ALEXANDER RODGER (1784-1846) Sawney, Now The King’s Come

FEW CAN GROVEL like the coarse-grained Scottish gentry when there’s English royalty about. When George IV came to have a look at his Scottish subjects in 1822, Sir Walter Scott was out there showing himself off with a nauseating display of buttering up called, ‘Carle, Now the King’s Come’. To show that the voice of the people, in the language of the people, will always sound the truest note, the Glasgow poet, Sandy Rodger, composed this magnificent send-up of Scott, ‘Sawney, Now the King’s Come’, which, we are told, outraged Scott’s sense of loyalty. Scott was, after all, stage managing George IV’s coronation visit north – the first Prince of the House of Hanover to set foot in Scotland since ‘the butcher Cumberland’ ran amuck at Culloden. When Scott rowed out to the royal yacht anchored in the Roads of Leith, the King welcomed him on board, ‘the man in Scotland I most wish to see’, and drank the poet’s health in a bumper of malt whiskey. Scott begged to be allowed to keep the ‘precious vessel’ that had touched the royal cake-hole. Being granted this boon, he tucked it away in his coat-tail pocket and, as you’ve no doubt guessed, it wasn’t too long before the priceless crystal was just splinters in his arse. Although the author of ‘Waverley’ let out the most awful scream, as Lockhart informs us in his typically complacent way, ‘the scar was of no great consequence’. But as a memorial to a King’s toast on the quarter-deck of the Royal George, it was certainly something. The only pity is, Sandy Rodger didn’t know about it. ‘Sawney, Now the King’s Come’ might have had at least one extra sample of the ridiculousness of bourgeois Edinburgh in 1822.

 

Sawney, Now The King’s Come

Written in 1822

Sawney, now, the king’s come,
Sawney, now, the king’s come,
Kneel, and kiss his gracious —-,
Sawney, now, the king’s come.

In Holyroodhouse lodge him snug,
And butter weel his sacred lug,
Wi’ stuff wad a Frenchman ugg,
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

Tell him he is great and good,
And come o’ Scottish royal blood, –
To your hunkers – lick his fud, –
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

Tell him he can do nae wrang,
That he’s mighty, heigh, and strang,
That you and yours to him belang,
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

Swear he’s sober, chaste, and wise,
Praise his portly shape and size,
Roose his whiskers to the skies,
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

Mak’ your lick-fud bailie core,
Fa’ down behint him – not before,
His great posteriors to adore,
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

Mak’ your tribe in good black claith,
Extol, till they rin short o’ breath,
The great “defender o’ the faith,”
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

Mak’ your Peers o’ high degree,
Crouching low on bended knee,
Great him wi’ a “Wha wants me?”
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

Mak’ his glorious kingship dine
On good sheep-heads and haggis fine,
Hotchpotch, too, Scotch collops syne,
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

And if there’s in St James’ Square,
Ony thing that’s fat and fair,
Treat him nightly wi’ sic ware,
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

Shaw him a’ your diggings braw,
Your castle, college, brigs, an’ a’,
Your jail, and royal forty-two,
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

And when he rides Auld Reekie through,
To bless you wi’ a kingly view,
Charm him wi’ your “Gardyloo,”
Sawney, now, the king’s come.
Sawney, &c.

 

From:
Workers City “The Real Glasgow Stands Up”
Edited By Farquar McLay Clydeside Press

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