The Rime of the Auncient Waggonere

David Macbeth Moir

(also attrib. William Maginn)

Blackwood's Magazine, IV, Feb. 1819


An auncient wag-
gonere stoppeth ane
tailore going to a
wedding, whereat
he hath been ap-
pointed to be best
manne, and to take
a hand in the casting
of the slippere.

The waggonere in
mood for chat, and
admits of no excuse.

The tailore seized
with the ague.

IT is an auncient Waggonere,
 And hee stoppeth one of nine:—
‘Now wherefore dost thou grip me soe
 With that horny fist of thine?

‘The bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
 And thither I must walke;
Soe, by youre leave, I must be gone,
 I have noe time for talke!’

Hee holds him with his horny fist—
 ‘There was a wain,’ quothe hee,
‘Hold offe, thou raggamouffine tykke.’
 Eftsoones his fist dropped hee.

He listeneth like
a three years and a
half child.
Hee satte him downe upon a stone,
 With ruefulle looks of feare;
And thus began this tippsye manne,
 The red-nosed waggonere.

The appetite of
the tailore whetted
by the smell of
‘The waine is fulle, the horses pulle,
 Merrilye did we trotte
Alonge the bridge, alonge the road,
 A jolly crewe, I wotte;’—
And here the tailore smotte his breaste,
 He smelte the cabbage potte!

The waggonere
in talking anent
Boreas, maketh bad
‘The night was darke, like Noe’s arke,
 Oure waggone moved alonge;
The hail pour’d faste, loude roared the blaste,
 Yet stille we moved alonge;
And sung in chorus, “Cease, loud Borus,”
 A very charminge songe.

Their mirth in-
‘“Bravoe, bravissimoe,” I cried,
 The sounde was quite elatinge;
But, in a trice, upon the ice,
 We hearde the horses skaitinge.

And the passengers
exercise themselves
in the pleasant art
of swimminge, as
dooth also their
prog, to witte, great
store of colde roas-
ted beef; item, ane
beef-stake pye:
item, viii choppines
of usquebaugh.
‘The ice was here, the ice was there,
 It was a dismale mattere,
To see the cargoe, one by one,
 Flounderinge in the wattere!

‘With rout and roare, we reached the shore,
 And never a soul did sinke;
But in the rivere, gone for evere,
 Swum our meate and drinke.

The waggonere
hailethe ane goose
with ane novel
‘At lengthe we spied a goode grey goose,
 Thorough the snow it came;
And with the butte ende of my whippe,
 I hailed it in Goddhis name.

‘It staggered as it had been drunke,
 So dexterous was it hitte;
Of brokene boughs we made a fire,
 Thomme Loncheone roasted itte.’—

The tailore im-
patient to be gone,
but is forcibly per-
suaded to remain.
‘Be done, thou tipsye waggonere,
 To the feaste I must awaye.’—
The waggonore seized him bye the coatte,
 And forced him there to staye,
Begginge, in gentlemanlie style,
 Butte halfe ane hour’s delaye.


The waggonere’s
bowels yearn to-
wards the sunne.
‘The crimson sunne was rising o’ere
 The verge of the horizon;
Upon my worde, as faire a sunne
 As ever I clapped eyes onne.

The passengers
throwe the blame
of the goose mass-
acre on the inno-
cent waggonere.
‘“’Twill bee ane comfortable thinge,”
 The mutinous crewe ’gan crye;
“’Twill be ane comfortable thinge,
 Within the jaile to lye;
Ah! execrable wretche,” saide they,
 “Thatte caused the goose to die!”

The sunne suf-
feres ane artificial
eclipse, and horror
follows, the same
not being mentioned
in the Belfaste Al-

Various hypo-
theses on the sub-
ject, frome which
the passengeres draw
wronge conclusions.

‘The day was drawing near itte’s close,
 The sunne was well nighe settinge;
When lo! it seemed as iffe his face
 Was veiled with fringe-warke-nettinge.

‘Somme saide itte was ane apple tree,
 Laden with goodlye fruite,
Somme swore itte was ane foreigne birde,
 Some said it was ane brute;
Alas! it was ane bumbailiffe
 Riding in pursuite!

Ane lovelye sound
ariseth; ittes ef-
fects described.
Ane hue and crye sterte uppe behind,
 Whilke smote our ears like thunder.
Within the waggone there was drede,
 Astonishmente and wonder.

The passengers
throw somersets.
‘One after one, the rascalls rann,
 And from the carre did jump;
One after one, one after one,
 They felle with heavy thump.

‘Six miles ane houre theye offe did scoure;
 Like shippes on ane stormye ocean,
Theire garments flappinge in the winde,
 With ane shorte uneasy motion.

The waggonere
complimenteth the
bumbailifie with ane
‘Their bodies with their legs did flye,
 Theye fled with feare and glyffe;
Why star’st thoue soe?—With one goode blow,
 I felled the bumbailiffe!’


The tailore meet-
eth Corporal Feare.
‘I feare thee, auncient waggonere,
 I feare thy hornye fiste,
For itte is stained with goose’s gore,
 And bailiffe’s blood, I wist.

‘I fear to gette ane fisticuffe
 From thy leathern knuckles brown’;
With that the tailore strove to ryse—
 The waggonere thrusts him down.

‘Thou craven, if thou mov’st a limbe,
 I’ll give thee cause for feare;’
And thus went on that tipsye man,
 The red-billed waggonere.

The bailiffe com-
plaineth of con-
siderable derange-
ment of his animal
‘The bumbailiffe so beautiful
 Declared itte was no joke,
For, to his knowledge, both his legs
 And fifteen ribbes were broke.

Policemen with
their lanthornes
pursue the wag-
‘The lighte was gone, the nighte came on,
 Ane hundrede lantherns’ sheen
Glimmerred upon the kinge’s highwaye—
 Ane lovelye sighte, I ween.

‘“Is it he,” quoth one, “is this the manne?
 I’ll laye the rascalle stiffe;”—
With cruel stroke the beak he broke
 Of the harmless bumbailiffe.

Steppeth twenty
feete in imitatione
of the Admirable
‘The threatening of the saucye rogue
 No more I coulde abide;
Advancing forthe my goode right legge
 Three paces and a stride,
I sent my lefte foot dexterously
 Seven inches thro’ his side.

Complaineth of
foul play and falleth
down in ane trance.
‘Up came the seconde from the vanne;
 We had scarcely fought a round,
When someone smote me from behinde,
 And I fell down in a swound:

One acteth the
parte of Job’s com-
‘And when my head began to clear,
 I heard the yemering crew—
Quoth one, “this man hath penance done,
 And penance more shall do.”’


The waggonere
maketh ane shrewd
‘O Freedom is a glorious thing!—
 And, tailore, by the by,
I’d rather in a halter swing,
 Than in a dungeon lie.

The waggonere
tickleth the spleen
of the jailer, who
daunces ane Fan-
‘The jailere came to bring me foode,
 Forget it will I never,
How he turned up the white o’ his eye
 When I stuck him in the liver.

Rejoicethe in the
fragrance of the aire.
‘His threade of life was snapt: once more
 I reached the open streete;
The people sung out “Gardyloo”
 As I ran down the streete.
Methought the blessed air of heaven
 Never smelte so sweete.

Dreadeth Shoan
Dhu, the corporal
of the guarde.
‘Once more upon the broad highwaye,
 I walked with feare and drede;
And every fifteen steppes I tooke
 I turned about my heade,
For feare the corporal of the guarde
 Might close behind me trede!

‘Behold, upon the western wave
 Setteth the broad bright sunne;
So I must onward, as I have
 Full fifteen miles to runne;—

The waggonere
taketh leave of the
‘And should the bailiffes hither come
 To aske whilke way I’ve gone,
Tell them I took the othere road,’
 Said hee, and trotted onne.

to whome ane small
accidente happeneth.
Whereupon follow -
eth the morale very
proper to be had
in minde by all
members of the
Dilettanti Society
when they come
over the bridge
at these houres.
Wherefore let them
take heed and not
lay blame where it
lyeth nott.
The tailore rushed into the roome,
 O’erturning three or foure;
Fractured his skulle against the walle,
 And worde spake never more!!


Such is the fate of foolish men,
 The danger all may see,
Of those, who list to waggonere,
 And keepe bad companye.