A Cockney Pastoral

Mr Elliott

Respectfully dedicated to the ingenious Miss F-----n.

’Twas on the Monday morn at Easter-tide,
When dapper-mounted youths to Epping ride,
And mid the rural honors of the chase
Display the horse’s speed, the rider’s grace;
That day, to London’s citizens most dear,
Shone forth the glories of the vernal year,
And Mr. Tibbs, with Mrs. Tibbs so gay,
Drove forth in decent pride his one-horse chay.
A wealthy cheesemonger in Aldgate he,
A portly dame, in dress genteel, was she
Their eldest hope, their darling Jacky Tibbs,
Between them sat, nor space form either cribs,
For roomy was the chaise. Now Bethnal Green
They’d passed, and ev’ry thing at Hackney seen
That rural could be call’d, or rich, or rare;
Their steed at Clapton snuffs the country air,
And neighs exulting — all the village rings,
And Jacky cries, delighted, “How he sings!”
“What, a horse sing? You werry stupid boy!
No, Jacky, no, the creatur neighs for joy.”
Said Mr. Tibbs — added his careful wife
“Mind, Jacky dear, in all your futer life,
Not to call neighing singing, for the folks
Vill laugh at you, and cut their wulgar jokes.”
This point clear’d up, Stoke Newington they passed,
And Hornsey Wood’s gay tavern reach’d at last.
“How countrified!” exclaimed the enraptur’d pair
“Here we must stop to luncheon, I declare!”
Their chaise they left, and quickly was the board
With cheese, cold meat, and ale profusely stored.
The banquet past, to walk the wood invites,
To cull wild flow’rs and taste the spring’s delights.
When lo, a poultry yard salutes their eyes.
The cocks loud crow, and wond’ring Jacky cries
“How many pretty things we see today!
Papa, Mamma, d’ye hear the old cock neigh?”
“Dear me,” cries Mrs Tibbs, quite in a pet,
“How wastly apt the child is to forget!
The cock don’t neigh, he crows; the blackbirds sing
The donkey lows” — “My dear, ’tis no such thing!”
The husband cries, “I’m sure the donkey brays,
And that cows low I’ve heard in former days.
I rather think, but that our dear boy’s wonder
At rural things, no more may make him blunder,
Next quarter to a country school we’ll send him
At Paddington or Knightsbridge, that will mend him.”
The dame agreed — they walked the wood quite round,
Return’d, their horses put-to and fed they found.
Then round by Highgate shaped their various drive;
“My dear,” said Mrs Tibbs, “as I’m alive
It’s growing wastly late, you must make haste
You know that for the Ball I dress with taste,
My Lady May’ress wouldn’t like to see me last.”

So home drove Mr Tibbs the nearest way,
And from the rare adventure of the day
London’s own sons have since been call’d “Cockney.”

Cittus Sylvanius

27 Mar 1813