The Breeches

By RE Egerton Warburton

When I mention ‘The Breeches,’ I feel no remorse,

For the ladies all know ‘tis an evergreen gorse;

They are not of leather, they are not of plush,

But expressly cut out for Joe Maiden to brush.

 
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Good luck to the prentice by whom they were made!

His shears were a ploughshare, his needle a spade;

May each landlord a pair of this pattern bespeak,

The Breeches that lasted us three days a week!

 

The fox is away, and Squire Royds made it known,

Setting straitway to work at a pace of his own;

Past him sped Tollemache, as instant in flight

As a star when it shoots through the azure of night.

 

They who witness’d the pack as it skirted the Spa,

By the head they then carried a struggle foresaw;

At their heels a white horse with his head in the air,

But his bridle was loose, and his saddle was bare.

 

May Peel (near Breeches at starting o’erthrown,

Where he left the impression in mud of his own),

When next he thinks fit this white horse to bestraddle,

See less of the Breeches and more of the saddle.

 

From Spurstow we pointed towards Bunbury Church,

Some rounding that cover were left in the lurch;

By Hurleston we hurried, nor e’er tighten’d rein,

Till check’s for one moment in Baddiley lane.

 

When we pass’d the old gorse and the meadows beneath,

When, across the canal, we approach’d Aston Heath,

There were riders who took to the water like rats,

There were steeds without horsemen, and men without hats.

 

How many came down to the Edlestone brook,

How many came down, not to leap-but to look;

The steeds that stood still with a stitch in their side,

Will remember the day when the Breeches were tried.

 

The pack, pressing onwards, still merrily went,

Till at Dorfold they needed no longer a scent;

Man and maid rushing forth stood aloft on the wall,

And uprais’d a view hollo that shook the old hall.

 

 

Too weak for the open, too hot for the drain,

He cross’d and recross’d Ran’moor covers in vain;

When he reach’d the Bull’s wood, he lay down in despair,

And we hollow’d who-whoop, as they worried him there.

 

Puss in boots is a fable to children well known,

The Dog in a doublet at Sandon is shown;

Henceforth when a landlord good liquor can boast,

Let the Fox and the Breeches be hung on his post.

 

From Vulpicide villains our foxes secure,

May these evergreen Breeches till doomsday endure!

Go! All ye good squires, if my ditty should please,

Go cloathe your bare acres in Breeches like these.

 

1841

 

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