Hackney Coachman (The) by Hannah More

 

THE HACKNEY COACHMAN
OR, THE WAY TO GET A GOOD FARE
TO THE TUNE OF—“I WISH I WAS A FISHERMAN”
By Hannah More


I am a bold coachman, and drive a good hack,
With a coat of five capes that quite covers my back;
And my wife keeps a sausage-shop, not many miles
From the narrowest alley in all broad St. Giles.


Though poor, we are honest and very content;
We pay, as we go, for meat, drink, and for rent;
To work all the week I am able and willing;
I never get drunk, and I waste not a shilling.


And while at a tavern my gentleman tarries,
The coachman grows richer than he whom he carries;
“And I’d rather,” said I, “since it saves me from sin,
Be the driver without, than the toper within.”


Yet tho’ dram-shops I hate, and the dram-drinking friend
I’m not quite so good, but I wish I may mend;
I repent of my sins, since we all are depraved,
For a coachman, I hold, has a soul to be saved.


When a riotous multitude fills up a street,
And the greater part know not, boys, wherefore they meet,
If I see there is mischief, I never go there;
Let others get tipsy, so I get my fare.


Now to church if I take some good lady to pray,
It grieves me full sore to be kept quite away;
So I step within side, though the sermon’s begun,
For a slice of the service is better than none.


Then my glasses are whole, and my coach is so neat,
I am always the first to be called in the street;
And I’m known by the name (’tis a name rather rare)
Of the coachman that never asks more than his fare.


Though my beasts should be dull, yet I don’t use them ill;
Though they stumble, I swear not, nor cut them up hill;
For I firmly believe there’s no charm in an oath,
That can make a nag trot, when to walk he is loath.


And though I’m a coachman, I’ll freely confess,
I beg of my Maker my labors to bless;
I praise him each morning, and pray every night;
And ’tis this makes my heart feel so cheerful and light.


When I drive to a funeral, I care not for drink;
That is not the moment to guzzle, but think;
And I wish I could add, both of coachman and master,
That both of us strove to amend a bit faster.