1795.14 - "The Military Hobby; or, John Bull Humbugg'd"

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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1795.14
The Military Hobby; or, John Bull Humbugg'd
"Poor Paddy"
The Morning Post (August 5, 1795)

A New Song,

Sung by a Noble Commander, on his frequent
Journies between London and Southampton

I.

Hey my Hobby, my Hobby,[1]
    Hey my Hobby, my deary;
Such a fine Hobby as this,
    Was never seen far nor neary.
Here I go up, up, up.
    And here I go down, down, downy;
Here I go backwards and forwards,
    From Camp to London Towny!

II.

O rare gallanty show;
    For two long years preparing;
While we're our secret plans,
    To all the world declaring.
Here I go up, &c.

III.

Old Kate is our firm Ally,[2]
    And she can sting like a viper;
But whether she fights or no,
    John Bull must pay the Piper!
Here I go up, &c.

IV.

And as for the Emigrant French,
    We promises great have made 'em;
So, after they all are slain,
    Why then we'll fly to aid 'em!
Here I go up, &c.

V.

The Swinish Rabble[3] may fast,
    When nought they've left for carving;
But troops, in a peaceful Camp,
    Can never think of starving.
Here I go up, &c.

VI.

They tell me the Sans Culottes
    Are struck with sad dismay, Sirs,
Expecting another attack,
    At Soldiers while we play, Sirs!
Here I go up, &c.


Notes

1. This recalls Uncle Toby's obsession with war (his "hobby-horse") in Sterne's Tristram Shandy.

2. Russia, under Catherine, became Britain's ally in 1795.

3. The reference here is to Edmund Burke's statement in Reflections on the Revolution in France: "Learning will be cast into the mire and trodden under the hoofs of a swinish multitude." The phrase, with variations, was a favorite both with those who supported and those who opposed Burke's position.

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Published @ RC

September 2004

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