Railway Stag, the

After initial success, the hero falls victim to the speculative bubble

Suggested tune See Music Comment


I once was a stag(1) of the first reputation,
And few had antlers so branchy as I;
There wasn't a railway propos'd in the nation
At which I had not a sanguine shy,
I'm now inundated with shares allocated
In railways I know that can never be made,
And sorry am I that I e'er speculated—
So again I am at my legitimate trade. [Note 560.1]

I conned each prospectus with heart palpitation,
A pencil in hand, and a little note-book ;
The length of each line, and the whole population,
Down on its pages I hurriedly took.
I read gazetteers and statistics, and histories—
Leaned every item proposed to a shade(1) ;
But being Involv’d in their unforeseen mysteries—
Now I am at my legitimate trade.

I call'd on my broker(1) at eight every morning,
To bear of each scheme that was novel and good;
Sometimes I was hold, and sometimes I took warning,
For stags are in nature both timid and rude.
I sold at small premiums whatever was going—
To bold for an hour I was always afraid
But now allocations are scarcely worth showing—
Again I am at my legitimate trade.

I oft met with men who were bearing the market,
And trying It once I was bit by the same;
So after that time I no more bad a lark at
That very ridiculous kind of game.
I stuck to the stagging, and often went bragging
How much I was making—how much I had made
But now I have got a deplorable gagging
Again I am at my legitimate trade.

Schemes I had laid for a house in the country,
Apart from the town in a beautiful spot !
For up to this hour I had ne'er had a farthing
That wasn't twice needed before it was got.
My schemes and my hopes they are all sadly blasted;
The wife I had fixed on must still live a maid
The joke was too good, and too briefly it lasted
Again I am at my legitimate trade.

My pockets are crammed with poor scrip¹ not worth having;
No one will buy, and the broker can’t sell—
I suppose I must use it as paper for shaving:
My sorrow is more than I'm willing to tell
The spell it has burst--the excitement is over –
The contracts I sign’d often make me afraid;
Farewell to my dreams about living on clover
Again I am at my legitimate trade.