Election Violence Poetry, Part II: The Hero Of The Hustings

We have previously brought to light Victorian election poetry of questionable quality – to celebrate the recent sunny weather, we are republishing another dubious poem from 1852, about a fictional candidate braving the summer heat on the hustings,  not to mention the various missiles thrown at him:


The honourable gentleman upon the hustings stood

For two hours of a summers day–a feat of lustihood–

And shouted forth, and saw’d the air with all his force and might,

The temperature higher than a hundred, Fahrenheit.

The sun above him blazing from a blue unclouded sky,

He frying like a sausage that could feel itself to fry:

It rain’d upon him cats and dogs; and likewise, it is true,

However strange the circumstance, that he was dripping too.

The undeveloped offspring of the gallinaceous tribe,

The free and independent men with many a taunt and gibe,

Launch’d also at the candidate’s unvenerated head,

And frequently advised him to go home and go to bed.

Not only did this hero spout thus long upon his legs,

And brave the sun, the puppy-dogs, the kittens, and the eggs;

Not only he incurr’d the execrations of the mob,

But lost above a thousand pounds, moreover, by the job.

Such lots of money, fortitude, exertion, pluck, and nerve,

It costs to gain the privilege those gentlemen to serve,

Who yell at you and pelt you with all sorts of nasty things;

Surely a seat in Parliament some vast enjoyment brings!

(Source: Reprinted from Punch, in the Wiltshire Independent, 22 July 1852. Retrieved 2019, via British Newspaper Archive. Newspaper Images © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

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