Modern Street Ballads

The following is given as a specimen of contemporary “flapdoodle.”



When fell corruption’s bands conspire
To legalize injustice dire;
To rob a people, brave and free,
What shall resist the Tyranny?
      To counteract the vile intrigue,
      The God of truth upraised THE LEAGUE,

When grasping Tyrands—greedy elves—
Make laws which but enrich themselves;
Who shall their power and force withstand,
And stay the ‘curst oppressor’s hand?
      THE LEAGUE!—the people’s chosen band,
      Shall stay the curst oppressor’s hand.

Tho’ meddling Dukes of vast renown
Would cast a noble people down;
(The silly tribe affect affright,
Tho’ proxies* fill their pockets quite.)
      THE LEAGUE shall lead (as soon ‘twill be)
      A people firm—a people free!

What boots it, that we laurels gain
On crimson’d field, or on the main,
If selfish senators befool us,
If the domestic spoilers rule us?
      THE LEAGUE on such has kept its eye,
      And Registration is the cry.

When a “bold peasantry” decys;
When want creeps in a thousand ways;
When tenant farmers struggling hard
Thro’ toilsome years get—no reward.
      THE LEAGUE will rescue—come what may;
      Nor care they for the landlord’s bray.

When drooping trade declines its head;
When starving thousands cry for bread;
When sorrowing age seeks death’s kind gate,
And children wail their helpless fate.
      THE LEAGUE must to the throne appeal,
      While millions cry “Repeal—Repeal.”

Names which were once the nation’s blight,
Fair York and Lancaaster**—unite;
Old feuds forgotten—now their pride
Is to march onward side by side.
      THE LEAGUE—their boast—their hope—their joy;
      Pure sterling ore without alloy.

When clouds hung o’er the drama’s name,
What gave to Covent Garden Fame?
When Stage, Pit, Gallery, Boxes, all
Echoed each voice at Freedom’s call;
      THE LEAGUE supplied each honour’d name
      That gave to Covent Garden*** fame.

“Give us our daily bread” pray we;
“Stop, stop,” cries vile monopoly,
“Before you wants are well supplied,
For all my sons you shall provide.”
      THE LEAGUE—the monster doth expose,
      And burns a torch beneath its nose.

ALBION—thy wrongs shall disappear;
SCOTIA—hold on—be of good cheer;
ERIN—thy griefs removed shall be,
Justice, tho’ late, shall visit thee.
      THE LEAGUE doth its assistance lend;
      Of none the foe—of all the friend.

‘Ere long, fair knowledge will unfold
Her ample page—brighter than gold;
Ere long, the Laws which tyrants used
Shall yield to those which Heaven diffused.
      THE LEAGUE shall then its work have done,
      And all rejoice o’er victories won.

Ye powers divine—who care for all
That breath on this terraqueous bll,
FREE TRADE and every blessing give!
“O teach the nations how to live!”
      Still shall EACH LEAGUER’S motto be,
      “Justice, Love, Peace, Humanity.”

* When this ballad was written, the Lords might vote by proxy, and a minister, or his opponent, might, and did, produce enough (either to gain or lose a measure) of votes from Peers who were too lazy to attend.
** The counties of york and Lancaster were very early in the field in espousing the cause of the Anti-Corn-Law League.
*** The “National Anti-Corn-Law League Free Trade Bazaar,” held at Covent Garden Theatre, May 8, 9, 10, 12, 1845.

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