My Mother

My Mother
1841
By BON GAULTIER in Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine.

I

Who, when a baby, lank and thin,
I called for pap and made a din,
Lulled me with draughts of British gin?—
My mother.

II

When I’ve been out upon the spree,
And not come home till two or three,
Who was it then would wallop me?—
My mother.

III

Who, when she met a heavy swell,
[1] well-dressed man
Would ease him of his wipe so well,
[2] handkerchief
And kiss me not to go and tell ?—
My mother.

IV

Who took me from my infant play,
And taught me how to fake away.
And put me up to the time of day?—
[3] made me cunning
My mother.

V

Who’d watch me sleeping in my chair,
And slily to my fob repair,
[4] pocket
And leave me not a mopus there?—
[5] penny
My mother.

VI

Who, as beneath her care I grew,
Taught my young mind a thing or two,
Especially the flats to do?—
[6] stupid ones
My mother.

VII

I’m blessed if ever I did see,
So regular a trump as she:
I own my virtues all to thee,—
My mother.

VIII

So hand, my pals, the drink about,
My story and my glass are out,
A bumper, boys, and with me shout—
My mother.





Notes

“Bon Gualtier" was the joint nom-de-plume of W. E. Aytoun and Sir Theodore Martin. Between 1840 and 1844 they worked together in the production of The Bon Gualtier Ballads, which acquired such great popularity that thirteen large editions of them were called for between 1855 and 1877. They were also associated at this time in writing many prose magazine articles of a humorous character, as well as a series of translations of Goethe’s ballads and minor poems, which, after appearing in Blackwood’s Magazine, were some years afterwards (1858) collected and published in a volume. The four pieces above mentioned appeared as stated in Tails Edinburgh Magazine under the title of “Flowers of Hemp, or the Newgate Garland," and are parodies of well-known songs.

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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