Margate Steamboat, The

Bargery No. 243                                                                          

Roud Id No. B45900



Margate Steamboat, The

Humorous description of a steamboat trip from London to Margate

 

Text

 

Verse 1

Sons of London, now's the time

To leave your smoky clime,

And take a trip to Margate by sea;

Wait not for wind or stream,

For you may go by steam,

From all delay and danger free.

Though many a clever bark

Has been built since Noah's ark,

For traffic, war, or pleasure, to float;

For comfort, and for show,

And for surety, I trow,

None can equal a Margate steam-boat

Spoken 2.1

Vell, Mr. Vaterman, vhich is the wessel? That, your honour, with the smoking chimney. La, papa, that chimley isn't built of brick. Och! faith, my darling, there's nothing built of brick that floats upon the Thames, except London-bridge, and that's all stone. Vell, this is vhat I call wery inwigorating.

2.2

But, I say, Mr. Vaterman, vhat sort of a boat may yon call this? We may call it a wherry, sir. Aye, it's a wery light wessel. And vhat's that great black ship ? That's a lighter. Vhat! lighter than this ? vhy it's full of coals, and all over pitch. Mind you don't pitch over, sir.

2.3

Here's the steamer. Hollah ! isn't that Wick, the tallow-chandler? Ali, Wick, how d'ye do, Wick ? Vhy, I'm amongst the middlings; I've given Mrs. Vick the slip, and left all the candles at sixes and sevens, on purpose to take a dip in the sea this melting weather.

2.4

What's that coming, Jack ? Luggage. Luggage, baggage ; it's a great big woman. You mean an elephant in petticoats. Here she is, show her up. There's a foot for a satin shoe. Ma'am, you show your legs. 0 dear me ! Never mind, nobody will know what they are.—( Quizzing) I think I've seen those moving pillars before, they are Mrs. Wick's ; hollah, Wick, here's your wife.

2.5

O Molly Vick ! you over-bearing infatuated woman! Ar'n't you ashamed to leave the shop? but you don't care a rush for the business, and all I can say wo'n't mould you to it. (Whispering.) Get her down in the steam-engine room, Wick, that will punish her. Mum! so I vill.

2.6

Vell, Molly Vick, since you are here, vhy here you are, I {seog:enable}bear no bones. so let us go see the engine and all the vheels, vhich work the wessel through the vater.

2.7

There, mind how you go down, the cabin-door is wery narrow. You keep the fresh air from the stoker. But I can't get down, Mr. Wick. Vell, come up again. I can't get up, Mr. Wick, I'm stuck. Then, Molly, you're in for it. I'm all in a heat. Yes, Molly, you look like a leg of mutton boiling in a melting-copper. No fat-similes, Mr. Wick, I know my legs appear all melting. Never mind, they can't run away. (The Stoker speaks.) Make haste up, ma'am. I must have fresh current. I say, Mr. Stoker, can't you force her up by steam ?

Verse 3

So the witty and the gay

Enliven the way,

And prove, down the Thames as we float,

Though many a clever bark

Has been built since Noah's ark.

None can equal a Margate steam-boat

Spoken 4.1

( Dialogue, if the Song is encored, and the former omitted.) Well, this would be a pleasant mode of travel-ling enough, if the wheels didn't make such a rumbling. Phoo! it's no more than standing on London-bridge to hear the water-works.

4.2

Mr. Wick, there's the Isle of Dogs. Oil of dogs ! never heard of it afore ; how much is it per tun?

4.3

There's Greenwich-hill, Mrs. Wick. Aye, I remember in my green-age, a rude man pushed me all the way down that hill. That showed the man's ill manners. Yes, sir, but that wasn't all it allowed.

4.4

There’s, there's a long boat !—How fast it goes ! Aye, that long boat belongs to the Tender. The tender, the hands on board don't, else they wouldn't row so hard.

4.5

There, see the seamen hanging ; how black they look ! Verily, Ephraim, dust thou observe the alteration death hath made there. Yea, Obadiah, but it’s what we must all come to. It rejoiceth me, Ephraim, that thou think’st of thy future state.,

4.6

There, there’s Woolwich. Od rabbit ! there’s the warren. What, a rabbit-warren! Look at the ships building. There, that’s the way to keep the peace. Which? That, by keeping men of war in the stocks. Who talks of de stocks ?

4.7

I left de Navys at a hundred and ten and three quarters. He means a three-decked ship, Mr. Moses. Oh! a sheep—Ah, did you ever see a sheep launched? Yes, I’ve lunched off a quarter myself. It’s a fine sight ! It’s fine eating. Dere, dere’s a glorious sight ! a sheep in full sail. Look at the foam, she seems making great way. She seems making curds and whey.

4.8

La! Pa, look’ at the linen hung out to dry, No, my dear, those are the sails ; that’s the main-sail, and those are the back-stays. (Foppishly.) Ah, what! Have they got any stays there? Lets have a peep at the cut of them.

4.9

So the witty and the gay,

Enliven, &c.


On board a steaming [[hoy]],

What gaiety and joy !

Whilst steering down the bustling river Thames;

Past tar depots and docks,

Gibbets, hulks, and stocks,

[[Colliers]], cable-ropes, and furnace flames.

There many a visage falls,

At vanishing St. Paul's,

The cit sighs, and bids London adieu ;

But when vanished from his glances,

He eats, and drinks, and dances,

Till Margate pier appears in view.

Spoken 5

La! papa, there's a man swimming in the water! No, my dear, it's only a floating buoy! There, pa, is that a boy ? No, that is a woman. Halloh ! stop the ship, there's fat Mrs. Wick fallen overboard. There, ma'am, lay hold of that rope, here's a shark coming. Oh! I shall be swallowed up. No fear of that, ma'am. Pull-a-hoy ! hold the rope fast. Ohl it's so slippy: Fasten a bottle of brandy to it, she’ll grapple it tight enough then. Pull-ahoy! there you are, ma'am, safe and sound ; I hope you're not wet ? Not vet, vhy she's dripping vet, and as full of water as a whale. Hark, how Wick's bewailing his wife! How shall we get the water out of her ? Pour down her throat a pint of rum; my wife can't abear mixed liquors.

5.1

Bless us! how high the vaves and the vind is! Phew! there's a glorious gust o' wind! Is it? I don't like your gusto. I do; what an appetite It gives me ! I wish we had a little of this sea-air in London. Well, I'll have another mouthful of it next season, that is to say, if I can raise the wind for it. Who talks of raising the wind ?—it's high enough already.

5.2

There goes a man-of-war-ship ! Look at the men on the rope-ladders. Ladders ! they are the shrouds. Shrouds! no, that wo'n't do, I know better, I'm an undertaker, and deal in those articles—should be happy to supply you at your latter end, sir. Huh! I happen to be a shroud-maker, and dealer in ropes and cords—should be happy to supply you at your latter end, sir.


So the witty and the gay, Enliven, &c.

5.3

( Encore Dialogue for second Verse.)

Well, that was a pleasant country dance enough, only my wife went down rather too low. Low! Yes, she went in double quick time from top to bottom.

5.4

There! that's the Nore light. Vhat is that Noah's ark?—Does any body live there ? Yes. Then there are liver and lights on board. Ah I perceive by that you're a wit butcher.

5.5

Bless me ! how rough the waves run ! I sadly fear there will be a storm. So do I ; for I feel very queer. Yes, yes, there's a storm rising, look at the clouds lowering.

5.6

( Female voice.) Oh, dear ! my goodness! Mr. Steamer. will you be in kind, as to be so obliging, as to tell me if there's any danger? Why, you know, miss, if you can't swim, you must sink. Well, there now, then ; I declare to goodness, I can't swim ; I can dance. Can you dance on the water, miss ? No, I can't. O dear! papa al-ways told ma she never taught me what would be useful, and now I know, for she never taught me how to swim.

5.7

( Hiccupping. ) Holloh ! How high the wind is ! Cease, rude Boreas! (Hiccupping.) Ye-up ! Steward, your port wine is not portable, it wants to get in my head.

5.8

Oh! steer clear of the enemy, Toby. Oh! Fire away, Toby. My face is on fire.

Verse 6

Oh! Look ! there's a white crow! Is that the sin of a storm ? It's the sign of a gull. Well, don t gull me, sir.


So the witty and the gay

Enliven, &c.

The beau, and belle, and wit,

London rake, and sober cit,

Steam on to Margate full of glee ;

With the invalid who wishes

To dip amongst the fishes,

Cured in hopes of being by the sea :

For as cooks to cure meat,

And keep 't longer fit to eat.

They into brine lay it deep ;

So the aged and the halting,

Daily dips the water salt in.

To make 'em in the world the longer keep

Spoken 7.1

Bless me, how my head's been swimming since I’ve been on the water! Dear me, how my inside flutters! I fear there's a storm rising. I fear there's something rising.

7.2

Holloh! Wick, what's the matter, Wick? Ohl don't speak to me ; I feel as if twenty thousand imps of darkness were capering about my internals. Oh! there goes my hat overboard. Oh ! there goes my vig overboard. Oh! there goes my dinner. You seem going it. Take care of the kitchen stuff, Wick.

7.3

O mamma, I feel so funny ! Sally, the child's ill ; run down for the brandy. Yes, ma'am. Make haste, I feel ill myself. So do I, ma'am. Sally, are you bringing it up? Yes, ma'am. Oh! That's right, Sally, mind you don't drop it.

7.4

Oh! look at my poor wife, how ill she is. I'm sure 'twould be a kindness to shove her overboard. Aye, poor thing ! she looks like the capital of China. What d'ye mean? Why, Peking. I suppose you call that a capital pun. Here, now were going to have a terrible storm. No wonder, since there's a pun-ster on board.

7.5

Dear me, will nothing relieve me from this intolerable nausea. Here's a little Castor oil, ma'am. Oh! we shall all be oast away

7.6

There's a clap of thunder! There's a flash of lightning! Good heaven preserve us ! Preserve us ! curse it, I think we are more likely to be pickled.

7.7

There, there's Margate ! Where ? There, to the left. Then we're all right. Aye, now I see the pier of Margate. ( Foppishly.) The peer of Margate ! I know his Lordship very well. Do you? then you must pay your duty as soon as you land.

7.8

There's Margate, Wick, you'll soon reach it. Oh! T can't retch any thing more.

7.9

Here come the boatmen. Captain, can't you take us nearer shore ? No, air, it's low water. Low, la ! how vulgar? I hate any thing low. Are there any tide-waiters here? Yes. Then tell them to bring the gentleman a high tide directly.

Verse 8

So the witty and the gay,

Enliven the way,

And prove, as to Margate we float,

Though many, &c.

Spoken 9.1

( Encore Dialogue for third Verse.)


Dear me, Mr. Wick, I feel as if I were intoxicated. How do you moan, Mrs. Wick ? Why, some how, in a way I never felt before. Then you don't feel as if you were intoxicated, Molly.

9.2

Oh ! there's a clap of thunder! Molly. Oh ! there's a clap of thunder! Och! we are all dead men! I wish some one would sing to enliven us. Call on some one. Ah! I left my caul at home, else I wouldn't care. Sir, will you sing! He's got a singing face. Sir, my face belies me, I can't sing, so you must mend your call. Perhaps you know some friend who can sing? Yes, I do, sir ; I know a dear friend, but he is unfortunately at Cheapside ; I wish I were there.

9.3

Oh! my eye! there's a vivid flash of lightning! Oh! it's more darkening than lightening! God pless mine hearts! how my powels twists and twirls apout! Dere's a clap of thunder! Here's a vaves! my Got, I shall pe drownt, pe drownt dead, oh dears! Och! pother! you pig of a grunter, do you think nobody will be drowned but yourself! Vell, put I forgot to insure mine lifes. Dere's a vaves! O mighty prophet, look down and shave me! Shave you, indeed, Moses! For you want it bad enough.

9.4

There's Margate! Is dere? Hem come the fisherman's boats for us. Vhat, dey vant to catch some flat-fish to carry to Markate, he! He !

9.5

Here, fisherman, a boat. You must have two boats, ma'am, you'll sink one. You deserve a smack for that, sir. Do I, ma'am ? then I hope you mean a fishing smack.


So the witty and the gay, Enliven, Sc.

 

Glossary:

 

Wherry

 

A light rowing-boat used chiefly on rivers to carry passengers and goods. [OED]

Trow

 

believe, trust [OED]

Lighter

 

A boat or vessel, usually a flat-bottomed barge, used in lightening or unloading (sometimes loading) ships that cannot be discharged (or loaded) at a wharf, etc., and for transporting goods of any kind, usually in a harbour. [OED]

Tallow-chandler

 

One who makes candles from tallow; a  substance consisting of a somewhat hard animal fat (esp. that obtained from the parts about the kidneys of ruminating animals, now chiefly the sheep and ox), separated by melting and clarifying from the membranes, etc., naturally mixed with it; used for making candles and soap, dressing leather, and other purposes. [OED]

Among the middlings

 

in only a moderate condition of health [OED]



Quizzing

 

The action of mocking or teasing a person; joking, railing, bantering; (also) an instance of this. [OED]

Tender

 

A ship or boat employed to attend a larger one in various capacities. Originally, A vessel commissioned to attend men-of-war, chiefly for supplying provisions and munitions of war, also for conveying intelligence, dispatches, etc. [OED]

Curds and whey

 

Whey is the  watery part of milk which remains after the separation of the curds by coagulation, especially in the manufacture of cheese. [OED]

Foppishly

 

In the manner of a fop or dandy. [OED]

Hoy

 

A small vessel, usually rigged as a sloop, and employed in carrying passengers and goods, particularly in short distances on the sea-coast’ (Smyth Sailor's Word-bk.). [OED]

colliers

 

A ship engaged in the carriage of coal. [OED]

cit

 

A citizen (in various senses). Usually used more or less contemptuously, for example to denote a person from the town as opposed to the country, or a tradesman or shopkeeper as distinguished from a gentleman [OED]

gusto

 

Individual or particular liking, relish, or fondness [OED]

lights

 

The lungs. Now only applied to the lungs of beasts (sheep, pigs, bullocks), used as food (chiefly for cats and dogs). [OED]

portable

 

Bearable, endurable; that can be tolerated [OED]

beau

 

A man who gives particular, or excessive, attention to dress, mien, and social etiquette; an exquisite, a fop, a dandy. [OED]

belle

 

A handsome woman, especially one who dresses so as to set off her personal charms [OED]

cheapside

 

A street in the City of London

smack

 

A single-masted sailing-vessel, fore-and-aft rigged like a sloop or cutter, and usually of light burden, chiefly employed as a coaster or for fishing, and formerly as a tender to a ship of war. [OED]




Source of Text:

Universal Songster 2 pp.55-56

Music.

The Spruce Mr. Clarke. A song of that name is printed in several songsters before 1830 and at least one broadside.

Source of Music:

Not found.

Date of Song

(May be earlier than date of imprint) :

Earliest possible date: 1815; first steamers to Margate


Latest possible date: 1826, the year of publication

Printer:    

?

Where Printed:

       

London

When Printed:

Published 1826

Author :

Beuler



Notes on the Song and Its Historical Background

 

Ref.

Text

Notes

2.3

I've given Mrs. Vick the slip, and left all the candles at sixes and sevens, on purpose to take a dip in the sea this melting weather.

Candles were made by dipping the wick into a pool of molten tallow; allowing them to solidify and then dipping and cooling them repeatedly until the desired thickness was achieved.

‘Slip’ may be a pun on A long and relatively thin and narrow piece or strip of some material [OED] i.e. candle wick.

2.5

but you don't care a rush for the business, and all I can say wo'n't mould

‘Rush’ may be a play on rush light - The lighted pith of a rush used as a source of light; a rush candle [OED] and ‘mould’ on a mould for tallow.

4.1

Phoo! it's no more than standing on London-bridge to hear the water-works.

Until the late 1820s the City of London drew its water via wooden pipes from London Bridge water works.

4.5

There, see the seamen hanging ; how black they look !

Probably a reference to the gallows at Blackwall point where the corpses of executed sailors were displayed “hung in chains”. See ST001 ~ The Thames before 1851

4.6

There, there’s Woolwich... Look at the ships building. ...men of war in the stocks.

Woolwich was the site of an important Royal naval yard. (See ST001 ~ The Thames before 1851)

In this context “stocks” means The framework on which a ship or boat is supported while in process of construction [OED]

4.7

Who talks of de stocks ? I left de Navys at a hundred and ten and three quarters.

In this context “stocks” means shares of stock i.e. investments. In this case Naval Stock.

The use of “de” stocks and “de” navys suggests a caricature of a Jewish trader. (See also text 4.5 and 9.3)

4.7

(Foppishly.) Ah, what! Have they got any stays there? Lets have a peep at the cut of them.

Stays were used by fops or dandies to achieve a slim waisted look satirised in this cartoon, Lacing a Dandy by Thomas Tegg (1819-1846)

© Museum of London


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4.8

Till Margate pier appears in view.

There was no proper pier at Margate in 1826. The word ‘pier’ was probably chosen to facilitate the play on words with ‘appears’. See ST001 ~ The Thames before 1851

5.1

If I can raise the wind for it.

To raise the wind is to raise the cash

5.6

O dear! papa al-ways told ma she never taught me what would be useful,

Useful knowledge. The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, founded in 1826, and disbanded in 1848, published inexpensive texts intended to adapt scientific and similarly high-minded material for the rapidly expanding reading public.

6

So the aged and the halting, / Daily dips the water salt in. / To make 'em in the world the longer keep.

Bathing in the sea and even drinking sea water was considered beneficial for health in the same way as were spa waters.

7.2

Oh! there goes my dinner. ...Take care of the kitchen stuff, Wick.

kitchen stuff  in this context; The refuse or waste products of the kitchen [OED] i.e. Mr Wick has just thrown-up and ‘kitchen stuff’  here means ‘vomit’. (An alternative - and older - usage is material used in cooking; requisites for the kitchen, especially. Vegetables [OED])

7.7

I know his Lordship very well. Do you? then you must pay your duty as soon as you land.

Pay your duty, to pay your respects.

7.9

Here come the boatmen. Captain, can't you take us nearer shore ? No, sir, it's low water.

The jetty at Margate was inaccessible at low water. Passengers were taken ship to shore in rowing boats. See ST001 ~ The Thames before 1851

9.2

Oh ! there's a clap of thunder! Och! we are all dead men! ... Ah! I left my caul at home, else I wouldn't care...

Caul : The amnion or inner membrane enclosing the fœtus before birth; especially  this or a portion of it sometimes enveloping the head of the child at birth, superstitiously regarded as of good omen, and supposed to be a preservative against drowning. [OED]

9.3

God pless mine hearts! how my powels twists and twirls apout!..... Dere's a vaves! O mighty prophet, look down and shave me! Shave you, indeed, Moses! For you want it bad enough.

This seems to be a rendering of a middle-european jewish accent. See also text 4.5 and 9.3

 

 

Related Songs:

See Theme ST001.1 for a discussion of the songs about paddle steamer services between London and Margate before 1851.

   

 

Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

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