The Bunter’s Christening

The Bunter’s Christening
By GEORGE PARKER in Life’s Painter of Variegated Characters.


Bess Tatter, of Hedge-lane,
  To ragman Joey’s joy,
The cull with whom she snooz’d 1 man
  Brought forth a chopping boy:
Which was, as one might say,
  The moral of his dad, sir;
And at the christ’ning oft,
  A merry bout they had, sir.


For, when ’twas four weeks old,
  Long Ned, and dust-cart Chloe,
To give the kid a name,
  Invited were by Joey;
With whom came muzzy Tom, 2 muddled
  And sneaking Snip, the boozer, 3 drunkard
Bag-picking, blear-ey’d Ciss,
  And squinting Jack, the bruiser. 4 pugilist


Likewise came bullying Sam,
  With cat’s-and-dog’s-meat Nelly,
Young Smut, the chimney-sweep,
  And smiling snick-snack Willy;
Peg Swig and Jenny Gog,
  The brims, with birdlime fingers, 5 harlots; thievish
Brought warbling, seedy Dick,
  The prince of ballad-singers.


The guests now being met,
  The first thing that was done, sir,
Was handling round the kid,
  That all might smack his muns, sir; 6 kiss him
A flash of lightning next, 7 drop of gin
  Bess tipt each cull and frow, sir, 8 gave; man; woman
Ere they to church did pad, 9 walk
  To have it christen’d Joe, sir.


Away they then did trudge;
  But such a queer procession,
Of seedy brims and kids,
  Is far beyond expression.
The christ’ning being o’er,
  They back again soon pik’t it, 10 went
To have a dish of lap, 11 tea
  Prepar’d for those who lik’t it.


Bung all come back once more
  They slobber’d little Joey; 12 kissed
Then, with some civil jaw, 13 words
  Part squatted, to drink bohea,
And part swig’d barley swipes, 14 drank beer
  As short-cut they were smoaking, 15 tobacco
While some their patter flash’d 16 talked
  In gallows fun and joking. 17 screaming


For supper, Joey stood,
  To treat these curious cronies;
A bullock’s melt, hog’s maw
  Sheep’s heads, and stale polonies:
And then they swill’d gin-hot,
  Until blind drunk as Chloe,
At twelve, all bundled from
  The christ’ning of young Joey.


See note (ante) to “The Sandman’s Wedding”. Life’s Painter etc. ran through several editions.

Taken from Musa Pedestris, Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang Rhymes [1536―1896], collected and annotated by John S. Farmer.

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. . .
Retoure My Dear Dell
The Vain Dreamer
When My Dimber Dell I Courted
The Oath Of The Canting Crew
Come All You Buffers Gay
The Potato Man
A Slang Pastoral
Ye Scamps, Ye Pads, Ye Divers
The Sandman’s Wedding
The Happy Pair
The Bunter’s Christening
The Masqueraders
The Flash Man of St. Giles
A Leary Mot
The Night Before Larry was Stretched
The Song of the Young Prig
The Milling Match
Ya-Hip, My Hearties!
Sonnets For The Fancy: After The Manner Of Petrarch
The True Bottom’d Boxer
Bobby And His Mary
. . .