Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
 
The Fine Old English Gentleman
By Charles Dickens (1812–1870)
 
Contributed to the Examiner

I’LL sing you a new ballad, and I’ll warrant it first-rate,
Of the days of that old gentleman who had that old estate,
When they spent the public money at a bountiful old rate
On every mistress, pimp, and scamp, at every noble gate,
      In the fine old English Tory times—        5
      Soon may they come again!
 
The good old laws were garnish’d well with gibbets, whips, and chains,
With fine old English penalties, and fine old English pains,
With rebel heads, and seas of blood once hot in rebel veins;
For all these things were requisite to guard the rich old gains        10
      Of the fine old English Tory times—
      Soon may they come again!
 
This brave old code, like Argus, had a hundred watchful eyes,
And every English peasant had his good old English spies,
To tempt his starving discontent with fine old English lies,        15
Then call the good old Yeomanry to stop his peevish cries,
      In the fine old English Tory times—
      Soon may they come again!
 
The good old times for cutting throats that cried out in their need,
The good old times for hunting men who held their fathers’ creed,        20
The good old times when William Pitt, as all good men agreed,
Came down direct from Paradise at more than railroad speed.
      Oh, the fine old English Tory times,
      When will they come again?
 
In those rare days the Press was seldom known to snarl or bark,        25
But sweetly sang of men in power, like any tuneful lark;
Grave judges, too, to all their evil deeds were in the dark;
And not a man in twenty score knew how to make his mark.
      Oh, the fine old English Tory times—
      Soon may they come again!        30
 
Those were the days for taxes, and for war’s infernal din;
For scarcity of bread, that fine old dowagers might win;
For shutting men of letters up, through iron bars to grin,
Because they didn’t think the Prince was altogether thin,
      In the fine old English Tory times—        35
      Soon may they come again!
 
 
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