This story appears in Cornish Tales in Prose and Verse by John Tabois Tregellas [Tregellas]. James R. Netherton, Truro: [date uncertain] reprinted from the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall volume 3 [dated before 1863 when the author died].
The story is probably based on Francis Horner, elected 1806, who took a decidedly populist attitude to campaigning. ‘Horner spent all the day in canvassing the town part of the constituency with his brother candidate, Samuel Stephens, the lord of Tregenna Castle. He entered every cellar in the place “shook every individual voter by the hand, stinking with brine and pilchard juice, repeated the same smiles and cajoleries to every one of them,” and (which was far more agreeable to him) found in those hovels a number “of pretty women, three or four of them quite beautiful,” whom he religiously kissed.’ [Matthews 1892]. Sir Walter Stirling is recorded as sitting the following year but I can find no trace of any bribary allegation, though there was one earlier, in 1774 when W. T. Praed was unseated.
Rozzy Paul and Zacky Martin
THE ADVENTURES OF TWO CORNISH
at St. IVES, TRURO, EXETER, and LONDON.
At Towan Porth (that’s what they
The place) was born one Rozzy1 Paul,
And there, likewise, did live “for sartin,”
Another miner, Zacky2 Martin.
But westward wandered these queer souls
And laboured in “St. Ives Consols.”3
Each rented in the town, tho’ poor,
A house which boasted a “fore door,”
By which they rose to men of note,
And were entitled to a vote,—
Potwollopers4 their appellation,
Who pocket bribes to sell the nation.
One day, a long, long while ago,
The date I don’t profess to know,
Or whether such was right or wrong,
(Enough for me to write my song,
And tell you of Saint Ives Election,
With all its fun and imperfection),
The town was all “alive and kicking,”
And friends were friends to pieces picking;
Drinking, bribing, swearing, lying,
Flags and scandal thickly flying,
Some of the mottoes, hist’ry states,
Were “Fish and Plenty,” “Haakes and Tates,”
“No Scads nor Rays,” “No Staring Pies,”5
“Starling for ever! he’s a prize.”
But who stands there with hat in hand,
With gracious smiles and looks so bland,
The other party at him snarling?
Silence!—a speech,—Sir Walter Starling.
“Men of St. Ives!”—he thus began,
“In me you see an honest man,
To do you good is my design,
Your interests ever shall be mine;
And soon I hope, my friends, to see
You independant, rich, and free:
I’m well convinced its a mistake
About your ‘whipping of the hake,’
And when in Parliament I sit,
For which, it seems, you think me fit,
For Pilchards I’ll new markets find,
With prices sure to please your mind;
Instead of Congers, Rays, and Hakes,
Roast beef shall smoke upon your plates;
The best of cheer shall be your lot,
And, for your wives, silk gowns I’ve bought.”
Says Zack to’Rozzy, “That’s
The tother man is but a snoff;
Sir Watty Starling es our man,
We’ll do for he now all we can.“
With groans from some, from others cheers,
The famed Sir Bullion Bragg appears,
Full of fine promises and chaff
And ready in his sleeve to laugh;
He waved his hand, and smiled, and bowed,
And thus addressed the noisy crowd:—
“Electors of St. Ives, behold!
I’ll make your streets o’erflow with gold;
The Indian fleet shall here resort,
Be manned and victualled at this port;
When in the House my seat is filled,
I’ll introduce an act to build,
A breakwater of marv’llous strength,
A mile or two, or more, in length;
I’ll treble too the pilchard bounty
Paid by the Treasury to this County;
And women, whom I love most dearly,
Shall all be votes,—I speak sincerely,
I’ll build for Hakes, you’ll have such trade in ’em,
A factory for marinading ’em;
I’ll find you sales in Egypt,—there O!
In Alexandra and Grand Cairo,
There smoking Mussulmans shall watch ’em
And eat them faster than you’ll catch ’em;
The ladies of St. Ives shall get,
(The climate here being rather wet),
Either to use them or to swing ’em,
Rich silk umbrellas,—mind, not gingham.”
This startling eloquence of Bragg’s
Beat poor Sir Walter’s all to rags;
His oily words and bribes so pleasant,
Gained his election for the present.
“Bribing,” says Zacky, “es a sin,
And Bullion tried to take me in;
I seed un give a man five pound,
Thoft I, ’twill be the saame all ’round;
But offered me, now doan’t ee see,
Insteed of five pounds awnly three.”
“These words,” said Rozzy, “too, I
To sweer ’tes so I baan’t affeerd;
I waan’t chait Maaster Starling, nor
Be chaited nuther,—no,—what for?
That this es brib’ry, (who can doubt it?)
We’ll tell Sir Watty’s lawyer ’bout it.”
The lawyer soon made out the case,
And a petition next took place;
Bullion’s election must be undone,
And Zack and Roz must go to London.
“’Tes nigh three hundred miles,” said
“And ’bout the saame when we come back;
But we must do et ’pon a foach,
And ride genteely ’pon a cooach;
For awnly see the time ’twould loss,
To ride up theere upon a hoss,
’Twould rub us raw and rub us bare,
Before that we got haaf way theere.
No! ’tes the cooach that we must mount,
And ride and live ’pon awner’s ’count.”
Next morning early they were seen
Jogging along in Kittereen,
A whole day’s jolting to endure O!
Before they reached the town of Truro;
“And now,” says Roz, “we may as well
Find out the cooach and the hotel;
Not the Rud Lion grim and fierce,
But t’other Inn that’s keept by Pearce.”
“ We’re going to London, ef you plaise,
And shall be riding nights and days;
’Tes nigh six hunderd miles to ride,
But we git paid and mait beside,
And fore we left we haven’t missed,
To git what’s daicent for subsist;
Wc’ve pasties heere and things beside,
And ’pon your cooach we want to ride.”
The Bar-maid happ’ning to be theere,
Said, “Gentlemen, then pay your fare.”
“ We knaw we look a smartish peer,
But we aren’t goin’ to see no feer;
We’re boath ’pon waun laarge consarn,
But we shaan’t tell, so you waan’t larn.”
The waiter then was heard to say,
“Is it the coach hire you would pay?”
“You gashly buffiehead,” said Zack,
“Dost think we’d hire a thing like that?
No! weth a sodger6 we shall set up,
That es, ef we can clem and git up;
And whether thee mayst like or lump it,
Theere we shall set and blaw the trumpet
And when the cooach do come up heere,
You’ll see us clem like cats, my dear.”
The horn was heard, and what was more,
The coach soon stood at Pearce’s door,
Where scarcely had it time to stop,
Ere Zack and Rozzy reached the top.
The Coachman thought them both deranged,
And said, “The horses must be changed.”
“What! chaange they hosses! all fowr rud wauns!
Thee’st never have again sich good wauns;
I’m right, old coachee, though thee’st loff,
But thee doan’t knaw when thee’rt well off.”
Zacky not knowing his transgression,
Of the box seat took quick possession.
“ Aw! heere’s a clain-of sait to git in,
The softest waun I ever set in;
’Tes like a hin’s nest,—aw! I never,
Now heere I’ll set, my dears, for ever;
Shaw me the man wud turn me out,
He soon shud knaw what I’m about.
Heere Rozzy, theere’s a plaace for you,
Set ’pon that cloak theere, rud and blue.”
The coachman cried, “You stupid clown,
That’s not your seat, so pray come down.”
But Zack sat on, and only said,
“’Tes my turn now, owld bufflehead.”
A dandy stiff as stock or stone,
And redolent of Eau Cologne,
With glittering pin in his cravat,
An empty head and shining hat.
Rings, eye glass, and a golden chain,
Adorned this coxcomb proud and vain;
In short he’d every charm but sense,
And badly brooked Zack’s impudence,—
“You have my seat, Sir!” said the dandy,
“Iss, ’zackly so,” said Zack, “’tes handy.”
In vain all strained their threat’ning throats,
For Zack sat firm on cloaks and coats,
Resolved in comfort there to ride,
With Rozzy clinging to his side.
The coach must start,—Gee
up! Gee ho!
Crack went the whip, away they go.
On the bare seat the dandy sat,
But Zacky didn’t care for that.
Many queer things were said that day,
With many a laugh they cheered the way,—
The night had passed,—the morn appeared—
And Exeter they now had neared.
“Theere we’ll have breakfast,
We haven’t clunked a bit to day,
And as we are like gentry dressed,
We’ll tell ’em we must have the best,
And ait ’tel we caan’t ait no moore,
And Zacky, mind thee’st keep the score.’[”]
This stage at Clench’s Inn was ended,
And quickly Roz and Zack descended;
The waiter met them with a bow,
“’The coach stops here to breakfast now,
Gentlemen, pray walk this way,
And I will soon bring in the tray.”
Says Rozzy, “Bost a heear that man?
He took me for a gentleman?
But he doan’t knaw waun man from t’other,
And ef I’m waun, why thee’rt another.
I’ll tell ee, tender, we shall ait
A body of it, deffurnt mait,
Tummals of bread and butter too,
Strong tay and milk, doan’t bring sky-blue;
By coose, hot waater will be wanted,
And use of tay-pot, ef ’tes granted.”
The cloth was laid and tea-tray placed,
A hissing urn the table graced.
“Now, tender, you my turn your back,
When we do want ee then we’ll knack.”
“What have ’em ’pon the taable put?
A frizzing Bumshill what they shut!
I’ve heerd about ’em in a song,
When to the Local I belong.
Aw Rozzy! ef he shud go off,
We’re knacked in pieces!—dosn’t loff.”
“ Why Zack, ’twaant do like that at all,
Theere es no powder, nor no ball;
’Tes steam and waater, lev me tell ee,
And fire es burning in hes belly.
Now for a hingun he’s too little,
Nor ’tesn’t like a daicent kittle;
He was a fool that found un out,
Why! he haven’t gove the thing no spout;
Es that the guage-cock theere, I wonder?
What fools they wor to put’n under;
Off weth the cover, Zack, my dear,
In weth the tay-dish,—never fear.”
“Rozzy! the waater’s boiling hot,
But we must try to full the pot.”
The waiter soon popped in again,
“ The coach is waiting, gentlemen;”
“Then lev un wait,—why what dost think?
We’ll go without our mait and drink;
Theere’s waun thing maade us all the laater,
We’ve scaled our hands, to git the waater;
The chaarge for that I hop’ es little,
I wish thee’st broft it in a kittle.“
The waiter smiled, and then did say
“You’ve one and ninepence each to pay.”
“ Then we shaan’t pay it—no—feer play.
When you git people heere to ait,
Tell ’em to scory, or you’ll chait;
Thee art a rogue, and we do knaw it,
We’ve keept a score and we can shaw it.
The fust es haaf an ounce of tay,
Thruppence for that, suppose we say,
Butter a penny, thruppence bread,
And tuppence for the milk and traade,
In the laast eup we shuggar had,
Penny for that,—that esn’t bad;
That’s tenpence, blaw, now will ee taake et?
A honest man no more would make it.”
The waiter, vexed enough to fight ’em,
Said, “ We don’t charge for every item;
I’ll read the bill aloud to you,
’Breakfast, et cætera, for two.’”
“Citra, you thief!—why what dost think,
Citra! !—what es it, mait or drink?
Citra! ! !—’tes traade we never ait,
Nor never said bring in such mait;
Nor never touched it,—never seed it,
Nor we waan’t pay for’t—we doan’t need it.”
At last they compromised, and then
For London left these Cornishmen.
At length the Babylon of smoke
Upon their wond’ring eye-sight broke;
Churches and towers, spires, and dome
That vice with thine, majestic Rome.
The eager, earnest, countless throng,
The mortal tide that rolled along,
The whirl of wheels, th’ incessant hum,
Struck for a time our trav’llers dumb.
Says Zack to Rozzy, “Heere’s a por,
I wonder what all this es for;
Feer-time I s’pose, such thousands sterring.”
“I s’pose,” said Rozzy, “’tes a berring,
We’ll try to knaw,—no hurt to ax ’em,
To live and larn have ben my maxim.
What es it?—say comraade!—he’s gone,
And so ’tes weth ’em every waun;
Od rat your empidence and scoffin’,
You doan’t knaw nothin’, by your loffin’.
We’ll try the shops and ax ’em theere,
Where lives Sir Waalter?—how they stare!
A pleasant man when down weth we,
As you or any waun cud see;
No pride in he, nor yet no strife,
Gove snuff to all, and kissed my wife.
Our bus’ness in the ’lection way,
A saicret ’tea, so we shaan’t say.
I wish you’d shaw us wheere’s hes door,
And we waan’t trouble ee no more.”
Nearly three days were thus expended,
Nor hopes, nor shoes, nor pockets mended.
Through streets and lanes they wandered on,
None knew Sir Walter,—no, not one.
At last they saw,—oh, happy sight!
Sir Walter from his horse alight.
Says Zack to Rozzy, “Aw, my darling!
That surely es Sir Waalter Starling.“
Into a tailor’s shop they watched him,
Said Zacky, “Aw, now we’ve a catched un.
Now Rozzy, you go in the shop,
And I outside the door will stop,
And while you tell un what we’ve done,
I’ll have a care that he shaant run.“
Said Zack, “Sir Waalter! Aw, my dear!
Aw! What we’ve suffered for ee heere!
We’ve scores of miles ben round and round,
And thoft you never cud be found;
They’re all such buffieheaded people,
You might as well go ax a steeple:
But now we’re heere through wind and weather,
And now I ’gree we’ll stick together.”
Sir Walter, puzzled what to
Thought Zacky mad,—perhaps in drink;
Quite frightened poor Sir Walter grew,
“Pray tell me, tailor, what to do;”
“Why how are you like that;’[”] said
“Ef that’s your way, then we’ll go back
Theere’s nothin’ heere but pride and spite,
While down weth we you’re all polite;
And we’ve a ben and risked our lives,
And comed to Lunnun from St. Ives,
To try in Paarliment to git ee,
And sweer to things we thoft wud fit ee,
But Zack at length being recognised,
The Baronet apologised,
Shook hands and smiled, and pressed them hard
To dine with him, and gave his card;
“The number of my house is there,
Sir Walter Starling, Portman Square.”
The card exciting their surprise,
They stared—then looked exceeding wise;
Strange speculations floated through
The pericraniums of the two.
“ Es et a ticket—who can tell?
Let’s knaw hes wuth—we may as well;
But thee nor I caant read nor spell,
And ef we ax this Lunnun crew
They’ll loll, and loff,—that’s all they’ll do;
And then again they are so wicket,
They[’]d raather stail than raid the ticket.“
So both agreed (to make it clear)
They’d to an Inn and get some beer,
And from their ticket pay their cheer.
This done, the reck’ning they would pay:—
“Tender, my dear, come heere this way;
This ticket we shall trust to you,
And from un taake what es your due.
And ef you can, plaise so arraange
To give us selver with our chaange.”
The waiter read the card with care,—
“Sir Walter Starling, Portman Square;”
“Go on,” said Rozzy, “raid un through,
And raid all what’s ’pon un, too;
We knaw hes wuth, but we shaant tell,
Beca’se a man that’s dressed so well
As you, all languages thud spell.
The ticket es for pounds, we knaw,
Raid all up ovver and belaw.”
“Sir Walter Starling, Portman Square.”
“That’s awnly paart of what es theere,”
Said Rozzy, “Now ’tes my belief,
That thee’rt a liard and a thief,”
The ticket snatched with angry air,
And off they went to Portman Square.
(Reader, the waiter, never fear,
Had coin not ticket for his beer).
With some adventures and rebuffs,
And now and then some fisticuffs,
At length arrived the much tired pair
In the long sought for Portman Square.
Says Zack to Roz, “Aw, look ee ’round!
Ten thousan’ housen I’ll be bound,
And all so laarge.—Aw! Roz, my dear!
“Tes kings and things like that live heere!
But now we’re in, we shaant git out
Ef we doant mind what we’re about;
To go all ’round ’twill taake ’tell dark,
So ’pon this house I’ll set a mark,
And when that mark agen es found
We’ll knaw by that we’ve ben all round.”
For the first knock our heroes tossed;
Says Zack, “I’m right, for thee hast lost.”
Up Rozzy went—the knocker seized,
Began to knock,—his comrade, pleased,
“Thraw to un, Rozzy, never feear,
Thraw to un harder, do my dear!”
Encouraged thus, he knocked, nor stopped,
Till out a livery servant popped,
With powdered hair and gaily dressed,
In breeches red and yellow vest,
A coat of light celestial blue,
With tassels of another hue.
Rozzy retreated in a fright,
At seeing such a gorgeous sight,
When at a distance made a stop;
“Your Majesty! no hurt I hop’,
Plaise to forgive us this heere time,
For we arn’t come heere ’pon no crime,
We’re honest men, both Zack and me,
And kings are things we sildom see.’[”]
The servant soon withdrew his head,
The door was closed, and Rozzy said,
“I never seed so grand a thing,
A rud and blue and yallow king,
All pleasant, too, he was, I thoft,
And, like the rest up heere, he loffed,”
Next Zacky knocked, tho’ much afraid,
At which out came a servant maid,
So gaily dressed, that Zack mistook,
And maiden for the mistress took;
“Your Ladyship, I hop’,” said Zack,
Esn’t affrunted by my knack;
We’ve had a desmal time d’ye see,
Up heere for Rozzy and for me,
We’ve left our cheldurn and our wives,’
About the ’Lection for St. Ives;
Now look at that theere ticket theere,
Said he, ‘You’ll find me in the square,’
But we’re like whems goin’ round and round,
And he we want he caant be found;
Aw! do ee read his naame my darling,—
A gentleman—Sir Waalter Starling.“
The maid took pity on their plight,
And told them, this time they were right,
Invited them to walk inside,
With which both Zack and Roz complied;
But seeing nothing there to eat,
They both grcw doubtful of their treat;
“Sir Waalter!” Rozzy said, “why how
Es this? why heere’s no denner now,
Tes all a chait I do believe,
And we you’ve broft heere to decaive;
Now hum, when we do have a troil,
Paart of the flesh we’re sure to boil;
And at St. Ives and Towan Po’th,
’Fore denner we’ve a dish of broth,
But as for you up heere—to-day,
You’ve nothin’ in the aiting way;
Ef we weth Brag had mind to go
I doant think he would sarve us so.”
“You do me wrong,” Sir Walter said,
“In yonder room the dinner’s laid.”
Said Zack, “This room will do, my dear,
And we shud say, let’s have it heere.“
But while our heroes thus were prating
The dinner was announced as waiting.
Now, reader, I am quite unable
To mention half that graced the table,
But covers kept the whole from view,
And were the cause of much ado.
“Sit down, my friends,” Sir Walter cries,
But Rozzy, staring with surprise,
And drawing Zacky to his side,
Some whispered secret did confide;
Then with a sudden rage possessed,
He thus his wond’ring host addressed:
“ Sir Waalter Starling, heere we are,
And ’tes for you we’re come so far,
About your ’Lection for to sweer,
But we shaant do it, never feer;
I s’pose the folks are come to loff,
And when we’re gone to taake us off;—
You gashly chaits!—we’d sooner die
Then ait thaise lattice things, or try;
I’d have ee knaw we booath ’knaw tin’
Too well for you to taake us in,
And ’cause to dress it we do trunk it,
I s’pose you thoft that we should clunk it;
That’s lattice theere,—we knaw the naame,
And tin and lattice es the saame,
But you, nor we, nor norra waun
That ever lived this eerth upon,
Cud ever chow or clunk such traade,
And ’tes for a deffur’nt purpose maade,
So loff or cry at what we’ve said,
We’re off, you gashly bufflehead!”
“Stay,” cried Sir Walter, “pray Sirs,
I mean you nothing but fair play;
Under those covers will be found
Wherewith to please you, I’ll be bound.”
Said Zack, “Then shaw it ef ’tes theere,
Seeing’s believing everywheere.”
But neither Roz nor Zack would wait,
So anxious both to see the meat;
They flung the covers to the floor,
“ Now this es something like it, sure,
This es clain-off, Sir Waalter, eh?
Thraw every lattice thing away,
And lev us see and smill it too,
But aiting’s better that the two;
’Twas desmal when we fust comed in,
To look ’pon nothin’ but the tin;
But now theere’s flesh, no man can doubt it,
And we waant wait no longer ’bout it;
Thraw to it for our lives, say I,
Gi’ me some mutton, and I’ll try,
’Twas mutton that I fust ded see.“
“Mutton,” says Zacky, “too for me.”
At once our heroes fell to work,
And well they plied the knife and fork;
However thick was cut each slice,
Their plates were emptied in a trice.
Now Rozzy made a sudden stop,
And said, “Sir Waalter, will ee swop,
I’ve got the fat and you the lain,—
Swop waun for t’other’s what I main.”
This was as quickly done as said,
The rude exchange he quickly made;
The lean which he so strongly wished,
Out of Sir Walter’s plate he fished,
And with the fork that took the piece,
Returned his plate’s superfluous grease.
Many such strange things did occur,
Nor dared Sir Walter once demur.
For as they came his cause to favour,
He could but wink at their behaviour,
And only laughed, while they laughed more,
And kept the table in a roar.
To finish off, Zack ate a pine,
And drank at least three pints of wine;
And then it was arranged that they
(Our Cornishmen) the following day
Should to the House of Commons go,
And strike the great decisive blow.
So Rozzy and his comrade went
Like greater men to Parliament;
The adventures there which them befell,
I have not room or time to tell;
How in Committee Rooms they swore,
And made the gravest members roar;
How brazen barristers were vexed,
And lawyers with their words perplexed;
Suffice to say, they gained the case,
And bragging Bullion lost his place.
3 The name of a Mine near St. Ives.
4 An Elector who merely rents a dwelling house, and occasionally has his dinner dressed in it, to give him a right of voting.
5 A story is told of the St. Ives people, than when the bustle of the “ Heva” has subsided, and some Pilchards have been secured, that the first dish they enjoy is a Pie made of Pilchards, so placed in it that their heads protruded through the cover.
6 The Guard of the Mail.