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To My Venerated Patron And Pattern, William Cobbett (1830)

My neighbour's peace, it is, I own,
A cruel thing to rob it ;
But cling I must to thy back-bone,

Let others laugh at what they call,
But do not think, thy folly ;
I own thee wiser than they all,--
As wise as thou art jolly.

Let sober fools, with face demure,
And coats all brush'd so sleekly,
Pretend they can't or won't endure
The home-truths of thy 'Weekly';

I know thou never told'st a lie,
Since first thy name was WILLY,
Altho' thou makest many an eye
Shed tears and look right silly.

Thy noble soul, like his of th' tub,
Despises trashy money ;
Thy pen--a true John Bull's oak club--
Is dipped in patriot honey.

And when BURDETT--that prating ass !--
Demanded of thee payment,
For Bank-rags lent to make thee pass
Abroad in decent raiment;

Thy nostrils gaped--thy eyes flashed fire
Thy lips were finely livid--
And from thy pen there streamed forth ire,
As lightning red and vivid.

Thou would'st not pay a lawful debt
To such a wretch as BURDETT !
An act so queer would soon have set
A laughing all who heard it.

And ever since that trick of his
To touch thy patriot pocket,
Thou'st made him bounce, and flare, and fizz,
Like any Congreve rocket.

Thy grid-iron, red with seven fold heat,
Has fried him to a cinder:--
In making creditor's retreat,
Thou beatest Peter Pindar.

I love thee, WILLIAM COBBETT, much
My heart-strings yearn to see thee !
I'd give a deal thy hand to touch
I'd give the world to be thee !

I'd rather drink thy coffee-wheat,
Than taste Elysian nectar ;
I'd rather read thy "Weekly" sheet,
Than hear Apollo lecture.

They say thy speech is much too rough,
And violates good breeding ;
But thou and I know well enough
Such cant is not worth heeding.

Who cares for manners? None but fools ;
And who but fools are civil ?
Such hollow, wishy-washy rules
Are fit for those who live ill.

I wish, dear WILLIAM, thou wouldst come
To this side of the water,
And help me with thy giant thumb
These despot folks to slaughter.

I'm almost tired of public life,
And public life of me, Sir ;
I've tried, like you, to kindle strife,
And yet--but come and see, Sir.

They've pass'd a law--a horrid law--
For punishing of libel ;
O such a thing I never saw--
It makes me fret and cry, BILL.

I don't know what to do, I don't,
Now they have stopt my snarling ;
I will--but no. I really won't--
"Be friends" with General DARLING.

If you were here, my dearest WILL,
We might accomplish wonders ;
The power of our united quill ;
Would hurl o'erwhelming thunders.

But no, you love too well your grid,
To steer your course for Sydney ;
And so you'll stay to chew your quid,
'Mongst souls of kindred kidney.

I'll keep my cudgel sound and true,
And try like your's to knob it ;
In all things will I follow you,
My matchless Mr. COBBETT !

Thine I am from head to foot,
And thine I will he ever--
Thou cry "Tush!" and I'll cry "Tut!"
I'll disobey thee--NEVER !

Believe me to remain,
Thou second THOMAS PAINE,
Botany Bay,


From the Victorian newspaper Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 4 Feb 1830 p. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory