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The Bab Ballads - Part 3

By Various

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Book Id: WPLBN0000711570
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 155,216 KB.
Reproduction Date: 2007
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Title: The Bab Ballads - Part 3  
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 3. Retrieved from


Excerpt: The Yarn Of The Nancy Bell // 'Twas on the shores that round our coast // From Deal to Ramsgate span, // That I found alone on a piece of stone // An elderly naval man. // His hair was weedy, his beard was long, // And weedy and long was he, // And I heard this wight on the shore recite, // In a singular minor key: // Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold, // And the mate of the Nancy brig, // And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite, // And the crew of the captain's gig. // And he shook his fists and he tore his hair, // Till I really felt afraid, // For I couldn't help thinking the man had been drinking, // And so I simply said: // Oh, elderly man, it's little I know // Of the duties of men of the sea, // And I'll eat my hand if I understand // However you can be // At once a cook, and a captain bold, // And the mate of the Nancy brig, // And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite, // And the crew of the captain's gig. // Then he gave a hitch to his trousers, which // Is a trick all seamen larn, // And having got rid of a thumping quid, // He spun this painful yarn: // 'Twas in the good ship Nancy Bell // That we sailed to the Indian Sea, // And there on a reef we come to grief, // Which has often occurred to me. // And pretty nigh all the crew was drowned // (There was seventy-seven o' soul), // And only ten of the Nancy's men // Said 'Here!' to the muster-roll. // There was me and the cook and the captain bold, // And the mate of the Nancy brig, // And the bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite, // And the crew of the captain's gig. // For a month we'd neither wittles nor drink, // Till a-hungry we did feel, // So we drawed a lot, and, accordin' shot // The captain for our meal. // The next lot fell to the Nancy's mate, // And a delicate dish he made; // Then our appetite with the midshipmite // We seven survivors stayed. // And then we murdered the bo'sun tight, // And he much resembled pig; // Then we wittled free, did the cook and me, // On the crew of the captain's gig. // Then only the cook and me was left, // And the delicate question, 'Which // Of us two goes to the kettle?' arose, // And we argued it out as sich. // For I loved that cook as a brother, I did, // And the cook he worshipped me; // But we'd both be blowed if we'd either be stowed // In the other chap's hold, you see. // 'I'll be eat if you dines off me,' says Tom; // 'Yes, that,' says I, 'you'll be, - // 'I'm boiled if I die, my friend,' quoth I; // And 'Exactly so,' quoth he. // Says he, 'Dear James, to murder me // Were a foolish thing to do, // For don't you see that you can't cook me, // While I can - and will - cook you!' // So he boils the water, and takes the salt // And the pepper in portions true // (Which he never forgot), and some chopped shalot. // And some sage and parsley too. // 'Come here,' says he, with a proper pride, // Which his smiling features tell, // ''T will soothing be if I let you see // How extremely nice you'll smell.' // And he stirred it round and round and round, // And he sniffed at the foaming froth; // When I ups with his heels, and smothers his squeals // In the scum of the boiling broth. // And I eat that cook in a week or less, // And - as I eating be // The last of his chops, why, I almost drops, // For a wessel in sight I see! // 2 // // And I never larf, and I never smile, // And I never lark nor play, // But sit and croak, and a single joke // I have - which is to say: // Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold, // And the mate of the Nancy brig, // And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite, // And the crew of the captain's gig!' // The Bishop Of Rum-Ti-Foo // From east and south the holy clan // Of Bishops gathered to a man; // To Synod, called Pan-Anglican, // In flocking crowds they came. // Among them was a Bishop, who // Had lately been appointed to // The balmy isle of Rum-ti-Foo, // And Peter was his name. // His people - twenty-three in sum - // They played the eloquent tum-tum, // And lived on scalps served up, in rum - // The only sauce they knew. // When first good Bishop Peter came // (For Peter was that Bishop's name), // To humour them, he did the same // As they of Rum-ti-Foo. // His flock, I've often heard him tell, // (His name was Peter) loved him well, // And, summoned by the sound of bell, // In crowds together came. // Oh, massa, why you go away? // Oh, Massa Peter, please to stay. // (They called him Peter, people say, // Because it was his name.) // He told them all good boys to be, // And sailed away across the sea, // At London Bridge that Bishop he // Arrived one Tuesday night; // And as that night he homeward strode // To his Pan-Anglican abode, // He passed along the Borough Road, // And saw a gruesome sight. // He saw a crowd assembled round // A person dancing on the ground, // Who straight began to leap and bound // With all his might and main. // To see that dancing man he stopped, // Who twirled and wriggled, skipped and hopped, // Then down incontinently dropped, // 3 // And then sprang up again. // The Bishop chuckled at the sight. // This style of dancing would delight // A simple Rum-ti-Foozleite. // I'll learn it if I can, // To please the tribe when I get back. // He begged the man to teach his knack. // Right Reverend Sir, in half a crack! // Replied that dancing man. // The dancing man he worked away, // And taught the Bishop every day - // The dancer skipped like any fay - // Good Peter did the same. // The Bishop buckled to his task, // With Battements, and Pas de Basque. // (I'll tell you, if you care to ask, // That Peter was his name.) // Come, walk like this, the dancer said, // Stick out your toes - stick in your head, // Stalk on with quick, galvanic tread - // Your fingers thus extend; // The attitude's considered quaint. // The weary Bishop, feeling faint, // Replied, I do not say it ain't, // But 'Time!' my Christian friend! // We now proceed to something new - // Dance as the Paynes and Lauris do, // Like this - one, two - one, two - one, two. // The Bishop, never proud, // But in an overwhelming heat // (His name was Peter, I repeat) // Performed the Payne and Lauri feat, // And puffed his thanks aloud. // Another game the dancer planned - // Just take your ankle in your hand, // And try, my lord, if you can stand - // Your body stiff and stark. // If, when revisiting your see, // You learnt to hop on shore - like me - // The novelty would striking be, // And must attract remark. // No, said the worthy Bishop, no; // That is a length to which, I trow, // Colonial Bishops cannot go. // You may express surprise // At finding Bishops deal in pride - // But if that trick I ever tried, // I should appear undignified // In Rum-ti-Foozle's eyes. // The islanders of Rum-ti-Foo // 4 // Are well-conducted persons, who // Approve a joke as much as you, // And laugh at it as such; // But if they saw their Bishop land, // His leg supported in his hand, // The joke they wouldn't understand - // 'T would pain them very much! // The Precocious Baby // A Very True Tale // (To be sung to the air of the Whistling Oyster.) // An elderly person - a prophet by trade - // With his quips and tips // On withered old lips, // He married a young and a beautiful maid; // The cunning old blade! // Though rather decayed, // He married a beautiful, beautiful maid. // She was only eighteen, and as fair as could be, // With her tempting smiles // And maidenly wiles, // And he was a trifle past seventy-three: // Now what she could see // Is a puzzle to me, // In a prophet of seventy - seventy-three! // Of all their acquaintances bidden (or bad) // With their loud high jinks // And underbred winks, // None thought they'd a family have - but they had; // A dear little lad // Who drove 'em half mad, // For he turned out a horribly fast little cad. // For when he was born he astonished all by, // With their Law, dear me! // Did ever you see? // He'd a pipe in his mouth and a glass in his eye, // A hat all awry - // An octagon tie - // And a miniature - miniature glass in his eye. // He grumbled at wearing a frock and a cap, // With his Oh, dear, oh! // And his Hang it! 'oo know! // And he turned up his nose at his excellent pap - // My friends, it's a tap // Dat is not worf a rap. // (Now this was remarkably excellent pap.) // He'd chuck his nurse under the chin, and he'd say, // With his Fal, lal, lal - // 'Oo doosed fine gal! // This shocking precocity drove 'em away: // 5 // A month from to-day // Is as long as I'll stay - // Then I'd wish, if you please, for to toddle away. // His father, a simple old gentleman, he // With nursery rhyme // And Once on a time, // Would tell him the story of Little Bo-P, // So pretty was she, // So pretty and wee, // As pretty, as pretty, as pretty could be. // But the babe, with a dig that would startle an ox, // With his C'ck! Oh, my! - // Go along wiz 'oo, fie! // Would exclaim, I'm afraid 'oo a socking ole fox. // Now a father it shocks, // And it whitens his locks, // When his little babe calls him a shocking old fox. // The name of his father he'd couple and pair // (With his ill-bred laugh, // And insolent chaff) // With those of the nursery heroines rare - // Virginia the Fair, // Or Good Goldenhair, // Till the nuisance was more than a prophet could bear. // There's Jill and White Cat (said the bold little brat, // With his loud, Ha, ha!) // 'Oo sly ickle Pa! // Wiz 'oo Beauty, Bo-Peep, and 'oo Mrs. Jack Sprat! // I've noticed 'oo pat // My pretty White Cat - // I sink dear mamma ought to know about dat! // He early determined to marry and wive, // For better or worse // With his elderly nurse - // Which the poor little boy didn't live to contrive: // His hearth didn't thrive - // No longer alive, // He died an enfeebled old dotard at five! // Moral. // Now, elderly men of the bachelor crew, // With wrinkled hose // And spectacled nose, // Don't marry at all - you may take it as true // If ever you do // The step you will rue, // For your babes will be elderly - elderly too. // To Phoebe // Gentle, modest little flower, // Sweet epitome of May, // 6 // Love me but for half an hour, // Love me, love me, little fay. // Sentences so fiercely flaming // In your tiny shell-like ear, // I should always be exclaiming // If I loved you, Phoebe dear. // Smiles that thrill from any distance // Shed upon me while I sing! // Please ecstaticize existence, // Love me, oh, thou fairy thing! // Words like these, outpouring sadly // You'd perpetually hear, // If I loved you fondly, madly; - // But I do not, Phoebe dear. // Baines Carew, Gentleman // Of all the good attorneys who // Have placed their names upon the roll, // But few could equal Baines Carew // For tender-heartedness and soul. // Whene'er he heard a tale of woe // From client A or client B, // His grief would overcome him so // He'd scarce have strength to take his fee. // It laid him up for many days, // When duty led him to distrain, // And serving writs, although it pays, // Gave him excruciating pain. // He made out costs, distrained for rent, // Foreclosed and sued, with moistened eye - // No bill of costs could represent // The value of such sympathy. // No charges can approximate // The worth of sympathy with woe; - // Although I think I ought to state // He did his best to make them so. // Of all the many clients who // Had mustered round his legal flag, // No single client of the crew // Was half so dear as Captain Bagg. // Now, Captain Bagg had bowed him to // A heavy matrimonial yoke - // His wifey had of faults a few - // She never could resist a joke. // Her chaff at first he meekly bore, // Till unendurable it grew. // To stop this persecution sore // I will consult my friend Carew. // And when Carew's advice I've got, // Divorce a mensƒ I shall try. // 7 // (A legal separation - not // A vinculo conjugii.) // Oh, Baines Carew, my woe I've kept // A secret hitherto, you know; - // (And Baines Carew, Esquire, he wept // To hear that Bagg had any woe.) // My case, indeed, is passing sad. // My wife - whom I considered true - // With brutal conduct drives me mad. // I am appalled, said Baines Carew. // What! sound the matrimonial knell // Of worthy people such as these! // Why was I an attorney? Well - // Go on to the s‘vitia, please. // Domestic bliss has proved my bane, - // A harder case you never heard, // My wife (in other matters sane) // Pretends that I'm a Dicky bird! // She makes me sing, 'Too-whit, too-wee!' // And stand upon a rounded stick, // And always introduces me // To every one as 'Pretty Dick'! // Oh, dear, said weeping Baines Carew, // This is the direst case I know. // I'm grieved, said Bagg, at paining you - // To Cobb and Poltherthwaite I'll go - // To Cobb's cold, calculating ear, // My gruesome sorrows I'll impart - // No; stop, said Baines, I'll dry my tear, // And steel my sympathetic heart. // She makes me perch upon a tree, // Rewarding me with 'Sweety - nice!' // And threatens to exhibit me // With four or five performing mice. // Restrain my tears I wish I could // (Said Baines), I don't know what to do. // Said Captain Bagg, You're very good. // Oh, not at all, said Baines Carew. // She makes me fire a gun, said Bagg; // And, at a preconcerted word, // Climb up a ladder with a flag, // Like any street performing bird. // She places sugar in my way - // In public places calls me 'Sweet!' // She gives me groundsel every day, // And hard canary-seed to eat. // Oh, woe! oh, sad! oh, dire to tell! // (Said Baines). Be good enough to stop. // And senseless on the floor he fell, // With unpremeditated flop! // 8 // Said Captain Bagg, Well, really I // Am grieved to think it pains you so. // I thank you for your sympathy; // But, hang it! - come - I say, you know! // But Baines lay flat upon the floor, // Convulsed with sympathetic sob; - // The Captain toddled off next door, // And gave the case to Mr. Cobb. // Thomas Winterbottom Hance // In all the towns and cities fair // On Merry England's broad expanse, // No swordsman ever could compare // With Thomas Winterbottom Hance. // The dauntless lad could fairly hew // A silken handkerchief in twain, // Divide a leg of mutton too - // And this without unwholesome strain. // On whole half-sheep, with cunning trick, // His sabre sometimes he'd employ - // No bar of lead, however thick, // Had terrors for the stalwart boy. // At Dover daily he'd prepare // To hew and slash, behind, before - // Which aggravated Monsieur Pierre, // Who watched him from the Calais shore. // It caused good Pierre to swear and dance, // The sight annoyed and vexed him so; // He was the bravest man in France - // He said so, and he ought to know. // Regardez, donc, ce cochon gros - // Ce polisson! Oh, sacr‚ bleu! // Son sabre, son plomb, et ses gigots // Comme cela m'ennuye, enfin, mon Dieu! // Il sait que les foulards de soie // Give no retaliating whack - // Les gigots morts n'ont pas de quoi - // Le plomb don't ever hit you back. // But every day the headstrong lad // Cut lead and mutton more and more; // And every day poor Pierre, half mad, // Shrieked loud defiance from his shore. // Hance had a mother, poor and old, // A simple, harmless village dame, // Who crowed and clapped as people told // Of Winterbottom's rising fame. // She said, I'll be upon the spot // To see my Tommy's sabre-play; // And so she left her leafy cot, // And walked to Dover in a day. // 9 // Pierre had a doating mother, who // Had heard of his defiant rage; // His Ma was nearly ninety-two, // And rather dressy for her age. // At Hance's doings every morn, // With sheer delight his mother cried; // And Monsieur Pierre's contemptuous scorn // Filled his mamma with proper pride. // But Hance's powers began to fail - // His constitution was not strong - // And Pierre, who once was stout and hale, // Grew thin from shouting all day long. // Their mothers saw them pale and wan, // Maternal anguish tore each breast, // And so they met to find a plan // To set their offsprings' minds at rest. // Said Mrs. Hance, Of course I shrinks // From bloodshed, ma'am, as you're aware, // But still they'd better meet, I thinks. // Assur‚ment! said Madame Pierre. // A sunny spot in sunny France // Was hit upon for this affair; // The ground was picked by >Mrs. Hance, // The stakes were pitched by Madame Pierre. // Said Mrs. H., Your work you see - // Go in, my noble boy, and win. // En garde, mon fils! said Madame P. // Allons! Go on! En garde! Begin! // (The mothers were of decent size, // Though not particularly tall; // But in the sketch that meets your eyes // I've been obliged to draw them small.) // Loud sneered the doughty man of France, // Ho! ho! Ho! ho! Ha! ha! Ha! ha! // The French for 'Pish' said Thomas Hance. // Said Pierre, L'Anglais, Monsieur, pour 'Bah.' // Said Mrs. H., Come, one! two! three! - // We're sittin' here to see all fair. // C'est magnifique! said Madame P., // Mais, parbleu! ce n'est pas la guerre! // Je scorn un foe si lƒche que vous, // Said Pierre, the doughty son of France. // I fight not coward foe like you! // Said our undaunted Tommy Hance. // The French for 'Pooh!' our Tommy cried. // L'Anglais pour 'Va!' the Frenchman crowed. // And so, with undiminished pride, // Each went on his respective road. // The Reverend Micah Sowls // 10 // The Reverend Micah Sowls, // He shouts and yells and howls, // He screams, he mouths, he bumps, // He foams, he rants, he thumps. // His armour he has buckled on, to wage // The regulation war against the Stage; // And warns his congregation all to shun // The Presence-Chamber of the Evil One, // The subject's sad enough // To make him rant and puff, // And fortunately, too, // His Bishop's in a pew. // So Reverend Micah claps on extra steam, // His eyes are flashing with superior gleam, // He is as energetic as can be, // For there are fatter livings in that see. // The Bishop, when it's o'er, // Goes through the vestry door, // Where Micah, very red, // Is mopping of his head. // Pardon, my Lord, your Sowls' excessive zeal, // It is a theme on which I strongly feel. // (The sermon somebody had sent him down // From London, at a charge of half-a-crown.) // The Bishop bowed his head, // And, acquiescing, said, // I've heard your well-meant rage // Against the Modern Stage. // A modern Theatre, as I heard you say, // Sows seeds of evil broadcast - well it may; // But let me ask you, my respected son, // Pray, have you ever ventured into one? // My Lord, said Micah, no! // I never, never go! // What! Go and see a play? // My goodness gracious, nay! // The worthy Bishop said, My friend, no doubt // The Stage may be the place you make it out; // But if, my Reverend Sowls, you never go, // I don't quite understand how you're to know. // Well, really, Micah said, // I've often heard and read, // But never go - do you? // The Bishop said, I do. // That proves me wrong, said Micah, in a trice: // I thought it all frivolity and vice. // The Bishop handed him a printed card; // Go to a theatre where they play our Bard. // The Bishop took his leave, // Rejoicing in his sleeve. // 11 // The next ensuing day // Sowls went and heard a play. // He saw a dreary person on the stage, // Who mouthed and mugged in simulated rage, // Who growled and spluttered in a mode absurd, // And spoke an English Sowls had never heard. // For gaunt was spoken garnt, // And haunt transformed to harnt, // And wrath pronounced as rath, // And death was changed to dath. // For hours and hours that dismal actor walked, // And talked, and talked, and talked, and talked, // Till lethargy upon the parson crept, // And sleepy Micah Sowls serenely slept. // He slept away until // The farce that closed the bill // Had warned him not to stay, // And then he went away. // I thought my gait ridiculous, said he - // My elocution faulty as could be; // I thought I mumbled on a matchless plan - // I had not seen our great Tragedian! // Forgive me, if you can, // O great Tragedian! // I own it with a sigh - // You're drearier than I! // A Discontented Sugar Broker // A gentleman of City fame // Now claims your kind attention; // East India broking was his game, // His name I shall not mention: // No one of finely-pointed sense // Would violate a confidence, // And shall I go // And do it? No! // His name I shall not mention. // He had a trusty wife and true, // And very cosy quarters, // A manager, a boy or two, // Six clerks, and seven porters. // A broker must be doing well // (As any lunatic can tell) // Who can employ // An active boy, // Six clerks, and seven porters. // His knocker advertised no dun, // No losses made him sulky, // He had one sorrow - only one - // He was extremely bulky. // 12 // A man must be, I beg to state, // Exceptionally fortunate // Who owns his chief // And only grief // Is - being very bulky. // This load, he'd say, I cannot bear; // I'm nineteen stone or twenty! // Henceforward I'll go in for air // And exercise in plenty. // Most people think that, should it come, // They can reduce a bulging tum // To measures fair // By taking air // And exercise in plenty. // In every weather, every day, // Dry, muddy, wet, or gritty, // He took to dancing all the way // From Brompton to the City. // You do not often get the chance // Of seeing sugar brokers dance // From their abode // In Fulham Road // Through Brompton to the City. // He braved the gay and guileless laugh // Of children with their nusses, // The loud uneducated chaff // Of clerks on omnibuses. // Against all minor things that rack // A nicely-balanced mind, I'll back // The noisy chaff // And ill-bred laugh // Of clerks on omnibuses. // His friends, who heard his money chink, // And saw the house he rented, // And knew his wife, could never think // What made him discontented. // It never entered their pure minds // That fads are of eccentric kinds, // Nor would they own // That fat alone // Could make one discontented. // Your riches know no kind of pause, // Your trade is fast advancing; // You dance - but not for joy, because // You weep as you are dancing. // To dance implies that man is glad, // To weep implies that man is sad; // But here are you // Who do the two - // You weep as you are dancing! // 13 // His mania soon got noised about // And into all the papers; // His size increased beyond a doubt // For all his reckless capers: // It may seem singular to you, // But all his friends admit it true - // The more he found // His figure round, // The more he cut his capers. // His bulk increased - no matter that - // He tried the more to toss it - // He never spoke of it as fat, // But adipose deposit. // Upon my word, it seems to me // Unpardonable vanity // (And worse than that) // To call your fat // An adipose deposit. // At length his brawny knees gave way, // And on the carpet sinking, // Upon his shapeless back he lay // And kicked away like winking. // Instead of seeing in his state // The finger of unswerving Fate, // He laboured still // To work his will, // And kicked away like winking. // His friends, disgusted with him now, // Away in silence wended - // I hardly like to tell you how // This dreadful story ended. // The shocking sequel to impart, // I must employ the limner's art - // If you would know, // This sketch will show // How his exertions ended. // Moral. // I hate to preach - I hate to prate - // I'm no fanatic croaker, // But learn contentment from the fate // Of this East India broker. // He'd everything a man of taste // Could ever want, except a waist; // And discontent // His size anent, // And bootless perseverance blind, // Completely wrecked the peace of mind // Of this East India broker...


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