T'ORD'NANCE SURVEY
by
William Beaumont
Submitted by : Barrie Mathers

 A 'traditional' British monologue often recited at Fox Hunt suppers
in the Yorkshire / Lancashire borders.

I'm ringing up me curtain upon an ancient scene. 
As when t'redcoits came to Burton, to measure t' land for t' Queen. 
They turned up in fine weather, one summer out o' t' blue. 
A score altogether, an' one in charge o' t' crew.
A Sergeant, such a pusher, an' just as full o' swank, 
As t' Emporer o' Russia, or t' boss o' t' Penny Bank. 
So every neet in t' local, yon Sergeant could be seen, 
Impressin' all the locals, with 'is 'paper from the Queen.'
Her Majesty had sent 'im for to measure up 'er land. 
And to that end she had sent 'im wi' a paper from 'er hand. 
Victoria's bit o' velum, a big red seal it bore, 
An' every neet 'e'd tell 'em, as tall as t' neet afore,
How at a palace pageant, 'Er Majesty 'ad said 
'Stand forth that splended Sergeant' and forrad 'e were led. 
'Er Majesty confided, 'Our maps must be all true, 
And so I have decided to give the task to you.
This gives you right of entry to every man's estate, 
The yeomanry, the gentry, the humble and the great.' 
So one bright June mornin' yon redcoits in a swarm, 
Without a word of warnin' descended on Slant Farm.
Now t' tenant, Billy Pogson, 'e waved a warnin' stick 
'Clear off or I'll set t' dogs on!' he shouted double quick. 
But the Sergeant showed 'is permit, an' said 'We're 'ere to stay. 
This document, old hermit, gives us the right of way.'
Its paragraphs Billy fingered, with military zeal, 
And lovingly 'e lingered upon its royal seal 
'Oh, alreight!' said Billy, 'umbled by what 'ad been revealed 
'But just tek care' 'e grumbled, 'keep out o' t' bottom field'
Said t' Sergeant quite unheedful, 'We'll go where we think fit 
And if we find it needful, we'll tramp all over it!' 
Well, twenty minutes later, t' Sergeant cock-a-hoop 
Observed by one spectator, led in 'is loyal troop.
They marched in fine and dandy, so splendid to be seen, 
Wi' chains an' tackle ready for t' measure t' land for t' Queen. 
Then farmer Pogson viewing from t'other side o' t' wall, 
Thowt, 'There'll be trouble brewin' when ol' Shylock sees 'em all.'
Bad tempered Shylock layed there, dozin' in t' long grass, 
Beneath the old elm trees, 'till 'e 'eard yon redcoits pass. 
It made old Billy shiver, that first tremendous roar, 
For surely no bull 'ad ever seen so much red before.
He raised up on 'is forelegs, and let forth a second cry, 
At which two score of legs across the field did fly. 
Now, by my simple schoolin', beyond a shadow of a doubt, 
There's no gansayin' t' rulin' , t' first un in is last un out.
And wherefore when they started, t' Sergeant were at their 'ead, 
Now they'd all departed, 'e were at the back instead! 
Still buttoned up an' buckled, 'e puffed away at t' rear, 
And farmer Pogson chuckled and gave a hearty cheer,
As 'e watched the Sergeant caper, and like a rabbit run. 
An' yelled to him: 'Thi paper! Show him thi paper, mun!'  
The end