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Hark! I hear the sound of coaches !

Beggar's Opera.


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EVENTEEN hundred and thirty-nine :-
That was the date of this tale of mine.

First great GEORGE was buried and gone ;
GEORGE the Second was plodding on.

LONDON then, as the “Guides” aver,
Shared its glories with Westminster;

And people of rank, to correct their “
Went out of town to Marybone.


Those were the days of the War with Spain,
Porto-BELLO would soon be ta’en;

WHITEFIELD preached to the colliers grim,
Bishops in lawn sleeves preached at him ;

WALPOLE talked of “a man and his price";
Nobody's virtue was over-nice :-

Those, in fine, were the brave days when
Coaches were stopped by ... Highwaymen!

And of all the knights of the gentle trade
Nobody bolder than “BEAU BROCADE."

This they knew on the whole way down;
Best,-maybe,-at the Oak and Crown."

(For timorous cits on their pilgrimage Would “club" for a “Guard ” to ride the stage ;

And the Guard that rode on more than one
Was the Host of this hostel's sister's son.)

Open we here on a March-day fine,
Under the oak with the hanging sign.

There was Barber Dick with his basin by;
Cobbler JOE with the patch on his eye ;

Portly product of Beef and Beer,
JOHN the host, he was standing near.

Straining and creaking, with wheels awry,
Lumbering came the “ Plymouth Fly";-

Lumbering up from Bagshot Heath,
Guard in the basket armed to the teeth;

Passengers heavily armed inside ;
Not the less surely the coach had been tried !

Tried !-but a couple of miles away,
By a well-dressed man !--in the open day !

Tried successfully, never a doubt,-
Pockets of passengers all turned out !

Cloak-bags rifled, and cushions ripped,
Even an Ensign's wallet stripped !

Even a Methodist hosier's wife
Offered the choice of her Money or Life !

Highwayman's manners no less polite,
Hoped that their coppers (returned) were right ;-

Sorry to find the company poor,
Hoped next time they'd travel with more ;

Plucked them all at his ease, in short:-
Such was the “ Plymouth Fly's” report.

Sympathy ! horror ! and wonderment!
“ Catch the Villain !” (But Nobody went.)

Hosier's wife led into the Bar ;
(That's where the best strong waters are !)

Followed the tale of the hundred-and-one
Things that Somebody ought to have done.

Ensign (of BRAGG's) made a terrible clangour :
But for the Ladies had drawn his hanger !

Robber, of course, was “ BEAU BROCADE";
Out-spoke DOLLY the Chambermaid.

Devonshire DOLLY, plump and red,
Spoke from the gallery overhead ;-

Spoke it out boldly, staring hard :Why did n't you shoot then, GEORGE the Guard ?"

Spoke it out bolder, seeing him mute :-
“GEORGE the Guard, why did n't you shoot ?"

Portly JOHN grew pale and red,
(JOHN was afraid of her, people said ;)

Gasped that “ DOLLY was surely cracked,” (JOHN was afraid of her—that 's a fact !)


GEORGE the Guard grew red and pale,
Slowly finished his quart of ale :-

“ Shoot? Why-Rabbit him !-did n't he shoot ?" Muttered—“The Baggage was far too 'cute !”

“ Shoot? Why he'd flashed the pan in his eye !”. Muttered "She'd pay for it by and by!" Further than this made no reply.

Nor could a further reply be made,
For GEORGE was in league with BEAU BROCADE”!

And John the Host, in his wakefullest state,
Was not-on the whole-immaculate.

But nobody's virtue was over-nice
When WALPOLE talked of “a man and his price”;

And wherever Purity found abode,
'Twas certainly not on a posting road.


“Forty” followed to “Thirty-nine.” Glorious days of the Hanover line !

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