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The Bab Ballads - Part 5

By Various

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Book Id: WPLBN0000711572
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 131,720 KB.
Reproduction Date: 2007
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Title: The Bab Ballads - Part 5  
Author: Various
Language: English
Subject: Fiction, Poetry, Verse drama
Collections: Poetry Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: World Public Library Association


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Various,. (n.d.). The Bab Ballads - Part 5. Retrieved from


Excerpt: The Periwinkle Girl // I've often thought that headstrong youths // Of decent education, // Determine all-important truths, // With strange precipitation. // The ever-ready victims they, // Of logical illusions, // And in a self-assertive way // They jump at strange conclusions. // Now take my case: Ere sorrow could // My ample forehead wrinkle, // I had determined that I should // Not care to be a winkle. // A winkle, I would oft advance // With readiness provoking, // Can seldom flirt, and never dance, // Or soothe his mind by smoking. // In short, I spurned the shelly joy, // And spoke with strange decision - // Men pointed to me as a boy // Who held them in derision. // But I was young - too young, by far - // Or I had been more wary, // I knew not then that winkles are // The stock-in-trade of Mary. // I had not watched her sunlight blithe // As o'er their shells it dances - // I've seen those winkles almost writhe // Beneath her beaming glances. // Of slighting all the winkly brood // I surely had been chary, // If I had known they formed the food // And stock-in-trade of Mary. // Both high and low and great and small // Fell prostrate at her tootsies, // They all were noblemen, and all // Had balances at Coutts's. // Dukes with the lovely maiden dealt, // Duke Bailey and Duke Humphy, // Who ate her winkles till they felt // Exceedingly uncomfy. // Duke Bailey greatest wealth computes, // And sticks, they say, at no-thing, // He wears a pair of golden boots // And silver underclothing. // Duke Humphy, as I understand, // Though mentally acuter, // His boots are only silver, and // His underclothing pewter. // A third adorer had the girl, // A man of lowly station - // A miserable grov'ling Earl // Besought her approbation. // This humble cad she did refuse // With much contempt and loathing, // He wore a pair of leather shoes // And cambric underclothing! // Ha! ha! she cried. Upon my word! // Well, really - come, I never! // Oh, go along, it's too absurd! // My goodness! Did you ever? // Two Dukes would Mary make a bride, // And from her foes defend her - // Well, not exactly that, they cried, // We offer guilty splendour. // We do not offer marriage rite, // So please dismiss the notion! // Oh dear, said she, that alters quite // The state of my emotion. // The Earl he up and says, says he, // Dismiss them to their orgies, // For I am game to marry thee // Quite reg'lar at St. George's. // (He'd had, it happily befell, // A decent education, // His views would have befitted well // A far superior station.) // His sterling worth had worked a cure, // She never heard him grumble; // She saw his soul was good and pure, // Although his rank was humble. // Her views of earldoms and their lot, // All underwent expansion - // Come, Virtue in an earldom's cot! // Go, Vice in ducal mansion! // 2 // Thomson Green And Harriet Hale // (To be sung to the Air of An 'Orrible Tale.) // Oh list to this incredible tale // Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale; // Its truth in one remark you'll sum - // Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum! // Oh, Thomson Green was an auctioneer, // And made three hundred pounds a year; // And Harriet Hale, most strange to say, // Gave pianoforte lessons at a sovereign a day. // Oh, Thomson Green, I may remark, // Met Harriet Hale in Regent's Park, // Where he, in a casual kind of way, // Spoke of the extraordinary beauty of the day. // They met again, and strange, though true, // He courted her for a month or two, // Then to her pa he said, says he, // Old man, I love your daughter and your daughter worships me! // Their names were regularly banned, // The wedding day was settled, and // I've ascertained by dint of search // They were married on the quiet at St. Mary Abbot's Church. // Oh, list to this incredible tale // Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale, // Its truth in one remark you'll sum - // Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum! // That very self-same afternoon // They started on their honeymoon, // And (oh, astonishment!) took flight // To a pretty little cottage close to Shanklin, Isle of Wight. // But now - you'll doubt my word, I know - // In a month they both returned, and lo! // Astounding fact! this happy pair // Took a gentlemanly residence in Canonbury Square! // They led a weird and reckless life, // They dined each day, this man and wife // (Pray disbelieve it, if you please), // On a joint of meat, a pudding, and a little bit of cheese. // In time came those maternal joys // Which take the form of girls or boys, // And strange to say of each they'd one - // A tiddy-iddy daughter, and a tiddy-iddy son! // Oh, list to this incredible tale // Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale, // Its truth in one remark you'll sum - // Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum! // My name for truth is gone, I fear, // But, monstrous as it may appear, // They let their drawing-room one day // 3 // To an eligible person in the cotton-broking way. // Whenever Thomson Green fell sick // His wife called in a doctor, quick, // From whom some words like these would come - // Fiat mist. sumendum haustus, in a cochleyareum. // For thirty years this curious pair // Hung out in Canonbury Square, // And somehow, wonderful to say, // They loved each other dearly in a quiet sort of way. // Well, Thomson Green fell ill and died; // For just a year his widow cried, // And then her heart she gave away // To the eligible lodger in the cotton-broking way. // Oh, list to this incredible tale // Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale, // Its truth in one remark you'll sum - // Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum! // Bob Polter // Bob Polter was a navvy, and // His hands were coarse, and dirty too, // His homely face was rough and tanned, // His time of life was thirty-two. // He lived among a working clan // (A wife he hadn't got at all), // A decent, steady, sober man - // No saint, however - not at all. // He smoked, but in a modest way, // Because he thought he needed it; // He drank a pot of beer a day, // And sometimes he exceeded it. // At times he'd pass with other men // A loud convivial night or two, // With, very likely, now and then, // On Saturdays, a fight or two. // But still he was a sober soul, // A labour-never-shirking man, // Who paid his way - upon the whole // A decent English working man. // One day, when at the Nelson's Head // (For which he may be blamed of you), // A holy man appeared, and said, // Oh, Robert, I'm ashamed of you. // He laid his hand on Robert's beer // Before he could drink up any, // And on the floor, with sigh and tear, // He poured the pot of thruppenny. // Oh, Robert, at this very bar // A truth you'll be discovering, // A good and evil genius are // 4 // Around your noddle hovering. // They both are here to bid you shun // The other one's society, // For Total Abstinence is one, // The other, Inebriety. // He waved his hand - a vapour came - // A wizard Polter reckoned him; // A bogy rose and called his name, // And with his finger beckoned him. // The monster's salient points to sum, - // His heavy breath was portery: // His glowing nose suggested rum: // His eyes were gin-and-wortery. // His dress was torn - for dregs of ale // And slops of gin had rusted it; // His pimpled face was wan and pale, // Where filth had not encrusted it. // Come, Polter, said the fiend, begin, // And keep the bowl a-flowing on - // A working man needs pints of gin // To keep his clockwork going on. // Bob shuddered: Ah, you've made a miss // If you take me for one of you: // You filthy beast, get out of this - // Bob Polter don't wan't none of you. // The demon gave a drunken shriek, // And crept away in stealthiness, // And lo! instead, a person sleek, // Who seemed to burst with healthiness. // In me, as your adviser hints, // Of Abstinence you've got a type - // Of Mr. Tweedie's pretty prints // I am the happy prototype. // If you abjure the social toast, // And pipes, and such frivolities, // You possibly some day may boast // My prepossessing qualities! // Bob rubbed his eyes, and made 'em blink: // You almost make me tremble, you! // If I abjure fermented drink, // Shall I, indeed, resemble you? // And will my whiskers curl so tight? // My cheeks grow smug and muttony? // My face become so red and white? // My coat so blue and buttony? // Will trousers, such as yours, array // Extremities inferior? // Will chubbiness assert its sway // All over my exterior? // In this, my unenlightened state, // 5 // To work in heavy boots I comes; // Will pumps henceforward decorate // My tiddle toddle tootsicums? // And shall I get so plump and fresh, // And look no longer seedily? // My skin will henceforth fit my flesh // So tightly and so Tweedie-ly? // The phantom said, You'll have all this, // You'll know no kind of huffiness, // Your life will be one chubby bliss, // One long unruffled puffiness! // Be off! said irritated Bob. // Why come you here to bother one? // You pharisaical old snob, // You're wuss almost than t'other one! // I takes my pipe - I takes my pot, // And drunk I'm never seen to be: // I'm no teetotaller or sot, // And as I am I mean to be! // The Story Of Prince Agib // Strike the concertina's melancholy string! // Blow the spirit-stirring harp like anything! // Let the piano's martial blast // Rouse the Echoes of the Past, // For of Agib, Prince of Tartary, I sing! // Of Agib, who, amid Tartaric scenes, // Wrote a lot of ballet music in his teens: // His gentle spirit rolls // In the melody of souls - // Which is pretty, but I don't know what it means. // Of Agib, who could readily, at sight, // Strum a march upon the loud Theodolite. // He would diligently play // On the Zoetrope all day, // And blow the gay Pantechnicon all night. // One winter - I am shaky in my dates - // Came two starving Tartar minstrels to his gates; // Oh, Allah be obeyed, // How infernally they played! // I remember that they called themselves the Oaits. // Oh! that day of sorrow, misery, and rage, // I shall carry to the Catacombs of Age, // Photographically lined // On the tablet of my mind, // When a yesterday has faded from its page! // Alas! Prince Agib went and asked them in; // Gave them beer, and eggs, and sweets, and scent, and tin. // And when (as snobs would say) // They had put it all away, // 6 // He requested them to tune up and begin. // Though its icy horror chill you to the core, // I will tell you what I never told before, - // The consequences true // Of that awful interview, // For I listened at the keyhole in the door! // They played him a sonata - let me see! // Medulla Oblongata - key of G. // Then they began to sing // That extremely lovely thing, // Scherzando! Ma non troppo, ppp. // He gave them money, more than they could count, // Scent from a most ingenious little fount, // More beer, in little kegs, // Many dozen hard-boiled eggs, // And goodies to a fabulous amount. // Now follows the dim horror of my tale, // And I feel I'm growing gradually pale, // For, even at this day, // Though its sting has passed away, // When I venture to remember it, I quail! // The elder of the brothers gave a squeal, // All-overish it made me for to feel; // Oh, Prince. he says, says he, // If a prince indeed you be, // I've a mystery I'm going to reveal! // Oh, listen, if you'd shun a horrid death, // To what the gent who's speaking to you saith: // No 'Oaits' in truth are we, // As you fancy that we be, // For (ter-remble!) I am Aleck - this is Beth! // Said Agib, Oh! accursed of your kind, // I have heard that ye are men of evil mind! // Beth gave a dreadful shriek - // But before he'd time to speak // I was mercilessly collared from behind. // In number ten or twelve, or even more, // They fastened me full length upon the floor. // On my face extended flat, // I was walloped with a cat // For listening at the keyhole of a door. // Oh! the horror of that agonizing thrill! // (I can feel the place in frosty weather still). // For a week from ten to four // I was fastened to the floor, // While a mercenary wopped me with a will // They branded me and broke me on a wheel, // And they left me in an hospital to heal; // And, upon my solemn word, // I have never never heard // 7 // What those Tartars had determined to reveal. // But that day of sorrow, misery, and rage, // I shall carry to the Catacombs of Age, // Photographically lined // On the tablet of my mind, // When a yesterday has faded from its page // Ellen M'Jones Aberdeen // MacPhairson Clonglocketty Angus M'Clan // Was the son of an elderly labouring man; // You've guessed him a Scotchman, shrewd reader, at sight, // And p'r'aps altogether, shrewd reader, you're right. // From the bonnie blue Forth to the lovely Deeside, // Round by Dingwall and Wrath to the mouth of the Clyde, // There wasn't a child or a woman or man // Who could pipe with Clonglocketty Angus M'Clan. // No other could wake such detestable groans, // With reed and with chaunter - with bag and with drones: // All day and ill night he delighted the chiels // With sniggering pibrochs and jiggety reels. // He'd clamber a mountain and squat on the ground, // And the neighbouring maidens would gather around // To list to the pipes and to gaze in his e'en, // Especially Ellen M'Jones Aberdeen. // All loved their M'Clan, save a Sassenach brute, // Who came to the Highlands to fish and to shoot; // He dressed himself up in a Highlander way, // Tho' his name it was Pattison Corby Torbay. // Torbay had incurred a good deal of expense // To make him a Scotchman in every sense; // But this is a matter, you'll readily own, // That isn't a question of tailors alone. // A Sassenach chief may be bonily built, // He may purchase a sporran, a bonnet, and kilt; // Stick a skean in his hose - wear an acre of stripes - // But he cannot assume an affection for pipes. // Clonglockety's pipings all night and all day // Quite frenzied poor Pattison Corby Torbay; // The girls were amused at his singular spleen, // Especially Ellen M'ones Aberdeen, // MacPhairson Clonglocketty Angus, my lad, // With pibrochs and reels you are driving me mad. // If you really must play on that cursed affair, // My goodness! play something resembling an air. // Boiled over the blood of MacPhairson M'Clan - // The Clan of Clonglocketty rose as one man; // For all were enraged at the insult, I ween - // Especially Ellen M'Jones Aberdeen. // Let's show, said M'Clan, to this Sassenach loon // That the bagpipes can play him a regular tune. // 8 // Let's see, said M'Clan, as he thoughtfully sat, // 'In My Cottage' is easy - I'll practise at that. // He blew at his Cottage, and blew with a will, // For a year, seven months, and a fortnight, until // (You'll hardly believe it) M'Clan, I declare, // Elicited something resembling an air. // It was wild - it was fitful - as wild as the breeze - // It wandered about into several keys; // It was jerky, spasmodic, and harsh, I'm aware; // But still it distinctly suggested an air. // The Sassenach screamed, and the Sassenach danced; // He shrieked in his agony - bellowed and pranced; // And the maidens who gathered rejoiced at the scene - // Especially Ellen M'Jones Aberdeen. // Hech gather, hech gather, hech gather around; // And fill a' ye lugs wi' the exquisite sound. // An air fra' the bagpipes - beat that if ye can! // Hurrah for Clonglocketty Angus M'Clan! // The fame of his piping spread over the land: // Respectable widows proposed for his hand, // And maidens came flocking to sit on the green - // Especially Ellen M'Jones Aberdeen. // One morning the fidgety Sassenach swore // He'd stand it no longer - he drew his claymore, // And (this was, I think, in extremely bad taste) // Divided Clonglocketty close to the waist. // Oh! loud were the wailings for Angus M'Clan, // Oh! deep was the grief for that excellent man; // The maids stood aghast at the horrible scene - // Especially Ellen M'Jones Aberdeen. // It sorrowed poor Pattison Corby Torbay // To find them take on in this serious way; // He pitied the poor little fluttering birds, // And solaced their souls with the following words: // Oh, maidens, said Pattison, touching his hat, // Don't blubber, my dears, for a fellow like that; // Observe, I'm a very superior man, // A much better fellow than Angus M'Clan. // They smiled when he winked and addressed them as dears, // And they all of them vowed, as they dried up their tears, // A pleasanter gentleman never was seen - // Especially Ellen M'Jones Aberdeen. // Peter The Wag // Policeman Peter forth I drag // From his obscure retreat: // He was a merry genial wag, // Who loved a mad conceit. // If he were asked the time of day, // By country bumpkins green, // 9 // He not unfrequently would say, // A quarter past thirteen. // If ever you by word of mouth // Inquired of Mister Forth // The way to somewhere in the South, // He always sent you North. // With little boys his beat along // He loved to stop and play; // He loved to send old ladies wrong, // And teach their feet to stray. // He would in frolic moments, when // Such mischief bent upon, // Take Bishops up as betting men - // Bid Ministers move on. // Then all the worthy boys he knew // He regularly licked, // And always collared people who // Had had their pockets picked. // He was not naturally bad, // Or viciously inclined, // But from his early youth he had // A waggish turn of mind. // The Men of London grimly scowled // With indignation wild; // The Men of London gruffly growled, // But Peter calmly smiled. // Against this minion of the Crown // The swelling murmurs grew - // From Camberwell to Kentish Town - // From Rotherhithe to Kew. // Still humoured he his wagsome turn, // And fed in various ways // The coward rage that dared to burn, // But did not dare to blaze. // Still, Retribution has her day, // Although her flight is slow: // One day that crusher lost his way // Near Poland Street, Soho. // The haughty boy, too proud to ask, // To find his way resolved, // And in the tangle of his task // Got more and more involved. // The Men of London, overjoyed, // Came there to jeer their foe, // And flocking crowds completely cloyed // The mazes of Soho. // The news on telegraphic wires // Sped swiftly o'er the lea, // Excursion trains from distant shires // Brought myriads to see. // 10 // For weeks he trod his self-made beats // Through Newport, Gerrard, Bear, // Greek, Rupert, Frith, Dean, Poland Streets, // And into Golden Square. // But all, alas! in vain, for when // He tried to learn the way // Of little boys or grown-up men, // They none of them would say. // Their eyes would flash - their teeth would grind - // Their lips would tightly curl - // They'd say, Thy way thyself must find, // Thou misdirecting churl! // And, similarly, also, when // He tried a foreign friend; // Italians answered, Il balen - // The French, No comprehend. // The Russ would say with gleaming eye // Sevastopol! and groan. // The Greek said, Tupro, tupronai, // Tupro, tuproin, tupron. // To wander thus for many a year // That Crusher never ceased - // The Men of London dropped a tear, // Their anger was appeased. // At length exploring gangs were sent // To find poor Forth's remains - // A handsome grant by Parliament // Was voted for their pains. // To seek the poor policeman out // Bold spirits volunteered, // And when they swore they'd solve the doubt, // The Men of London cheered. // And in a yard, dark, dank, and drear, // They found him, on the floor - // It leads from Richmond Buildings - near // The Royalty stage-door. // With brandy cold and brandy hot // They plied him, starved and wet, // And made him sergeant on the spot - // The Men of London's pet! // Ben Allah Achmet // Or, The Fatal Tum // I once did know a Turkish man // Whom I upon a two-pair-back met, // His name it was Effendi Khan // Backsheesh Pasha Ben Allah Achmet. // A Doctor Brown I also knew - // I've often eaten of his bounty; // The Turk and he they lived at Hooe, // 11 // In Sussex, that delightful county! // I knew a nice young lady there, // Her name was Emily Macpherson, // And though she wore another's hair, // She was an interesting person. // The Turk adored the maid of Hooe // (Although his harem would have shocked her). // But Brown adored that maiden too: // He was a most seductive doctor. // They'd follow her where'er she'd go - // A course of action most improper; // She neither knew by sight, and so // For neither of them cared a copper. // Brown did not know that Turkish male, // He might have been his sainted mother: // The people in this simple tale // Are total strangers to each other. // One day that Turk he sickened sore, // And suffered agonies oppressive; // He threw himself upon the floor // And rolled about in pain excessive. // It made him moan, it made him groan, // And almost wore him to a mummy. // Why should I hesitate to own // That pain was in his little tummy? // At length a doctor came, and rung // (As Allah Achmet had desired), // Who felt his pulse, looked up his tongue, // And hemmed and hawed, and then inquired: // Where is the pain that long has preyed // Upon you in so sad a way, sir? // The Turk he giggled, blushed, and said: // I don't exactly like to say, sir. // Come, nonsense! said good Doctor Brown. // So this is Turkish coyness, is it? // You must contrive to fight it down - // Come, come, sir, please to be explicit. // The Turk he shyly bit his thumb, // And coyly blushed like one half-witted, // The pain is in my little tum, // He, whispering, at length admitted. // Then take you this, and take you that - // Your blood flows sluggish in its channel - // You must get rid of all this fat, // And wear my medicated flannel. // You'll send for me when you're in need - // My name is Brown - your life I've saved it. // My rival! shrieked the invalid, // And drew a mighty sword and waved it: // This to thy weazand, Christian pest! // 12 // Aloud the Turk in frenzy yelled it, // And drove right through the doctor's chest // The sabre and the hand that held it. // The blow was a decisive one, // And Doctor Brown grew deadly pasty, // Now see the mischief that you've done - // You Turks are so extremely hasty. // There are two Doctor Browns in Hooe - // He's short and stout, I'm tall and wizen; // You've been and run the wrong one through, // That's how the error has arisen. // The accident was thus explained, // Apologies were only heard now: // At my mistake I'm really pained - // I am, indeed - upon my word now. // With me, sir, you shall be interred, // A mausoleum grand awaits me. // Oh, pray don't say another word, // I'm sure that more than compensates me. // But p'r'aps, kind Turk, you're full inside? // There's room, said he, for any number. // And so they laid them down and died. // In proud Stamboul they sleep their slumber...


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