1793 8

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A Word to the Wise. A new Ballad on the Times
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXIII (July 1793), frontispiece

The Mounseers, they say, have the world in a string,
They don't like our nobles, they don't like our King;
But they smuggle our wool, and they'd fain have our wheat,
And leave us poor Englishmen nothing to eat.
    Derry down, down, down derry down.

They call us already a province of France,
And come here by hundreds to teach us to dance;
They say we are heavy, they say we are dull,
And that beef and plumb-pudding's not good for John Bull.

They jaw in their clubs, murder women and priests,
And then for their fishwives they make civic feasts—
Civic feasts! what are they? why, a new-fashion'd thing,
For which they renounce both their God and their King!

And yet there's no eating, 'tis all foolish play,
For when pies are cut open, the birds fly away;
But Frenchmen admire it, and fancy they see
That Liberty's fix'd at the top of a tree.

They say man and wife should no longer be one,
Do you take a daughter, and I'll take a son;
And as all things are equal, and all should be free,
If your wife don't suit you, Sir, perhaps she'll suit me.

But our ladies are virtuous, our ladies are fair,
Which is more than they tell us your French-women are;
They know they are happy, they know they are free,
And that Liberty's not at the top of a tree.

They take from the rich, but don't give to the poor,
And to all sorts of mischief they'd open the door;
Then let's be united, and know when we're well,
Nor believe all the lies these Republicans tell.

Our soldiers and sailors will answer these sparks,
Though they threaten'd Dumourier[1] should spit us like larks;
But, Britons, don't fear them, for Britons are free,
And know Liberty's not to be found on a tree.

They try to deceive us, our loss is their gain,
Which is all we can learn from the works of Tom Paine;
But let Britons be wise, as they're brave and they're free,
And still Britain shall rule in the midst of her sea.

Then stand by the Church, and the King, and the Laws,
The Old Lion still has his teeth and his claws;
We know of no Despots, we've nothing to fear,
For their new-fangled nonsense will never do here.
    Derry down, down, down derry down.

May 18, 1793.


1. Charles Francois Dumouriez, French general and leader of the War of the First coalition. Under his leadership at the Battle of Valmy (September 20, 1792), the revolutionary armies had their first decisive victory.

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