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Songs and Ballads for Manufacturers

By the Rev. John Mason Neale

London: Joseph Masters, 1850.

X. The Blacksmith.

They tell me that the times are bad,
And every day grow worse, sir,
They say that tithes will drive us mad,
And taxes are a curse, sir:
There's Dick the cobbler takes in hand
To mend the constitution;
And Tom the bricklayer calls it grand
To talk of revolution.

Last evening I was wearied out
With righting up a waggon,
While Tom and Dick, and all their rout,
Were tippling at the Dragon:
And by the time their cups were drained,
And they in talk were deep, sir,
My weariness was so unfeigned,
I fairly fell asleep, sir!

Well, though I slept, I seemed to see
The things that were around me;
'Twas very strange, as strange could be,
It did not more astound me;
For, like some Radicals I know,
When talking of the nation,
My tools were seated in a row,
And holding consultation.

The bellows first got up to state
At length his own defence, sir:
All wind, like Chartists when they prate,
And not a word of sense, sir:
''Tis very well,' quoth he, 'for you
To sit all day at ease, sirs,
With nothing in the world to do
But just yourselves to please, sirs:

'I might be vastly well content
To set our works a-going;
But all day long my time is spent
In puffing and in blowing:
The long and short of what I mean
Is this,--come what come may, sirs,
I'll be no more the drudge I've been,
Nor slave another day, sirs!'

'Well,' quoth the anvil, 'this I say,--
It seems a little hard, sirs,
My worthy friend, with that child's play,
Should win on your regard, sirs:
'Tis easy work for him to blow,
When by the handle pump'd, sirs;
I'll stand no more, I'd have you know,
The always being thump'd, sirs!

'Pooh, pooh!'--the iron cried,--'why what
If you were in my place, sir;
Heated from morn till night red hot,
Without an hour of grace, sir?'
'Well,' said the pincers,--'come to that,
My case is much the same, sir,
Who have to make you round or flat,
Or pull you from the flame, sir!'

Said I, 'This talk is vastly fine,
And makes me seem a Turk, sirs;
But if you strike, I can't divine
How I'm to do my work, sirs:
You think, it seems, to make me vex'd
By sitting still as logs, sirs;
But mark the thing that follows next,--
Your going to the dogs, sirs!

'If all must labour who would live,
No use to sigh and groan, sirs;
The best advice that I can give
Is this,--Let well alone, sirs:
Some have been head, and some been tail,
These thousand years, as now, sirs;
You want to alter all you ail;--
The thing is, when and how, sirs?'

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