Clancy of Marylebone

(With further apologies to Banjo Paterson)

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him up the Thames, years ago,
He was Threadneedle banking when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just “on spec”, addressed as follows, “Clancy, of Marylebone”.

And an answer came directed in sweeping copperplate unexpected,
(And I think the same was written with a gold-plated Mont Blanc)
Twas his old butler who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
“Clancy’s joined the Tory party, and we don’t know where he’s drunk.”

In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
Gone a-strolling through Hyde Park where the flashy fellows go;
Sunny deckchairs (made in Woking), Clancy lolls amongst them smoking,
(For he has a tobacconist in Regent the underclass will never know.)

And his Club has acquaintances to meet him, and their jolly voices greet him
With their limply stilted handshakes, and the G&T’s served at the bar,
And he sees the vision splendid, of ironed Times pages extended,
And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting ci-gars.

I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
99-year leasing landlord, makes his monthly rental call,
And the Rule Britannia air, of dear old London fair
Reminds me of past glories, and grandness (e.g. Pall Mall).

And in place of tea and crumpets, I can hear the Soho strumpets,
With snaking big red buses, shifting unwashed masses through the town,
And the language of the Jordy’s, (mixed with Cockney’s, Paks, and Yorky’s),
Come constantly and rudely, like the rain that’s coming down.

Though the toffy set rarely daunt me, their snobbery it can haunt me,
Pronouncing “Yes” as “Ears”, and accent neatly laced,
With inbred eyes never needy, (though with pale bodies often weedy),
Interaction can be painful, only done through mutual grace.

And I somehow rather fancy that I’d like to change (for a day) with Clancy,
Like to wear an Eaton tie, or join a fox-hunt – “Tally-ho”!
While he lazed through life eternal, on old money and his great uncle (a Colonel) –
But I doubt he’d suit a wage, Clancy, of Marylebone.

Clancy of Marylebone


Melbourne, Australia

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