Hoy, I say you two there, kicking
Up that row before my shop!
Do you want a good sound licking
Both? If not, you’d better stop.
Peg away at one another,
If you choose such fools to be:
But leave me alone; don’t bother,
Bullyrag, and worry me!
Into your confounded quarrel
Let myself be dragged I’ll not
By you fighting for a Morril
Tariff; or your slavery not.
What I want to do with either
Is impartially to trade;
Nonsense I will stand from neither
Past the bounds of gasconade.
You, North, roaring, raving, yelling,
Hold your jaw you booby, do;
What d’ye threaten me for selling
Arms to South as well as you?
South, at me don’t bawl or bellow,
That won’t make me take your part;
So you just be off, young fellow[;]
Now, you noisy chap, too, start!
To be called names ‘tis unpleasant;
Words, however, break no bones;
I control myself at present;
But beware of throwing stones!
I won’t have my windows broken,
Mind, you brawlers, what I say,
See this stick, a striking token;
Cut your own, or civil stay.

Title:Mr Bull to His American Bullies


Publication:The Bolton Chronicle

Published in:Bolton

Date:October 10th 1863

Keywords:america, nationalism, war


This anonymous Punch poem figures the warring sides in the American Civil War as two people brawling outside a shop, which represents Britain (perhaps a reference to Napoleon’s characterisation of England as a ‘nation of shopkeepers’). This is quite typical of Punch’s often high-handed, patronising attitude to America, and there is an implicit threat with the shopkeeper gesturing towards the ‘stick’ he possesses if the brawl continues to ruin his business. The speaker pragmatically states that he wishes to trade with both sides. – SR