The Irishman in London
Oh, have ye not heard, Pat, of many a joke
That’s made by the wits ‘gainst your own country folk;
They may talk of our bulls, but it must be confest,
That, of all the bull makers, John Bull is the best.
I’m just come from London, their capital town,
A fine place it is, faith, I’m sorry to own;
For there you can’t shew your sweet face in the street,
But a Bull is the very first man that you meet.
Now, I went to Saint Paul’s, twas just after my landing,
A great house they’ve built, that has scarce room to stand in;
And there – gramachree! – wont you think it a joke,
The lower I whispered, the louder I spoke!
Then I went to the tower to see the wild beasts,
Thinking out of my wits to be frighten’d at least;
But these wild beasts I found standing tame on a shelf,
Not one of the kit half so wild as myself.
Next, I made for the bank, Sir, for there, I was told,
Were oceans of silver and mountains of gold;
But I soon found this talk was mere bluster and vapour
For the gold and the silver, were all made of paper.
A friend took me into the Parliament house,
And there sat the Speaker as mum as a mouse!
For in spite of his name, wont you think this a joke thoo,
The Speaker he whom they all of them spoke to.
Of all the strange places I ever was in,
Wasn’t that now the place for a hubbub and din.
While some made a bother to keep others quiet,
And the rest call’d for “Order”, meaning just, make a riot.
Then should you hereafter be told of some joke,
By the Englishmen made ‘gainst your own countryfolk,
Tell this tale, my dear honey, and stoutly protest,
That of all the bullmakers, John Bull is the best!
(This fine anonymous poem was set to music by Beethoven in about 1814. Here is a recording of some of Beethoven’s Irish Songs. The Irishman in London is the last one sung here: