A New Song

Mr Flaxman

A new Song to be sung to the old tune of “Four and twenty Fiddlers,” &c.

Four and twenty authors all of a row
Four and twenty authors all of a row,
With an epic, dramatic, iambic, dithrambic — and an alexandrine.
Rumbling like an old mill-stone so neat & fine,
Up four pair of stairs in Grub Street, backward.
Mounting by half dozens at a time on poor Pegasus
Tho’ he was foot spavin’d and bone spavin’d, all over dirt
Slip shoulder’d, and jaded to death.
Calling to each other till quite out of breath
That there was room enough for all,
Till some were so squeez’d that they loudly did bawl
By Jupiter the moon-snuffer!
If the rest did not get off directly
They’d beat them all, down below,
This is my lady’s holiday, therefore we’ll be merry.


Four and twenty printers all of a row
Four and twenty &c.
With spankem, and hampem, zounds! you’ve made a hole through the paper!
Oil and ink, black and stink,
Two devils and a compositor placing great it
Where & should be, down below, with an epic,
Dramatic &c &c.


Four and twenty booksellers all of a row,
Four &c
With a “Fine wove paper, broad margin, and double hot-press’d
New type cast on purpose by Mr Caslon,
Cast by Mr Caslon! why he has been dead for years!
That don’t signify, Sir, we always give the best
Names to what we sell whether the people be dead
Or alive! The book used to sell for two pence half-penny
The price is now half a guinea!
Everything is so dear, and times are so hard!
With an iambic, dithrambic, &c.”


Four and twenty readers all of a row!
Four and twenty &c.
“Pray Miss, have you seen Deputy Allsop’s Sonnets to Lady Louisa Lollypop? they are the sweetest things in the world!”
“Pray Madam, do you like Odyssey Pope or Shakespear best?”
“Ma’am, Valerius Martialis for me,
Dear Madam, you should not carry too much Valerian about, it will make the cats follow you!”
For my part, I can hear nothing but dear, delightful elegant sentiment, that makes me faint at the sight of a Tom Tit, and die at the hopping of a flea!”
Psha, Psha, Ladies, that’s all trash, as Professor Diddle (of the Royal Institution) says, on the authority of Baron Humbug! — you should read nothing, but, analytical, algebraic, botanical, chemical, metaphysical, polyglot encyclopedias of cookery in nine and twenty Oriental languages! With mica, quartz, feld-spars and electric fluid
To set all your wits alight!
And make you wiser than a druid!
With a bantum & a leantum, down below
This is my lady’s holiday, therefore —
— we will be merry.