Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BARTLEME FAIR, by GEORGE ALEXANDER STEVENS



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BARTLEME FAIR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: While gentlefolks strut in their silver and satins
Last Line: And thus ends the ballad of bartleme fair-o.
Alternate Author Name(s): Stevens, G. A.
Subject(s): Collective Behavior; Festivals; Singing & Singers; Mobs; Crowds; Fairs; Pageants


WHILE gentlefolks strut in their silver and satins,
We poor folks are tramping in straw hats and pattens,
As merrily Old English ballads can sing-o,
As they at their opperores outlandish ling-o
Calling out, bravo, encoro, and caro,
Tho'f I will sing nothing but Bartleme Fair-o.

Here first of all, crowds against other crowds driving,
Like wind and tide meeting, each contrary striving;
Here's fiddling and fluting, and shouting and shrieking,
Fifes, trumpets, drums, bagpipes, and barrow-girls squeaking.
My ware round and sound, here's choice of fine ware-o,
Though all is not sound sold at Bartleme Fair-o.

Here are drolls, hornpipe dancing, and showing of postures;
Plum-porridge, black-puddings, and op'ning of oysters;
The taphouse guests swearing, and gall'ry folks squalling,
With salt-boxes, solos, and mouth-pieces bawling;
Pimps, pick-pockets, strollers, fat landladies, sailors,
Bawds, baileys, jilts, jockeys, thieves, tumblers and tailors.

Here's Punch's whole play of the gunpowder-plot, sir,
Wild beasts all alive, and pease-porridge hot, sir:
Fine sausages fried, and the Black on the wire;
The whole court of France, and nice pig at the fire.
The ups-and-downs, who'll take a seat in the chair-o?
There are more ups and downs than at Bartleme Fair-o.

Here's Whittington's cat, and the tall dromedary,
The chaise without horses, and Queen of Hungary;
The merry-go-rounds, come who rides? come who rides?
Wine, beer, ale and cakes, fire-eating besides;
The famed learned dog that can tell all his letters,
And some men, as scholars, are not much his betters.

This world's a wide fair, where we ramble 'mong gay things;
Our passions, like children, are tempted by play-things;
By sound and by show, by trash and by trumpery,
The fal-lals of fashion, and Frenchified frumpery.
Life is but a droll, rather wretched than rare-o,
And thus ends the ballad of Bartleme Fair-o.





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