1826
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

All in the Family Way. A New Pastoral Ballad.

The Times (14 April 1826).

Anonymous


A burlesque of Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad in six double-quatrain stanzas, not signed, "sung in the character of Britannia, tune — My banks are all furnished with bees." The target of this parody is the government's response to the economic depression of 1826: "My tradesmen are smashing by dozens, | But this is all nothing, they say; | For bankrupts, since Adam, are cousins, | So, it's all in the family way."



My banks are all furnished with rags,
So thick — even Fred cannot thin 'em;
I've torn up my old money-bags,
Having nothing, worth while, to put in 'em.
My tradesmen are smashing by dozens,
But this is all nothing, they say;
For bankrupts, since Adam, are cousins,
So, it's all in the family way.

My Debt not a penny takes from me,
As sages the matter explain;—
Bob owes it to Tom, and then Tommy
Just owes it to Bob back again.
Since all have thus taken to owing,
There's nobody left that can pay;
And this is the way to keep going,
All quite in the family way.

My senators vote away millions,
To put in Prosperity's budget;
And though it were billions or trillions,
The generous rogues wouldn't grudge it.
'Tis all but a family hop,
'Twas Pitt began dancing the hay;
Hands round! — why the deuce should we stop?
'Tis all in the family way.

My labourers used to eat mutton,
As any great man of the State does;
And now the poor devils are put on
Small rations of tea and potatoes.
But cheer up, John, Sawney, and Paddy,
The King is your father, they say;
So, ev'n if you starve for your Daddy,
'Tis all in the family way.

My rich manufacturers tumble,
My poor ones have little to chew;
And, ev'n if themselves do not grumble,
Their stomachs undoubtedly do.
But coolly to fast, en famille,
Is as good for the soul as to pray;
And famine itself is genteel,
When one starves in a family way.

I have found out a secret for Freddy,
A secret for next budget day;
Though, perhaps, he may know it already,
As he, too, 's a sage in his way.
When next for the Treasury scene he
Announces "the Devil to pay,"
Let him write on the bills, "Nota bene,
'Tis all in the family way."

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