A Jolly Good Show

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 The Great Match took place one fine Saturday
on a Field not far from the Thames,
carriages brought top hatted Gentlemen
squiring Ladies in jewels and gems..
as a Brass Band blared ‘Rule Britannia’,
folk were Overheard to Declare
that mingled among the Grand Multitude..
Jack the Ripper himself could be There…

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 For rumour had he’d been Born of Blue Blood
and wore the Colours of his Old School..
though that may have been a Red Herring..
wily Jack was Nobody’s Fool…

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Pickpockets and ne’er-do-wells skulked about,
watching Wealth exchange hands with high wagers,
while aloof to one side stood some Military Men,
Colonels and Captains and Majors..
’twas thought They were from the Royal Engineers,
Regiment of Renown and Repute,
who gallant for Queen and Empire had fought..
and contested Cup Finals to boot…

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 All of the Press Gang were present,
down by touch line in a bunch..
with bewhiskered Old Boy representing ‘The Times’
next to impish Cartoonist from ‘Punch’…

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Then the two Teams took to the Field
in their shirts, knickerbockers and caps..
three Cheers were called for the stout Referee,
portly with waistcoat and hat..
the means he Employed of keeping Time
was a large Watch attached to gold Chain..
and the ball was Kicked Off at half past the Hour,
to absolutely uproarious acclaim…

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 Bold players dashed hither and thither,
causing Ground to churn up and be muddied,
until at Game end came ‘Well played Old Chap!’
from Gladiators bruised..and some bloodied…

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 Nary a Soul remained neutral
on that day when two Titans clashed,
silver topped Canes were brandished aloft
and golden rimmed Monocles flashed..
yet the Outcome was of little Consequence
‘cept to Those who had laid money down..
still, the Match made for much conversation
among Society of old London Town…

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 This Narrative is naught if not Hearsay,
but ’twas plain from Belgravia to Bow,
when The Corinthians played ‘gainst The Casuals,
all thought it A Jolly Good Show…


This poem is based on a tale told by the late Ebenezer Twaddle, grandfather of Reverend Arthur. The match possibly took place in late 1888 or in 1889, judging by the reference to Jack the Ripper. The Corinthians, founded in 1882, included England’s top footballers, but did not compete for trophies. On the other hand The Casuals, founded in 1878, won the London Senior Cup and the London Charity Cup during this early period. In 1939 the clubs combined to form Corinthian-Casuals, a club which still exists, continuing the noble tradition of amateur sportsmanship. The Reverend Arthur Twaddle is an enthusiastic supporter of the present day club and encourages all readers of his poetry to follow their fortunes. LB.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/a-jolly-good-show/