Modern Street Ballads

At Manchester, on September 18, 1838, an Association called the “Anti-Corn-Law League” was formed, having for its object the abolition of the duties on the importation of corn, avowedly to cheapen the food of the people. The principal agitators were Richard Cobden, John Bright, Charles Villiers, etc., and by holding meetings all over the country, lecturing, and distributing handbills and ballads, the Corn Importation Bill was eventually passed, June 26, 1846, when, there being no further occasion for its existence, the League was dissolved. Cobden was richly rewarded for his efforts, as a national subscription was raised for him, which realized nearly £80,000.


Good people draw near as you pass along,
And listen awhile to my alphabetical song.
A. is Prince Albert once buxsom and keen,
Who from Jermany came and got spliced to the Queen.

For their all a spinning their cause in triumph springing,
And the poor man he is a singing since the Corn bill is repailed.

B. Stands for Smith O Brien, he an Irishman so true,
He hammered at Coersion till he beat them black and blue.
When he got out of prison that bill he did oppose,
With the fright he gave old welington, he fell and broke his nose.

C. is brave cobden one night it is said,
Threw a quarter Loaf at old Buckinghams hed,
Concerning the Corn laws he laid it down strong,
And he spun out yarn seventeen hour long.

D. for the duncomb who helpt the plan,
To give full and plenty to each true the land.
E. Stands for Evans who would Starve us again,
Because he beat 40 thousand old woman in Spain.

F. Stands for ferrand a protectiones Tool,
He spoke seven hours and raved like a fool;
G. Stands for graham who early and late,
Breaking seals at the post office a repealer for to take.

H. is old hume he is clever do you see,
He subtracted 2 from 1 and got the corn duty free;
I. is bob Inglis against free trade Blue and blast,
He was seven hours in the stericks when the corn bill did pass.

J. stands for jerry who spoke till he was hoarse,
In the middle of the fight his fair daughter he lost;
She followed a soldier, and off she went slap,
With gun and a nap-sack slung over her back.

K. is for Kelly, he kept up the jaw,
Till he got the corn Free and brought into law;
L. Stands for lindhurst with his Brushes, Paints and Pots,
Guess how he was born or how that he was got.

M. Is Lord Morpeth who nobly fought,
Each night in succession for the corn law;
N. is old nosey who opposes him its true,
For to loose 15 thousands he is quite in the blues.

O. Is O Connell to them told the Law,
And is still bideing time for old Erin Gobraugh.
P. Stands for Peel who is acting upright,
And between you and me he has got a long sight.

Q. Is the question of Coersion they say,
So their stuck in the trap bob cut away.
R. Is Lord Russell whoes making all haste,
To run down to Windsor to fill Boby’s place.

To ride in Peel’s saddle he’l find it a job,
For he shakes on his legs like a staggering bob.
S. is Lord Stanley, who shaking with fear,
For his tenants payed him their rent with a bullet this year.

And swore if they catch him he’ll never elope,
Till they well oil his body with flails of good oak.
T. Is the teasel that comb them all down,
U. is for uxbridge who wonders have done.

V. Stands for Villiers whom the farmers detest,
For to Slaughter the corn law he did do his best;
For free trade he struggled by day and by night,
He is next in command to cobden and bright.

W. Stands for wakley a docter so bold,
Who swore on the corn bill an Inquest he’d hold;
When the Jury he charged he let them all see,
A verdict was returned for the corn to be free.

X. Is a letter which puts me in mind
Of a ship load of land lords that sail’d against wind;

Now over the ocean they must all away
To spend their last days in botane bay.

Y. Stands for York the archbishop so big,
Who loves for to dine on a little tithe pig:
Free trade on last Sunday (did) so him perplex,
That he sang rule britania and thought it the text.

Z. Is for Zetland an old English pere,
Who swore he (‘d) have bread and potaties so dear.
The corn bill is past the landlords are very bad,
They must be muzeled in the dog day for fear they might go mad.

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