Modern Street Ballads

A “hoy” was a one-masted vessel, sometimes with a boom to the mainsail, and sometimes not; rigged very much like a cutter. They are said to have taken their name from being hailed (“Ahoy”) to stop to take in passengers. The good people of that date were rather given to stay at home, or not go farther seawards than Gravesend. Ramsgate and Margate were long voyages, and in truth they were so sometimes; in rough weather they were sometimes two days or more making the passage. But htere were other dangers, vide Drakard’s Paper, October 3, 1813:—”The British Queen, Margate Hoy, detained full of passengers, for having accidentally had communication with a vessel performing quarantine, has been since released by orders from the Admiralty. The distresses of the passengers partook of the serio-comic: at first provisions were very scanty, and they had no prospect but seven weeks of durance. This to the trippers to the seaside for a week would have been a serious affair.”


Now’s the season for laughing and jollit,y
Crowding together, all nations and quality,
Margate, a hoi, as I halloa cry,
All come on board while the sea breezes blow.*

Swift as an arrow from bow flies to target,
Or packet from dear little Dublin to Parkgate,
I’ll waft you all safe from London to Margate,
And whistle a wind as we cheerily go.

Bucks who hunt fashion like quick scented mousers,
Leave town, it exhibits no sport for ye now, sirs,
So pull off your boots, and put on your trousers,
To join the gay throng where the sea breezes blow.

Pretty men milliners, fresh water sailors,
Smart, ‘prentices, aldermen, actors, and tailors,
Let me and old ocean a while be your jailors,
I’ll sing, as he rocks, while you cheerily go.
      Now’s the season, etc.

* This verse is used as chorus.

<< Jullien's Grand Polka   Crystal Palace >>

The End As I Know It: A Novel of Millennial Anxiety, by proprietor Kevin Shay, is now available in paperback.

Please visit for more information.