The Milling Match

The Milling Match
By THOMAS MOORE in Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress:—“Account of the Milling-match  between Entellus and Dares, translated from  the Fifth Book of the Aeneid by One of the  Fancy”.

  With daddles high upraised, and nob held back, 1 hands; head
  In awful prescience of the impending thwack,
  Both kiddies stood—and with prelusive spar, 2 fellows, usually young fellows
  And light manoeuvring, kindled up the war!
  The One, in bloom of youth—a light-weight blade—
  The Other, vast, gigantic, as if made,
  Express, by Nature, for the hammering trade; 3 pugilism
  But aged, slow, with stiff limbs, tottering much,
  And lungs, that lack’d the bellows-mender’s touch.
  Yet, sprightly to the scratch, both Buffers came, 4 men
  While ribbers rung from each resounding frame,
  And divers digs, and many a ponderous pelt,
  Were on their broad bread-baskets heard and felt. 5 stomachs
  With roving aim, but aim that rarely miss’d
  Round lugs and ogles flew the frequent fist; 6 ears and eyes
  While showers of facers told so deadly well,
  That the crush’d jaw-bones crackled as they fell!
  But firmly stood Entellus—and still bright,
  Though bent by age, with all the Fancy’s light, 7 [Notes]
  Stopp’d with a skill, and rallied with a fire
  The immortal Fancy could alone inspire!
  While Dares, shifting round, with looks of thought.
  An opening to the cove’s huge carcass sought
  (Like General Preston, in that awful hour,
  When on one leg he hopp’d to—take the Tower!),
  And here, and there, explored with active fin,
  And skilful feint, some guardless pass to win,
  And prove a boring guest when once let in.
  And now Entellus, with an eye that plann’d
  Punishing deeds, high raised his heavy hand;
  But ere the sledge came down, young Dares spied
  Its shadow o’er his brow, and slipped aside—
  So nimbly slipp’d, that the vain nobber pass’d
  Through empty air; and He, so high, so vast,
  Who dealt the stroke, came thundering to the ground!—
  Not B-ck—gh-m himself, with balkier sound,
  Uprooted from the field of Whiggist glories,
  Fell souse, of late, among the astonish’d Tories!
  Instant the ring was broke, and shouts and yells
  From Trojan Flashmen and Sicilian Swells
  Fill’d the wide heaven—while, touch’d with grief to see
  His pall, well-known through many a lark and spree, 8 friend; frolic
  Thus rumly floor’d, the kind Ascestes ran, 9 heavily
  And pitying rais’d from earth the game old man.
  Uncow’d, undamaged to the sport he came,
  His limbs all muscle, and his soul all flame.
  The memory of his milling glories past, 10 fighting
  The shame that aught but death should see him grass’d.
  All fired the veteran’s pluck—with fury flush’d,
  Full on his light-limb’d customer he rush’d,—
  And hammering right and left, with ponderous swing 11 dealing blows
  Ruffian’d the reeling youngster round the ring—
  Nor rest, nor pause, nor breathing-time was given
  But, rapid as the rattling hail from heaven
  Beats on the house-top, showers of Randall’s shot
  Around the Trojan’s lugs fell peppering hot!
  ’Till now Aeneas, fill’d with anxious dread,
  Rush’d in between them, and, with words well-bred,
  Preserved alike the peace and Dares’ head,
  Both which the veteran much inclined to break—
  Then kindly thus the punish’d youth bespake:
  “Poor Johnny Raw! what madness could impel
  So rum a Flat to face so prime a Swell?
  See’st thou not, boy, the Fancy, heavenly maid,
  Herself descends to this great Hammerer’s aid,
  And, singling him from all her flash adorers,
  Shines in his hits, and thunders in his floorers?
  Then, yield thee, youth,—nor such a spooney be,
  To think mere man can mill a Deity!”
  Thus spoke the chief—and now, the scrimmage o’er,
  His faithful pals the done-up Dares bore
  Back to his home, with tottering gams, sunk heart,
  And muns and noddle pink’d in every part.
  While from his gob the guggling claret gush’d 12 blood
  And lots of grinders, from their sockets crush’d 13 teeth
  Forth with the crimson tide in rattling fragments rush’d!


Tom Cribb’s Memorial to Congress: With a Preface, Notes, and Appendix. By One of the Fancy. London, Longmans & Co., 1819. There were several editions. Usually, with good reason, ascribed to Thomas Moore. It may be remarked that, though the Irish Anacreon’s claim to fame rests avowedly on his more serious contributions to literature, he was, nevertheless, never so popular as when dealing with what, in the early part of the present century, was known as THE FANCY. Pugilism then took the place, in the popular mind, that football and cricket now occupy. Tom Cribb was born at Hanham in the parish of Bitton, Gloucestershire, in 1781, and coming to London at the age of thirteen followed the trade of a bell-hanger, then became a porter at the public wharves, and was afterwards a sailor. From the fact of his having worked as a coal porter he became known as the ‘Black Diamond,’ and under this appellation he fought his first public battle against George Maddox at Wood Green on 7 Jan. 1805, when after seventy-six rounds he was proclaimed the victor, and received much praise for his coolness and temper under very unfair treatment. In 1807 he was introduced to Captain Barclay, who, quickly perceiving his natural good qualities, took him in hand, and trained him under his own eye. He won the championship from Bob Gregson in 1808 but in 1809 he was beaten by Jem Belcher. He subsequently regained the belt. After an unsuccessful venture as a coal merchant at Hungerford Wharf, London, he underwent the usual metamorphosis from a pugilist to a publican, and took the Golden Lion in Southwark; but finding this position too far eastward for his aristocratic patrons he removed to the King’s Arms at the corner of Duke Street and King Street, St. James’s, and subsequently, in 1828, to the Union Arms, 26 Panton Street, Haymarket. On 24 Jan. 1821 it was decided that Cribb, having held the championship for nearly ten years without receiving a challenge, ought not to be expected to fight any more, and was to be permitted to hold the title of champion for the remainder of his life. On the day of the coronation of George IV, Cribb, dressed as a page, was among the prizefighters engaged to guard the entrance to Westminster Hall. His declining years were disturbed by domestic troubles and severe pecuniary losses, and in 1839 he was obliged to give up the Union Arms to his creditors. He died in the house of his son, a baker in the High Street, Woolwich, on 11 May 1848, aged 67, and was buried in Woolwich churchyard, where, in 1851, a monument representing a lion grieving over the ashes of a hero was erected to his memory. As a professor of his art he was matchless, and in his observance of fair play he was never excelled; he bore a character of unimpeachable integrity and unquestionable humanity.

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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. . .
A Slang Pastoral
Ye Scamps, Ye Pads, Ye Divers
The Sandman’s Wedding
The Happy Pair
The Bunter’s Christening
The Masqueraders
The Flash Man of St. Giles
A Leary Mot
The Night Before Larry was Stretched
The Song of the Young Prig
The Milling Match
Ya-Hip, My Hearties!
Sonnets For The Fancy: After The Manner Of Petrarch
The True Bottom’d Boxer
Bobby And His Mary
Flashey Joe
My Mugging Maid
Poor Luddy
The Pickpocket’s Chaunt
On the Prigging Lay
The Lag’s Lament
. . .