The Leary Man

The Leary Man
From The Vulgar Tongue, by DUCANGE ANGLICUS.


Of ups and downs I’ve felt the shocks
Since days of bats and shuttlecocks,
And allcumpaine and Albert-rocks,
  When I the world began;
And for these games I often sigh
Both marmoney and Spanish-fly,
And flying kites, too, in the sky,
  For which I’ve often ran.


But by what I’ve seen, and where I’ve been,
I’ve always found it so,
That if you wish to learn to live
  Too much you cannot know.
For you must now be wide-awake,
If a living you would make,
So I’ll advise what course to take
  To be a Leary Man.


Go first to costermongery,
To every fakement get a-fly, 1 dodge; learn
And pick up all their slangery,
  But let this be your plan;
Put up with no Kieboshery, 2 nonsense
But look well after poshery, 3 money
And cut teetotal sloshery, 4 drink
  And get drunk when you can.


And when you go to spree about,
Let it always be your pride
To have a white tile on your nob [5 ]
  And bull-dog by your side
Your fogle you must flashly tie 6 necktie
Each word must patter flashery, 7 talk slang
And hit cove’s head to smashery,
  To be a Leary Man.


To Covent Garden or Billingsgate
You of a morn must not be late,
But your donkey drive at a slashing rate,
  And first be if you can.
From short pipe you must your bacca blow
And if your donkey will not go,
To lick him you must not be slow
  But well his hide must tan.


The fakement conn’d by knowing rooks
Must be well known to you,
And if you come to fibbery,
  You must mug one or two.
Then go to St Giles’s rookery, 8 Notes
And live up some strange nookery,
Of no use domestic cookery,
  To be a Leary Man.


Then go to pigeon fancery
And know each breed by quiz of eye,
Bald-heads from skin-’ems by their fly,
  Go wrong you never can.
All fighting coves too you must know
Ben Caunt as well as Bendigo,
And to each mill be sure to go,
  And be one of the van.


Things that are found before they’re lost,
Be always first to find.
Restore dogs for a pound or two
  You’ll do a thing that’s kind,
And you must sport a blue billy,
Or a yellow wipe tied loosily 9 handkerchief
Round your scrag for bloaks to see 10 neck; men
  That you’re a Leary Man


At knock-’em-downs and tiddlywink,
To be a sharp you must not shrink,
But be a brick and sport your chink 11 good fellow; money
  To win must be your plan.
And set-toos and Cock-fighting
Are things you must take delight in,
And always try to be right in
  And every kidment scan.


And bullying and chaffing too,
To you should be well known,
Your nob be used to bruisery, 12 head; pugilism
  And hard as any stone.
Put the kiebosh on the dibbery,
Know a Joey from a tibbery,
And now and then have a black eye,
  To be a Leary Man.


To fairs and races go must you,
And get in rows and fights a few,
And stopping out all night it’s true
  Must often be your plan.
And as through the world you budgery,
Get well awake to fudgery,
And rub off every grudgery,
  And do the best you can.


But mummery and slummery
You must keep in your mind,
For every day, mind what I say,
  Fresh fakements you will find.
But stick to this while you can crawl.
To stand ’till you’re obliged to fall,
And when you’re wide awake to all
  You’ll be a Leary Man.


The Vulgar Tongue, by Ducarge Anglicus, is, as a glossary, of no account whatever; the only thing not pilfered from Brandon’s Poverty, Mendicity, and Crime being this song. Where that came from deponent knoweth not.

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

previous * next


. . .
My Mother
The High-Pad’s Frolic
The Dashy, Splashy.... Little Stringer
The Bould Yeoman
The Bridle-Cull and his little Pop-Gun
Jack Flashman
Miss Dolly Trull
The By-Blow Of The Jug
The Cadger’s Ball
Dear Bill, This Stone-Jug
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
. . .