Modern Street Ballads

There was a famous fight between these two redoubtable heroes, famous even in the bad old times of the Ring. Caunt was a man of gigantic height who kept a somewhat disreputable public-house in St. Martin’s Lane, into which, in my young days, it was hardly safe to enter. A fire occurred there, and some of his children were burnt. William Thompson, alias Bendigo, was a native of Nottingham, and was a professional pugilist from his twenty-first year of age.


(A New Song on the Great Fight between Bendigo and Caunt, for the Belt and £400, which took place at Witchwood, on Tuesday September 9th 1845.)

Ye ranting lads, and sporting blades, come listen to my song,
I’m sure that it will please you well, and will not keep yo long,
Concerning the great milling match that lately has been fought,
Between great Caunt and Bendigo, two lads of the right sort.

So we’ll drink success to Bendigo, who showed such gallant play,
For by his skill, he won the mill, and bore the prize away.

On the ninth day of September, eighteen hundred, forty five,
To Witchwood for to see the fight, the sporting coves did drive,
While some did laugh, and some did chaff, and of their man did vaunt,
Some bet their ten on Bendigo, and some on giant Caunt.

And when the ground was ready, both those champions quickly peeled,
Two braver men on England’s ground did never take the field,
The fancy swore they were top mark,—an honour to the ring,
Two stouter hearts had never met, since Langan and Tom Spring.

Both men shook hands, and the prize belt, it straightway was brought in,
There let it hang says Bendigo, till the best man does win,
That won’t be little Bendigo, then Caunt he did reply,
For I’ll belt your hide till you’re satisfied, then at him he did fly.

Is that the way? says Bendigo, here, take it back again,
He made a job of poor Caunt’s nob, and hammered it amain.
This furious work soon drew the cork of Caunt’s poor claret bottle,
While Caunt returned the compliment, made Bendi’s ribs to rattle.

Twenty four rounds these heroes fought, none could tell which was the best,
But Bendigo in the next round, struck Caunt on the left breast.
Which made ihm stagger round the ring, and fall upon the ground,
Says Bendigo, I’ll have the belt, and the four hundred pound.

But Caunt did boldly come again, and showed some gallant play,
Yet Bendigo would strike a blow, and quickly get away.
Until in round the eighty fourth, he gave some ugly blows,
Which left his mark on the staring part, and fairly spoilt Caunt’s nose.

Eighty eight rounds were fought, when Caunt he could not rise,
And all declared the Bendy cock had fairly won the prize.
The Tipton Slasher now may come, but soon he’ll get to know,
That he was not quite big enough to wollop Bendigo.

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