The History of Lincoln Waites
Lincoln Races - A New Song
This broadsheet was printed in 1798 by a local printer, Drury, who gave his address as "opposite the bank". We can be certain of the date because it was printed on the broadsheet. If we employ a little careful guesswork here, we might reach the conclusion that Drury meant the Smith Ellison Bank, where Lincoln Corporation held accounts. If that is the case, then Drury's shop was at the junction of Silver Street and High Street, just North of the Stonebow. Today in this position stands a travel agent (on the East side) and the House of Fraser (on the North Side).
To choose the subject of horse racing for a broadside would have made very good business sense to John Drury, as he was Clerk to the Racecourse. The song appears (to me) to have been designed especially to be sold to the crowds attending Lincoln Races.
The text itself paints an impression of a typical Race Day for us, with all manner of people in attendance from all walks of life. Drury's phrase "all sober cits" seems to be a jibe at the Aldermen and other Race-goers because the Races had something of a reputation as a place where some people over-indulged in alcohol. It sounds like food was not scarce either, with roast pig and poultry being amongst the delicacies on offer.
- Come Nobles and Heroes and Bucks of the Turf,
- We've had of the dull smoky Town quite enough;
- Come mount the gay Steed, and to Lincoln repair,
- To see the fine Horses and Ladies so fair.
- Come Statesmen so subtle, unbend for a while,
- And leave your deep laid schemes - on our Races to smile:
- In your Coaches so splendid at Races preside,
- And Learn of our Jockeys - how People to guide.
- Come Merchants and Bankers and Poets and Taylors,
- Comes Fiddlers and Sweeps, also you Land Sailors!
- Come mount the proud Steed, to the Races advance,
- To taste Health and Pleasure not equal'd in France.
- Come Aldermane, Commoners - all sober Cits,
- Who centre your Happiness in your tit Bits;
- Now the Summer is here and fair Flora is drest,
- We've roast pig and Poultry and Things of the best.
- Come judges and Council, Solicitors too,
- And Bishops and Doctors and Curates so Flue;
- In Coach or in Chaise or on Horseback draw near,
- We've choice of fine Ladies, but Nothing too dear.
- Come Mercers, come Drapers, come Turk, and come Jew,
- Come bold-hearted Fellows, bring Dolly and Sue;
- Come mount all your Horses and taste Lincoln Air,
- You'll find all you want, if you will but come here.
- Come all ye good People, the Old and the young,
- Away to old Lincoln and see a mix'd Throng;
- The Riders are mounted, the Course now is clear,
- What Joys upon Earth can with racing compare?