _Tails Edinburgh Magazine_
under the title of "Flowers of Hemp, or the Newgate Garland," and are
parodies of well-known songs.
_The High Pad's Frolic_
_The Dashy, Splashy.... Little Stringer_
Leman Rede (1802-47) an author of numerous successful dramatic pieces,
and a contributor to the weekly and monthly journals of the day,
chiefly to the _New Monthly_ and _Bentley's_. He was born in
Hamburgh, his father a barrister.
Some of the best parts ever played by Liston, John Reeve, Charles
Mathews, Keeley, and G. Wild were written by him.
_The Bould Yeoman_
_The Bridle-Cull and his little Pop-Gun_
_Miss Dolly Trull_
_The By-Blow Of The Jug_
_See_ Note to "Sonnets for The Fancy" p. 225. Captain Macheath
was one of Egan's latest, and by no means one of his best,
productions. It is now very scarce.
_The Cadger's Ball_
John Labern, a once popular, but now forgotten music-hall artiste, and
song-writer, issued several collections of the songs of the day. It is
from one of these that "The Cadger's Ball" is taken.
_"Dear Bill, This Stone-Jug"_
The state of affairs described in this poem is now happily a thing of
the past. Newgate, as a prison, has almost ceased to be. Only when the
Courts are sitting do its functions commence, and then there is
constant coming and going between the old city gaol and the real
London prison of to-day, Holloway Castle.
_The Leary Man_
_The Vulgar Tongue_, by Ducarge Anglicus, is, as a glossary, of
no account whatever; the only thing not pilfered from Brandon's
_Poverty, Mendicity, and Crime_ being this song. Where that came
from deponent knoweth not.
_A Hundred Stretches Hence_
_The Rogue's Lexicon_, mainly reprinted from Grose's
_Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue_, is of permanent interest and
value to the philologist and student for the many curious survivals
of, and strange shades of meaning occurring in, slang words and
colloquilisms after transplantation to the States. G. W. Matsell was
for a time the chief of the New York police.
_The Chickaleary Cove_
Vance, a music-hall singer and composer in the sixties, made his first
great hit in _Jolly Dogs; or Slap-bang! here we are again_. This
was followed by _The Chickaleary Cove_: a classic in its way.
_'Arry at a Political Picnic_
The 'Arry Ballads' are too fresh in public memory to need extensive
quotation. The example given is a fair sample of the series; which,
taken as a whole, very cleverly "hit off" the idiosyncrasies and
foibles of the London larrikin.
Stanza VIII, line 4. _Walker_ = Be off!
_"Rum Coves that Relieve us"_
Heinrich Baumann, the author of _Londonism en_, an English-German
glossary of cant and slang, to which "Rum Coves that Relieve us" forms
_Villon's Good Night_
_Villon's Straight Tip_
_Culture in the Slums_
William Ernest Henley, poet, critic, dramatist, and editor was born at
Gloucester in 1849, and educated at the same city. In his early years
(says _Men of the Time_) he suffered much from ill-health, and
the first section of his _Book of Verses_ (1888: 4th ed. 1893),
_In Hospital: Rhymes and Rhythms_, was a record of experiences in
the Old Infirmary, Edinburgh, in 1873-5. In 1875 he began writing for
the London magazines, and in 1877 was one of the founders as well as
the editor of _London_. In this journal much of his early verse
appeared. He was afterwards appointed editor of _The Magazine of
Art_, and in 1889 of _The Scots_, afterwards _The National
Observer_. To these journals, as well as to _The Athenaeum_
and _Saturday Review_ he has contributed many critical articles,
a selection of which was published in 1890 under the title of _Views
and Reviews_. In collaboration with Robert Louis Stevenson he has
published a volume of plays, one of which, _Beau Austin_, was
produced at the Haymarket Theatre in 1892. His second volume of
verses--_The Song of the Sword_--marks a new departure in style.
He has edited a fine collection of verses, _Lyra Heroica_, and,
with Mr. Charles Whibley, an anthology of English prose. In 1893 Mr.
Henley received the honour of an L.L.D. degree of St. Andrew's
university. At the present time he is also editing _The New
Review_, a series of _Tudor Translations_, a new _Byron_,
a new _Burns_, and collaborating with Mr. J. S. Farmer in
_Slang and its Analogues_; an historical dictionary of slang.
"_Villon's Straight Tip_: Stanza I, line I. _Screeve_ =
provide (or work with) begging-letters. Line 2. _Fake the broads_
= pack the cards. _Fig a nag_ = play the coper with an old horse
and a fig of ginger. Line 3. _Knap a yack_ = steal a watch. Line
4. _Pitch a snide_ = pass a false coin. _Smash a rag_ =
change a false note. Line 5. _Duff_ = sell sham smugglings.
_Nose and lag_ = collect evidence for the police. Line 6. _Get
the straight_ = get the office, and back a winner. Line 7.
_Multy_ (expletive) = "bloody". Line 8. _Booze and the blowens
cop the lot: cf_. "'Tis all to taverns and to lasses." (A. Lang).
Stanza II, line 1. _Fiddle_ = swindle. _Fence_ = deal in
stolen goods. _Mace_ = welsh. _Mack_ = pimp. Line 2.
_Moskeneer_ = to pawn for more than the pledge is worth. _Flash
the drag_ = wear women's clothes for an improper purpose. Line 3.
_Dead-lurk a crib_ = house-break in church time. _Do a
crack_--burgle with violence. Line 4. _Pad with a slang_ =
tramp with a show. Line 5. _Mump and gag_ = beg and talk. Line 6.
_Tats_ = dice. _Spot_, (at billiards). Line 7. _Stag_ =
Stanza III, line 2. _Flash your flag_ = sport your apron. Line 4.
_Mug_ = make faces. Line 5. _Nix_ = nothing. Line 6.
_Graft_ = trade. Line 7. _Goblins_ = sovereigns.
_Stravag_ = go astray.
The Moral. Liner. /i>Up the spout and Charley Wag_ = expressions of
dispersal. Line 2. _Wipes_ = handkerchiefs. _Tickers_ =
watches. Line 3. _Squeezer_ = halter. _Scrag_ = neck.
_A Plank-Bed Ballad_
_The Rondeau of the Knock_
G. R. Sims ("Dagonet") needs little introduction to present-day
readers. Born in London in 1847, he was educated at Harwell College,
and afterwards at Bonn. He joined the staff of _Fun_ on the death
of Tom Hood the younger in 1874, and _The Weekly Despatch_ the
same year. Since 1877 he has been a contributor to _The Referee_
under the pseudonym of "Dagonet". A voluminous miscellaneous writer,
dramatist, poet, and novelist, M. Sims shows yet no diminution of his
versatility and power.
_Our Little Nipper_
_The Coster's Serenade_
Albert Chevalier, a "coster poet", music-hall artist, and musician of
French extraction was born in Hammersmith. He is a careful, competent
actor of minor parts, and sings his own little ditties extremely well.
THERE are still one or two "waifs and strays" to be mentioned:--
In _Don Juan_, canto XI, stanzas xvii--xix, Byron thus describes
one of his _dramatis personae_.
Poor Tom was once a kiddy upon town,
A thorough varmint and a real swell...
Full flash, all fancy, until fairly diddled,
His pockets first, and then his body riddled.
* * * * *
He from the world had cut off a great man
Who in his time had made heroic bustle.
Who in a row like Tom could lead the van,
Booze in the ken, or in the spellken hustle?
Who queer a flat? Who (spite of Bow Street's ban)
On the high-toby-splice so flash the muzzle?
Who on a lark, with Black-eyed Sal (his blowing)
So prime, so swell, so nutty, and so knowing?
In a note Byron says, "The advance of science and of language has
rendered it unnecessary to translate the above good and true English,
spoken in its original purity by the select mobility and their
patrons. The following is the stanza of a song which was very popular,
at least in my early days:--"
("If there be any German so ignorant as to require a traduction, I
refer him to my old friend and corporeal pastor and master John
Jackson, Esq., Professor of Pugilism.")
On the high toby splice flash the muzzle
In spite of each gallows old scout;
If you at the spellken can't hustle
You'll be hobbled in making a clout.
Then your blowing will wax gallows haughty,
When she hears of your scaly mistake
She'll surely turn snitch for the forty--
That her Jack may be regular weight.
John Jackson, to whom is attributed the slang song of which the
foregoing stanza is a fragment was the son of a London builder. He was
born in London on 28 Sept. 1769, and though he fought but thrice, was
champion of England from 1795 to 1803, when he retired, and was
succeeded by Belcher. After leaving the prize-ring, Jackson
established a school at No. 13 Bond Street, where he gave instructions
in the art of self-defence, and was largely patronised by the nobility
of the day. At the coronation of George IV he was employed, with
eighteen other prize-fighters dressed as pages, to guard the entrance
to Westminster Abbey and Hall. He seems, according to the inscription
on a mezzotint engraving by C. Turner, to have subsequently been
landlord of the Sun and Punchbowl, Holborn, and of the Cock at Button.
He died on 7 Oct. 1845 at No. 4 Lower Grosvenor Street West, London,
in his seventy-seventh year, and was buried in Brompton Cemetery,
where a colossal monument was erected by subscription to his memory.
Byron, who was one of his pupils, had a great regard for him, and
often walked and drove with him in public. It is related that, while
the poet was at Cambridge, his tutor remonstrated with him on being
seen in company so much beneath his rank, and that he replied that
"Jackson's manners were infinitely superior to those of the fellows of
the college whom I meet at 'the high table'" (J. W. Clark, Cambridge,
1890, p. 140). He twice alludes to his 'old friend and corporeal
pastor and master' in his notes to his poems (Byron, _Poetical
Works_, 1885-6, ii. 144, vi. 427), as well as in his 'Hints from
Horace' (ib. i. 503):
And men unpractised in exchanging knocks
Must go to Jackson ere they dare to box.
Moore, who accompanied Jackson to a prize-fight in December 1818,
notes in his diary that Jackson's house was 'a very neat establishment
for a boxer', and that the respect paid to him everywhere was 'highly
comical' (_Memoirs_, ii. 233). A portrait of Jackson, from an
original painting then in the possession of Sir Henry Smythe, bart.,
will be found in the first volume of Miles's 'Pugilistica' (opp. p.
89). There are two mezzotint engravings by C. Turner.
IN Boucicault's _Janet Pride_ (revival by Charles Warner at the
Adelphi Theatre, London in the early eighties) was sung the following
(here given from memory):
The Convict's Song.
Farewell to old England the beautiful!
Farewell to my old pals as well!
Farewell to the famous Old Ba-i-ly
Where I used for to cut sich a swell,
Ri-chooral, ri-chooral, Oh!!!
These seving long years I've been serving,
And seving I've got for to stay,
All for bashin' a bloke down our a-alley,
And a' takin' his huxters away!
There's the Captain, wot is our Commanduer,
There's the Bosun and all the ship's crew,
There's the married as well as the single 'uns,
Knows wot we pore convicks goes through.
It ain't' cos they don't give us grub enough,
It ain't' cos they don't give us clo'es:
It's a-cos all we light-fingred gentery
Goes about with a log on our toes.
Oh, had I the wings of a turtle-dove,
Across the broad ocean I'd fly,
Right into the arms of my Policy love
And on her soft bosum I'd lie!
Now, all you young wi-counts and duchesses,
Take warning by wot I've to say,
And mind all your own wot you touches is,
Or you'll jine us in Botinny Bay!
Ri-chooral, ri-chooral, ri-addiday,
Ri-chooral, ri-chooral, iday.
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