Protest Song Lyrics (logo)
Protest Song Lyrics Song lyrics categories Social Justice songs by Year Top 10 songs Musical Links About Protest Songs website

The Chartists Are Coming, song lyrics

Song: The Chartists Are Coming
Lyrics: unknown

Music: to the tune of "The bailiff is coming"(1)
Year: c. 1848-1856(1)
Genre: Ballad
Country: England

What a row and a rumpus there is I declare,
Tens of thousands are flocking everywhere,
To petition the Parliament, onward they steer,
The Chartists are coming, oh dear, oh dear.
To demand equal justice, their freedom and right,
Pump-handles and broomsticks, lawk, how they can fight!
The nation, they say, is overwhelmed with grief:
A peck-loaf for two pence and four pounds of beef.

Hurrah for old England and liberty sweet,
The land that we live in and plenty to eat;
We shall ever remember this wonderful day,
The Chartists are coming, get out of the way.

Such a number together was never yet seen,
Hurrah for the Charter and God save the Queen!
And when that the Charter old England has got,
We'll have stunning good beer at three halfpence a pot.
A loaf for a penny, a pig for a crown,
And gunpowder tea at five farthings a pound;
Instead of red herrings we'll live on fat geese,
And lots of young women at two pence apiece.
This song was originally posted on

The bakers and grocers, look how they do laugh,
With dustmen and coal-heavers, armed with a staff.
Five thousand old women, oh, how they do sing,
With frying-pans, fenders, and big rolling pins.
There's Russell and Bobby, old Nosey and Hume,
With pistols and bayonets, big muskets and brooms,
Load away, fire away, and chatter and jaw,
Shoot at a donkey and knock down a crow.


See the lads of old Erin for liberty crow,
Repeal of the Union and Erin-go-bragh!
Peace and contentment, then none can we blame,
Plenty of labour and paid for the same;
Some are rolling in riches and luxury too,
While millions are starving, with nothing to do;
Through the nation prosperity soon will be seen,
Hurrah for the charter, and God save the Queen!
This song was originally posted on

There were thirteen old ladies, as you may suppose,
On last Monday morning got shot in the nose;
One swallowed the charter as she went in the throngs,
And one ata broomstick elevent feet long;
Go along Jemmy, see the charter there goes;
I say Mr. Spooner, get off of my toes;
See Geargus O'Connor along for to roll,
With Nottingham Castle stuck up on a pole.


Such constables there are in London, now mark,
Tailors and shoemakers, labourers and clerks,
Gaslightmen, pickpockets, and firemen, too,
Greengrocers, hatters, pork-butchers and Jews;
Lollypop-merchants and masons a lot,
And the covey that hollers "'Baked taters all hot."
They're sworn to protect us and keep well the peace,
To frighten the Chartists and help the police.
This song was originally posted on

An additional second last verse is also listed elsewhere. See: footnote 2, below.

To Kennington come in droves they repair,
'Cause Smith O'Brien and Feargus are there,
A-telling the story would reach, sir, indeed,
From the Land's End of England to Berwick on Tweed.
The Charter, the Charter, or England shall quake,
I wish they may get it, and no grand mistake,
The Feargus shall be a prime minister keen,
And Smith O'Brien a page to the Queen.



1 - Source: The Chartists Are Coming, from the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.

2 - Australian working songs and poems - a rebel heritage p.64, by Mark Gregory, University of Wollongon, 2014, which points out that this ballad was meant to ridicule the Chartist Movement.

3 - What was Chartism? From the UK National Archives.

4 - The Chartist Movement, from the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and more information on the Chartists.

5 - The "People's Charter," drafted in 1838 by William Lovett, was the basis for demands of parliamentary reform about the unfairness of the English Reform Act of 1832 in which only landowners still could sit in Parliament an many men who were not land owners still could not vote. The Chartists' main demands were: votes for all men; equal electoral districts; abolition of the requirement that Members of Parliament be property owners; salaries for Members of Parliament; annual general elections; and the secret ballot. In spite of a petition of 1.25 million signatures, the English House of Commons rejected The Chartist Petition of 1839, by a vote of 235 to 46.

6 - To this day there are still remnants of these archaic restrictions, such as in Canada, where you must be a property owner to be appointed to the Senate of Canada, (that is it discriminates against tenants who are not also landlowners).