Poem: Bob-Up-And-Down

IRRESPONSIBLE outbreak of one who, having completed a book of enormous length on the Poet Chaucer, feels himself freed from all bonds of intellectual self-respect and proposes to do no work for an indefinite period.

“Wot ye not wher ther start a litel town,
Which that icleped is Bob-up-an-down.” --THE CANTERBURY TALES.

They babble on of Babylon,
They tire me out with Tyre,
And Sidon putting me side on,
I do not much admire.
But the little town Bob-up-and-Down,
That lies beyond the Blee,
Along the road our fathers rode,
O that’s the road for me.

In dome and spire and cupola
It bubbles up and swells
For the company that canter
To the Canterbury Bells.
But when the Land Surveyors come
With maps and books to write,
The little town Bob-up-and-Down
It bobs down out of sight.

I cannot live in Liverpool,
O lead me not to Leeds,
I’m not a Man in Manchester,
Though men be cheap as weeds:
But the little town Bob-up-and-Down,
That bobs towards the sea,
And knew its name when Chaucer came,
O that’s the town for me.

I’ll go and eat my Christmas meat
In that resurgent town,
And pledge to fame our Father’s name
Till the sky bobs up and down;
That’s played beside the Blee,
Bob-Apple in Bob-up-and-Down,
O that’s the game for me.

Now Huddersfield is Shuddersfield,
And Hull is nearly Hell,
Where a Daisy would go crazy
Or a Canterbury Bell,
Alone is fair and free,
For it can’t be found above the ground,
O that’s the place for me.

~G.K. Chesterton: The Coloured Lands.

The Coloured Lands: Fairy Stories, Comic Verse and Fantastic Pictures
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