Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Why drain our cash be-south the Tweed?

This a first for me - a post based around a poem.

Remember the letter to the Caledonian Mercury by a certain D. Loch complaining about the Scots drinking London Porter rather than locally-brewed stuff? It inspired someone to write a poem on the same theme. It brings to mind another renowned Scots poet, what was his name? It'll come to me, I'm sure.

"To the Publisher of the Caledonian Mercury
The following Verses were wrote upon reading D. Loch's Letter in the Caledonian Mercury of Saturday last. By giving them a place,

through the same channel, you will much oblige your Caledonian readers, and particularly your constant one,

O Caledon! my muse attend;
Unprejudic'd, your lugs let bend;
Retrieve your sense ; be dupes no more
Be cloathed and fed with your own store.
Inspir'd with grief, and swelled with rage;
Sincere my sonnnet, if not sage;
Exhilerate by Scotia's streams,
More soft and pure than stinking Thames,
I fain would sing to mend the times,
To heal my country by my rhymes.

Let London brewers tear and burn,
I'll scorn their Porter in my turn;
With homely broust preserve my health,
Diffuse among my friends my wealth.

Good Sense and Argument displays,
Our taste deprav'd in Loch's Essays.
Why drain our cash be-south the Tweed,
For London porter, and our weed?
Why manufactures here neglected,
And those from England much respected?
Is it because they love the Scots,
And treat them well in Churchill's notes?
Why starve ourselves to make those thrive,
Whose Creed is Wilkes and Forty-Five ?
Why English Riders here, in shoals,
To vend their wares and damn our souls,
Our gold and silver carried off,
By those who can't forbear to scoff;
And twit with hunger, lice, and itch.
The simpletons that make them rich;
Who spend their cash, and eke their blood,
To aggrandize their sister proud.

Let firm resolves in practice go,
Hold John Bull's porter as our foe:
Let Scottish Peggy's nut-brown ale,
As formerly, her Sons regale :
With malt, and hop, and Scottish streams,
Her Porter will outvie the Thames.
Hail! hail! ye Patriots of the North!
Your grand attempt proclaims your worth
To settle fact'ries in our isle,
That, by industry, we may smile;
Our cash thereby at home retain,
And English Riders ride in vain.

The scheme is great! — Success attends -
No longer idle hands suspend.
A proverb oft our grandfires tell,
Better late thrive, than ne'er do well."
Caledonian Mercury - Wednesday 06 July 1774, page 2.

I don't know if you noticed some unusual rhymes: north with worth; blood with proud; streams with Thames; and my personal favourite, Scots with notes.

William McGonagall. That's the poet I was thinking of.

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