< Previous
Next >

Old Sam's Party

by Mabel Constanduros (1933)


For readers without the advantage of an education in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc., "Left. Bird" in the fourth verse refers to "Lieutenant Bird". Military units with Commonwealth ties spell the rank as either the archaic "Leftenant" or the later French "Lieutenant", but the pronunciation is almost invariably "Leftenant".

We also see use of the word "gradely" in this poem, which is provincial English for something that has made the grade.

Perhaps for most readers, neither of the above two snippets are particularly useful, but please make a note of the toast at the end of this poem: You never know when you might need it.

And if you are an abstentionist, don't deny anyone the opportunity of toasting your health. Good health is relative, and since alcohol can make people sick, the corollary is that imbibers can improve the relative health of teetotallers.

Sam Small, though approaching his eightieth year
Were feeling all brisk-like and hearty,
So he sent out an invite when Christmas drew near
And asked all his friends to a party.

There was old ale and sandwiches, beer and cold tongue,
And trifle with gooseberry jam,
And parkin and humbugs, a couple of ducks,
And lovely great platefuls or ham.

Sam's captain were there from his old army days,
A man for his strictness renowned,
And Left. Bird and the Sergeant, the same
who once knocked Sam's musket on t'ground.

First Left. Bird volunteered for a song,
And accompanied by Sergeant McNally,
Sang "Of all the girls that are so smart
There's none like pretty Sally."

Then Captain jumped up, said he'd not be outdone,
He played for himself with one finger.
There were tears in all eyes when he'd finished his song;
He were a magnificent singer.

He'd start a bit husky, but nothing to last,
His voice cleared up fine when he'd coughed:
"Faithful below, Tom did his duty,
And now he's gone aloft, and now he's gone aloft.'

As his last trembling note died away in a gulp
Came a clatter of hoofs from outside.
Sam pulled back the blind and flushed up to his ears,
"It's the Duke!" he announced with much pride.

And it were. Up he rode on his lovely white horse.
Sam faltered "Why, Duke, is it you?"
And thee with lumbago and snow on the ground.
I take it most kind, that I do."

"Gradely, lad," said the Duke, condescending and kind.
"By Gum, but how well you do look.
Er, this room's a bit stuffy and hot. Do you mind
If I hang up me coat on this hook?"

Photo by Tim 'Avatar' Bartel

Do you enjoy a drink now and then?
Many people do, often when socializing with friends and family. Drinking can be beneficial or harmful, depending on your age and health status, and, of course, how much you drink. Rethinking Drinking

Then a thunderous banging was heard on t'door
And bell gave a furious ring.
They all turned quite pale as a voice from outside
Cried "0pen in t'name of the King."

Sam opened the door. There he stood, George IV,
A model of beauty and grace.
His crown on his head and sceptre in hand,
And behind him stood Queen with a mace.

"Thee told us," said King, "when we come up thy way
To call and take pot luck with thee.
And seeing as we're up for the cup-tie tha' knows
The Queen and me's popped in to tea."

They hung up their crowns on the stand in the hall.
Sam paid off their cab, eighteen pence.
The Queen parked her mace in Sam's umbrella stand,
"Now," she said, "let party commence."

Then they all clapped their hands and sung out aloud,
Demanding a speech from their host.
And Sam, very bashful, said "Well I don't mind.
Fill t'glasses, I'll give thee a toast.

"Now friends, here's a health to all those that I love,
And a health to all those that love me.
A health to all those that love those that I love
And to those that love those that love me."


search 🔍



privacy policy