Verse 1 begins: 'The Clerk of the Pipe is a man of some weight. / And nothing will serve him but serving the state'. This song is labelled up as new and should be sung to the tune 'Down Derry Down'. Two woodcuts have been included, one of two gents drinking in a cellar and the other of a man in eastern garb, smoking a pipe.
The name 'Clerk of the Pipe' refers to an auditor of the Exchequer. The name derives from an earlier age, when Exchequer records were kept in 'Pipe Rolls' or long, narrow pieces of rolled up skin. The Exchequer controlled the amount of money issued both to the monarch and to the parliament to implement their policies and reforms. This song is praying for a progressively thinking clerk so that reforms can be implemented without too much fuss.
This style of text, with its implicit political propaganda, would not only have made for compelling entertainment, but would also perhaps have stimulated political thought, reasoning and debate.
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Probable period of publication:
1830-1840 shelfmark: RB.m.143(174)
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