BETA

BRITAIN’S PROSPERITY.

A NEW SONG, WHICH OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN SUNG BY THE PREMIER AT THE
OPENING OF PARLIAMENT.

I.

News for you, gentlemen !  Here is prosperity,1
Fat and fullhanded, arrived at our door :2
Crashes, disasters, and famine’s severity,3
Never can harass or trouble us more.4
No miching malecho !5
Spin away calico !6
Never saw man such a prospect before !7

II.

All things are cheapened. Good sirs, in the galleries,8
Pray bear this cheerful announcement in mind9
All things are down—except Ministers’ salaries,10
Taxes, and some little jobs of the kind.11
Small trades are finishing,12
Wages diminishing13
That is the way to be happy, you’ll find.14

III.

Wheat’s at a price that won’t pay for the growing it,15
That is to say, if we cultivate here ;16
Why should we therefore persist, sirs, in sowing it ?17
Beautiful markets are plenty and near.18
Hang the home labourer !19
Buy from your neighbour, or20
Any one else, so you don’t buy it dear.21

IV.

True pioneers of a better and brighter age,22
We have diminished the charges for freight ;23
Some little dues there may still be for “ lighterage,”*24
But, on the whole, ’ tis a moderate rate.25
Wheat for a guinea26
Load from Volhynia27
Comes to your shores, and is lodged at your gate.28

V.

Huxtable’s pigs, though replete with ammonia,29
Never worked any such wonders as these ;30
Barley from Mecklenburg, grain from Polonia,31
Butter from Holland, American cheese ;32
Bacon gratuitous,33
Cargoes fortuitous,34
Float to our coasts with each prosperous breeze.35

VI.

What need we care though a desperate peasantry36
Prowl round the stackyards with tinder and match ?37
Blandly we’ll smile at such practical pleasantry :38
Downing Street is not surmounted by thatch.39
We’re not prohibiting40
Some gentle gibbeting41
When the poor starving delinquents you catch.42

VII.

Cobden, our oracle, swears it is vanity43
Ever to dream of protection again :44
Wilson declares it is downright insanity,45
Also he proves it by figures and pen.46
Sheets arithmetical,47
Clearly prophetical,48
Flow from the quills of these eminent men.49

VIII.

Likewise M’Gregor, that brilliant Glaswegian,50
Whom we desiderate always to speak,51
Hath, by the aid of some second-sight Stygian,52
Promised us shortly two millions per week,53
Whaur shall we pit it, sirs ? ”—54
Wait till you get it, sirs !55
Zooks !  what a prospect of bubble and squeak !56

* Vide the Economist, passim ; more especially that amusing and delectable
series of articles, penned for the purpose of demonstrating that Free Trade
hances the value of grain.

IX.

As for you paltry persisting Protectionists,57
Why should you prate of the labourer’s cause ?58
Don’t you observe you are mere Resurrectionists59
Trying to get at the grave of the laws ?60
Honest Peel strangled them,61
Then the Whigs mangled them,62
Coffined, and sank them with Cobden’s applause.63

X.

Any such notions I think you had best bury64
Deep in the grave where your idol is laid ;65
Then, from the lips of the member for Westbury,66
Take a sound lesson in matters of trade.67
List to his prophecies68
We’ll keep our offices69
Snug, till your final conversion is made.70

XI.

Deuce take those breechesless rascals the Highlanders !71
Let them go starve on their beggarly hills :72
Irish impostors, and kelp-making Islanders,73
Can’t they find room in our poor-law Bastilles ?74
Or, for variety,75
Though there’s satiety,76
Let them be packed to the calico mills !77

XII.

Wages must tumble, like leaves in a hurricane,78
Under this grand competition for work :79
Britons shall toil for the Jew and American,80
Chinaman, Spaniard, Mulatto, and Turk81
Each village Hannibal,82
Fierce as a cannibal,83
Eyeing his neighbour like Bishop or Burke !84

XIII.

These are the triumphs of science political85
These are the views by the Whigs patronised.86
Tories may scout them ; but, ne’ertheless, it I call87
Such a grand scheme as was seldom devised.88
How is it robbery ?89
Cheapness and jobbery90
Are the twin saints whom we’ve just canonised.91

XIV.

Under the free-trading auspices, true it is92
Some time or other taxation may pinch.93
Then for a shy at the Funds and Annuities !94
We’ll take a yard since you gave us an inch.95
Hush, Mr. Newdegate !96
Why not repudiate,97
Just as was done by the pupils of Lynch ?98

XV.

Worthy Sir Robert, that statesman immaculate,99
Doubled his fortune by doubling the pound :100
Even the wisest may sometimes miscalculate101
Surely he will not object to refund ?102
That were a merry go!103
See you at Jericho ! ”104
O—very well—I abandon that ground.105

XVI.

Shortly—I say, with habitual bonhomie,106
Everything’s quiet as we Ministers wish,107
Plenty and peace are combined with economy,108
Food is abundant—provide you the dish.109
Pay to the foreigner,110
Peasant and mariner,111
All you can raise for your loaf and your fish.112

XVII.

Banish all notions of British ascendency,113
Let them be wiped from our memory quite ;114
Modern views have an opposite tendency,115
As hath been clearly expounded by Bright.116
Let us be sensible117
Britain’s defensible,118
Not by brute force, but by maxims of right.119

XVIII.

We, for the voice of the populace amorous,120
Willing to do anything they require,121
Shall, if hereafter — chance to grow clamorous,122
Yield just precisely the thing they desire :123
We are quite ready to124
March with a steady toe125
Out of the frying-pan into the fire.126

XIX.

Sunk, like the inmates of Huxtable’s piggery,127
Up to the knees in an exquisite draft128
Stand the determined apostles of Whiggery,129
Chewing the grain, and rejecting the chaff.130
Ay, Mr. Huxtable !131
Not from your muck stable,132
Issues so hearty a grunting or laugh !133

XXX.

This, I maintain, of our state is the very type134
Joseph’s fat cattle and atrophied kine.135
We, for the first, may be ta’en by Daguerreotype :136
Who are the second, you well may divine.137
Yea, of a verity !138
Britain’s prosperity,139
Means nothing else than the measure of mine !140