Skip to main content

Politics & government

Gallant specials

(3) Gallant specials

      The Gallant Specials

All you that are for a bit of fun,
Come listen to my song now,
And I'll be bound you'll say when I have
        done,
I have not kept you too long now ;
It's about those men, now do not laugh,
You may believe my words, sir,
Who pledged themselves to carry a staff.
And keep us all in good order.

Now such a noble set of men
Sure meet again we never shall,
As those who travelled London's streets,
The nobby Special Constables.

For some time past about so fast
In droves the folks were running,
And old and young as by they passed,
Bawl'd the Chartists are a coming ;
Then tailors, coal heavers, and snobs,
Cried out there will be a riot,
So we will turn Special Constables
To keep the Chartists quiet.

When they before the Magistrate
To get sworn in were flocking,
There was some declared that they would
        fight
Bang up to their knees in stockings ;
With a slap-up band around one arm,
Each looked a perfect beauty,
And a stick like mother's rolling pin,
They all got ready for duty.

Their was Billy Snip the tailor's man,
He jumped from off his board, sir,
He declar'd he would join the special band
If his life could be insured, sir ;
His mates at him began to laugh,
Which made poor Billy savage,
So says he, on me don't poke your chaff,
For I'll go by the blood of a cabbage.

Along the tiles upon one night
A cat was seen a running,

One of them Specials woke in a fright,
Saying, the Chartists are coming !
He firmly laid hold of his staff,
And out of the window did cut,
When the tiles gave way, and in he fell
With the cat into the water butt.
On the glorious tenth of April,
It is true you may rely on,
They pocketted their truncheons,
And their armlets they did tie on,
Saying, when the Chartists they do come,
Tough chaps in us they will find, sir,
But for all their talk there was many a one
Found his heart it laid behind, sir.

Now such a lot was never seen,
There was dustmen, sweeps, & tinkers,
Some was bawling out, God save the Queen
Some was the worse for drink, sir;
There was all sorts as you may suppose,
There was fat, thin, short, and tall, sir,
There was some with full three yards of
        nose,
And some with none at all, sir.

At the corner of each street was placed
In Military array, sir,
One of these Special Constables
To keep the dogs away, sir,
From plundering of the cat's meat shops,
Or in the streets get larking,
And many a dog got a nasty knock,
If he was caught a barking.

You Specials take advice for once,
If to take it you are willing,
Do not get so precious drunk,
And then get fined ten shillings ;
For if your duty you neglect,
And to the pot stick fast all,
My Special chaps can you expect
You will ever be made Field Marshals.

BIRT, Printer, 39, Great St, Andrew Street, Seven Dials,

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence