The Old Chartist.


Whate’er I be, old England is my dam !1
So there’s my answer to the judges, clear.2
I’m nothing of a fox, nor of a lamb ;3
I don’t know how to cheat, nor how to leer :4
I’m for the nation !5
That’s why you see me by the wayside here,6
Returning home from transportation.7


It’s Summer in her bath this morn, I think.8
I’m fresh as dew, and chirpy as the birds :9
And just for joy to see old England wink 10
Thro’ leaves again, I could harangue the herds :11
Isn’t it something12
To speak out like a man when you’ve got words,13
And prove you’re not a stupid dumb thing ?14


They shipp’d me off for it : I’m here again.15
Old England is my dam, whate’er I be.16
Says I, I’ll tramp it home, and see the grain :17
If you see well, you’re king of what you see :18
Eyesight is having,19
If you’re not given, I said, to gluttony.20
Such talk to ignorance sounds as raving.21


You dear old brook, that from his Grace’s park.22
Come bounding ! on you run near my old town :23
My lord can’t lock the water ; nor the lark ,24
Unless he kills him, can my lord keep down.25
Up, is the song-note !26
I’ve tried it, too : — for comfort and renown27
I rather pitch’d upon the wrong-note.28


I’m not ashamed : Not beaten’s still my boast :29
Again I’ll rouse the people up to strike.30
But home’s where different politics jar most most.31
Respectability the women like.32
This form, or –that form33
The Government may be hungry pike,34
But don’t you mount a Chartist platform !35


Well, well ! Not beaten – spite of them, I shou ;36
And my estate is suffering for the Cause.—37
Now, what is yon brown water-rat about about,38
Who washes his old poll with busy paws ?39
What does he mean by’t ?40
It’s like defying all our natural laws41
For him to hope that he’ll get clean by’t.42


His seat is on a mud-bank, and his trade43
Is dirt : he’s quite contemptible ; and yet44
The fellow’s all as anxious as a maid45
To show a decent dress, and dry the wet.46
Now it’s his whisker, whisker,47
And now his nose, and ear : he seems to get48
Each moment at the motion brisker !49
A figure leans upon a stone plinth and looks out onto a brook. He holds his jacket over his shoulder and rests his head in his left hand. The letters FAS are intertwined, mirrored, and engraved upon the plinth. A fallen log, bindweed, and miscellaneous plants and flowers decorate the foreground. In the middle ground, there is a wooden fence, bushes, insects, and a small forest. In the background, behind the foliage, there is a house and a small triangular wooden shack. A figure is holding a pole and seems to be building the shack. Logs are strewn about the ground. Full page width and approximately 1/2 page height contained within a single-ruled border.


To see him squat like little chaps at school,50
I can’t help laughing out with all my might,51
He peers, hangs both his fore-paws : bless that fool,52
He’s bobbing at his frill now !— what a sight !53
Licking the dish up,54
As if he though to pass from black to white.55
Like parson into lawny bishop56


The elms and yellow reed-flags in the sun,57
Look on quite grave : — the sunlight flecks his side ;58
And links of bindweed-flowers round him run,59
And shine up doubled with him in the tide.60
I’m nearly splitting,61
But nature seems like seconding his pride,62
And thinks that his behaviour’s fitting.63


That isle o’ mud looks baking dry with gold.64
His needle-muzzle still works out and in.65
It really is a wonder to behold,66
And makes me feel the bristles of my chin,67
Judged by appearance,68
I fancy of the two I’m nearer Sin,69
And might as well commence a clearance.70


And that’s what my fine daughter said : — she meant :71
Pray hold your tongue, and wear a Sunday face.72
Her husband, the young linendraper, spent73
Much argument thereon :— I’m their disgrace74
Bother the couple !75
I feel superior to a chap whose place76
Commands him be neat and supple77


But if I go and say to my old hen :78
I’ll mend the gentry’s boots, and keep discreet,79
Until they grow too violent, — why, then,80
A warmer welcome I might chance to meet :81
Warmer and better.82
And if she fancies her old cock is beat :83
And drops upon her knees – so let let her !84


She suffered for me :— women, you’ll observe,85
Don’t suffer for a Cause, but for a man.86
When I was in the dock, she show’d her nerve :87
I saw beneath he shawl my old tea-can88
Trembling . . . . she brought it89
To screw me for my work : she loathed my plan,90
And therefore double kind I thought it.91


I’ve never lost the taste of that same tea :92
That liquor on my logic floats like oil,93
When I state facts, and fellows disagree.94
For human creatures all are in a coil ;95
All may want pardon.96
I see a day when every pot will boil97
Harmounious in one great Tea-garden !98


We wait the setting of the Dandy’s day,99
Before that time !— He’s furbishing his dress100
He will be ready for it !— and I say101
That yon old dandy rat amid the cress,—102
Thanks to hard labour !—103
If cleanliness is next to godliness,104
The old fat fellow’s Heaven’s neighbour !105


You teach me a fine lesson, my old boy !106
I’ve look’d on my superiors far too long.107
And small has been my profit as my joy.108
You’ve done the right while I’ve denounced the
Prosper me later !110
Like you I will despise the sniggering throng,111
And please myself and my Creator.112


I’ll bring the linendraper and his wife113
Some day to see you ; taking off my hat.114
She they ask why, I’ll answer : in my life115
I never found so true a democrat.116
Base occupation :117
Can’t rob you of your own esteem, old rat !118
I’ll preach you to the British nation.119