ARI Smart Content - Data Table

Click to show on right, Sources for Song below
Bargery Number 404
Music (Given or Suggested) The broadsdie printed by Warwick of Leicester gives the tune as The Cork Leg
Printer or Publisher Harkness
Earliest Date 1835
Evidence for Earliest Date Publication of 'Steam Arm' (bar402) which is referred to in this song
Source of Text Bodleian Library, 2806 c.14(45)
Where Printed Preston
Roud V2137
First Line I'll sing you a song if I possibly can
Source Title The Steam Boots
Other Imprints Warwick of Leciester and Spencer of Bradford - See Roud Index
Origin Broadside

Steam Boots


I'll sing you a song if I possibly can
Of a Hollander bold, one Mynheer¹ Von Scram
On whose whole and sole thoughts on invention ran
In fact he was called a most wonderful man.

Chorus : Ri tooral loral &c
(the text of 'The Cork Leg' continues "la-a-y Ri_toora loora Ri too ra loora lay")

Now it chanced that he was once by government sent,
On a journey of import, but 'ere he went,
Says he "I shant ride for 'tis my intent,
A pair of new fashioned steam boots to invent". [Note 404.1]

These boots were made of prodigious size,
For they came full half way up his thighs,
The steamer was fired, "that's right" he cries,
"I'm off to morrow without gammon¹ or lies".

When morning came, long 'ere 'twas light,
He was stuck in the streets in the boots upright,
Surrounded by five hundred gazers quite,
Who had all flocked there to see the sight.

"Damme I'm off" at length he bawled,
He turned the cock, the women squalled,
Out burst the steam, and the mob appalled,
Was soon in the gutter by dozens sprawled.

The off like a rocket went poor Mynheer,
So swift that his course he could scarcely steer,
Whilst the boots pulled his legs out of joint very near,
And down went all that didn't stand clear.

Near Hamburgh an old turnpike gate stand there,
When bang came the boots with a blow so rare,
They sent it for miles and miles into the air,
And it pitched up next morning in Finsbury Square.

Still he travelled way by day and by night,
Dogs horses and wagons he sent to flight,
At last he heard with a twinge of fright,
That the soldier wot had the steam arm was in sight. [Note 404.2]

He soon found out that this tale was too true,
For the arm at a distance appeared in view,
"Oh lor", cried Mynheer, "what_the_deuce¹ shall I do?
For meet him I must, and he'll split me in two".

They met when plump against poor Mynheer's face,
Came the noted steam arm, but he still kept his place,
In return gave the soldier a tightish embrace,
Round the neck, while the boots worked away the same pace.

Now the arm still continued Mynheer's face to grind,
Whilst the boots were on each side the soldier entwined,
And as they worked on by the steam so inclined,
Why the poor soldier's rump took the blows from behind.

Thus they travelled for weeks among dirt. Thumps and pain,
Till chancing one day to turn sharp in a lane,
Here they met the cork leg, which soon kicked them in twain, [Note 404.3]
Mynheer pitched in Smithfield, the soldier in Spain.

Since this time I suppose you can readily guess,
They've never been seen, no nor heard of much less,
Though they all three got in a terrible mess,
L, E, G, - A, R, M, - B, two Os and T, S.

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