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(28 May 1779 – 25 February 1852 / Dublin)

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All In a Family Way

My banks are all furnished with rags,
So thick, even Freddy can't thin 'em;
I've torn up my old money-bags,
Having little or nought to put in 'em.
My tradesman are smashing by dozens,
But this is all nothing, they say;
For bankrupts, since Adam, are cousins,
So, it's all in the family way.


My Debt not a penny takes from me,
As sages the matter explain; --
Bob owes it to Tom and then Tommy
Just owes it to Bob back again.
Since all have thus taken to owing,
There's nobody left that can pay;
And this is the way to keep going, --
All quite in the family way.


My senators vote away millions,
To put in Prosperity's budget;
And though it were billions or trillions,
The generous rogues wouldn't grudge it.
'Tis all but a family hop,
'Twas Pitt began dancing the hay;
Hands round! -- why the deuce should we stop?
'Tis all in the family way.


My labourers used to eat mutton,
As any great man of the State does;
And now the poor devils are put on
Small rations of tea and potatoes.
But cheer up John, Sawney and Paddy,
The King is your father, they say;
So ev'n if you starve for your Daddy,
'Tis all in the family way.


My rich manufacturers tumble,
My poor ones have nothing to chew;
And, even if themselves do not grumble,
Their stomachs undoubtedly do.
But coolly to fast en famille,
Is as good for the soul as to pray;
And famine itself is genteel,
When one starves in a family way.


I have found out a secret for Freddy,
A secret for next Budget day;
Though, perhaps he may know it already,
As he, too, 's a sage in his way.
When next for the Treasury scene he
Announces "the Devil to pay",
Let him write on the bills, "Nota bene,
'Tis all in the family way."

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003


Read poems about / on: family, money, father, dance

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