A Plank-Bed Ballad

A Plank-Bed Ballad
By “DAGONET” (G. R. SIMS) in Referee, 12 Feb..


Understand, if you please, I’m a travelling thief,
The gonophs all call me the gypsy; 1 boys
By the rattler I ride when I’ve taken my brief, 2 rail; ticket
And I sling on my back an old kipsey. 3 basket


If I pipe a good chat, why, I touch for the wedge, 4 see; horse; go for; silver plate
But I’m not a “particular” robber;
I smug any snowy I see on the hedge, 5 steal; linen
And I ain’t above daisies and clobber. 6 boots; clothes


One day I’d a spree with two firms in my brigh, 7 £5 notes; pocket
And a toy and a tackle—both red ’uns; 8 watch; chain; gold
And a spark prop a pal (a good screwsman) and I 9 diamond pin
Had touched for in working two dead ’uns.


I was taking a ducat to get back to town 10 ticket
(I had come by the rattler to Dover),
When I saw as a reeler was roasting me brown, 11 detective; closely scanning me
And he rapped, “I shall just turn you over.” 12 said; search you


I guyed, but the reeler he gave me hot beef, 13 ran; tea; chased me
And a scuff came about me and hollered;
I pulled out a chive, but I soon came to grief, 14 knife
And with screws and a james I was collared. 15 burglars tools; caught


I was fullied, and then got three stretch for the job,16 remanded; years
And my trip—cuss the day as I seen her— 17 mistress
She sold off my home to some pals in her mob, 18 friends; set
For a couple of foont and ten deener. 19 £5 notes; shillings


Oh, donnys and omees, what gives me the spur, 20 girl; fellows
Is, I’m told by a mug (he tells whoppers), 21 man
That I ought to have greased to have kept out of stir 22 bribed
The dukes of the narks and the coppers. 23 hands; detectives; police


G. R. Sims (“Dagonet”) needs little introduction to present-day readers. Born in London in 1847, he was educated at Harwell College, and afterwards at Bonn. He joined the staff of Fun on the death of Tom Hood the younger in 1874, and The Weekly Despatch the same year. Since 1877 he has been a contributor to The Referee under the pseudonym of “Dagonet”. A voluminous miscellaneous writer, dramatist, poet, and novelist, M. Sims shows yet no diminution of his versatility and power.

Taken from Musa Pedestris, Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang Rhymes [1536―1896], collected and annotated by John S. Farmer.

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. . .
The Leary Man
A Hundred Stretches Hence
The Chickaleary Cove
Blooming Æsthetic
’Arry at a Political Picnic
Rum Coves that Relieve us
Villon’s Good-Night
Villon’s Straight Tip To All Cross Coves
Culture in the Slums
A Plank-Bed Ballad
The Rondeau of the Knock
The Rhyme of the Rusher
Wot Cher!
Our Little Nipper
The Coster’s Serenade