Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A GOOD SONG, by WILLIAM COWPER



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A GOOD SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Here's a health to honest john bull
Last Line: Tis our pride, to be loyal and free.


HERE 's a health to honest JOHN BULL,
When he's gone we shan't find such another;
And with hearts and with glasses brim full,
Here 's a health to OLD ENGLAND his mother.

She gave him a good education,
Bade him keep to his church and his KING;
Be loyal and true to the Nation,
And then go be merry and sing.

Now John is a good humoured fellow,
Industrious, honest, and brave;
Not afraid of his betters when mellow,
For betters he knows he must have.

For there must be fine lords and fine ladies,
There must be some little and great;
Their wealth the supply of the trade is,
Our hands the support of their state.

Some are born for the court and the city,
And some for the village and cot;
But oh! 'twere a dolorous ditty,
If all became equal in lot.

If our ships have no pilots to steer,
What wou'd 'come of poor Jack in the shrouds?
Or our troops no commanders to fear,
They'd soon be arm'd robbers in crouds.

Then the plough and loom must stand still,
If they made of us gentlemen all;
Or all clodhoppers; then who wou'd fill
The parliament, pulpit, and hall?

"Rights of Man" make a very fine sound,
"Equal Riches" a plausible tale;
But whose labour wou'd then till the ground?
All wou'd drink, but who'd brew the best ale?

When half naked, half starv'd in the street,
We were wand'ring about sans culottes,
Wou'd equality go fetch us meat?
Or wou'd liberty lengthen our coats?

That knaves are for levelling no wonder,
'Tis easy to guess at their views;
'Tis they who get all by their plunder,
'Tis they who have nothing to lose.

Then away with such nonsense and stuff,
Full of treason, confusion and blood;
Ev'ry BRITON has freedom enough
To be happy as long as he's good.

To be rul'd by a merciful KING,
To be guarded by juries and laws;
And when our work's finished to sing—
This, this is true liberty's cause.

Then holloo boys! holloo boys! ever;
For just such a nation are we;
'Tis our pleasure; O may it cease never!
'Tis our pride, to be loyal and free.





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