Give your attention to my ditty and I'll not keep you long;
I'll endeavour for to please you if you listen to my song.
I'll tell you an ancient story, the doings and the ways,
The manners and the customs of my grandfather's days,
Of many years that's gone and past, which hundreds do say hard,
When Adam was a little boy and worked in Chatham yard,
We had no Waterloo soldiers dressed out in scarlet clothes;
The people were not frightened by one man's long big nose. [Note 542.1]
We had not got Lord Brougham to pass the Poor_Law¹ Bill;
We had not got policemen to keep the people still; [Note 542.2]
We had not got the treadmill to dance upon and grin;
Old women in the morning didn't drink a pint of gin.
If a young man went a courting a damsel meek and mild,
And if she from some misfortune should hap to get with child,
By going to a magistrate, a recompense to seek,
They'd make the man to marry her, or pay a crown¹ a week.
But now by the New Poor law he nothing has to pay,
Nor would he, even if he got twenty children every day.
We had not got so many Whigs, to govern us by laws
O'Connell(1) had not come to town to fight for Ireland's cause.
A tradesman was not known to sigh, or had reason to complain;
Col. Evans(1) wasn't here to drag the Englishmen to Spain.
There then was none of Fieschi's gang to wheel about and prance;
They hadn't got the musket made to shoot the King of France.
In my grandfather's day, now very well you know,
They never learned to wheel about, nor learned to jump Jim Crow.
They walked, or rode on horseback, or travelled with a team; [Note 542.3]
They never thought of rail-roads or travelling by steam. [Note 542.4]
They travelled on the roads by day or in the morning soon;
Green(1) did not go to Holland in a dashing great balloon. [Note 542.5]
With silk and with satins women didn't decorate their backs;
The sleeves upon their gowns weren't like great 'tatoe sacks. [Note 542.6]
They then had got no cabbage nets, to hide their pretty faces,
They used to mend their stocking heels, and tidy up their places;
They hadn't got great bustle(1), to upon their rump
They didn't under hedges go, Play at tiddle-de-bump
And since I have told you, of my Grandfather's days,
I am just going to tell you some words that he says
If you'd know the value of money, I'd have you try to borrow,
For as poor Richard says, you are sure to meet with sorrow [Note 542.7]
It's true I declare, and so you'll own,
That poverty often makes many to roam
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man wealthy healthy and wise
A little neglect great mischief may breed,
For want of nails the shoe was lost, As we may plainly read
And the horse too was lost for want of a shoe
And for the want of a horse the poor rider went too
Being overtaken and slain, which foresee they could not fail
For want of a little care, about a horse nail.
These are the old ancient sayings of my Grandfather's days