21. A kiddy boy from broad St Giles [Pompey and the Donkey]

No. 21.


A kiddy boy1 from broad St Giles no better than a mud lark.2
Tho' he could mimic in the fields, a neddy Goat, or dogs bark.
He prig’d a little curly rouge his name was pretty pompey3
And from a house an upper tog4 then went in search of Donkey
                             Bow wow wow, fal de riddle ri do. Bow
                             Bow wow wow  &c —   —

He found one on the fallow land that never had been broke in
With rusty spur he mounted him, with which began to poke him
He held the buffer5 in one hand the other teas’d the donkey.
And Gallop’d off towards the farm with him and pretty pompey
                  Botheration seize the Vicious kicking donkey
                              Bow wow wow  &c
                  That would put his head between his legs to throw
                       the boy & Pompey

This mad trim’d6 savage full of spite pull’d out his chin & dock’d7 him
The bloody end with all his might about the head he knocked him,
Then he mounted the ass again no matter who has sold thee
As he through the Village passed he cried, come up you bloody thief
                                                        Do you think I stole ye’
                        Bow wow wow.               Botheration &c


He             ——


He Got a man to hold the beast while he ran after Pompey
The man not knowing in the least the boy had bon’d8 the donkey
The owner came and knock’d him down


                      Botheration seize them
The Kiddy boy & Donkey  Pompey
That got the man so kicked about for

stealing of the Donkey.


Editor's Notes

1. Kiddy boy: thief

2. Mud Lark: One who scavenges the muddy shores of the Thames looking for anything that could be sold.

3. Prig'd a curly Rouge: stole a curly haired dog [?]

4. Tog: coat

5. Buffer: dog

6. Trim'd: beat, trounced, defeated

7. Dock'd: Dock means shoe, so kicked.

8. Bon'd: Stolen

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This song was printed as a slip song with the title "Pompey and the Donkey." Pompey was a generic name for a dog in the period. A sequel to this song entitled ‘Muzzy Tandy’ was subsequently published (Roud #V5491).

A Kiddy boy from Broad St. Giles,
No better than a mud lark,
Though he could mimic in the field
A needy goat, or dog's bark
He prigg'd a little curly rouge,
His name was pretty Pompey,
And from a house an upper log[?]
Then went in search of Donkey.

He cock'd his tail and follow'd him,
The pretty little Pompey,
O'er the banks, and thro' the fields
Then went in search of Donkey.

He saw one of the fallow land
Which never had been broke in,
With rusty spur he mounted him
He held the buffer in one arm,
The other tezz'd the donkey
They gallop'd off towards the farm,
With him a pretty Pompey.

Botheration seize the vicious kicking donkey,
That would put his head between his legs,
To throw the boy and Pompey

This mad trim savage, full of spite,
Pull'd out his chin and dock'd him,
The bloody end, with all his might
About the head he knock'd hm;
Then again he mounts the ass
No matter who have sold thee
As did he thro' the village pass.
He cry'd "Come you bloody their! do you think I stole thee?

Botheration seize the vicious kicking donkey,
In a nasty dirty ditch
To throw the boy and Pompey

He bought him home, and did begin
To load him well with brick dust,
Whil he was gone to fetch some gin
Neddy with the load brush'd;
He ran as hard as he could run,
Crying help master! Stop my donkey,
But also! too laste the brick dust gone,
And pretty little Pompey.

Botheration seize the brick dust sack and donkey,
In running after them, he lost his pretty Pompey.

He begg'd a man to hole the beast,
While he ran after Pompey,
The man not dreading in the least
The boy had bon'd the donkey;
The owner came and knocked him down,
And swore to all who look'd on,
He did not know his ass in town,
Till he had seen the mark on.

Botheration seize the brick dust boy and Pompey
That got the man so kick'd about,
Appear'd to prig the donkey.


Place seems to have initially remembered the song with a "Bow wow wow" chorus, which he records for the first verse. It seems likely that he was imagaining the the tune as "Bow Wow Wow." This song was originally written for the play "Love in A Camp or Patrick of Prussia" (1786) with music by William Shield, words by John O'Keeffe, and originally performed by the comic actor John Edwin. It was quickly adapted as a satirical song — notably by Captain Charles Morris, for "Sit Down Neighbours All", which lampooned William Pitt the Younger's government. The chorus of the printed version however, doesn't share the distinctive "Bow wow wow" chorus, and after the first verse, Place corrects his chorus to "Botheration seize" etc., suggesting that he was working with a printed text rather than from memory. The two choruses are incompatible. There is no way to get the words of the "Botheration" chorus to fit the much shorter "Bow wow wow" tune.

For more on the uses of "Bow Wow Wow" in political song see Oskar Cox Jensen, The Ballad-Singer in Georgian and Victorian London (Cambridge UP, 2021), pp. 127-29. Cox Jensen provides a recording of the Captain Morris "Bow wow wow" and its tune which can be found here. The sheet music for the song can be found in the published score for "Love in a Camp, or Patrick of Prussia" (Longman and Broderip, 1786), pp. 28-29.

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