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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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1813.11
The Crimp Serjeant
Anon
The Morning Chronicle (August 28, 1813)

The bed of honour is a pretty spot,
For heroes to lie down and rot,
    And war's a very noble game,
At which Kings play at arms and legs
Of soldiers, who thenceforward walk on pegs,
    And Mister CROKER[1] doth such feats proclaim—
So do Crimp Serjeants[2] —'tis their bounden duty
To call grim-visaged carnage, Beauty;
Murder and Rapine very pretty jobs,
And knocking brains out of our neighbours' nobs
A famous enterprize, sublime and glorious,
And all is fair, if we but prove victorious.
Serjeant MALONE, an Irishman, had drank
More whiskey than would fill a tank,
His soul to a consumption had been worn
With all the oaths that he had sworn;
He had a wife in every town,
And bastards in profusion up and down;
He bilk'd more landladies than he had breath to count,
And poultry stole to an immense amount:—
Thus qualified, he up to Dublin hied,
And 'mongst the lanes and allies prowl'd and pried,
    Of raw apprentices to make a prey,
Or country bumpkin at shop window stuck,
Or displaced footman, or bum-hunted buck,
    And so cajole them in the usual way.
On Poor PAT CLOD at last his claw he laid—
PAT, of the Serjeant, was at first afraid;
But PAT was full of mischief and of fun,
And flattery finish'd what strong punch begun—
"Why, PAT, you're taller than myself by half!—
"And what a Roman's nose—and what a calf!—
"May Belzebub blow out my brains—
"You'll be a General in two campaigns!
"Pray do you know that German riding by—
"He in the regimentals?"—"No, not I."—
    "There's, b---t my eyes! a pretty job of work:
"I listed him, not quite three years last May,
    "And now he's General the Duke of YORK!!—
"And will not condescend to nod good day;—
"I don't deceive you, PADDY—look and see,
"He does not even seem to notice me.
"And that's the way, you handsome dog, you'll treat me,
"When you're a General, and chance to meet me!
    "And yet you're of a generous disposition—
"Come, promise me, and that is all I ask,
"(And on the Staff 'twill be an easy task)
"You'll give my son CORNELIUS a commission."

PAT took the shilling, and e'er three months older,
He died in Portugal—a common soldier.


Notes

1. John Wilson Croker (1780-1857) in 1810 was appointed to the office of Secretary to the Admiralty, a post he held until 1830 when the Whigs returned to power.

2. "Crimping" was a pejorative term for recruitment. Derived from the verb "Crimp," to pinch or to kidnap, most crimping practices were devious.

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Published @ RC

September 2004

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