Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c./Part 5/Wilson's Proverbs in Rhyme

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By the Rev. Thomas Wilson, B.D., Head-Master of Clitheroe Grammar School, 1775-1813.

Buonaparte, the bully, resolves to come over,
With flat-bottomed wherries from Calais to Dover;
No perils to him in the billows are found,
For "if born to be hanged, he can never be drowned."
From a Corsican dunghill this fungus did spring,
He was soon made a captain, and would be a king;
But the higher he rises, his conduct's more evil,
For "a beggar on horseback will ride to the devil."
To seize all we have, and then clap us in gaol,
To devour all our victuals and drink up our ale,
And to grind us to dust, is the Corsican's will,
For they say "all is grist that e'er comes to his mill."
To stay quiet at home that great hero can't bear,
Or perhaps "he would have other fish to fry" there;
So as fish of that sort do not suit his desire,
He "leaps out of the frying-pan into the fire."
He builds barges and cock-boats and crafts without end,
And numbers the host which to England he'll send;
But in spite of his craft, and in spite of his boast,
"He reckons, 'tis true, but 'tis not with his host."
He rides upon France, and he tramples on Spain,
And Holland and Italy holds in a chain;
He says Britain he'll conquer, and still understands,
"That one bird in the bush is worth four in his hands."
He trusts that his luck will all dangers expel,
"But the pitcher is broke which goes oft to the well;"
And when our brave soldiers this bully surround,
"Though he's thought penny-wise, he'll pound-foolish be

France cannot forget that our fathers of yore,
Used to pepper and butcher, at sea and on shore;
And we'll speedily prove to this mock Alexander,
"What was sauce for the goose will be sauce for the gander."
I've heard, and I've read in a great many books,
Half the Frenchmen are tailors and "t'other half cooks;"
We've trimmings in store for the knights of the cloth,
"And the cooks that come here will but spoil their own broth."
It is said that the French are a numerous race,
And perhaps it is true, for "ill weeds grow apace;"
But come when they will, and as many as dare,
I suspect they'll "arrive the day after the fair."
To invade us more safely these warriors boast,
They will wait till a storm drives our fleet from the coast,
That 'twill be "an ill wind" will be soon understood,
For a wind that blows Frenchmen "blows nobody good."

They would treat Britain worse than they've treated Mynheer,
But they'll find that "they've got the wrong sow by the ear;"
Let them come, then, in swarms, by this Corsican led,
And I'll warrant we'll "hit the right nail on the head."