28/03/2023

Dickens /Poems /The British Lion

Forward to The Hymn of the Wiltshire Labourers  – His LifeHis WorksHis Characters – Go to Bob Denton.com

The British Lion – 1846 – A Poem



This was a doggerel verses, its full title was The British Lion – A New Song, but an Old Story, it was to be sung to the tune of The Great Sea-Snake. It bore the signature of ‘Catnach’, a famous ballad-singer of the time, and was printed in the Daily News of 24 Jan 1846.
THE POEM:
Oh, p’r’aps you may have heard, and if not, I’ll sing
Of the British Lion free,
That was constantly a-going for to make a spring
Upon his en-e-me;
But who, being rather groggy at the knees,
Broke down, always, before;
And generally gave a feeble wheeze
Instead of a loud roar.
Right toor rol, loor rol, fee faw fum,
The British Lion bold!
That was always a-going for to do great things,
And was always being ‘sold!’

He was carried about, in a carawan,
And was show’d in country parts,
And they said, ‘Walk up! Be in time! He can
Eat Corn-Law Leagues like tarts!’
And his showmen, shouting there and then,
To puff him didn’t fail,
And they said, as they peep’d into his den,
‘Oh, don’t he wag his tail!’

Now, the principal keeper of this poor old beast,
Wan Humbug was his name,
Would once ev’ry day stir him up—at least—
And wasn’t that a Game!
For he hadn’t a tooth, and he hadn’t a claw,
In that ‘Struggle’ so ‘Sublime’;
And, however sharp they touch’d him on the raw,
He couldn’t come up to time.
And this, you will observe, was the reason why
Wan Humbug, on weak grounds,
Was forced to make believe that he heard his cry
In all unlikely sounds.
[Pg 97]So, there wasn’t a bleat from an Essex Calf,
Or a Duke, or a Lordling slim;
But he said, with a wery triumphant laugh,
‘I’m blest if that ain’t him.’

At length, wery bald in his mane and tail,
The British Lion growed:
He pined, and declined, and he satisfied
The last debt which he owed.
And when they came to examine the skin,
It was a wonder sore,
To find that the an-i-mal within
Was nothing but a Boar!
Right toor rol, loor rol, fee faw fum,
The British Lion bold!
That was always a-going for to do great things,
And was always being ‘sold!’

Catnach

Forward to The Hymn of the Wiltshire Labourers  – His LifeHis WorksHis Characters – Go to Bob Denton.com

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