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Paupers Drive

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The Pauper's Drive

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The Pauper's Drive
(Thomas Noel, Mike Ballantyne)

There's a grim one-horse hearse in a jolly 'round brot
To the churchyard a pauper is going, I wot,
The road it is rough and the hearse has no springs;
And hark to the dirge that the sad driver sings:

cho: So rattle his bones over the stones
     He's only a pauper whom nobody owns.

Oh where are the mourners? Alas, there are none,
He has left not a gap in the world now he's gone.
Not a tear in the eye of child, woman or man
To the grave with his carcass as fast as you can.

What a jolting and creaking and splashing and din
The whip, how it cracks and the wheels, how they spin!
How the dirt, right and left, o'er the hedges is hurled!
[To hurry the pauper, his trip from this world..]

Poor pauper, defunct, he has made some approach
To gentility, now he is stretched in a coach;
He's taking a drive in his carriage at last
But it will not be long if he goes on so fast.

But a truce to this strain, for my soul it is sad
To think that a heart in humanity clad,
Should make, like the brutes, such a desolate end
And depart from the light without leaving a friend.

last chorus;
     Bear softly his bones over the stones
     Though a pauper, he's one whom his Maker yet owns.

note: I found the following poem in a two-volume set of British
Ballads, published in 1891, that had been given to me in 1967.
The auther is Thomas Noel, and I found after some research in
Edinburgh Public Library that only two poems of his were known,
and that the original of the present poem is in the Victoria and
Albert Museum, London. At some stage music had been set to it,
but I have not been able to trace it.
     The tune provided came to me a few minutes after seeing the
poem for the first time--a pure fluke, as I am not a
songwriter... MB

Copyright Mike Ballantyne 1975
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