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A Song for the Lord Mayor's Table

Word count: 812

Song Cycle by William Walton (1902 - 1983)

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1. The Lord Mayor's Table [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Let all the Nine Muses lay by their abuses,
Their railing and drolling on tricks of the Strand,
To pen us a ditty in praise of the City,
Their treasure, and pleasure, their pow'r and command.

Their feast, and guest, so temptingly drest,
Their kitchens all kingdoms replenish;
In bountiful bowls they do succour their souls,
With claret, Canary and Rhenish:

Their lives and wives in plenitude thrives,
They want not for meat nor money;
The Promised Land's in a Londoner's hand,
They wallow in milk and honey.

Let all the Nine Muses lay by their abuses,
Their railing and drolling on tricks of the Strand
To pen us a ditty in praise of the City,
Their treasure, and pleasure, their pow'r and command.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Glide gently [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Glide gently, thus for ever, ever glide,
O Thames! that other bards may see
As lovely visions by thy side
As now, fair river! come to me.

O glide, fair stream, for ever so,
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
Till all our minds for ever flow
As thy deep waters now are flowing.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Wapping Old Stairs [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Your Molly has never been false, she declares,
Since last time we parted at Wapping Old Stairs,
When I swore that I still would continue the same,
And gave you the 'bacco box, marked with your name.

When I pass'd a whole fortnight between decks with you,
Did I e'er give a kiss, Tom, to one of the crew?
To be useful and kind, with my Thomas I stay'd,
For his trousers I wash'd, and his grog too I made.

Though you threaten'd, last Sunday, to walk in the Mall
With Susan from Deptford, and likewise with Sal,
In silence I stood your unkindness to hear,
And only upbraided my Tom, with a tear.

Why should Sal, or should Susan, than me be more priz'd?
For the heart that is true, Tom, should ne'er be despis'd;
Then be constant and kind, nor your Molly forsake,
Still your trousers I'll wash, and your grog too I'll make.


Note provided by Emily Ezust: this poem appears in many collections of Thackeray's work and is therefore mistakenly attributed to him, but this is because it is included as the original of two parodies he wrote, titled "The Almack's Adieu" and "The Knightly Guerdon". It can be found in an 1812 publication, The Banquet of Thalia, Or the Fashionable Songsters Pocket Memorial, 1812, pages 83-84. It is referred to in chapter 25 of Thackeray's Vanity Fair as a "favourite song".


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Holy Thursday [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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['Twas]1 on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green:
Gray-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of St Paul's they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among;
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor:
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.


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1 Boughton: "It was"; further changes may exist not noted.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. The contrast [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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In London I never knew what I'd be at,
Enraptured with this, and enchanted by that,
I'm wild with the sweets of variety's plan,
And life seems a blessing too happy for man.

But the country, Lord help me!, sets all matters right,
So calm and composing from morning to night;
Oh! it settles the spirit when nothing is seen
But an ass on a common, a goose on a green.

Your magpies and stockdoves may flirt among trees,
And chatter their transports in groves, if they please:
But a house is much more to my taste than a tree,
And for groves, O! a good grove of chimneys for me.

In the country, if Cupid should find a man out,
The poor tortured victim mopes hopeless about,
But in London, thank Heaven! our peace is secure,
Where for one eye to kill, there's a thousand to cure.

I know love's a devil, too subtle to spy,
That shoots through the soul, from the beam of an eye;
But in London these devils so quick fly about,
That a new devil shill drives an old devil out.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Rhyme [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Gay go up and gay go down,
To ring the bells of London Town.

Oranges and lemons
Say the bells of St. Clement's.
Bull's eyes and targets,
Say the bells of St. Margaret's.
Brickbats and tiles,
Say the bells of St. Giles'.
Half-pence and farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.
Pancakes and fritter's,
Say the bells of St. Peter's.
Two sticks and an apple,
Say the bells of Whitechapel.
Pokers and tongs,
Say the bells of St. John's.
Kettles and pans,
Say the bells of St. Anne's.
Old father baldpate,
Say the slow bells of Aldgate.
You owe me ten shillings,
Say the bells of St. Helen's.
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.
Pray when will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Gay go up and gay go down,
To ring the bells of London Town.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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