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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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1804.18
Parody[1]
“Mr. Balfour”
The Anti-Gallican (1804), pp. 98-99

Adapted to the times, by Mr. BALFOUR.

Wha wad at Bonaparte's nod,
    Gi'e Malta up, an' a' that;
His conscript slaves we laugh to scorn,
    An' dare be free for a' that.
            For a' that, an a' that,
                Republic law, an a' that,
            In Britain's vales her bairns find
                Mair freedom far than a' that.

What tho' the Swiss ha'e hunker'd down,
    An' kiss'd their looves an' a' that,
Let Dutch an' Don faint at his frown,
    A Scot's a Scot for a' that.
            For a' that, an a' that,
                His Hamburg Squibs an' a' that,
            John Bull has breath to bla' a blast
                Will answer him an a' that.

Yon little man, First Consul ca'd,
    Frets, fumes, an' raves, an' a' that;
Tho' Frenchmen tremble at his word,
    He's Corsican for a' that.
            For a' that, an' a' that,
                Reviews, Levees, an' a' that,
            The freeborn brave o' Britain's isle,
                Can look an' laugh at a' that.

Tho' he can mak' Etrurian kings,
    Popes, Cardinals, an a' that,
To rule the sea's aboon his might,
    Gude faith he maunna fa' that.
            For a' that and a' that,
                Flat bottom'd boats an a' that,
            Our wooden wa's an' British Tars,
                Are nobler far than a' that.

Yet let us pray to see the day,
    When Commerce smiles an a' that;
When War shall cease, an' gentle Peace
    Shall beas the gree an a' that.
            For a' that, an a' that,
                Tis comin' yet for a' that,
            When bluidy blades an' broken heads,
                Shall banish'd be an a' that.


Notes

1. Compare this parody of the famous song by Robert Burns with Walter Scot's adaptation of the same song For A' That and A' That (1814).

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Published @ RC

September 2004

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