Ode on the Dandy-horses (1819)

Ode on the Dandy-horses

Pray have you not seen

That most clever machine,

That’s to drive out of England each prime bit of blood;

And the dandy who rides,

Has the pleasure, besides,

Of carrying his steed and of walking in mud.

Its names are quite various –

Velocipede, dandy-horse,

Hobby, or accelerator, or charger.

From France just imported,

The dandies now sport it,

With its fifty more names that I shall not enlarge here.

It pays not either tolls or taxes,

Costs not whips, spurs, grooms and the fact is,

It eats not, drinks not and tho’ mock’d oft,

Molly may clean it with her mop,

And on your hat-peg hang it up,

Or, when your tired of’t put in the cock-loft.

A horse, too, is a dangerous animal,

To cockney-sportsmen going down Highgate Hill,

Whose noses, not their noddles are in jeopardy.

And, should the dustman’s broom assault him,

A skittish steed will sometimes vault him

Into the dustman’s cart, upon a muddy day.

Law’s cruel gripe poor Joseph Brown* knows

Who lately was put in the round-house,

For using on the pavement this discovery.

Goths! To put down our dandy-horses,

Who! Who, can tell how great our love is,

If law run foul of ‘t – that can never be.

For lawyers will be very willing

To save the forth part of a shilling,

In their quadruple rides to Westminster.

And of the North Pole the explorers

On this may ride o’er ice and horrors,

And home with samples of the Pole again steer.

*A Quaker, lately taken up for velocipeding on the pavement.

The Monthly Magazine, or, British Register, Volume 48, p 433/4, Nov’ 1819

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