The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Political Christmas Carol

Set to music : to be chaunted or sung throughout the United Kingdom and the dominions beyond the seas, by all persons thereunto especially moved

Words: William Hone, ca. 1820

Illustrations: George Cruikshank, ca. 1820

Source: William Hone, Faceti and Miscellanies (London: Printed for William Hone by Hunt and Clarke, Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, 1827).

See Notes to 'God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen'

God rest you, merry gentlemen,
    Let nothing you dismay;
Remember we were left alive 
    Upon last Christmas Day,
With both our lips at liberty,
    To praise Lord Ch
        For his 'practical' comfort and joy!

He 'turn'd his back upon himself
    And straight to 'Lunnun' came,
To two two-sided Lawyers
    With tidings of the same,
That our own land must 'prostrate stand'
    Unless we praise his name
        For his 'practical' comfort and joy!

"Go fear not," said his Lp
    "Let nothing you affright;
"Go draw your quills, and draw six Bills,
    "Put out yon blaze of light:
"I'm able to advance you,
    "Go stamp it out then quite,
        For his 'practical' comfort and joy!

The Lawyers at those tidings
    Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their friends a-staring
    To go and raise the wind,
And straight went to the Taxing-men
    And said "the Bills come find
        For his 'practical' comfort and joy!

The Lawyers found majorities
    To do as they did say,
They found them at their mangers
    Like oxen at their hay,
Some lying, and some kneeling down,
    All to Ld Ch
        For his 'practical' comfort and joy!

With sudden joy and gladness
    Rat Gffd was beguiled,
They each sat at his Lp's side,
    He patted them and smiled;
Yet Cply, on his nether end,
    Sat like a new born Child,
        For his 'practical' comfort and joy!

He thought upon his Father,
    His virtues and his fame,
And how that father hoped from him
    For glory to his name,
And as his chin dropp'd on his breast,
    His pale cheeks burn'd with shame:
        For his 'practical' comfort and joy!

Lord Ch doth rule yon House,
    And all who there do reign;
They've let us live this Christmas time
    D'ye think they will again?
They say they are our masters
    That's neither here, nor there:
        For his 'practical' comfort and joy!


The target of this satire is Lord Robert Stewart Castlereagh (also Castelreagh) (1769-1822), the second Marquess of Londonderry.

In November 1819, Lord Castlereagh had been the author of the repressive "Six Acts" (e.g., six Bills), Parliament's response to incidents which took place in Manchester the preceding August (e.g., "The Peterloo Massacre").

Lord Castlereagh had been the earlier target of Hone's 1817 "Official Account of the Noble Lord's Bite!" And, in "The Political House that Jack Built" (1920), Lord Castlereagh appeared as "Derry Down Triangle"; the nickname derives from the triangular framework into which people were strapped while being whipped. This satire is also found in Hone's Faceti and Miscellanies.

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