Sunday, September 07, 2008

In Bow as it is in Lewisham

The Star of the Sea, Joseph O'Connor's novel of the Irish famine and emigration, features an episode in the London criminal underworld where the following parody of the Lord's prayer is used:

Our old guv'nor,
which dosses in Lewisham
swelled by thy moniker
Thy racket be come;
thy crack-job be done,
in Bow as it is in Lewisham.
Scalp us this day our lump of lead
and let us be bailed for our dodges;
as we backslaps the pox-hounds and Berkshire Hunts
what dodges agin us. (The bumsuckers.)
And jemmy us not into lushery or lurks
but send us skedaddling from blaggery.
For thine is the manor, the flash and the bovver.
Till mother breaks out of the clink. Amen.

Not sure if this is an original nineteenth-century rhyme, or one of the author's many capable pastiches of 1840s literary forms. Does anyone know?

1 comment:

Andrew Brown said...

Not sure about the provenance, but I've just started the book, having enjoyed Redemption Falls immensely this summer.

If Star of the Sea is anything near as good I'll be delighted.