A Pastoral Ballad. By John Bull.

The Times (20 March 1827) 3.


A burlesque pastoral on the failure of Irish emancipation in twelve anapestic quatrains, signed "E." The lines in William Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad that are parodied begin: "I have found out a gift for my fair; | I have found where the wood-pigeons breed: | But let me that plunder forbear, | She will say 'twas a barbarous deed." The poem wittily substitutes for the conventions of pastoral ballad the grimmer subjects of broadside ballad.

Note: "Dublin, March 12. — Friday, after the arrival of the packet, bringing the account of the defeat of the Catholic Question in the House of Commons, orders were sent to the Pigeon-house to forward 5,000,000 rounds of musket-ball cartridge to the different garrisons throughout the country. — Freeman's Journal."

William Hazlitt: "The TIMES NEWSPAPER is, we suppose, entitled to the character it gives itself, of being the 'Leading Journal of Europe,' and is perhaps the greatest engine of temporary opinion in the world. Still it is not to our taste — either in matter or manner. It is elaborate, but heavy; full, but not readable: it is stuffed up with official documents, with matter-of-fact details. It seems intended to be deposited in the office of the Keeper of the Records, and might be imagined to be composed as well as printed with steam-engine. It is pompous, dogmatical, and full of pretensions, but neither light, various, nor agreeable. It sells more, and contains more, than any other paper; and when you have said this, you have said all. It presents a most formidable front to the inexperienced reader. It makes a toil of a pleasure. It is said to be calculated for persons in business, and yet it is the business of a whole morning to get through it. Bating voluminous details of what had better be omitted, the same things are better done in the Chronicle. To say nothing of poetry, (which may be thought too frivolous and attenuated for the atmosphere of the city), the prose is inferior. No equally sterling articles can be referred to in it, either for argument or wit. More, in short, is effected in the Morning Chronicle, without the formality and without the effort. The Times is not a classical paper. It is a commercial paper, a paper of business, and it is conducted on principles of trade and business. It floats with the tide: it sails with the stream. It has no other principle, as we take it. It is not ministerial; it is not patriotic; but it is civic. It is the lungs of the British metropolis; the mouthpiece, oracle, and echo of the Stock Exchange; the representative of the mercantile interest" in "The Periodical Papers" Edinburgh Review 38 (May 1823) 363-64.

I have found out a gift for my Erin,
A gift that will surely content her,—
Sweet pledge of a love so endearing!—
Five millions of bullets I've sent her.

She ask'd me for freedom and right,
But ill she her wants understood;—
Ball-cartridges, morning and night,
Is a dose that will do her more good.

There is hardly a day of our lives
But we read in some amiable trials,
How husbands make love to their wives,
Through the medium of powders and phials.

One thinks, with his mistress or mate
Some ratsbane is sure to agree;
(A medicine, which Ch—t—r of late,
Exhibited, Erin, to thee)—

While another, whom Hymen hath bless'd
With a wife that is not over placid,
Consigns the dear charmer to rest
With a dose of nice oxalic acid.

Thus, Erin, my love, do I show,
Thus quiet thee, mate of my bed!
And, as arsenic and hemp are too slow,
Do thy business with bullets, instead.

Should thy faith in my medicine be shaken,
Ask R—d—n, that mildest of Saints;
He'll tell thee, lead, inwardly taken,
Alone can remove thy complaints;—

That, blest as thou art in thy lot,
Nothing's wanted, to make it more pleasant,
But being hang'd, tortur'd, and shot,
Much oftener than thou art at present.

Even W—ll—T—n's self hath averr'd,
Thou are yet btt half sabred and hung;
And I lov'd him the more, when I heard
Such tenderness fall from his tongue.

So, take the five millions of pills,
Dear partner, that herewith I send;—
'Tis the cure that all quacks of thy ills,
From Cromwell to P—l, recommend.

And you, ye brave bullets that go,
How I wish that, before you set out,
The Devil of the Frieschutz could know
The good work you are going about;

For he'd charm ye, in spite of your lead,
Into such supernatural wit,
That you'd, all of you, know, as you spend,
Where a bullet of sense ought to hit.

[p. 3]