Unformatted text preview: The Bab Ballads The Bab Ballads
(More Bab Ballads) W. S. Gilbert 1 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Mister William
Oh, listen to the tale of MISTER WILLIAM, if you please, Whom naughty, naughty judges sent away beyond the seas. He forged a party's will, which caused anxiety and strife, Resulting in his getting penal servitude for life. He was a kindly goodly man, and naturally prone, Instead of taking others' gold, to give away his own. But he had heard of Vice, and longed for only once to strike - To plan ONE little wickedness - to see what it was like. He argued with himself, and said, "A spotless man am I; I can't be more respectable, however hard I try! For six and thirty years I've always been as good as gold, And now for half an hour I'll plan infamy untold! "A baby who is wicked at the early age of one, And then reforms - and dies at thirty-six a spotless son, Is never, never saddled with his babyhood's defect, But earns from worthy men consideration and respect. "So one who never revelled in discreditable tricks Until he reached the comfortable age of thirty-six, May then for half an hour perpetrate a deed of shame, Without incurring permanent disgrace, or even blame. "That babies don't commit such crimes as forgery is true, But little sins develop, if you leave 'em to accrue; And he who shuns all vices as successive seasons roll, Should reap at length the benefit of so much selfcontrol. "The common sin of babyhood - objecting to be drest - If you leave it to accumulate at compound interest, For anything you know, may represent, if you're alive, A burglary or murder at the age of thirty-five. "Still, I wouldn't take advantage of this fact, but be content With some pardonable folly - it's a mere experiment. The greater the temptation to go wrong, the less the sin; So with something that's particularly tempting I'll begin. "I would not steal a penny, for my income's very fair - I do not want a penny - I have pennies and to spare - And if I stole a penny from a moneybag or till, The sin would be enormous - the temptation being NIL.
2 The Bab Ballads "But if I broke asunder all such pettifogging bounds, And forged a party's Will for (say) Five Hundred Thousand Pounds, With such an irresistible temptation to a haul, Of course the sin must be infinitesimally small. "There's WILSON who is dying - he has wealth from Stock and rent If I divert his riches from their natural descent, I'm placed in a position to indulge each little whim." So he diverted them - and they, in turn, diverted him. Unfortunately, though, by some unpardonable flaw, Temptation isn't recognized by Britain's Common Law; Men found him out by some peculiarity of touch, And WILLIAM got a "lifer," which annoyed him very much. For, ah! he never reconciled himself to life in gaol, He fretted and he pined, and grew dispirited and pale; He was numbered like a cabman, too, which told upon him so That his spirits, once so buoyant, grew uncomfortably low. And sympathetic gaolers would remark, "It's very true, He ain't been brought up common, like the likes of me and you." So they took him into hospital, and gave him mutton chops, And chocolate, and arrowroot, and buns, and malt and hops. Kind Clergymen, besides, grew interested in his fate, Affected by the details of his pitiable state. They waited on the Secretary, somewhere in Whitehall, Who said he would receive them any day they liked to call. "Consider, sir, the hardship of this interesting case: A prison life brings with it something very like disgrace; It's telling on young WILLIAM, who's reduced to skin and bone - Remember he's a gentleman, with money of his own. "He had an ample income, and of course he stands in need Of sherry with his dinner, and his customary weed; No delicacies now can pass his gentlemanly lips - He misses his sea-bathing and his continental trips. "He says the other prisoners are commonplace and rude; He says he cannot relish uncongenial prison food. When quite a boy they taught him to distinguish Good from Bad, And other educational advantages he's had. "A burglar or garotter, or, indeed, a common thief Is very glad to
3 The Bab Ballads batten on potatoes and on beef, Or anything, in short, that prison kitchens can afford, - A cut above the diet in a common workhouse ward. "But beef and mutton-broth don't seem to suit our WILLIAM'S whim, A boon to other prisoners - a punishment to him. It never was intended that the discipline of gaol Should dash a convict's spirits, sir, or make him thin or pale." "Good Gracious Me!" that sympathetic Secretary cried, "Suppose in prison fetters MISTER WILLIAM should have died! Dear me, of course! Imprisonment for LIFE his sentence saith: I'm very glad you mentioned it - it might have been For Death! "Release him with a ticket - he'll be better then, no doubt, And tell him I apologize." So MISTER WILLIAM'S out. I hope he will be careful in his manuscripts, I'm sure, And not begin experimentalizing any more. 4 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Bumboat Woman's Story
I'm old, my dears, and shrivelled with age, and work, and grief, My eyes are gone, and my teeth have been drawn by Time, the Thief! For terrible sights I've seen, and dangers great I've run - I'm nearly seventy now, and my work is almost done! Ah! I've been young in my time, and I've played the deuce with men! I'm speaking of ten years past - I was barely sixty then: My cheeks were mellow and soft, and my eyes were large and sweet, POLL PINEAPPLE'S eyes were the standing toast of the Royal Fleet! A bumboat woman was I, and I faithfully served the ships With apples and cakes, and fowls, and beer, and halfpenny dips, And beef for the generous mess, where the officers dine at nights, And fine fresh peppermint drops for the rollicking midshipmites. Of all the kind commanders who anchored in Portsmouth Bay, By far the sweetest of all was kind LIEUTENANT BELAYE.' LIEUTENANT BELAYE commanded the gunboat HOT CROSS BUN, She was seven and thirty feet in length, and she carried a gun. With a laudable view of enhancing his country's naval pride, When people inquired her size, LIEUTENANT BELAYE replied, "Oh, my ship, my ship is the first of the Hundred and Seventy- ones!" Which meant her tonnage, but people imagined it meant her guns. Whenever I went on board he would beckon me down below, "Come down, Little Buttercup, come" (for he loved to call me so), And he'd tell of the fights at sea in which he'd taken a part, And so LIEUTENANT BELAYE won poor POLL PINEAPPLE'S heart! But at length his orders came, and he said one day, said he, "I'm ordered to sail with the HOT CROSS BUN to the German Sea." And the Portsmouth maidens wept when they learnt the evil day, For every Portsmouth maid loved good LIEUTENANT BELAYE. And I went to a back back street, with plenty of cheap cheap shops,
5 The Bab Ballads And I bought an oilskin hat and a second-hand suit of slops, And I went to LIEUTENANT BELAYE (and he never suspected ME!) And I entered myself as a chap as wanted to go to sea. We sailed that afternoon at the mystic hour of one, - Remarkably nice young men were the crew of the HOT CROSS BUN, I'm sorry to say that I've heard that sailors sometimes swear, But I never yet heard a BUN say anything wrong, I declare. When Jack Tars meet, they meet with a "Messmate, ho! What cheer?" But here, on the HOT CROSS BUN, it was "How do you do, my dear?" When Jack Tars growl, I believe they growl with a big big D- But the strongest oath of the HOT CROSS BUNS was a mild "Dear me!" Yet, though they were all well-bred, you could scarcely call them slick: Whenever a sea was on, they were all extremely sick; And whenever the weather was calm, and the wind was light and fair, They spent more time than a sailor should on his back back hair. They certainly shivered and shook when ordered aloft to run, And they screamed when LIEUTENANT BELAYE discharged his only gun. And as he was proud of his gun - such pride is hardly wrong - The Lieutenant was blazing away at intervals all day long. They all agreed very well, though at times you heard it said That BILL had a way of his own of making his lips look red - That JOE looked quite his age - or somebody might declare That BARNACLE'S long pig-tail was never his own own hair. BELAYE would admit that his men were of no great use to him, "But, then," he would say, "there is little to do on a gunboat trim I can hand, and reef, and steer, and fire my big gun too - And it IS such a treat to sail with a gentle well-bred crew." I saw him every day. How the happy moments sped! Reef topsails! Make all taut! There's dirty weather ahead! (I do not mean that tempests threatened the HOT CROSS BUN, In THAT case, I don't know whatever we SHOULD have done!) After a fortnight's cruise, we put into port one day, And off on leave for a week went kind LIEUTENANT BELAYE, And after a long long week had passed (and it seemed like a life), LIEUTENANT BELAYE
6 The Bab Ballads returned to his ship with a fair young wife! He up, and he says, says he, "O crew of the HOT CROSS BUN, Here is the wife of my heart, for the Church has made us one!" And as he uttered the word, the crew went out of their wits, And all fell down in so many separate fainting-fits. And then their hair came down, or off, as the case might be, And lo! the rest of the crew were simple girls, like me, Who all had fled from their homes in a sailor's blue array, To follow the shifting fate of kind LIEUTENANT BELAYE. ******** It's strange to think that I should ever have loved young men, But I'm speaking of ten years past - I was barely sixty then, And now my cheeks are furrowed with grief and age, I trow! And poor POLL PINEAPPLE'S eyes have lost their lustre now! 7 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Two Ogres
Good children, list, if you're inclined, And wicked children too - This pretty ballad is designed Especially for you. Two ogres dwelt in Wickham Wold - Each TRAITS distinctive had: The younger was as good as gold, The elder was as bad. A wicked, disobedient son Was JAMES M'ALPINE, and A contrast to the elder one, Good APPLEBODY BLAND. M'ALPINE - brutes like him are few - In greediness delights, A melancholy victim to Unchastened appetites. Good, well-bred children every day He ravenously ate, - All boys were fish who found their way Into M'ALPINE'S net: Boys whose good breeding is innate, Whose sums are always right; And boys who don't expostulate When sent to bed at night; And kindly boys who never search The nests of birds of song; And serious boys for whom, in church, No sermon is too long. Contrast with JAMES'S greedy haste And comprehensive hand, The nice discriminating taste Of APPLEBODY BLAND. BLAND only eats bad boys, who swear - Who CAN behave, but DON'T - Disgraceful lads who say "don't care," And "shan't," and "can't," and "won't." Who wet their shoes and learn to box, And say what isn't true, Who bite their nails and jam their frocks, And make long noses too; Who kick a nurse's aged shin, And sit in sulky mopes; And boys who twirl poor kittens in Distracting zoetropes. But JAMES, when he was quite a youth, Had often been to school, And though so bad, to tell the truth, He wasn't quite a fool. At logic few with him could vie; To his peculiar sect He could propose a fallacy With singular effect. So, when his Mentors said, "Expound - Why eat good children - why?" Upon his Mentors he would round With this absurd reply: "I have been taught to love the good - The pure - the unalloyed - And wicked boys, I've understood, I always should avoid.
8 The Bab Ballads "Why do I eat good children - why? Because I love them so!" (But this was empty sophistry, As your Papa can show.) Now, though the learning of his friends Was truly not immense, They had a way of fitting ends By rule of common sense. "Away, away!" his Mentors cried, "Thou uncongenial pest! A quirk's a thing we can't abide, A quibble we detest! "A fallacy in your reply Our intellect descries, Although we don't pretend to spy Exactly where it lies. "In misery and penal woes Must end a glutton's joys; And learn how ogres punish those Who dare to eat good boys. "Secured by fetter, cramp, and chain, And gagged securely - so - You shall be placed in Drury Lane, Where only good lads go. "Surrounded there by virtuous boys, You'll suffer torture wus Than that which constantly annoys Disgraceful TANTALUS. ("If you would learn the woes that vex Poor TANTALUS, down there, Pray borrow of Papa an ex- Purgated LEMPRIERE.) "But as for BLAND who, as it seems, Eats only naughty boys, We've planned a recompense that teems With gastronomic joys. "Where wicked youths in crowds are stowed He shall unquestioned rule, And have the run of Hackney Road Reformatory School!" 9 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Little Oliver
EARL JOYCE he was a kind old party Whom nothing ever could put out, Though eighty-two, he still was hearty, Excepting as regarded gout. He had one unexampled daughter, The LADY MINNIE-HAHA JOYCE, Fair MINNIE-HAHA, "Laughing Water," So called from her melodious voice. By Nature planned for lover-capture, Her beauty every heart assailed; The good old nobleman with rapture Observed how widely she prevailed Aloof from all the lordly flockings Of titled swells who worshipped her, There stood, in pumps and cotton stockings, One humble lover OLIVER. He was no peer by Fortune petted, His name recalled no bygone age; He was no lordling coronetted - Alas! he was a simple page! With vain appeals he never bored her, But stood in silent sorrow by He knew how fondly he adored her, And knew, alas! how hopelessly! Well grounded by a village tutor In languages alive and past, He'd say unto himself, "Knee-suitor, Oh, do not go beyond your last!" But though his name could boast no handle, He could not every hope resign; As moths will hover round a candle, So hovered he about her shrine. The brilliant candle dazed the moth well: One day she sang to her Papa The air that MARIE sings with BOTHWELL In NEIDERMEYER'S opera. (Therein a stable boy, it's stated, Devoutly loved a noble dame, Who ardently reciprocated His rather injudicious flame.) And then, before the piano closing (He listened coyly at the door), She sang a song of her composing - I give one verse from half a score: BALLAD Why, pretty page, art ever sighing? Is sorrow in thy heartlet lying? Come, set a-ringing Thy laugh entrancing, And ever singing And ever dancing. Ever singing, Tra! la! la! Ever dancing, Tra! la! la! Ever singing, ever dancing, Ever singing, Tra! la! la!
10 The Bab Ballads He skipped for joy like little muttons, He danced like Esmeralda's kid. (She did not mean a boy in buttons, Although he fancied that she did.) Poor lad! convinced he thus would win her, He wore out many pairs of soles; He danced when taking down the dinner - He danced when bringing up the coals. He danced and sang (however laden) With his incessant "Tra! la! la!" Which much surprised the noble maiden, And puzzled even her Papa. He nourished now his flame and fanned it, He even danced at work below. The upper servants wouldn't stand it, And BOWLES the butler told him so. At length on impulse acting blindly, His love he laid completely bare; The gentle Earl received him kindly And told the lad to take a chair. "Oh, sir," the suitor uttered sadly, "Don't give your indignation vent; I fear you think I'm acting madly, Perhaps you think me insolent?" The kindly Earl repelled the notion; His noble bosom heaved a sigh, His fingers trembled with emotion, A tear stood in his mild blue eye: For, oh! the scene recalled too plainly The half-forgotten time when he, A boy of nine, had worshipped vainly A governess of forty-three! "My boy," he said, in tone consoling, "Give up this idle fancy - do The song you heard my daughter trolling Did not, indeed, refer to you. "I feel for you, poor boy, acutely; I would not wish to give you pain; Your pangs I estimate minutely, - I, too, have loved, and loved in vain. "But still your humble rank and station For MINNIE surely are not meet" - He said much more in conversation Which it were needless to repeat. Now I'm prepared to bet a guinea, Were this a mere dramatic case, The page would have eloped with MINNIE, But, no - he only left his place. The simple Truth is my detective, With me Sensation can't abide; The Likely beats the mere Effective, And Nature is my only guide. 11 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Pasha Bailey Ben
A proud Pasha was BAILEY BEN, His wives were three, his tails were ten; His form was dignified, but stout, Men called him "Little Roundabout." HIS IMPORTANCE Pale Pilgrims came from o'er the sea To wait on PASHA BAILEY B., All bearing presents in a crowd, For B. was poor as well as proud. HIS PRESENTS They brought him onions strung on ropes, And cold boiled beef, and telescopes, And balls of string, and shrimps, and guns, And chops, and tacks, and hats, and buns. MORE OF THEM They brought him white kid gloves, and pails, And candlesticks, and potted quails, And capstan-bars, and scales and weights, And ornaments for empty grates. WHY I MENTION THESE My tale is not of these - oh no! I only mention them to show The divers gifts that divers men Brought o'er the sea to BAILEY BEN. HIS CONFIDANT A confidant had BAILEY B., A gay Mongolian dog was he; I am not good at Turkish names, And so I call him SIMPLE JAMES. HIS CONFIDANT'S COUNTENANCE A dreadful legend you might trace In SIMPLE JAMES'S honest face, For there you read, in Nature's print, "A Scoundrel of the Deepest Tint." HIS CHARACTER A deed of blood, or fire, or flames, Was meat and drink to SIMPLE JAMES: To hide his guilt he did not plan, But owned himself a bad young man. THE AUTHOR TO HIS READER And why on earth good BAILEY BEN (The wisest, noblest, best of men) Made SIMPLE JAMES his right-hand man Is quite beyond my mental span.
12 The Bab Ballads THE SAME, CONTINUED But there - enough of gruesome deeds! My heart, in thinking of them, bleeds; And so let SIMPLE JAMES take wing, - 'Tis not of him I'm going to sing. THE PASHA'S CLERK Good PASHA BAILEY kept a clerk (For BAILEY only made his mark), His name was MATTHEW WYCOMBE COO, A man of nearly forty-two. HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS No person that I ever knew Could "yodel" half as well as COO, And Highlanders exclaimed, "Eh, weel!" When COO began to dance a reel. HIS KINDNESS TO THE PASHA'S WIVES He used to dance and sing and play In such an unaffected way, He cheered the unexciting lives Of PASHA BAILEY'S lovely wives. THE AUTHOR TO HIS READER But why should I encumber you With histories of MATTHEW COO? Let MATTHEW COO at once take wing, - 'Tis not of COO I'm going to sing. THE AUTHOR'S MUSE Let me recall my wandering Muse; She SHALL be steady if I choose She roves, instead of helping me To tell the deeds of BAILEY B. THE PASHA'S VISITOR One morning knocked, at half-past eight, A tall Red Indian at his gate. In Turkey, as you're p'raps aware, Red Indians are extremely rare. THE VISITOR'S OUTFIT Mocassins decked his graceful legs, His eyes were black, and round as eggs, And on his neck, instead of beads, Hung several Catawampous seeds. WHAT THE VISITOR SAID "Ho, ho!" he said, "thou pale-faced one, Poor offspring of an Eastern sun, You've NEVER seen the Red Man skip Upon the banks of Mississip!" THE AUTHOR'S MODERATION To say that BAILEY oped his eyes Would feebly paint his great surprise - To say it almost made him die Would be to paint it much too
13 The Bab Ballads high. THE AUTHOR TO HIS READER But why should I ransack my head To tell you all that Indian said; We'll let the Indian man take wing, - 'Tis not of him I'm going to sing. THE READER TO THE AUTHOR Come, come, I say, that's quite enough Of this absurd disjointed stuff; Now let's get on to that affair About LIEUTENANT-COLONEL FLARE. 14 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Lieutenant-Colonel Flare
The earth has armies plenty, And semi-warlike bands, I dare say there are twenty In European lands; But, oh! in no direction You'd find one to compare In brotherly affection With that of COLONEL FLARE. His soldiers might be rated As military Pearls. As unsophisticated As pretty little girls! They never smoked or ratted, Or talked of Sues or Polls; The Sergeant-Major tatted, The others nursed their dolls. He spent his days in teaching These truly solemn facts; There's little use in preaching, Or circulating tracts. (The vainest plan invented For stifling other creeds, Unless it's supplemented With charitable DEEDS.) He taught his soldiers kindly To give at Hunger's call: "Oh, better far give blindly, Than never give at all! Though sympathy be kindled By Imposition's game, Oh, better far be swindled Than smother up its flame!" His means were far from ample For pleasure or for dress, Yet note this bright example Of single-heartedness: Though ranking as a Colonel, His pay was but a groat, While their reward diurnal Was - each a five-pound note. Moreover, - this evinces His kindness, you'll allow, - He fed them all like princes, And lived himself on cow. He set them all regaling On curious wines, and dear, While he would sit pale-ale-ing, Or quaffing ginger-beer. Then at his instigation (A pretty fancy this) Their daily pay and ration He'd take in change for his; They brought it to him weekly, And he without a groan, Would take it from them meekly And give them all his own! Though not exactly knighted As knights, of course, should be, Yet no one so delighted In harmless chivalry. If peasant girl or ladye Beneath misfortunes sank, Whate'er distinctions made he, They were not those of rank. No maiden young and comely Who wanted good advice (However poor or homely) Need ask him for it twice. He'd wipe away the blindness That comes of teary dew; His sympathetic kindness No sort of limit knew.
15 The Bab Ballads He always hated dealing With men who schemed or planned; A person harsh - unfeeling - The Colonel could not stand. He hated cold, suspecting, Official men in blue, Who pass their lives detecting The crimes that others do. For men who'd shoot a sparrow, Or immolate a worm Beneath a farmer's harrow, He could not find a term. Humanely, ay, and knightly He dealt with such an one; He took and tied him tightly, And blew him from a gun. The earth has armies plenty, And semi-warlike bands, I'm certain there are twenty In European lands; But, oh! in no direction You'd find one to compare In brotherly affection With that of COLONEL FLARE. 16 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Lost Mr. Blake
MR. BLAKE was a regular out-and-out hardened sinner, Who was quite out of the pale of Christianity, so to speak, He was in the habit of smoking a long pipe and drinking a glass of grog on a Sunday after dinner, And seldom thought of going to church more than twice or - if Good Friday or Christmas Day happened to come in it - three times a week. He was quite indifferent as to the particular kinds of dresses That the clergyman wore at church where he used to go to pray, And whatever he did in the way of relieving a chap's distresses, He always did in a nasty, sneaking, underhanded, hole-and- corner sort of way. I have known him indulge in profane, ungentlemanly emphatics, When the Protestant Church has been divided on the subject of the proper width of a chasuble's hem; I have even known him to sneer at albs - and as for dalmatics, Words can't convey an idea of the contempt he expressed for THEM. He didn't believe in persons who, not being well off themselves, are obliged to confine their charitable exertions to collecting money from wealthier people, And looked upon individuals of the former class as ecclesiastical hawks; He used to say that he would no more think of interfering with his priest's robes than with his church or his steeple, And that he did not consider his soul imperilled because somebody over whom he had no influence whatever, chose to dress himself up like an exaggerated GUY FAWKES. This shocking old vagabond was so unutterably shameless That he actually went a-courting a very respectable and pious middle-aged sister, by the name of BIGGS. She was a rather attractive widow, whose life as such had always been particularly blameless; Her first husband had left her a secure but moderate competence, owing to some fortunate speculations in the matter of figs. She was an excellent person in every way - and won the respect even of MRS. GRUNDY, She was a good housewife, too, and wouldn't have wasted a penny if she had owned the Koh-i-noor. She was just as strict as
17 The Bab Ballads he was lax in her observance of Sunday, And being a good economist, and charitable besides, she took all the bones and cold potatoes and broken pie-crusts and candle-ends (when she had quite done with them), and made them into an excellent soup for the deserving poor. I am sorry to say that she rather took to BLAKE - that outcast of society, And when respectable brothers who were fond of her began to look dubious and to cough, She would say, "Oh, my friends, it's because I hope to bring this poor benighted soul back to virtue and propriety, And besides, the poor benighted soul, with all his faults, was uncommonly well off. And when MR. BLAKE'S dissipated friends called his attention to the frown or the pout of her, Whenever he did anything which appeared to her to savour of an unmentionable place, He would say that "she would be a very decent old girl when all that nonsense was knocked out of her," And his method of knocking it out of her is one that covered him with disgrace. She was fond of going to church services four times every Sunday, and, four or five times in the week, and never seemed to pall of them, So he hunted out all the churches within a convenient distance that had services at different hours, so to speak; And when he had married her he positively insisted upon their going to all of them, So they contrived to do about twelve churches every Sunday, and, if they had luck, from twenty-two to twenty-three in the course of the week. She was fond of dropping his sovereigns ostentatiously into the plate, and she liked to see them stand out rather conspicuously against the commonplace half-crowns and shillings, So he took her to all the charity sermons, and if by any extraordinary chance there wasn't a charity sermon anywhere, he would drop a couple of sovereigns (one for him and one for her) into the poor-box at the door; And as he always deducted the sums thus given in charity from the housekeeping money, and the money he allowed her for her bonnets and frillings, She soon began to find that even charity, if you allow it to interfere with your personal luxuries, becomes an intolerable bore. On Sundays she was always melancholy and anything but good society, For that day in her household was a day of sighings and sobbings
18 The Bab Ballads and wringing of hands and shaking of heads: She wouldn't hear of a button being sewn on a glove, because it was a work neither of necessity nor of piety, And strictly prohibited her servants from amusing themselves, or indeed doing anything at all except dusting the drawing- rooms, cleaning the boots and shoes, cooking the parlour dinner, waiting generally on the family, and making the beds. But BLAKE even went further than that, and said that people should do their own works of necessity, and not delegate them to persons in a menial situation, So he wouldn't allow his servants to do so much as even answer a bell. Here he is making his wife carry up the water for her bath to the second floor, much against her inclination, - And why in the world the gentleman who illustrates these ballads has put him in a cocked hat is more than I can tell. After about three months of this sort of thing, taking the smooth with the rough of it, (Blacking her own boots and peeling her own potatoes was not her notion of connubial bliss), MRS. BLAKE began to find that she had pretty nearly had enough of it, And came, in course of time, to think that BLAKE'S own original line of conduct wasn't so much amiss. And now that wicked person - that detestable sinner ("BELIAL BLAKE" his friends and well-wishers call him for his atrocities), And his poor deluded victim, whom all her Christian brothers dislike and pity so, Go to the parish church only on Sunday morning and afternoon and occasionally on a week-day, and spend their evenings in connubial fondlings and affectionate reciprocities, And I should like to know where in the world (or rather, out of it) they expect to go! 19 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Baby's Vengeance
Weary at heart and extremely ill Was PALEY VOLLAIRE of Bromptonville, In a dirty lodging, with fever down, Close to the Polygon, Somers Town. PALEY VOLLAIRE was an only son (For why? His mother had had but one), And PALEY inherited gold and grounds Worth several hundred thousand pounds. But he, like many a rich young man, Through this magnificent fortune ran, And nothing was left for his daily needs But duplicate copies of mortgage-deeds. Shabby and sorry and sorely sick, He slept, and dreamt that the clock's "tick, tick," Was one of the Fates, with a long sharp knife, Snicking off bits of his shortened life. He woke and counted the pips on the walls, The outdoor passengers' loud footfalls, And reckoned all over, and reckoned again, The little white tufts on his counterpane. A medical man to his bedside came. (I can't remember that doctor's name), And said, "You'll die in a very short while If you don't set sail for Madeira's isle." "Go to Madeira? goodness me! I haven't the money to pay your fee!" "Then, PALEY VOLLAIRE," said the leech, "good bye; I'll come no more, for your're sure to die." He sighed and he groaned and smote his breast; "Oh, send," said he, "for FREDERICK WEST, Ere senses fade or my eyes grow dim: I've a terrible tale to whisper him!" Poor was FREDERICK'S lot in life, - A dustman he with a fair young wife, A worthy man with a hard-earned store, A hundred and seventy pounds - or more. FREDERICK came, and he said, "Maybe You'll say what you happened to want with me?" "Wronged boy," said PALEY VOLLAIRE, "I will, But don't you fidget yourself - sit still." THE TERRIBLE TALE.
20 The Bab Ballads "'Tis now some thirty-seven years ago Since first began the plot that I'm revealing, A fine young woman, whom you ought to know, Lived with her husband down in Drum Lane, Ealing. Herself by means of mangling reimbursing, And now and then (at intervals) wet-nursing. "Two little babes dwelt in their humble cot: One was her own - the other only lent to her: HER OWN SHE SLIGHTED. Tempted by a lot Of gold and silver regularly sent to her, She ministered unto the little other In the capacity of foster-mother. "I WAS HER OWN. Oh! how I lay and sobbed In my poor cradle deeply, deeply cursing The rich man's pampered bantling, who had robbed My only birthright - an attentive nursing! Sometimes in hatred of my foster-brother, I gnashed my gums - which terrified my mother. "One day - it was quite early in the week - I IN MY CRADLE HAVING PLACED THE BANTLING - Crept into his! He had not learnt to speak, But I could see his face with anger mantling. It was imprudent - well, disgraceful maybe, For, oh! I was a bad, blackhearted baby! "So great a luxury was food, I think No wickedness but I was game to try for it. NOW if I wanted anything to drink At any time, I only had to cry for it! ONCE, if I dared to weep, the bottle lacking, My blubbering involved a serious smacking! "We grew up in the usual way - my friend, My foster-brother, daily growing thinner, While gradually I began to mend, And thrived amazingly on double dinner. And every one, besides my foster-mother, Believed that either of us was the other. "I came into HIS wealth - I bore HIS name, I bear it still - HIS property I squandered - I mortgaged everything - and now (oh, shame!) Into a Somers Town shake-down I've wandered! I am no PALEY - no, VOLLAIRE - it's true, my boy! The only rightful PALEY V. is YOU, my boy! "And all I have is yours - and yours is mine. I still may place you in your true position: Give me the pounds you've saved, and I'll resign My noble name, my rank, and my condition. So far my wickedness in falsely owning Your vasty wealth, I am at last atoning!"
21 The Bab Ballads ******* FREDERICK he was a simple soul, He pulled from his pocket a bulky roll, And gave to PALEY his hard-earned store, A hundred and seventy pounds or more. PALEY VOLLAIRE, with many a groan, Gave FREDERICK all that he called his own, - Two shirts and a sock, and a vest of jean, A Wellington boot and a bamboo cane. And FRED (entitled to all things there) He took the fever from MR. VOLLAIRE, Which killed poor FREDERICK WEST. Meanwhile VOLLAIRE sailed off to Madeira's isle. 22 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Captain And The Mermaids
I sing a legend of the sea, So hard-a-port upon your lee! A ship on starboard tack! She's bound upon a private cruise - (This is the kind of spice I use To give a salt-sea smack). Behold, on every afternoon (Save in a gale or strong Monsoon) Great CAPTAIN CAPEL CLEGGS (Great morally, though rather short) Sat at an open weather-port And aired his shapely legs. And Mermaids hung around in flocks, On cable chains and distant rocks, To gaze upon those limbs; For legs like those, of flesh and bone, Are things "not generally known" To any Merman TIMBS. But Mermen didn't seem to care Much time (as far as I'm aware) With CLEGGS'S legs to spend; Though Mermaids swam around all day And gazed, exclaiming, "THAT'S the way A gentleman should end! "A pair of legs with well-cut knees, And calves and ankles such as these Which we in rapture hail, Are far more eloquent, it's clear (When clothed in silk and kerseymere), Than any nasty tail." And CLEGGS - a worthy kind old boy - Rejoiced to add to others' joy, And, when the day was dry, Because it pleased the lookers-on, He sat from morn till night - though con- Stitutionally shy. At first the Mermen laughed, "Pooh! pooh!" But finally they jealous grew, And sounded loud recalls; But vainly. So these fishy males Declared they too would clothe their tails In silken hose and smalls. They set to work, these water-men, And made their nether robes - but when They drew with dainty touch The kerseymere upon their tails, They found it scraped against their scales, And hurt them very much. The silk, besides, with which they chose To deck their tails by way of hose (They never thought of shoon), For such a use was much too thin, - It tore against the caudal fin, And "went in ladders" soon. So they designed another plan: They sent their most seductive man This note to him to show - "Our Monarch sends to CAPTAIN CLEGGS
23 The Bab Ballads His humble compliments, and begs He'll join him down below; "We've pleasant homes below the sea - Besides, if CAPTAIN CLEGGS should be (As our advices say) A judge of Mermaids, he will find Our lady-fish of every kind Inspection will repay." Good CAPEL sent a kind reply, For CAPEL thought he could descry An admirable plan To study all their ways and laws - (But not their ladyfish, because He was a married man). The Merman sank - the Captain too Jumped overboard, and dropped from view Like stone from catapult; And when he reached the Merman's lair, He certainly was welcomed there, But, ah! with what result? They didn't let him learn their law, Or make a note of what he saw, Or interesting mem.: The lady-fish he couldn't find, But that, of course, he didn't mind - He didn't come for them. For though, when CAPTAIN CAPEL sank, The Mermen drawn in double rank Gave him a hearty hail, Yet when secure of CAPTAIN CLEGGS, They cut off both his lovely legs, And gave him SUCH a tail! When CAPTAIN CLEGGS returned aboard, His blithesome crew convulsive roar'd, To see him altered so. The Admiralty did insist That he upon the Half-pay List Immediately should go. In vain declared the poor old salt, "It's my misfortune - not my fault," With tear and trembling lip - In vain poor CAPEL begged and begged. "A man must be completely legged Who rules a British ship." So spake the stern First Lord aloud - He was a wag, though very proud, And much rejoiced to say, "You're only half a captain now - And so, my worthy friend, I vow You'll only get half-pay!" 24 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Annie Protheroe. A Legend of Stratford-Le-Bow
Oh! listen to the tale of little ANNIE PROTHEROE. She kept a small post-office in the neighbourhood of BOW; She loved a skilled mechanic, who was famous in his day - A gentle executioner whose name was GILBERT CLAY. I think I hear you say, "A dreadful subject for your rhymes!" O reader, do not shrink - he didn't live in modern times! He lived so long ago (the sketch will show it at a glance) That all his actions glitter with the limelight of Romance. In busy times he laboured at his gentle craft all day - "No doubt you mean his Cal-craft," you amusingly will say - But, no - he didn't operate with common bits of string, He was a Public Headsman, which is quite another thing. And when his work was over, they would ramble o'er the lea, And sit beneath the frondage of an elderberry tree, And ANNIE'S simple prattle entertained him on his walk, For public executions formed the subject of her talk. And sometimes he'd explain to her, which charmed her very much, How famous operators vary very much in touch, And then, perhaps, he'd show how he himself performed the trick, And illustrate his meaning with a poppy and a stick. Or, if it rained, the little maid would stop at home, and look At his favourable notices, all pasted in a book, And then her cheek would flush her swimming eyes would dance with joy In a glow of admiration at the prowess of her boy. One summer eve, at supper-time, the gentle GILBERT said (As he helped his pretty ANNIE to a slice of collared head), "This reminds me I must settle on the next ensuing day The hash of that unmitigated villain PETER GRAY." He saw his ANNIE tremble and he saw his ANNIE start, Her changing colour trumpeted the flutter at her heart; Young GILBERT'S manly bosom
25 The Bab Ballads rose and sank with jealous fear, And he said, "O gentle ANNIE, what's the meaning of this here?" And ANNIE answered, blushing in an interesting way, "You think, no doubt, I'm sighing for that felon PETER GRAY: That I was his young woman is unquestionably true, But not since I began a-keeping company with you." Then GILBERT, who was irritable, rose and loudly swore He'd know the reason why if she refused to tell him more; And she answered (all the woman in her flashing from her eyes) "You mustn't ask no questions, and you won't be told no lies! "Few lovers have the privilege enjoyed, my dear, by you, Of chopping off a rival's head and quartering him too! Of vengeance, dear, to-morrow you will surely take your fill!" And GILBERT ground his molars as he answered her, "I will!" Young GILBERT rose from table with a stern determined look, And, frowning, took an inexpensive hatchet from its hook; And ANNIE watched his movements with an interested air - For the morrow - for the morrow he was going to prepare! He chipped it with a hammer and he chopped it with a bill, He poured sulphuric acid on the edge of it, until This terrible Avenger of the Majesty of Law Was far less like a hatchet than a dissipated saw. And ANNIE said, "O GILBERT, dear, I do not understand Why ever you are injuring that hatchet in your hand?' He said, "It is intended for to lacerate and flay The neck of that unmitigated villain PETER GRAY!" "Now, GILBERT," ANNIE answered, "wicked headsman, just beware - I won't have PETER tortured with that horrible affair; If you appear with that, you may depend you'll rue the day." But GILBERT said, "Oh, shall I?" which was just his nasty way. He saw a look of anger from her eyes distinctly dart, For ANNIE was a woman, and had pity in her heart! She wished him a good evening - he answered with a glare; She only said, "Remember, for your ANNIE will be there!" ******** The morrow GILBERT boldly on the scaffold took his stand, With a
26 The Bab Ballads vizor on his face and with a hatchet in his hand, And all the people noticed that the Engine of the Law Was far less like a hatchet than a dissipated saw. The felon very coolly loosed his collar and his stock, And placed his wicked head upon the handy little block. The hatchet was uplifted for to settle PETER GRAY, When GILBERT plainly heard a woman's voice exclaiming, "Stay!" 'Twas ANNIE, gentle ANNIE, as you'll easily believe. "O GILBERT, you must spare him, for I bring him a reprieve, It came from our Home Secretary many weeks ago, And passed through that post-office which I used to keep at Bow. "I loved you, loved you madly, and you know it, GILBERT CLAY, And as I'd quite surrendered all idea of PETER GRAY, I quietly suppressed it, as you'll clearly understand, For I thought it might be awkward if he came and claimed my hand. "In anger at my secret (which I could not tell before), To lacerate poor PETER GRAY vindictively you swore; I told you if you used that blunted axe you'd rue the day, And so you will, young GILBERT, for I'll marry PETER GRAY!" [AND SO SHE DID. 27 The Bab Ballads Ballad: An Unfortunate Likeness
I've painted SHAKESPEARE all my life - "An infant" (even then at "play"!) "A boy," with stage-ambition rife, Then "Married to ANN HATHAWAY." "The bard's first ticket night" (or "ben."), His "First appearance on the stage," His "Call before the curtain" - then "Rejoicings when he came of age." The bard play-writing in his room, The bard a humble lawyer's clerk. The bard a lawyer (1) - parson (2) - groom (3) - The bard deer-stealing, after dark. The bard a tradesman (4) - and a Jew (5) - The bard a botanist (6) - a beak (7) - The bard a skilled musician (8) too - A sheriff (9) and a surgeon (10) eke! Yet critics say (a friendly stock) That, though it's evident I try, Yet even I can barely mock The glimmer of his wondrous eye! One morning as a work I framed, There passed a person, walking hard: "My gracious goodness," I exclaimed, "How very like my dear old bard! "Oh, what a model he would make!" I rushed outside - impulsive me! "Forgive the liberty I take, But you're so very" - "Stop!" said he. "You needn't waste your breath or time, - I know what you are going to say, - That you're an artist, and that I'm Remarkably like SHAKESPEARE. Eh? "You wish that I would sit to you?" I clasped him madly round the waist, And breathlessly replied, "I do!" "All right," said he, "but please make haste." I led him by his hallowed sleeve, And worked away at him apace, I painted him till dewy eve, - There never was a nobler face! "Oh, sir," I said, "a fortune grand Is yours, by dint of merest chance, To sport HIS brow at second-hand, To wear HIS cast-off countenance! "To rub HIS eyes whene'er they ache - To wear HIS baldness ere you're old - To clean HIS teeth when you awake - To blow HIS nose when you've a cold!"
28 The Bab Ballads His eyeballs glistened in his eyes - I sat and watched and smoked my pipe; "Bravo!" I said, "I recognize The phrensy of your prototype!" His scanty hair he wildly tore: "That's right," said I, "it shows your breed." He danced - he stamped - he wildly swore - "Bless me, that's very fine indeed!" "Sir," said the grand Shakesperian boy (Continuing to blaze away), "You think my face a source of joy; That shows you know not what you say. "Forgive these yells and cellar-flaps: I'm always thrown in some such state When on his face well-meaning chaps This wretched man congratulate. "For, oh! this face - this pointed chin - This nose - this brow - these eyeballs too, Have always been the origin Of all the woes I ever knew! "If to the play my way I find, To see a grand Shakesperian piece, I have no rest, no ease of mind Until the author's puppets cease. "Men nudge each other - thus - and say, 'This certainly is SHAKESPEARE'S son,' And merry wags (of course in play) Cry 'Author!' when the piece is done. "In church the people stare at me, Their soul the sermon never binds; I catch them looking round to see, And thoughts of SHAKESPEARE fill their minds. "And sculptors, fraught with cunning wile, Who find it difficult to crown A bust with BROWN'S insipid smile, Or TOMKINS'S unmannered frown, "Yet boldly make my face their own, When (oh, presumption!) they require To animate a paving-stone With SHAKESPEARE'S intellectual fire. "At parties where young ladies gaze, And I attempt to speak my joy, 'Hush, pray,' some lovely creature says, 'The fond illusion don't destroy!' "Whene'er I speak, my soul is wrung With these or some such whisperings: ''Tis pity that a SHAKESPEARE'S tongue Should say such un-Shakesperian things!' "I should not thus be criticised Had I a face of common wont: Don't envy me - now, be advised!" And, now I think of it, I don't!
29 The Bab Ballads 30 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Gregory Parable, LL.D. A leafy cot, where no dry rot Had ever been by tenant seen, Where ivy clung and wopses stung, Where beeses hummed and drummed and strummed, Where treeses grew and breezes blew - A thatchy roof, quite waterproof, Where countless herds of dicky-birds Built twiggy beds to lay their heads (My mother begs I'll make it "eggs," But though it's true that dickies do Construct a nest with chirpy noise, With view to rest their eggy joys, 'Neath eavy sheds, yet eggs and beds, As I explain to her in vain Five hundred times, are faulty rhymes). 'Neath such a cot, built on a plot Of freehold land, dwelt MARY and Her worthy father, named by me GREGORY PARABLE, LL.D. He knew no guile, this simple man, No worldly wile, or plot, or plan, Except that plot of freehold land That held the cot, and MARY, and Her worthy father, named by me GREGORY PARABLE, LL.D. A grave and learned scholar he, Yet simple as a child could be. He'd shirk his meal to sit and cram A goodish deal of Eton Gram. No man alive could him nonplus With vocative of FILIUS; No man alive more fully knew The passive of a verb or two; None better knew the worth than he Of words that end in B, D, T. Upon his green in early spring He might be seen endeavouring To understand the hooks and crooks Of HENRY and his Latin books; Or calling for his "Caesar on The Gallic War," like any don; Or, p'raps, expounding unto all How mythic BALBUS built a wall. So lived the sage who's named by me GREGORY PARABLE, LL.D. To him one autumn day there came A lovely youth of mystic name: He took a lodging in the house, And fell a-dodging snipe and grouse, For, oh! that mild scholastic one Let shooting for a single gun. By three or four, when sport was o'er, The Mystic One laid by his gun, And made sheep's eyes of giant size, Till after tea, at MARY P. And MARY P. (so kind was she), She, too, made eyes of giant size, Whose every dart right through the heart Appeared to run that Mystic One. The Doctor's whim engrossing him, He did not know they flirted so. For, save at tea, "MUSA MUSAE," As I'm advised, monopolised And rendered
31 The Bab Ballads blind his giant mind. But looking up above his cup One afternoon, he saw them spoon. "Aha!" quoth he, "you naughty lass! As quaint old OVID says, 'Amas!'" The Mystic Youth avowed the truth, And, claiming ruth, he said, "In sooth I love your daughter, aged man: Refuse to join us if you can. Treat not my offer, sir, with scorn, I'm wealthy though I'm lowly born." "Young sir," the aged scholar said, "I never thought you meant to wed: Engrossed completely with my books, I little noticed lovers' looks. I've lived so long away from man, I do not know of any plan By which to test a lover's worth, Except, perhaps, the test of birth. I've half forgotten in this wild A father's duty to his child. It is his place, I think it's said, To see his daughters richly wed To dignitaries of the earth - If possible, of noble birth. If noble birth is not at hand, A father may, I understand (And this affords a chance for you), Be satisfied to wed her to A BOUCICAULT or BARING - which Means any one who's very rich. Now, there's an Earl who lives hard by, - My child and I will go and try If he will make the maid his bride - If not, to you she shall be tied." They sought the Earl that very day; The Sage began to say his say. The Earl (a very wicked man, Whose face bore Vice's blackest ban) Cut short the scholar's simple tale, And said in voice to make them quail, "Pooh! go along! you're drunk, no doubt - Here, PETERS, turn these people out!" The Sage, rebuffed in mode uncouth, Returning, met the Mystic Youth. "My darling boy," the Scholar said, "Take MARY - blessings on your head!" The Mystic Boy undid his vest, And took a parchment from his breast, And said, "Now, by that noble brow, I ne'er knew father such as thou! The sterling rule of common sense Now reaps its proper recompense. Rejoice, my soul's unequalled Queen, For I am DUKE OF GRETNA GREEN!" 32 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The King Of CanoodleDum
The story of FREDERICK GOWLER, A mariner of the sea, Who quitted his ship, the HOWLER, A-sailing in Caribbee. For many a day he wandered, Till he met in a state of rum CALAMITY POP VON PEPPERMINT DROP, The King of Canoodle-Dum. That monarch addressed him gaily, "Hum! Golly de do to-day? Hum! Lily-white Buckra Sailee" - (You notice his playful way?) - "What dickens you doin' here, sar? Why debbil you want to come? Hum! Picaninnee, dere isn't no sea In City Canoodle-Dum!" And GOWLER he answered sadly, "Oh, mine is a doleful tale! They've treated me werry badly In Lunnon, from where I hail. I'm one of the Family Royal - No common Jack Tar you see; I'm WILLIAM THE FOURTH, far up in the North, A King in my own countree!" Bang-bang! How the tom-toms thundered! Bang-bang! How they thumped this gongs! Bang-bang! How the people wondered! Bang-bang! At it hammer and tongs! Alliance with Kings of Europe Is an honour Canoodlers seek, Her monarchs don't stop with PEPPERMINT DROP Every day in the week! FRED told them that he was undone, For his people all went insane, And fired the Tower of London, And Grinnidge's Naval Fane. And some of them racked St. James's, And vented their rage upon The Church of St. Paul, the Fishmongers' Hall, And the Angel at Islington. CALAMITY POP implored him In his capital to remain Till those people of his restored him To power and rank again. CALAMITY POP he made him A Prince of Canoodle-Dum, With a couple of caves, some beautiful slaves, And the run of the royal rum. Pop gave him his only daughter, HUM PICKETY WIMPLE TIP: FRED vowed that if over the water He went, in an English ship, He'd make her his Queen, - though truly It is an unusual thing For a Caribbee brat who's as black as your hat To be wife of an English King.
33 The Bab Ballads And all the Canoodle-Dummers They copied his rolling walk, His method of draining rummers, His emblematical talk. For his dress and his graceful breeding, His delicate taste in rum, And his nautical way, were the talk of the day In the Court of Canoodle-Dum. CALAMITY POP most wisely Determined in everything To model his Court precisely On that of the English King; And ordered that every lady And every lady's lord Should masticate jacky (a kind of tobaccy), And scatter its juice abroad. They signified wonder roundly At any astounding yarn, By darning their dear eyes roundly ('T was all they had to darn). They "hoisted their slacks," adjusting Garments of plantain-leaves With nautical twitches (as if they wore breeches, Instead of a dress like EVE'S!) They shivered their timbers proudly, At a phantom forelock dragged, And called for a hornpipe loudly Whenever amusement flagged. "Hum! Golly! him POP resemble, Him Britisher sov'reign, hum! CALAMITY POP VON PEPPERMINT DROP, De King of Canoodle-Dum!" The mariner's lively "Hollo!" Enlivened Canoodle's plain (For blessings unnumbered follow In Civilization's train). But Fortune, who loves a bathos, A terrible ending planned, For ADMIRAL D. CHICKABIDDY, C.B., Placed foot on Canoodle land! That rebel, he seized KING GOWLER, He threatened his royal brains, And put him aboard the HOWLER, And fastened him down with chains. The HOWLER she weighed her anchor, With FREDERICK nicely nailed, And off to the North with WILLIAM THE FOURTH These horrible pirates sailed. CALAMITY said (with folly), "Hum! nebber want him again - Him civilize all of us, golly! CALAMITY suck him brain!" The people, however, were pained when They saw him aboard his ship, But none of them wept for their FREDDY, except HUM PICKETY WIMPLE TIP. 34 The Bab Ballads Ballad: First Love
A clergyman in Berkshire dwelt, The REVEREND BERNARD POWLES, And in his church there weekly knelt At least a hundred souls. There little ELLEN you might see, The modest rustic belle; In maidenly simplicity, She loved her BERNARD well. Though ELLEN wore a plain silk gown Untrimmed with lace or fur, Yet not a husband in the town But wished his wife like her. Though sterner memories might fade, You never could forget The child-form of that baby-maid, The Village Violet! A simple frightened loveliness, Whose sacred spirit-part Shrank timidly from worldly stress, And nestled in your heart. POWLES woo'd with every well-worn plan And all the usual wiles With which a well-schooled gentleman A simple heart beguiles. The hackneyed compliments that bore World-folks like you and me, Appeared to her as if they wore The crown of Poesy. His winking eyelid sang a song Her heart could understand, Eternity seemed scarce too long When BERNARD squeezed her hand. He ordered down the martial crew Of GODFREY'S Grenadiers, And COOTE conspired with TINNEY to Ecstaticise her ears. Beneath her window, veiled from eye, They nightly took their stand; On birthdays supplemented by The Covent Garden band. And little ELLEN, all alone, Enraptured sat above, And thought how blest she was to own The wealth of POWLES'S love. I often, often wonder what Poor ELLEN saw in him; For calculated he was NOT To please a woman's whim. He wasn't good, despite the air An M.B. waistcoat gives; Indeed, his dearest friends declare No greater humbug lives. No kind of virtue decked this priest, He'd nothing to allure; He wasn't handsome in the least, - He wasn't even poor. No - he was cursed with acres fat (A Christian's direst ban), And gold yet, notwithstanding that, Poor ELLEN loved the man. As unlike BERNARD as could be Was poor old AARON WOOD
35 The Bab Ballads (Disgraceful BERNARD'S curate he): He was extremely good. A BAYARD in his moral pluck Without reproach or fear, A quiet venerable duck With fifty pounds a year. No fault had he - no fad, except A tendency to strum, In mode at which you would have wept, A dull harmonium. He had no gold with which to hire The minstrels who could best Convey a notion of the fire That raged within his breast. And so, when COOTE and TINNEY'S Own Had tootled all they knew, And when the Guards, completely blown, Exhaustedly withdrew, And NELL began to sleepy feel, Poor AARON then would come, And underneath her window wheel His plain harmonium. He woke her every morn at two, And having gained her ear, In vivid colours AARON drew The sluggard's grim career. He warbled Apiarian praise, And taught her in his chant To shun the dog's pugnacious ways, And imitate the ant. Still NELL seemed not, how much he played, To love him out and out, Although the admirable maid Respected him, no doubt. She told him of her early vow, And said as BERNARD'S wife It might be hers to show him how To rectify his life. "You are so pure, so kind, so true, Your goodness shines so bright, What use would ELLEN be to you? Believe me, you're all right." She wished him happiness and health, And flew on lightning wings To BERNARD with his dangerous wealth And all the woes it brings. 36 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Brave Alum Bey Oh, big was the bosom of brave ALUM BEY, And also the region that under it lay, In safety and peril remarkably cool, And he dwelt on the banks of the river Stamboul. Each morning he went to his garden, to cull A bunch of zenana or sprig of bul-bul, And offered the bouquet, in exquisite bloom, To BACKSHEESH, the daughter of RAHAT LAKOUM. No maiden like BACKSHEESH could tastily cook A kettle of kismet or joint of tchibouk, As ALUM, brave fellow! sat pensively by, With a bright sympathetic ka-bob in his eye. Stern duty compelled him to leave her one day - (A ship's supercargo was brave ALUM BEY) - To pretty young BACKSHEESH he made a salaam, And sailed to the isle of Seringapatam. "O ALUM," said she, "think again, ere you go - Hareems may arise and Moguls they may blow; You may strike on a fez, or be drowned, which is wuss!" But ALUM embraced her and spoke to her thus: "Cease weeping, fair BACKSHEESH! I willingly swear Cork jackets and trousers I always will wear, And I also throw in a large number of oaths That I never - no, NEVER - will take off my clothes!" ***** They left Madagascar away on their right, And made Clapham Common the following night, Then lay on their oars for a fortnight or two, Becalmed in the ocean of Honololu. One day ALUM saw, with alarm in his breast, A cloud on the nor-sowsow-nor-sow-nor-west; The wind it arose, and the crew gave a scream, For they knew it - they knew it! - the dreaded Hareem!! The mast it went over, and so did the sails, Brave ALUM threw over his casks and his bales; The billows arose as the weather grew thick, And all except ALUM were terribly sick. The crew were but three, but they holloa'd for nine, They howled and they blubbered with wail and with whine: The skipper he fainted away in the fore, For he hadn't the heart for to skip any more.
37 The Bab Ballads "Ho, coward!" said ALUM, "with heart of a child! Thou son of a party whose grave is defiled! Is ALUM in terror? is ALUM afeard? Ho! ho! If you had one I'd laugh at your beard." His eyeball it gleamed like a furnace of coke; He boldly inflated his clothes as he spoke; He daringly felt for the corks on his chest, And he recklessly tightened the belt at his breast. For he knew, the brave ALUM, that, happen what might, With belts and cork-jacketing, HE was all right; Though others might sink, he was certain to swim, - No Hareem whatever had terrors for him! They begged him to spare from his personal store A single cork garment - they asked for no more; But he couldn't, because of the number of oaths That he never - no, never! - would take off his clothes. The billows dash o'er them and topple around, They see they are pretty near sure to be drowned. A terrible wave o'er the quarter-deck breaks, And the vessel it sinks in a couple of shakes! The dreadful Hareem, though it knows how to blow, Expends all its strength in a minute or so; When the vessel had foundered, as I have detailed, The tempest subsided, and quiet prevailed. One seized on a cork with a yelling "Ha! ha!" (Its bottle had 'prisoned a pint of Pacha) - Another a toothpick - another a tray - "Alas! it is useless!" said brave ALUM BEY. "To holloa and kick is a very bad plan: Get it over, my tulips, as soon as you can; You'd better lay hold of a good lump of lead, And cling to it tightly until you are dead. "Just raise your hands over your pretty heads - so - Right down to the bottom you're certain to go. Ta! ta! I'm afraid we shall not meet again" For the truly courageous are truly humane. Brave ALUM was picked up the very next day - A man-o'-war sighted him smoking away; With hunger and cold he was ready to drop, So they sent him below and they gave him a chop. O reader, or readress, whichever you be, You weep for the crew who have sunk in the sea? O reader, or readress, read farther, and dry The bright sympathetic ka-bob in your eye. That ship had a grapple with three iron spikes, - It's lowered, and, ha!
38 The Bab Ballads on a something it strikes! They haul it aboard with a British "heave-ho!" And what it has fished the drawing will show. There was WILSON, and PARKER, and TOMLINSON, too - (The first was the captain, the others the crew) - As lively and spry as a Malabar ape, Quite pleased and surprised at their happy escape. And ALUM, brave fellow, who stood in the fore, And never expected to look on them more, Was really delighted to see them again, For the truly courageous are truly humane. 39 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Sir Barnaby Bampton Boo
This is SIR BARNABY BAMPTON BOO, Last of a noble race, BARNABY BAMPTON, coming to woo, All at a deuce of a pace. BARNABY BAMPTON BOO, Here is a health to you: Here is wishing you luck, you elderly buck - BARNABY BAMPTON BOO! The excellent women of Tuptonvee Knew SIR BARNABY BOO; One of them surely his bride would be, But dickens a soul knew who. Women of Tuptonvee, Here is a health to ye For a Baronet, dears, you would cut off your ears, Women of Tuptonvee! Here are old MR. and MRS. DE PLOW (PETER his Christian name), They kept seven oxen, a pig, and a cow - Farming it was their game. Worthy old PETER DE PLOW, Here is a health to thou: Your race isn't run, though you're seventy-one, Worthy old PETER DE PLOW! To excellent MR. and MRS. DE PLOW Came SIR BARNABY BOO, He asked for their daughter, and told 'em as how He was as rich as a Jew. BARNABY BAMPTON'S wealth, Here is your jolly good health: I'd never repine if you came to be mine, BARNABY BAMPTON'S wealth! "O great SIR BARNABY BAMPTON BOO" (Said PLOW to that titled swell), "My missus has given me daughters two - AMELIA and VOLATILE NELL!" AMELIA and VOLATILE NELL, I hope you're uncommonly well: You two pretty pearls - you extremely nice girls AMELIA and VOLATILE NELL! "AMELIA is passable only, in face, But, oh! she's a worthy girl; Superior morals like hers would grace The home of a belted Earl." Morality, heavenly link! To you I'll eternally drink: I'm awfully fond of that heavenly bond, Morality, heavenly link! "Now NELLY'S the prettier, p'raps, of my gals, But, oh! she's a wayward chit; She dresses herself in her showy fal-lals, And doesn't read TUPPER a bit!" O TUPPER, philosopher true, How do you happen to do? A publisher looks with respect on your books, For they DO sell,
40 The Bab Ballads philosopher true! The Bart. (I'll be hanged if I drink him again, Or care if he's ill or well), He sneered at the goodness of MILLY THE PLAIN, And cottoned to VOLATILE NELL! O VOLATILE NELLY DE P.! Be hanged if I'll empty to thee: I like worthy maids, not mere frivolous jades, VOLATILE NELLY DE P.! They bolted, the Bart. and his frivolous dear, And MILLY was left to pout; For years they've got on very well, as I hear, But soon he will rue it, no doubt. O excellent MILLY DE PLOW, I really can't drink to you now; My head isn't strong, and the song has been long, Excellent MILLY DE PLOW! 41 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Modest Couple
When man and maiden meet, I like to see a drooping eye, I always droop my own - I am the shyest of the shy. I'm also fond of bashfulness, and sitting down on thorns, For modesty's a quality that womankind adorns. Whenever I am introduced to any pretty maid, My knees they knock together, just as if I were afraid; I flutter, and I stammer, and I turn a pleasing red, For to laugh, and flirt, and ogle I consider most ill-bred. But still in all these matters, as in other things below, There is a proper medium, as I'm about to show. I do not recommend a newly-married pair to try To carry on as PETER carried on with SARAH BLIGH. Betrothed they were when very young - before they'd learnt to speak (For SARAH was but six days old, and PETER was a week); Though little more than babies at those early ages, yet They bashfully would faint when they occasionally met. They blushed, and flushed, and fainted, till they reached the age of nine, When PETER'S good papa (he was a Baron of the Rhine) Determined to endeavour some sound argument to find To bring these shy young people to a proper frame of mind. He told them that as SARAH was to be his PETER'S bride, They might at least consent to sit at table side by side; He begged that they would now and then shake hands, till he was hoarse, Which SARAH thought indelicate, and PETER very coarse. And PETER in a tremble to the blushing maid would say, "You must excuse papa, MISS BLIGH, - it is his mountain way." Says SARAH, "His behaviour I'll endeavour to forget, But your papa's the coarsest person that I ever met. "He plighted us without our leave, when we were very young, Before we had begun articulating with the tongue. His underbred suggestions fill your SARAH with alarm; Why, gracious me! he'll ask us next to walk out arm-in-arm!" At length when SARAH reached the legal age of twenty-one, The
42 The Bab Ballads Baron he determined to unite her to his son; And SARAH in a fainting-fit for weeks unconscious lay, And PETER blushed so hard you might have heard him miles away. And when the time arrived for taking SARAH to his heart, They were married in two churches half-a-dozen miles apart (Intending to escape all public ridicule and chaff), And the service was conducted by electric telegraph. And when it was concluded, and the priest had said his say, Until the time arrived when they were both to drive away, They never spoke or offered for to fondle or to fawn, For HE waited in the attic, and SHE waited on the lawn. At length, when four o'clock arrived, and it was time to go, The carriage was announced, but decent SARAH answered "No! Upon my word, I'd rather sleep my everlasting nap, Than go and ride alone with MR. PETER in a trap." And PETER'S over-sensitive and highly-polished mind Wouldn't suffer him to sanction a proceeding of the kind; And further, he declared he suffered overwhelming shocks At the bare idea of having any coachman on the box. So PETER into one turn-out incontinently rushed, While SARAH in a second trap sat modestly and blushed; And MR. NEWMAN'S coachman, on authority I've heard, Drove away in gallant style upon the coach-box of a third. Now, though this modest couple in the matter of the car Were very likely carrying a principle too far, I hold their shy behaviour was more laudable in them Than that of PETER'S brother with MISS SARAH'S sister EM. ALPHONSO, who in cool assurance all creation licks, He up and said to EMMIE (who had impudence for six), "MISS EMILY, I love you - will you marry? Say the word!" And EMILY said, "Certainly, ALPHONSO, like a bird!" I do not recommend a newly-married pair to try To carry on as PETER carried on with SARAH BLIGH, But still their shy behaviour was more laudable in them Than that of PETER'S brother with MISS SARAH'S
43 The Bab Ballads sister EM. 44 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Martinet
Some time ago, in simple verse I sang the story true Of CAPTAIN REECE, the MANTELPIECE, And all her happy crew. I showed how any captain may Attach his men to him, If he but heeds their smallest needs, And studies every whim. Now mark how, by Draconic rule And HAUTEUR ill-advised, The noblest crew upon the Blue May be demoralized. When his ungrateful country placed Kind REECE upon half-pay, Without much claim SIR BERKELY came, And took command one day. SIR BERKELY was a martinet - A stern unyielding soul - Who ruled his ship by dint of whip And horrible black-hole. A sailor who was overcome From having freely dined, And chanced to reel when at the wheel, He instantly confined! And tars who, when an action raged, Appeared alarmed or scared, And those below who wished to go, He very seldom spared. E'en he who smote his officer For punishment was booked, And mutinies upon the seas He rarely overlooked. In short, the happy MANTELPIECE, Where all had gone so well, Beneath that fool SIR BERKELY'S rule Became a floating hell. When first SIR BERKELY came aboard He read a speech to all, And told them how he'd made a vow To act on duty's call. Then WILLIAM LEE, he up and said (The Captain's coxswain he), "We've heard the speech your honour's made, And werry pleased we be. "We won't pretend, my lad, as how We're glad to lose our REECE; Urbane, polite, he suited quite The saucy MANTELPIECE. "But if your honour gives your mind To study all our ways, With dance and song we'll jog along As in those happy days. "I like your honour's looks, and feel You're worthy of your sword. Your hand, my lad - I'm doosid glad To welcome you aboard!" SIR BERKELY looked amazed, as though He didn't understand. "Don't shake your head," good WILLIAM said, "It is an honest hand. "It's grasped a better hand than yourn - Come, gov'nor, I insist!" The
45 The Bab Ballads Captain stared - the coxswain glared - The hand became a fist! "Down, upstart!" said the hardy salt; But BERKELY dodged his aim, And made him go in chains below: The seamen murmured "Shame!" He stopped all songs at 12 p.m., Stopped hornpipes when at sea, And swore his cot (or bunk) should not Be used by aught than he. He never joined their daily mess, Nor asked them to his own, But chaffed in gay and social way The officers alone. His First Lieutenant, PETER, was As useless as could be, A helpless stick, and always sick When there was any sea. This First Lieutenant proved to be His foster-sister MAY, Who went to sea for love of he In masculine array. And when he learnt the curious fact, Did he emotion show, Or dry her tears or end her fears By marrying her? No! Or did he even try to soothe This maiden in her teens? Oh, no! instead he made her wed The Sergeant of Marines! Of course such Spartan discipline Would make an angel fret; They drew a lot, and WILLIAM shot This fearful martinet. The Admiralty saw how ill They'd treated CAPTAIN REECE; He was restored once more aboard The saucy MANTELPIECE. 46 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Sailor Boy To His Lass
I go away this blessed day, To sail across the sea, MATILDA! My vessel starts for various parts At twenty after three, MATILDA. I hardly know where we may go, Or if it's near or far, MATILDA, For CAPTAIN HYDE does not confide In any 'fore-mast tar, MATILDA! Beneath my ban that mystic man Shall suffer, COUTE QUI COUTE, MATILDA! What right has he to keep from me The Admiralty route, MATILDA? Because, forsooth! I am a youth Of common sailors' lot, MATILDA! Am I a man on human plan Designed, or am I not, MATILDA? But there, my lass, we'll let that pass! With anxious love I burn, MATILDA. I want to know if we shall go To church when I return, MATILDA? Your eyes are red, you bow your head; It's pretty clear you thirst, MATILDA, To name the day - What's that you say? - "You'll see me further first," MATILDA? I can't mistake the signs you make, Although you barely speak, MATILDA; Though pure and young, you thrust your tongue Right in your pretty cheek, MATILDA! My dear, I fear I hear you sneer - I do - I'm sure I do, MATILDA! With simple grace you make a face, Ejaculating, "Ugh!" MATILDA. Oh, pause to think before you drink The dregs of Lethe's cup, MATILDA! Remember, do, what I've gone through, Before you give me up, MATILDA! Recall again the mental pain Of what I've had to do, MATILDA! And be assured that I've endured It, all along of you, MATILDA! Do you forget, my blithesome pet, How once with jealous rage, MATILDA, I watched you walk and gaily talk With some one thrice your age, MATILDA? You squatted free upon his knee, A sight that made me sad, MATILDA! You pinched his cheek with friendly tweak, Which almost drove me mad, MATILDA!
47 The Bab Ballads I knew him not, but hoped to spot Some man you thought to wed, MATILDA! I took a gun, my darling one, And shot him through the head, MATILDA! I'm made of stuff that's rough and gruff Enough, I own; but, ah, MATILDA! It DID annoy your sailor boy To find it was your pa, MATILDA! I've passed a life of toil and strife, And disappointments deep, MATILDA; I've lain awake with dental ache Until I fell asleep, MATILDA! At times again I've missed a train, Or p'rhaps run short of tin, MATILDA, And worn a boot on corns that shoot, Or, shaving, cut my chin, MATILDA. But, oh! no trains - no dental pains - Believe me when I say, MATILDA, No corns that shoot - no pinching boot Upon a summer day, MATILDA - It's my belief, could cause such grief As that I've suffered for, MATILDA, My having shot in vital spot Your old progenitor, MATILDA. Bethink you how I've kept the vow I made one winter day, MATILDA - That, come what could, I never would Remain too long away, MATILDA. And, oh! the crimes with which, at times, I've charged my gentle mind, MATILDA, To keep the vow I made - and now You treat me so unkind, MATILDA! For when at sea, off Caribbee, I felt my passion burn, MATILDA, By passion egged, I went and begged The captain to return, MATILDA. And when, my pet, I couldn't get That captain to agree, MATILDA, Right through a sort of open port I pitched him in the sea, MATILDA! Remember, too, how all the crew With indignation blind, MATILDA, Distinctly swore they ne'er before Had thought me so unkind, MATILDA. And how they'd shun me one by one - An unforgiving group, MATILDA I stopped their howls and sulky scowls By pizening their soup, MATILDA! So pause to think, before you drink The dregs of Lethe's cup, MATILDA; Remember, do, what I've gone through, Before you give me up, MATILDA. Recall again the mental pain Of what I've had to do, MATILDA, And be assured that I've endured It, all along of you, MATILDA! 48 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Reverend Simon Magus
A rich advowson, highly prized, For private sale was advertised; And many a parson made a bid; The REVEREND SIMON MAGUS did. He sought the agent's: "Agent, I Have come prepared at once to buy (If your demand is not too big) The Cure of Otium-cum-Digge." "Ah!" said the agent, "THERE'S a berth - The snuggest vicarage on earth; No sort of duty (so I hear), And fifteen hundred pounds a year! "If on the price we should agree, The living soon will vacant be; The good incumbent's ninety five, And cannot very long survive. See - here's his photograph - you see, He's in his dotage." "Ah, dear me! Poor soul!" said SIMON. "His decease Would be a merciful release!" The agent laughed - the agent blinked - The agent blew his nose and winked - And poked the parson's ribs in play - It was that agent's vulgar way. The REVEREND SIMON frowned: "I grieve This light demeanour to perceive; It's scarcely COMME IL FAUT, I think: Now - pray oblige me - do not wink. "Don't dig my waistcoat into holes - Your mission is to sell the souls Of human sheep and human kids To that divine who highest bids. "Do well in this, and on your head Unnumbered honours will be shed." The agent said, "Well, truth to tell, I HAVE been doing very well." "You should," said SIMON, "at your age; But now about the parsonage. How many rooms does it contain? Show me the photograph again. "A poor apostle's humble house Must not be too luxurious; No stately halls with oaken floor - It should be decent and no more. " No billiard-rooms - no stately trees - No croquet-grounds or pineries." "Ah!" sighed the agent, "very true: This property won't do for you." "All these about the house you'll find." - "Well," said the parson,
49 The Bab Ballads "never mind; I'll manage to submit to these Luxurious superfluities. "A clergyman who does not shirk The various calls of Christian work, Will have no leisure to employ These 'common forms' of worldly joy. "To preach three times on Sabbath days - To wean the lost from wicked ways - The sick to soothe - the sane to wed - The poor to feed with meat and bread; "These are the various wholesome ways In which I'll spend my nights and days: My zeal will have no time to cool At croquet, archery, or pool." The agent said, "From what I hear, This living will not suit, I fear There are no poor, no sick at all; For services there is no call." The reverend gent looked grave, "Dear me! Then there is NO 'society'? - I mean, of course, no sinners there Whose souls will be my special care?" The cunning agent shook his head, "No, none - except" - (the agent said) - "The DUKE OF A., the EARL OF B., The MARQUIS C., and VISCOUNT D. "But you will not be quite alone, For though they've chaplains of their own, Of course this noble well-bred clan Receive the parish clergyman." "Oh, silence, sir!" said SIMON M., "Dukes - Earls! What should I care for them? These worldly ranks I scorn and flout!" "Of course," the agent said, "no doubt!" "Yet I might show these men of birth The hollowness of rank on earth." The agent answered, "Very true - But I should not, if I were you." "Who sells this rich advowson, pray?" The agent winked - it was his way - "His name is HART; 'twixt me and you, He is, I'm grieved to say, a Jew!" "A Jew?" said SIMON, "happy find! I purchase this advowson, mind. My life shall be devoted to Converting that unhappy Jew!" 50 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Damon v. Pythias
Two better friends you wouldn't pass Throughout a summer's day, Than DAMON and his PYTHIAS, - Two merchant princes they. At school together they contrived All sorts of boyish larks; And, later on, together thrived As merry merchants' clerks. And then, when many years had flown, They rose together till They bought a business of their own - And they conduct it still. They loved each other all their lives, Dissent they never knew, And, stranger still, their very wives Were rather friendly too. Perhaps you think, to serve my ends, These statements I refute, When I admit that these dear friends Were parties to a suit? But 'twas a friendly action, for Good PYTHIAS, as you see, Fought merely as executor, And DAMON as trustee. They laughed to think, as through the throng Of suitors sad they passed, That they, who'd lived and loved so long, Should go to law at last. The junior briefs they kindly let Two sucking counsel hold; These learned persons never yet Had fingered suitors' gold. But though the happy suitors two Were friendly as could be, Not so the junior counsel who Were earning maiden fee. They too, till then, were friends. At school They'd done each other's sums, And under Oxford's gentle rule Had been the closest chums. But now they met with scowl and grin In every public place, And often snapped their fingers in Each other's learned face. It almost ended in a fight When they on path or stair Met face to face. They made it quite A personal affair. And when at length the case was called (It came on rather late), Spectators really were appalled To see their deadly hate. One junior rose - with eyeballs tense, And swollen frontal veins: To all his powers of eloquence He gave the fullest reins. His argument was novel - for A verdict he relied On blackening the junior Upon the other side. "Oh," said the Judge, in robe and fur, "The matter in dispute To
51 The Bab Ballads arbitration pray refer - This is a friendly suit." And PYTHIAS, in merry mood, Digged DAMON in the side; And DAMON, tickled with the feud, With other digs replied. But oh! those deadly counsel twain, Who were such friends before, Were never reconciled again - They quarrelled more and more. At length it happened that they met On Alpine heights one day, And thus they paid each one his debt, Their fury had its way They seized each other in a trice, With scorn and hatred filled, And, falling from a precipice, They, both of them, were killed. 52 The Bab Ballads Ballad: My Dream The other night, from cares exempt, I slept - and what d'you think I dreamt? I dreamt that somehow I had come To dwell in Topsy-Turveydom Where vice is virtue - virtue, vice: Where nice is nasty - nasty, nice: Where right is wrong and wrong is right - Where white is black and black is white. Where babies, much to their surprise, Are born astonishingly wise; With every Science on their lips, And Art at all their finger-tips. For, as their nurses dandle them They crow binomial theorem, With views (it seems absurd to us) On differential calculus. But though a babe, as I have said, Is born with learning in his head, He must forget it, if he can, Before he calls himself a man. For that which we call folly here, Is wisdom in that favoured sphere; The wisdom we so highly prize Is blatant folly in their eyes. A boy, if he would push his way, Must learn some nonsense every day; And cut, to carry out this view, His wisdom teeth and wisdom too. Historians burn their midnight oils, Intent on giant-killers' toils; And sages close their aged eyes To other sages' lullabies. Our magistrates, in duty bound, Commit all robbers who are found; But there the Beaks (so people said) Commit all robberies instead. Our Judges, pure and wise in tone, Know crime from theory alone, And glean the motives of a thief From books and popular belief. But there, a Judge who wants to prime His mind with true ideas of crime, Derives them from the common sense Of practical experience. Policemen march all folks away Who practise virtue every day - Of course, I mean to say, you know, What we call virtue here below. For only scoundrels dare to do What we consider just and true, And only good men do, in fact, What we should think a dirty act. But strangest of these social twirls, The girls are boys - the boys are girls! The men are women, too - but then, PER CONTRA, women all are men.
53 The Bab Ballads To one who to tradition clings This seems an awkward state of things, But if to think it out you try, It doesn't really signify. With them, as surely as can be, A sailor should be sick at sea, And not a passenger may sail Who cannot smoke right through a gale. A soldier (save by rarest luck) Is always shot for showing pluck (That is, if others can be found With pluck enough to fire a round). "How strange!" I said to one I saw; "You quite upset our every law. However can you get along So systematically wrong?" "Dear me!" my mad informant said, "Have you no eyes within your head? You sneer when you your hat should doff: Why, we begin where you leave off! "Your wisest men are very far Less learned than our babies are!" I mused awhile - and then, oh me! I framed this brilliant repartee: "Although your babes are wiser far Than our most valued sages are, Your sages, with their toys and cots, Are duller than our idiots!" But this remark, I grieve to state, Came just a little bit too late For as I framed it in my head, I woke and found myself in bed. Still I could wish that, 'stead of here, My lot were in that favoured sphere! - Where greatest fools bear off the bell I ought to do extremely well. 54 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Bishop Of Rum-TiFoo Again
I often wonder whether you Think sometimes of that Bishop, who From black but balmy Rum-ti-Foo Last summer twelvemonth came. Unto your mind I p'r'aps may bring Remembrance of the man I sing To-day, by simply mentioning That PETER was his name. Remember how that holy man Came with the great Colonial clan To Synod, called Pan-Anglican; And kindly recollect How, having crossed the ocean wide, To please his flock all means he tried Consistent with a proper pride And manly self-respect. He only, of the reverend pack Who minister to Christians black, Brought any useful knowledge back To his Colonial fold. In consequence a place I claim For "PETER" on the scroll of Fame (For PETER was that Bishop's name, As I've already told). He carried Art, he often said, To places where that timid maid (Save by Colonial Bishops' aid) Could never hope to roam. The Payne-cum-Lauri feat he taught As he had learnt it; for he thought The choicest fruits of Progress ought To bless the Negro's home. And he had other work to do, For, while he tossed upon the Blue, The islanders of Rum-ti-Foo Forgot their kindly friend. Their decent clothes they learnt to tear - They learnt to say, "I do not care," Though they, of course, were well aware How folks, who say so, end. Some sailors, whom he did not know, Had landed there not long ago, And taught them "Bother!" also, "Blow!" (Of wickedness the germs). No need to use a casuist's pen To prove that they were merchantmen; No sailor of the Royal N. Would use such awful terms. And so, when BISHOP PETER came (That was the kindly Bishop's name), He heard these dreadful oaths with shame, And chid their want of dress. (Except a shell - a bangle rare - A feather here - a feather there The South Pacific Negroes wear Their native nothingness.) He taught them that a Bishop loathes To listen to disgraceful oaths, He
55 The Bab Ballads gave them all his left-off clothes - They bent them to his will. The Bishop's gift spreads quickly round; In PETER'S left-off clothes they bound (His three-and-twenty suits they found In fair condition still). The Bishop's eyes with water fill, Quite overjoyed to find them still Obedient to his sovereign will, And said, "Good Rum-ti-Foo! Half-way I'll meet you, I declare: I'll dress myself in cowries rare, And fasten feathers in my hair, And dance the 'Cutch-chi-boo!'" (11) And to conciliate his See He married PICCADILLILLEE, The youngest of his twenty-three, Tall - neither fat nor thin. (And though the dress he made her don Looks awkwardly a girl upon, It was a great improvement on The one he found her in.) The Bishop in his gay canoe (His wife, of course, went with him too) To some adjacent island flew, To spend his honeymoon. Some day in sunny Rum-ti-Foo A little PETER'll be on view; And that (if people tell me true) Is like to happen soon. 56 The Bab Ballads Ballad: A Worm Will Turn
I love a man who'll smile and joke When with misfortune crowned; Who'll pun beneath a pauper's yoke, And as he breaks his daily toke, Conundrums gay propound. Just such a man was BERNARD JUPP, He scoffed at Fortune's frown; He gaily drained his bitter cup - Though Fortune often threw him up, It never cast him down. Though years their share of sorrow bring, We know that far above All other griefs, are griefs that spring From some misfortune happening To those we really love. E'en sorrow for another's woe Our BERNARD failed to quell; Though by this special form of blow No person ever suffered so, Or bore his grief so well. His father, wealthy and well clad, And owning house and park, Lost every halfpenny he had, And then became (extremely sad!) A poor attorney's clerk. All sons it surely would appal, Except the passing meek, To see a father lose his all, And from an independence fall To one pound ten a week! But JUPP shook off this sorrow's weight, And, like a Christian son, Proved Poverty a happy fate - Proved Wealth to be a devil's bait, To lure poor sinners on. With other sorrows BERNARD coped, For sorrows came in packs; His cousins with their housemaids sloped - His uncles forged - his aunts eloped - His sisters married blacks. But BERNARD, far from murmuring (Exemplar, friends, to us), Determined to his faith to cling, - He made the best of everything, And argued softly thus: "'Twere harsh my uncles' forging knack Too rudely to condemn - My aunts, repentant, may come back, And blacks are nothing like as black As people colour them!" Still Fate, with many a sorrow rife, Maintained relentless fight: His
57 The Bab Ballads grandmamma next lost her life, Then died the mother of his wife, But still he seemed all right. His brother fond (the only link To life that bound him now) One morning, overcome by drink, He broke his leg (the right, I think) In some disgraceful row. But did my BERNARD swear and curse? Oh no - to murmur loth, He only said, "Go, get a nurse: Be thankful that it isn't worse; You might have broken both!" But worms who watch without concern The cockchafer on thorns, Or beetles smashed, themselves will turn If, walking through the slippery fern, You tread upon their corns. One night as BERNARD made his track Through Brompton home to bed, A footpad, with a vizor black, Took watch and purse, and dealt a crack On BERNARD'S saint-like head. It was too much - his spirit rose, He looked extremely cross. Men thought him steeled to mortal foes, But no - he bowed to countless blows, But kicked against this loss. He finally made up his mind Upon his friends to call; Subscription lists were largely signed, For men were really glad to find Him mortal, after all! 58 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Haughty Actor
An actor - GIBBS, of Drury Lane - Of very decent station, Once happened in a part to gain Excessive approbation: It sometimes turns a fellow's brain And makes him singularly vain When he believes that he receives Tremendous approbation. His great success half drove him mad, But no one seemed to mind him; Well, in another piece he had Another part assigned him. This part was smaller, by a bit, Than that in which he made a hit. So, much ill-used, he straight refused To play the part assigned him. ******** THAT NIGHT THAT ACTOR SLEPT, AND I'LL ATTEMPT TO TELL YOU OF THE VIVID DREAM HE DREAMT. THE DREAM. In fighting with a robber band (A thing he loved sincerely) A sword struck GIBBS upon the hand, And wounded it severely. At first he didn't heed it much, He thought it was a simple touch, But soon he found the weapon's bound Had wounded him severely. To Surgeon COBB he made a trip, Who'd just effected featly An amputation at the hip Particularly neatly. A rising man was Surgeon COBB But this extremely ticklish job He had achieved (as he believed) Particularly neatly. The actor rang the surgeon's bell. "Observe my wounded finger, Be good enough to strap it well, And prithee do not linger. That I, dear sir, may fill again The Theatre Royal Drury Lane: This very night I have to fight - So prithee do not linger." "I don't strap fingers up for doles," Replied the haughty surgeon; "To use your cant, I don't play ROLES Utility that verge on. First amputation nothing less - That is my line of business: We surgeon nobs despise all jobs Utility that verge on "When in your hip there lurks disease" (So dreamt this lively dreamer), "Or devastating CARIES In HUMERUS or FEMUR, If you can pay a handsome fee, Oh, then you may remember me - With joy elate I'll
59 The Bab Ballads amputate Your HUMERUS or FEMUR." The disconcerted actor ceased The haughty leech to pester, But when the wound in size increased, And then began to fester, He sought a learned Counsel's lair, And told that Counsel, then and there, How COBB'S neglect of his defect Had made his finger fester. "Oh, bring my action, if you please, The case I pray you urge on, And win me thumping damages From COBB, that haughty surgeon. He culpably neglected me Although I proffered him his fee, So pray come down, in wig and gown, On COBB, that haughty surgeon!" That Counsel learned in the laws, With passion almost trembled. He just had gained a mighty cause Before the Peers assembled! Said he, "How dare you have the face To come with Common Jury case To one who wings rhetoric flings Before the Peers assembled?" Dispirited became our friend - Depressed his moral pecker - "But stay! a thought! - I'll gain my end, And save my poor exchequer. I won't be placed upon the shelf, I'll take it into Court myself, And legal lore display before The Court of the Exchequer." He found a Baron - one of those Who with our laws supply us - In wig and silken gown and hose, As if at NISI PRIUS. But he'd just given, off the reel, A famous judgment on Appeal: It scarce became his heightened fame To sit at NISI PRIUS. Our friend began, with easy wit, That half concealed his terror: "Pooh!" said the Judge, "I only sit In BANCO or in Error. Can you suppose, my man, that I'd O'er NISI PRIUS Courts preside, Or condescend my time to spend On anything but Error?" "Too bad," said GIBBS, "my case to shirk! You must be bad innately, To save your skill for mighty work Because it's valued greatly!" But here he woke, with sudden start. ******** He wrote to say he'd play the part. I've but to tell he played it well The author's words - his native wit Combined, achieved a perfect "hit" The papers praised him greatly. 60 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Two Majors
An excellent soldier who's worthy the name Loves officers dashing and strict: When good, he's content with escaping all blame, When naughty, he likes to be licked. He likes for a fault to be bullied and stormed, Or imprisoned for several days, And hates, for a duty correctly performed, To be slavered with sickening praise. No officer sickened with praises his CORPS So little as MAJOR LA GUERRE - No officer swore at his warriors more Than MAJOR MAKREDI PREPERE. Their soldiers adored them, and every grade Delighted to hear their abuse; Though whenever these officers came on parade They shivered and shook in their shoes. For, oh! if LA GUERRE could all praises withhold, Why, so could MAKREDI PREPERE, And, oh! if MAKREDI could bluster and scold, Why, so could the mighty LA GUERRE. "No doubt we deserve it - no mercy we crave - Go on - you're conferring a boon; We would rather be slanged by a warrior brave, Than praised by a wretched poltroon!" MAKREDI would say that in battle's fierce rage True happiness only was met: Poor MAJOR MAKREDI, though fifty his age, Had never known happiness yet! LA GUERRE would declare, "With the blood of a foe No tipple is worthy to clink." Poor fellow! he hadn't, though sixty or so, Yet tasted his favourite drink! They agreed at their mess - they agreed in the glass - They agreed in the choice of their "set," And they also agreed in adoring, alas! The Vivandiere, pretty FILLETTE. Agreement, you see, may be carried too far, And after agreeing all round For years - in this soldierly "maid of the bar," A bone of contention they found! It may seem improper to call such a pet - By a metaphor, even - a bone;
61 The Bab Ballads But though they agreed in adoring her, yet Each wanted to make her his own. "On the day that you marry her," muttered PREPERE (With a pistol he quietly played), "I'll scatter the brains in your noddle, I swear, All over the stony parade!" "I cannot do THAT to you," answered LA GUERRE, "Whatever events may befall; But this I CAN do - IF YOU wed her, MON CHER! I'll eat you, moustachios and all!" The rivals, although they would never engage, Yet quarrelled whenever they met; They met in a fury and left in a rage, But neither took pretty FILLETTE. "I am not afraid," thought MAKREDI PREPERE: "For country I'm ready to fall; But nobody wants, for a mere Vivandiere, To be eaten, moustachios and all! "Besides, though LA GUERRE has his faults, I'll allow He's one of the bravest of men: My goodness! if I disagree with him now, I might disagree with him then." "No coward am I," said LA GUERRE, "as you guess - I sneer at an enemy's blade; But I don't want PREPERE to get into a mess For splashing the stony parade!" One day on parade to PREPERE and LA GUERRE Came CORPORAL JACOT DEBETTE, And trembling all over, he prayed of them there To give him the pretty FILLETTE. "You see, I am willing to marry my bride Until you've arranged this affair; I will blow out my brains when your honours decide Which marries the sweet Vivandiere!" "Well, take her,' said both of them in a duet (A favourite form of reply), "But when I am ready to marry FILLETTE. Remember you've promised to die!" He married her then: from the flowery plains Of existence the roses they cull: He lived and he died with his wife; and his brains Are reposing in peace in his skull. 62 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Emily, John, James, And I. A Derby Legend
EMILY JANE was a nursery maid, JAMES was a bold Life Guard, JOHN was a constable, poorly paid (And I am a doggerel bard). A very good girl was EMILY JANE, JIMMY was good and true, JOHN was a very good man in the main (And I am a good man too). Rivals for EMMIE were JOHNNY and JAMES, Though EMILY liked them both; She couldn't tell which had the strongest claims (And I couldn't take my oath). But sooner or later you're certain to find Your sentiments can't lie hid JANE thought it was time that she made up her mind (And I think it was time she did). Said JANE, with a smirk, and a blush on her face, "I'll promise to wed the boy Who takes me to-morrow to Epsom Race!" (Which I would have done, with joy). From JOHNNY escaped an expression of pain, But Jimmy said, "Done with you! I'll take you with pleasure, my EMILY JANE!" (And I would have said so too). JOHN lay on the ground, and he roared like mad (For JOHNNY was sore perplexed), And he kicked very hard at a very small lad (Which I often do, when vexed). For JOHN was on duty next day with the Force, To punish all Epsom crimes; Young people WILL cross when they're clearing the course (I do it myself, sometimes). ******** The Derby Day sun glittered gaily on cads, On maidens with gamboge hair, On sharpers and pickpockets, swindlers and pads, (For I, with my harp, was there). And JIMMY went down with his JANE that day, And JOHN by the collar or nape Seized everybody who came in his way (And I had a narrow escape).
63 The Bab Ballads He noticed his EMILY JANE with JIM, And envied the well-made elf; And people remarked that he muttered "Oh, dim!" (I often say "dim!" myself). JOHN dogged them all day, without asking their leaves; For his sergeant he told, aside, That JIMMY and JANE were notorious thieves (And I think he was justified). But JAMES wouldn't dream of abstracting a fork, And JENNY would blush with shame At stealing so much as a bottle or cork (A bottle I think fair game). But, ah! there's another more serious crime! They wickedly strayed upon The course, at a critical moment of time (I pointed them out to JOHN). The constable fell on the pair in a crack - And then, with a demon smile, Let JENNY cross over, but sent JIMMY back (I played on my harp the while). Stern JOHNNY their agony loud derides With a very triumphant sneer - They weep and they wail from the opposite sides (And I shed a silent tear). And JENNY is crying away like mad, And JIMMY is swearing hard; And JOHNNY is looking uncommonly glad (And I am a doggerel bard). But JIMMY he ventured on crossing again The scenes of our Isthmian Games - JOHN caught him, and collared him, giving him pain (I felt very much for JAMES). JOHN led him away with a victor's hand, And JIMMY was shortly seen In the station-house under the grand Grand Stand (As many a time I'VE been). And JIMMY, bad boy, was imprisoned for life, Though EMILY pleaded hard; And JOHNNY had EMILY JANE to wife (And I am a doggerel bard). 64 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Perils Of Invisibility
OLD PETER led a wretched life - Old PETER had a furious wife; Old PETER too was truly stout, He measured several yards about. The little fairy PICKLEKIN One summer afternoon looked in, And said, "Old PETER, how de do? Can I do anything for you? "I have three gifts - the first will give Unbounded riches while you live; The second health where'er you be; The third, invisibility." "O little fairy PICKLEKIN," Old PETER answered with a grin, "To hesitate would be absurd, - Undoubtedly I choose the third." "'Tis yours," the fairy said; "be quite Invisible to mortal sight Whene'er you please. Remember me Most kindly, pray, to MRS. P." Old MRS. PETER overheard Wee PICKLEKIN'S concluding word, And, jealous of her girlhood's choice, Said, "That was some young woman's voice: Old PETER let her scold and swear - Old PETER, bless him, didn't care. "My dear, your rage is wasted quite - Observe, I disappear from sight!" A well-bred fairy (so I've heard) Is always faithful to her word: Old PETER vanished like a shot, Put then - HIS SUIT OF CLOTHES DID NOT! For when conferred the fairy slim Invisibility on HIM, She popped away on fairy wings, Without referring to his "things." So there remained a coat of blue, A vest and double eyeglass too, His tail, his shoes, his socks as well, His pair of - no, I must not tell. Old MRS. PETER soon began To see the failure of his plan, And then resolved (I quote the Bard) To "hoist him with his own petard." Old PETER woke next day and dressed, Put on his coat, and shoes, and vest, His shirt and stock; BUT COULD NOT FIND HIS ONLY PAIR OF - never mind! Old PETER was a decent man, And though he twigged his lady's plan, Yet, hearing her approaching, he Resumed invisibility. "Dear MRS. P., my only joy," Exclaimed the horrified old boy, "Now,
65 The Bab Ballads give them up, I beg of you - You know what I'm referring to!" But no; the cross old lady swore She'd keep his - what I said before To make him publicly absurd; And MRS. PETER kept her word. The poor old fellow had no rest; His coat, his stick, his shoes, his vest, Were all that now met mortal eye - The rest, invisibility! "Now, madam, give them up, I beg - I've had rheumatics in my leg; Besides, until you do, it's plain I cannot come to sight again! "For though some mirth it might afford To see my clothes without their lord, Yet there would rise indignant oaths If he were seen without his clothes!" But no; resolved to have her quiz, The lady held her own - and his And PETER left his humble cot To find a pair of - you know what. But - here's the worst of the affair - Whene'er he came across a pair Already placed for him to don, He was too stout to get them on! So he resolved at once to train, And walked and walked with all his main; For years he paced this mortal earth, To bring himself to decent girth. At night, when all around is still, You'll find him pounding up a hill; And shrieking peasants whom he meets, Fall down in terror on the peats! Old PETER walks through wind and rain, Resolved to train, and train, and train, Until he weighs twelve stone' or so - And when he does, I'll let you know. 66 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Old Paul And Old Tim When rival adorers come courting a maid, There's something or other may often be said, Why HE should be pitched upon rather than HIM. This wasn't the case with Old PAUL and Old TIM. No soul could discover a reason at all For marrying TIMOTHY rather than PAUL; Though all could have offered good reasons, on oath, Against marrying either - or marrying both. They were equally wealthy and equally old, They were equally timid and equally bold; They were equally tall as they stood in their shoes Between them, in fact, there was nothing to choose. Had I been young EMILY, I should have said, "You're both much too old for a pretty young maid, Threescore at the least you are verging upon"; But I wasn't young EMILY. Let us get on. No coward's blood ran in young EMILY'S veins, Her martial old father loved bloody campaigns; At the rumours of battles all over the globe He pricked up his ears like the war-horse in "Job." He chuckled to hear of a sudden surprise - Of soldiers, compelled, through an enemy's spies, Without any knapsacks or shakos to flee - For an eminent army-contractor was he. So when her two lovers, whose patience was tried, Implored her between them at once to decide, She told them she'd marry whichever might bring Good proofs of his doing the pluckiest thing. They both went away with a qualified joy: That coward, Old PAUL, chose a very small boy, And when no one was looking, in spite of his fears, He set to work boxing that little boy's ears. The little boy struggled and tugged at his hair, But the lion was roused, and Old PAUL didn't care; He smacked him, and whacked him, and boxed him, and kicked Till the poor little beggar was royally licked. Old TIM knew a trick worth a dozen of that, So he called for his stick and he called for his hat. "I'll cover myself with cheap glory - I'll go And wallop the Frenchmen who live in Soho! "The German invader is ravaging France With infantry rifle and
67 The Bab Ballads cavalry lance, And beautiful Paris is fighting her best To shake herself free from her terrible guest. "The Frenchmen in London, in craven alarms, Have all run away from the summons to arms; They haven't the pluck of a pigeon - I'll go And wallop the Frenchmen who skulk in Soho!" Old TIMOTHY tried it and found it succeed: That day he caused many French noses to bleed; Through foggy Soho he spread fear and dismay, And Frenchmen all round him in agony lay. He took care to abstain from employing his fist On the old and the crippled, for they might resist; A crippled old man may have pluck in his breast, But the young and the strong ones are cowards confest. Old TIM and Old PAUL, with the list of their foes, Prostrated themselves at their EMILY'S toes: "Oh, which of us two is the pluckier blade?" And EMILY answered and EMILY said: "Old TIM has thrashed runaway Frenchmen in scores, Who ought to be guarding their cities and shores; Old PAUL has made little chaps' noses to bleed - Old PAUL has accomplished the pluckier deed!" 68 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Mystic Selvagee
Perhaps already you may know SIR BLENNERHASSET PORTICO? A Captain in the Navy, he - A Baronet and K.C.B. You do? I thought so! It was that Captain's favourite whim (A notion not confined to him) That RODNEY was the greatest tar Who ever wielded capstan-bar. He had been taught so. "BENBOW! CORNWALLIS! HOOD! - Belay! Compared with RODNEY" - he would say - "No other tar is worth a rap! The great LORD RODNEY was the chap The French to polish! "Though, mind you, I respect LORD HOOD; CORNWALLIS, too, was rather good; BENBOW could enemies repel, LORD NELSON, too, was pretty well - That is, tollol-ish!" SIR BLENNERHASSET spent his days In learning RODNEY'S little ways, And closely imitated, too, His mode of talking to his crew - His port and paces. An ancient tar he tried to catch Who'd served in RODNEY'S famous batch; But since his time long years have fled, And RODNEY'S tars are mostly dead: EHEU FUGACES! But after searching near and far, At last he found an ancient tar Who served with RODNEY and his crew Against the French in 'Eighty-two, (That gained the peerage). He gave him fifty pounds a year, His rum, his baccy, and his beer; And had a comfortable den Rigged up in what, by merchantmen, Is called the steerage. "Now, JASPER" - 't was that sailor's name - "Don't fear that you'll incur my blame By saying, when it seems to you, That there is anything I do That RODNEY wouldn't." The ancient sailor turned his quid, Prepared to do as he was bid: "Ay, ay, yer honour; to begin, You've done away with 'swifting in' - Well, sir, you shouldn't! "Upon your spars I see you've clapped Peak halliard blocks, all ironcapped. I would not christen that a crime, But 'twas not done in RODNEY'S time. It looks half-witted! Upon your maintop-stay, I see, You always clap a selvagee! Your stays, I see, are equalized - No vessel, such as RODNEY prized, Would thus be fitted!
69 The Bab Ballads "And RODNEY, honoured sir, would grin To see you turning deadeyes in, Not UP, as in the ancient way, But downwards, like a cutter's stay - You didn't oughter; Besides, in seizing shrouds on board, Breast backstays you have quite ignored; Great RODNEY kept unto the last Breast backstays on topgallant mast - They make it tauter." SIR BLENNERHASSET "swifted in," Turned deadeyes up, and lent a fin To strip (as told by JASPER KNOX) The iron capping from his blocks, Where there was any. SIR BLENNERHASSET does away, With selvagees from maintop-stay; And though it makes his sailors stare, He rigs breast backstays everywhere - In fact, too many. One morning, when the saucy craft Lay calmed, old JASPER toddled aft. "My mind misgives me, sir, that we Were wrong about that selvagee I should restore it." "Good," said the Captain, and that day Restored it to the maintop-stay. Well-practised sailors often make A much more serious mistake, And then ignore it. Next day old JASPER came once more: "I think, sir, I was right before." Well, up the mast the sailors skipped, The selvagee was soon unshipped, And all were merry. Again a day, and JASPER came: "I p'r'aps deserve your honour's blame, I can't make up my mind," said he, "About that cursed selvagee - It's foolish - very. "On Monday night I could have sworn That maintop-stay it should adorn, On Tuesday morning I could swear That selvagee should not be there. The knot's a rasper!" "Oh, you be hanged," said CAPTAIN P., "Here, go ashore at Caribbee. Get out - good bye - shove off - all right!" Old JASPER soon was out of sight - Farewell, old JASPER! 70 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Cunning Woman
On all Arcadia's sunny plain, On all Arcadia's hill, None were so blithe as BILL and JANE, So blithe as JANE and BILL. No social earthquake e'er occurred To rack their common mind: To them a Panic was a word - A Crisis, empty wind. No Stock Exchange disturbed the lad With overwhelming shocks BILL ploughed with all the shares he had, JANE planted all her stocks. And learn in what a simple way Their pleasures they enhanced - JANE danced like any lamb all day, BILL piped as well as danced. Surrounded by a twittling crew, Of linnet, lark, and thrush, BILL treated his young lady to This sentimental gush: "Oh, JANE, how true I am to you! How true you are to me! And how we woo, and how we coo! So fond a pair are we! "To think, dear JANE, that anyways. Your chiefest end and aim Is, one of these fine summer days, To bear my humble name!" Quoth JANE, "Well, as you put the case, I'm true enough, no doubt, But then, you see, in this here place There's none to cut you out. "But, oh! if anybody came - A Lord or any such - I do not think your humble name Would fascinate me much. "For though your mates, you often boast. You distance out-and-out; Still, in the abstract, you're a most Uncompromising lout!" Poor BILL, he gave a heavy sigh, He tried in vain to speak - A fat tear started to each eye And coursed adown each cheek. For, oh! right well in truth he knew That very self-same day, The LORD DE JACOB PILLALOO Was coming there to stay! The LORD DE JACOB PILLALOO All proper maidens shun - He loves all women, it is true, But never marries one. Now JANE, with all her mad self-will, Was no coquette - oh no! She really loved her faithful BILL, And thus she tuned her woe: "Oh, willow, willow, o'er the lea! And willow once again! The Peer will fall in love with me! Why wasn't I made plain?" *****
71 The Bab Ballads A cunning woman lived hard by, A sorceressing dame, MACCATACOMB DE SALMON-EYE Was her uncommon name. To her good JANE, with kindly yearn For BILL'S increasing pain, Repaired in secrecy to learn How best to make her plain. "Oh, JANE," the worthy woman said, "This mystic phial keep, And rub its liquor in your head Before you go to sleep. "When you awake next day, I trow, You'll look in form and hue To others just as you do now - But not to PILLALOO! "When you approach him, you will find He'll think you coarse unkempt - And rudely bid you get behind, With undisguised contempt." The LORD DE PILLALOO arrived With his expensive train, And when in state serenely hived, He sent for BILL and JANE. "Oh, spare her, LORD OF PILLALOO! (Said BILL) if wed you be, There's anything I'D rather do Than flirt with LADY P." The Lord he gazed in Jenny's eyes, He looked her through and through: The cunning woman's prophecies Were clearly coming true. LORD PILLALOO, the Rustic's Bane (Bad person he, and proud), HE LAUGHED HA! HA! AT PRETTY JANE, AND SNEERED AT HER ALOUD! He bade her get behind him then, And seek her mother's stye - Yet to her native countrymen She was as fair as aye! MACCATACOMB, continue green! Grow, SALMON-EYE, in might, Except for you, there might have been The deuce's own delight 72 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Phrenology
"Come, collar this bad man - Around the throat he knotted me Till I to choke began - In point of fact, garotted me!" So spake SIR HERBERT WRITE To JAMES, Policeman Thirty-two All ruffled with his fight SIR HERBERT was, and dirty too. Policeman nothing said (Though he had much to say on it), But from the bad man's head He took the cap that lay on it. "No, great SIR HERBERT WHITE - Impossible to take him up. This man is honest quite - Wherever did you rake him up? "For Burglars, Thieves, and Co., Indeed, I'm no apologist, But I, some years ago, Assisted a Phrenologist. "Observe his various bumps, His head as I uncover it: His morals lie in lumps All round about and over it." "Now take him," said SIR WHITE, "Or you will soon be rueing it; Bless me! I must be right, - I caught the fellow doing it!" Policeman calmly smiled, "Indeed you are mistaken, sir, You're agitated - riled - And very badly shaken, sir. "Sit down, and I'll explain My system of Phrenology, A second, please, remain" - (A second is horology). Policeman left his beat - (The Bart., no longer furious, Sat down upon a seat, Observing, "This is curious!") "Oh, surely, here are signs Should soften your rigidity: This gentleman combines Politeness with timidity. "Of Shyness here's a lump - A hole for Animosity - And like my fist his bump Of Impecuniosity. "Just here the bump appears Of Innocent Hilarity, And just behind his ears Are Faith, and Hope, and Charity. He of true Christian ways As bright example sent us is - This maxim he obeys, 'SORTE TUA CONTENTUS SIS.' "There, let him go his ways, He needs no stern admonishing." The Bart., in blank amaze, Exclaimed, "This is astonishing! "I MUST have made a mull, This matter I've been blind in it: Examine,
73 The Bab Ballads please, MY skull, And tell me what you find in it." That Crusher looked, and said, With unimpaired urbanity, "SIR HERBERT, you've a head That teems with inhumanity. "Here's Murder, Envy, Strife (Propensity to kill any), And Lies as large as life, And heaps of Social Villany. "Here's Love of Bran-New Clothes, Embezzling - Arson - Deism - A taste for Slang and Oaths, And Fraudulent Trusteeism. "Here's Love of Groundless Charge - Here's Malice, too, and Trickery, Unusually large Your bump of Pocket-Pickery - " "Stop!" said the Bart., "my cup Is full - I'm worse than him in all; Policeman, take me up - No doubt I am some criminal!" That Pleeceman's scorn grew large (Phrenology had nettled it), He took that Bart. in charge - I don't know how they settled it. 74 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Fairy Curate
Once a fairy Light and airy Married with a mortal; Men, however, Never, never Pass the fairy portal. Slyly stealing, She to Ealing Made a daily journey; There she found him, Clients round him (He was an attorney). Long they tarried, Then they married. When the ceremony Once was ended, Off they wended On their moon of honey. Twelvemonth, maybe, Saw a baby (Friends performed an orgie). Much they prized him, And baptized him By the name of GEORGIE, GEORGIE grew up; Then he flew up To his fairy mother. Happy meeting - Pleasant greeting - Kissing one another. "Choose a calling Most enthralling, I sincerely urge ye." "Mother," said he (Rev'rence made he), "I would join the clergy. "Give permission In addition - Pa will let me do it: There's a living In his giving - He'll appoint me to it. Dreams of coff'ring, Easter off'ring, Tithe and rent and pew-rate, So inflame me (Do not blame me), That I'll be a curate." She, with pleasure, Said, "My treasure, 'T is my wish precisely. Do your duty, There's a beauty; You have chosen wisely. Tell your father I would rather As a churchman rank you. You, in clover, I'll watch over." GEORGIE said, "Oh, thank you!" GEORGIE scudded, Went and studied, Made all preparations, And with credit (Though he said it) Passed examinations. (Do not quarrel With him, moral, Scrupulous digestions - 'Twas his mother, And no other, Answered all the questions.) Time proceeded; Little needed GEORGIE admonition: He, elated, Vindicated Clergyman's position. People round him Always found him Plain and unpretending; Kindly teaching, Plainly preaching, All his money lending. So the fairy, Wise and wary, Felt no sorrow rising - No occasion For persuasion, Warning, or advising. He, resuming Fairy pluming (That's not English, is it?) Oft would fly up, To the sky up, Pay mamma a visit.
75 The Bab Ballads ******** Time progressing, GEORGIE'S blessing Grew more Ritualistic Popish scandals, Tonsures - sandals - Genuflections mystic; Gushing meetings - Bosom-beatings - Heavenly ecstatics - Broidered spencers Copes and censers - Rochets and dalmatics. This quandary Vexed the fairy - Flew she down to Ealing. "GEORGIE, stop it! Pray you, drop it; Hark to my appealing: To this foolish Papal ruleish Twaddle put an ending; This a swerve is From our Service Plain and unpretending." He, replying, Answered, sighing, Hawing, hemming, humming, "It's a pity - They're so pritty; Yet in mode becoming, Mother tender, I'll surrender - I'll be unaffected - " But his Bishop Into HIS shop Entered unexpected! "Who is this, sir, - Ballet miss, sir?" Said the Bishop coldly. "'T is my mother, And no other," GEORGIE answered boldly. "Go along, sir! You are wrong, sir; You have years in plenty, While this hussy (Gracious mussy!) Isn't two and twenty!" (Fairies clever Never, never Grow in visage older; And the fairy, All unwary, Leant upon his shoulder!) Bishop grieved him, Disbelieved him; GEORGE the point grew warm on; Changed religion, Like a pigeon, (12) And became a Mormon! 76 The Bab Ballads Ballad: The Way Of Wooing
A maiden sat at her window wide, Pretty enough for a Prince's bride, Yet nobody came to claim her. She sat like a beautiful picture there, With pretty bluebells and roses fair, And jasmine-leaves to frame her. And why she sat there nobody knows; But this she sang as she plucked a rose, The leaves around her strewing: "I've time to lose and power to choose; 'T is not so much the gallant who woos, But the gallant's WAY of wooing!" A lover came riding by awhile, A wealthy lover was he, whose smile Some maids would value greatly - A formal lover, who bowed and bent, With many a high-flown compliment, And cold demeanour stately, "You've still," said she to her suitor stern, "The 'prentice-work of your craft to learn, If thus you come a-cooing. I've time to lose and power to choose; 'T is not so much the gallant who woos, As the gallant's WAY of wooing!" A second lover came ambling by - A timid lad with a frightened eye And a colour mantling highly. He muttered the errand on which he'd come, Then only chuckled and bit his thumb, And simpered, simpered shyly. "No," said the maiden, "go your way; You dare but think what a man would say, Yet dare to come a-suing! I've time to lose and power to choose; 'T is not so much the gallant who woos, As the gallant's WAY of wooing!" A third rode up at a startling pace - A suitor poor, with a homely face No doubts appeared to bind him. He kissed her lips and he pressed her waist, And off he rode with the maiden, placed On a pillion safe behind him. And she heard the suitor bold confide This golden hint to the priest who tied The knot there's no undoing; With pretty young maidens who can choose, 'Tis not so much the gallant who woos, As the gallant's WAY of wooing!" 77 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Hongree And Mahry. A Recollection Of A Surrey Melodrama
The sun was setting in its wonted west, When HONGREE, SubLieutenant of Chassoores, Met MAHRY DAUBIGNY, the Village Rose, Under the Wizard's Oak - old trysting-place Of those who loved in rosy Aquitaine. They thought themselves unwatched, but they were not; For HONGREE, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores, Found in LIEUTENANTCOLONEL JOOLES DUBOSC A rival, envious and unscrupulous, Who thought it not foul scorn to dodge his steps, And listen, unperceived, to all that passed Between the simple little Village Rose And HONGREE, SubLieutenant of Chassoores. A clumsy barrack-bully was DUBOSC, Quite unfamiliar with the well-bred tact That animates a proper gentleman In dealing with a girl of humble rank. You'll understand his coarseness when I say He would have married MAHRY DAUBIGNY, And dragged the unsophisticated girl Into the whirl of fashionable life, For which her singularly rustic ways, Her breeding (moral, but extremely rude), Her language (chaste, but ungrammatical), Would absolutely have unfitted her. How different to this unreflecting boor Was HONGREE, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores. Contemporary with the incident Related in our opening paragraph, Was that sad war 'twixt Gallia and ourselves That followed on the treaty signed at Troyes; And so LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOOLES DUBOSC (Brave soldier, he, with all his faults of style) And HONGREE, SubLieutenant of Chassoores, Were sent by CHARLES of France against the lines Of our Sixth HENRY (Fourteen twenty-nine), To drive his legions out of Aquitaine. When HONGREE, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores, Returned, suspecting nothing, to his camp, After his meeting with the Village Rose, He found inside his barrack letter-box A note from the commanding officer, Requiring his attendance at head-quarters. He went, and found
78 The Bab Ballads LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOOLES. "Young HONGREE, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores, This night we shall attack the English camp: Be the 'forlorn hope' yours - you'll lead it, sir, And lead it too with credit, I've no doubt. As every man must certainly be killed (For you are twenty 'gainst two thousand men), It is not likely that you will return. But what of that? you'll have the benefit Of knowing that you die a soldier's death." Obedience was young HONGREE'S strongest point, But he imagined that he only owed Allegiance to his MAHRY and his King. "If MAHRY bade me lead these fated men, I'd lead them -but I do not think she would. If CHARLES, my King, said, 'Go, my son, and die,' I'd go, of course - my duty would be clear. But MAHRY is in bed asleep, I hope, And CHARLES, my King, a hundred leagues from this. As for LIEUTENANTCOLONEL JOOLES DUBOSC, How know I that our monarch would approve The order he has given me to-night? My King I've sworn in all things to obey - I'll only take my orders from my King!" Thus HONGREE, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores, Interpreted the terms of his commission. And HONGREE, who was wise as he was good, Disguised himself that night in ample cloak, Round flapping hat, and vizor mask of black, And made, unnoticed, for the English camp. He passed the unsuspecting sentinels (Who little thought a man in this disguise Could be a proper object of suspicion), And ere the curfew bell had boomed "lights out," He found in audience Bedford's haughty Duke. "Your Grace," he said, "start not - be not alarmed, Although a Frenchman stands before your eyes. I'm HONGREE, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores. My Colonel will attack your camp to-night, And orders me to lead the hope forlorn. Now I am sure our excellent KING CHARLES Would not approve of this; but he's away A hundred leagues, and rather more than that. So, utterly devoted to my King, Blinded by my attachment to the throne, And having but its interest at heart, I feel it is my duty to disclose All schemes that emanate from COLONEL JOOLES, If I believe that they are not the kind Of schemes that our good monarch would approve." "But how," said Bedford's Duke, "do you propose That we should
79 The Bab Ballads overthrow your Colonel's scheme?" And HONGREE, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores, Replied at once with never-failing tact: "Oh, sir, I know this cursed country well. Entrust yourself and all your host to me; I'll lead you safely by a secret path Into the heart of COLONEL JOOLES' array, And you can then attack them unprepared, And slay my fellow-countrymen unarmed." The thing was done. The DUKE of BEDFORD gave The order, and two thousand fighting men Crept silently into the Gallic camp, And slew the Frenchmen as they lay asleep; And Bedford's haughty Duke slew COLONEL JOOLES, And gave fair MAHRY, pride of Aquitaine, To HONGREE, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores. 80 The Bab Ballads Ballad: Etiquette
The BALLYSHANNON foundered off the coast of Cariboo, And down in fathoms many went the captain and the crew; Down went the owners - greedy men whom hope of gain allured: Oh, dry the starting tear, for they were heavily insured. Besides the captain and the mate, the owners and the crew, The passengers were also drowned excepting only two: Young PETER GRAY, who tasted teas for BAKER, CROOP, AND CO., And SOMERS, who from Eastern shores imported indigo. These passengers, by reason of their clinging to a mast, Upon a desert island were eventually cast. They hunted for their meals, as ALEXANDER SELKIRK used, But they couldn't chat together - they had not been introduced. For PETER GRAY, and SOMERS too, though certainly in trade, Were properly particular about the friends they made; And somehow thus they settled it without a word of mouth - That GRAY should take the northern half, while SOMERS took the south. On PETER'S portion oysters grew - a delicacy rare, But oysters were a delicacy PETER couldn't bear. On SOMERS' side was turtle, on the shingle lying thick, Which SOMERS couldn't eat, because it always made him sick. GRAY gnashed his teeth with envy as he saw a mighty store Of turtle unmolested on his fellow-creature's shore. The oysters at his feet aside impatiently he shoved, For turtle and his mother were the only things he loved. And SOMERS sighed in sorrow as he settled in the south, For the thought of PETER'S oysters brought the water to his mouth. He longed to lay him down upon the shelly bed, and stuff: He had often eaten oysters, but had never had enough. How they wished an introduction to each other they had had When on board the BALLYSHANNON! And it drove them nearly mad To think how very friendly with each other they might get, If it wasn't for the
81 The Bab Ballads arbitrary rule of etiquette! One day, when out a-hunting for the MUS RIDICULUS, GRAY overheard his fellow-man soliloquizing thus: "I wonder how the playmates of my youth are getting on, M'CONNELL, S. B. WALTERS, PADDY BYLES, and ROBINSON?" These simple words made PETER as delighted as could be, Old chummies at the Charterhouse were ROBINSON and he! He walked straight up to SOMERS, then he turned extremely red, Hesitated, hummed and hawed a bit, then cleared his throat, and said: I beg your pardon - pray forgive me if I seem too bold, But you have breathed a name I knew familiarly of old. You spoke aloud of ROBINSON - I happened to be by. You know him?" "Yes, extremely well." "Allow me, so do I." It was enough: they felt they could more pleasantly get on, For (ah, the magic of the fact!) they each knew ROBINSON! And Mr. SOMERS' turtle was at PETER'S service quite, And Mr. SOMERS punished PETER'S oyster-beds all night. They soon became like brothers from community of wrongs: They wrote each other little odes and sang each other songs; They told each other anecdotes disparaging their wives; On several occasions, too, they saved each other's lives. They felt quite melancholy when they parted for the night, And got up in the morning soon as ever it was light; Each other's pleasant company they reckoned so upon, And all because it happened that they both knew ROBINSON! They lived for many years on that inhospitable shore, And day by day they learned to love each other more and more. At last, to their astonishment, on getting up one day, They saw a frigate anchored in the offing of the bay. To PETER an idea occurred. "Suppose we cross the main? So good an opportunity may not be found again." And SOMERS thought a minute, then ejaculated, "Done! I wonder how my business in the City's getting on?" "But stay," said Mr. PETER: "when in England, as you know, I earned a living tasting teas for BAKER, CROOP, AND CO., I may be
82 The Bab Ballads superseded - my employers think me dead!" "Then come with me," said SOMERS, "and taste indigo instead." But all their plans were scattered in a moment when they found The vessel was a convict ship from Portland, outward bound; When a boat came off to fetch them, though they felt it very kind, To go on board they firmly but respectfully declined. As both the happy settlers roared with laughter at the joke, They recognized a gentlemanly fellow pulling stroke: 'Twas ROBINSON - a convict, in an unbecoming frock! Condemned to seven years for misappropriating stock!!! They laughed no more, for SOMERS thought he had been rather rash In knowing one whose friend had misappropriated cash; And PETER thought a foolish tack he must have gone upon In making the acquaintance of a friend of ROBINSON. At first they didn't quarrel very openly, I've heard; They nodded when they met, and now and then exchanged a word: The word grew rare, and rarer still the nodding of the head, And when they meet each other now, they cut each other dead. To allocate the island they agreed by word of mouth, And PETER takes the north again, and SOMERS takes the south; And PETER has the oysters, which he hates, in layers thick, And SOMERS has the turtle turtle always makes him sick. Foonotes: (1) "Go with me to a Notary - seal me there Your single bond." MERCHANT OF VENICE, Act I., sc. 3. (2) "And there shall she, at Friar Lawrence' cell, Be shrived and married." - ROMEO AND JULIET, Act II., sc. 4. (3) "And give the fasting horses provender." - HENRY THE FIFTH, Act IV., sc. 2. (4) "Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares." - TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, Act I., sc. 3. (5) "Then must the Jew be merciful." - MERCHANT OF VENICE, Act IV., sc. 1.
83 The Bab Ballads (6) "The spring, the summer, The chilling autumn, angry winter, change Their wonted liveries." - MIDSUMMER NIGHT DREAM, Act IV., sc. 1. (7) "In the county of Glo'ster, justice of the peace and CORAM." MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, Act I., sc. 1. (8) "What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?" - KING JOHN, Act V., sc. 2. (9) "And I'll provide his executioner." - HENRY THE SIXTH (Second Part), Act III., sc. 1. (10) "The lioness had torn some flesh away, Which all this while had bled." - AS YOU LIKE IT, Act IV., sc. 3. (11) Described by MUNGO PARK. (12) "Like a bird." - SLANG EXPRESSION. 84 ...
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- Spring '03
- W. S. Gilbert, Bab Ballads