Open main menu

The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 7/My Boy Hobbie O

MY BOY HOBBIE O.[1]

New Song to the tune of
"Whare hae ye been a' day,
My boy Tammy O?
Courting o' a young thing
Just come frae her Mammie O."

1.

How came you in Hob's pound to cool,
My boy Hobbie O?
Because I bade the people pull
The House into the Lobby O.


2.

What did the House upon this call,
My boy Hobbie O?
They voted me to Newgate all,
Which is an awkward Jobby O.


3.

Who are now the people's men,
My boy Hobbie O?
There's I and Burdett—Gentlemen
And blackguard Hunt and Cobby O.


4.

You hate the house—why canvass, then?
My boy Hobbie O?
Because I would reform the den
As member for the Mobby O.


5.

Wherefore do you hate the Whigs,
My boy Hobbie O?
Because they want to run their rigs,
As under Walpole Bobby O.


6.

But when we at Cambridge were
My boy Hobbie O,
If my memory dont err
You founded a Whig Clubbie O.


7.

When to the mob you make a speech,
My boy Hobbie O,
How do you keep without their reach
The watch within your fobby O?


8.

But never mind such petty things,
My boy Hobbie O;
God save the people—damn all Kings,
So let us Crown the Mobby O!

Yours truly,
(Signed)Infidus Scurra.


March 23rd, 1820.
[First published Murray's Magazine, March, 1887, vol. i.
pp. 292, 293.]


  1. [John Cam Hobhouse (1786-1869) (see Letters, 1898, i. 163, note 1) was committed to Newgate in December, 1819, for certain passages in a pamphlet entitled, A Trifling Mistake in Thomas Lord Erskine's recent Preface, which were voted (December 10) a breach of privilege. He remained in prison till the dissolution on the king's death, February 20, 1820, when he stood and was returned for Westminster. Byron's Liberalism was intermittent, and he felt, or, as Hobhouse thought, pretended to feel, as a Whig and an aristocrat with regard to the free lances of the Radical party. The sole charge in this "filthy ballad," which annoyed Hobhouse, was that he had founded a Whig Club when he was an undergraduate at Cambridge. He assured Murray (see his letter, November, 1820, Letters, vol. iv. Appendix XI. pp. 498-500) that he was not the founder of the club, and that Byron himself was a member. "As for his Lordship's vulgar notions about the mob," he adds, "they are very fit for the Poet of the Morning Post, and for nobody else." There is no reason to suppose that Byron was in any way responsible for the version as sent to the Morning Post.

    "MY BOY HOBBY O.

    [Another Version.]

    "To the Editor of the Morning Post.

    "Sir,—A copy of verses, to the tune of 'My boy Tammy,' are repeated in literary circles, and said to be written by a Noble Lord of the highest poetical fame, upon his quondam friend and annotator. My memory does not enable me to repeat more than the first two verses quite accurately, but the humourous spirit of the Song may be gathered from these:—

    1.

    "Why were you put in Lob's pond,
    My boy, Hobby O? (bis)
    For telling folks to pull the House
    By the ears into the Lobby O!


    2.

    "Who are your grand Reformers now,
    My boy, Hobby O? (bis)
    There's me and Burdett,—gentlemen,
    And Blackguards Hunt and Cobby O!


    3.

    "Have you no other friends but these,
    My boy, Hobby O? (bis)
    Yes, Southwark's Knight,[*] the County Byng,
    And in the City, Bobby O!


    4.

    "How do you recreate yourselves,
    My boy, Hobby O? (bis)
    We spout with tavern Radicals,
    And drink with them hob-nobby O!


    5.

    "What purpose can such folly work,
    My boy, Hobby O? (bis)
    It gives our partisans a chance
    Watches to twitch from fob-by O!


    6.

    "Have they no higher game in view,
    My boy, Hobby O? (bis)
    Oh yes; to stir the people up,
    And then to head the mob-by O.


    7.

    "But sure they'll at their ruin pause,
    My boy, Hobby O? (bis)
    No! they'd see King and Parliament
    Both d—d without a sob-by O!


    8.

    "But, if they fail, they'll be hanged up,
    My boy, Hobby O? (bis)
    Why, then, they'll swing, like better men,
    And that will end the job-by O!

    "Philo-Radicle.
    "April 15, 1820."

    ^  * "Southwark's Knight" was General Sir Robert Thomas Wilson (1777-1849), who was returned for Southwark in 1818, and again in 1820; "County Byng" was George Byng, M.P. for Middlesex; and "Bobby" was Sir Robert Waithman (1764-1833), who represented the City of London in 1818, but lost his seat to Sir William Curtis in 1820. All these were advanced Liberals, and, as such, Parliamentary friends of Hobhouse.]