Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"The Merry Bells of London," anonymous lyric

The Merry Bells of London.

Gay go up and gay go down,
To ring the bells of London Town.

Bull’s eyes and targets,
Say the bells of St. Marg’ret’s.

Brick-bats and tiles,
Say the bells of St. Giles.

Halfpence and farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

Pancakes and fritters,
Say the bells at St. Peter’s.

Two sticks and an apple,
Say the bells at Whitechapel.

Old Father Baldpate,
Say the slow bells at Aldgate.

You owe me ten shillings,
Say the bells at St. Helen’s.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells at Old Bailey.

When I shall grow rich,
Say the bells at Shoreditch.

Pray, when will that be?
Say the bells at Stepney.

I’m sure I don’t know,
Says the great bell at Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

Source of the text - Gammer Gurton's Garland or The Nursery Parnassus, edited by Joseph Ritson.  Edinburgh: R. Clark, 1866, pp. 37-38.

TJB: Rough-purity. Accentual rhymes form a litany-narrative, reveal personality, & channel keen awareness of humor, delight, & looming mortality.

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