Samuel Nott and the libellous doggerel
This strange piece of poisonous doggerel comes from the Bury and Norwich Post of 1879. The story is from Alphampstone, and was discovered by David Lewis who lived in the old pub at Alphampstone. The papers could be vicious, and Samuel Nott was a real person. How interesting it would be to find out the whole story.
There was a man named Samuel Nott, and all folks Must agree
He was the biggest man, I think, that ever you did see
And all the neighbours know him well, a knotty crab to be
His back across, if measured right, was three yards, if no more;
His Belly was just like a Tun, and balanced him before.
To see him waddle up and down, you would with laughter roar.
We will say nothing of his Bum, but still all folks agree,
When his own way he could not have, a Bumptious dog was he;
But though his back it was so broad, a narrow mind had he.
This Churl, he had a little farm close to the village green,
On which he cast a longing eye, as shortly will be seen,
And he as he could not have it, he was devoured with spleen.
Now on this green for many a year was held a village fair,
Where great and small, and young and old for pastime did repair,
And once a year the folks around enjoyed their pleasure there.
A right of pasture, too, there is for cattle to be fed,
And every copyholder there, can turn on several head
Of cows, or sheep, or Asses, to get their daily bread.
“That Green I’ll have” says greedy Gut, “whatever they may say”,
And to make sure, without ado, I’ll plough it up today,
And never more shall green grass grow, for feeding or for hay.
He ploughed it once; he ploughed it twice; and loudly he did crow;
And fain he would have thrice, but Webber he said No !
But Nott he pitch’d him Heels or Head into the ditch below.
Now Nott he was so savage, he couldn’t sleep at night,
He would not eat his supper, lest he should burst with spite;
But how to be avenged, he could not compass quite
But Satan, who is ready, when man gives him a chance.
(One would have thought he had enough to do in wretched France).
Still though, throughout the world, he constantly doth roam,
He likes to look at, now and then, his little flock at home.
Now, our great big burly Friend, he never goes to Church,
Except to Bully the Parson in the Porch;
And though he sometimes threatens a Meeting House to build,
The Devil saw it very clear, his heart with spite was filled.
Quoth he, “I see quite plain, the course that’s to be took,
And now discern the Bait, this whopping Fish to hook;
But first I’ll try him with a worm, he might be rather shy,
And if he will not bite at that, I’ll try him with a fly,
One day friend Nott was walking and musing by the wood
And thinking of revenge, in a melancholy mood.
A stranger stood before him, all dressed in keepers clothes,
He rather smelt of sulphur, and had a hooked nose.
“Friend Nott”, says he, “your rather down, as plainly may be seen;
I know what troubles you, tis all about the Green;
But cheer up friend, your only way your wishes to attain
Just trust in me, I’ll show you how, your end to quickly gain
Quoth Nott, “if you compass that, “I’ll stand a dozen of wine”,
And more than that I swear, for ever I’ll be thine.
Then having shaken hands, the stranger thus began-
“You know tis not the poor you fear, it is the gentlemen.
You’re well aware their pleasure is in hunting of the Fox;
If you destroy the Vermin you’ll give ‘em rare hard knocks;
You’ll spoil their fun, they’d get no run, and precious soon they’ll find
They’d better give it up, and let you have your mind.
“I like your plan” says Nott, “so let us quick begin”
The other said, this night, by poison or by gin,
Three foxes you shall have, two dead and one alive,
So now good-bye, if you want more, I’ll soon make it up to five”.
Say’s Nott, on walking home, “I know one that this will make smart;
I’ll teach how to thwart me, sure as his name is----------
That chap that’s gone must have the itch, he sorely stunk of Brimstone;
But a dead Fox will stink much worse, and sadly plague old------
Next morn he hung the dead’uns upon the windmill sail
The living Fox he showed about, all for a pint of ale.
After a time he took ‘em down, and tied them in a line
Upon the post before his house, instead of his old sign.
Some chaps who lived about there, resolv’d to have a lark,
So they waited till the nights were pretty dark,
They broke into his house, before the dawn of day,
The Foxes dead they carried home, the live one ran away.
Oh! had you heard old Nott, how much he stamped and swore,
For never such a trick had been heard ere before.
“I must find out my friend”, says he, and make him understand,
More Foxes I will have, if there is any in my land”.
Now, if you want the Devil, he’s always close at hand,
But don’t put too much trust in him, or you will be treppan’d
The friends they met again, and t’was not very long,
Four Foxes more he had, but they smelt of Brimstone strong.