Modern Street Ballads


Oh! poor old Johnny Bull has his Cup of sorrow full,
And what with underfeeding him, and leeching him, and bleeding him,
Though over-drained before, he must lose a little more,
He’ll now be bled again by the Income Tax.
And Peel* the state physician, has studied his condition,
And daily, and hourly his own brain racks,
He’s come to the conclusion, that John Bull’s constitution
Is only to be saved by the Income tax.

Sevenpence in the pound, is the sum that must be found,
Useless is our grumbling, our grizzling, our mumbling,
Still, had we to our aid, our former roaring trade,
We’d laugh at Bobby Peel and his Income Tax.

The manufacturers say that they ought not to pay,
Assert ’tis not a fib, but they really can’t contribute.
The manufacturing bands are discharging all their hands,
’Tis the farmers that should, and ought to pay the Income Tax.
The farmers all declare, that for them to pay be’ant fair,
The cesses, rates, and tithes nearly breaks their backs.
While all the parsons say, their business is to pray,
So, pray, why should they pay the Income Tax?

The Lawyers all declare it really is unfair,
The Law’s great alteration has brought them ruination,
And if they make compliance, they all must rob their Clients,
By swelling Bills of Costs for the Income Tax.
The Doctors, full of ills, must increase their price of pills,
They are already ruined by Infirmaries and Quacks,
So they’ll all adopt Peel’s plan, of bleeding all they can,
Their patients, (when they get ’em) for the Income Tax.

The shopkeeper, once gay, who kept his one horse shay,
To drive out on a Sunday, and sometimes on a Monday,
Must now his shay put down, and stick to trade and town,
Because he must so pay to the Income Tax.
His daughters and his wife, obliged to hear his strife,
Stay at home and snivel, and in snarls go snacks,
Their bonnets—those old blue ones—instead of having new ones,
Are turned—and ’tis all through the Income Tax.

Those folk of middling rank, who have money in the Bank,
And make by pocket’s clearance, a respectable appearance,
And managing complete, to just make both ends meet.
Must cut a bit off one end for the Income Tax.
Oh, then, without a doubt, was their washing all put out,
Now, laundresses are ruined—and these are facts—
For, wherever you may roam, all the washing’s done at home,
So our wives are always cross through the Income Tax.

The Bishops, rich and great, and the Ministers of State,
The gayest, the demurest, the Placemen, Sinecuriat,
And grumblers, or not, they must all pay their shot,
In their rota, as their quota, of the Income Tax.
And, as a tip-top sample, our Queen’s a high example,
Her Majesty,** I wish of rupees had lacs.
The Collector he sallies, to great Buckingham Palace,
Your Majesty, I’ve come for the Income Tax.

The Lords, and all their train, must do without Champagne,
The Squires—will they bear it? must give up Hock and Claret—
Tradesmen, no longer merry, think not of or port sherry,
They all are out of spirits through the Income Tax.
So, all ranks through the Nation, must put up with privation,
One foregoes his Brandy—another his Max***
The porter can’t regale, he’s obliged to leave off Ale,
And a Teetotaller turn through the Income Tax.

Just like the tale of old, of the soldier we were told,
Who, while the drummer**** flogg’d him, writh’d about and jogg’d him,
With torment all on fire, he cried aloud, “Strike higher,”
Sir Robert Peel’s the drummer, with his Income Tax.
The Tax with its fine tales, is like the cat o’ nine tails,
It lashes our bodies—cuts into our backs.—
Sir Robert Peel he strikes, and cuts us where he likes,
Nobody likes the cuts of the Income Tax.

* Sir Robert Peel started the present income tax, which became law, June 22, 1842, at sevenpence in the pound.
** Her Majesty pays Income Taax on her private property, like any of her subjects.
*** Cant name for gin.
**** It falls to the lot of the drummers in the army to flog, whenever corporal punishment is decreed.

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