BY THE REV. MR. COTTON, OF WINCHESTER
A famous poem about Hambledon cricket. If you make your way to Broadhalfpenny Down on Midsummer’s night, keep very still and listen carefully, you can hear this song echoing quietly over the downs. Fact.
Assist, all ye Muses, and join to rehearse An old English sport, never praised yet in verse; 'Tis Cricket I sing, of illustrious fame, No nation e'er boasted so noble a game. Derry down, down, down, derry down Great Pindar has bragg'd of his heroes of old Some were swift in the race, some in battles were bold; The brows of the victor with olives were crown'd: Hark! they shout, and Olympia returns the glad sound! Derry down, &c. What boasting of Castor and Pollux his brother The one famed for riding, for boxing the other; Compared with our heroes, they'll not shine at all What were Castor and Pollux to Nyren and Small? Derry down, &c. Here's guarding and catching, and throwing and tossing, And bowling and striking, and running and crossing; Each mate must excel in some principal part The Pentathlum of Greece could not show so much art. Derry down, &c. The parties are met, and array'd all in white Famed Elis ne'er boasted so pleasing a sight; Each nymph looks askew at her favourite swain, And views him, half stript, both with pleasure and pain. Derry down, &c. The wickets are pitched now, and measured the ground; Then they form a large ring, and stand gazing around Since Ajax fought Hector, in sight of all Troy, No contest was seen with such fear and such joy. Derry down, &c. Ye bowlers, take heed, to my precepts attend: On you the whole fate of the game must depend; Spare your vigour at first, now exert all your strength, But measure each step, and be sure pitch a length. Derry down, &c. Ye fieldsmen, look sharp, lest your pains ye beguile; Move close like an army, in rank and in file; When the ball is returnee!, back it sure, for I trow Whole states have been ruined by one overthrow Derry down, &c. Ye strikers, observe when the foe shall draw nigh; Mark the bowler, advancing with vigilant eye; Your skill all depends upon distance and sight, Stand firm to your scratch, let your bat be upright. Derry down, &c. And now the game's o'er, IO victory! rings, Echo doubles her chorus, and Fame spreads her wings; Let's now hail our champions all steady and true, Such as Homer ne'er sung of, nor Pindar e'er knew. Derry down, &c. Buck, Curry, and Hogsflesh, and Barber and Brett, Whose swiftness in bowling was ne'er equalled yet; I had almost forgot, they deserve a large bumper; Little George, the long-stop, and Tom Sueter, the stumper. Derry down, &c. Then why should we fear either Sackville or Mann, Or repine at the loss both of Boyton and Lann?— With such troops as those we'll be lords of the game, Spite of Minshull and Miller, and Lumpy and Frame. Derry down, &c. Then fill up your glass, he's the best that drinks most. Here 's the Hambledon Club!—who refuses the toast? Let's join in the praise of the bat and the wicket, And sing in full chorus the patrons of cricket. Derry down, &c. And when the game's o'er, and our fate shall draw nigh (For the heroes of cricket, like others, must die), Our bats we'll resign, neither troubled nor vexed, And give up our wickets to those that come next. Derry down, &c.
To be sung to the tune of King John and the Abbot: