Fun 5 (15 June 1867). Text beneath caption: Chorus of Dryads (by M. P.s for threatened boroughs: — “Oh Woodsman, spare this tree!” W.W., artist. Dalziel, engraver. Source: Hathi Digital Library Trust web version of a copy in the University of Minnesota library. Click on image to enlarge it.. Wallis MacKay, artist, and Dalziel, engraver.
The cartoonist here combines the notion that dryads are spirits that inhabit individual trees, or are the spirits of the trees themselves, with the title of a very popular drawing room or parlor song — Oh Woodsman, spare that tree! (1837) with lyrics by George Pope Morris (1802-64), music by Henry Russell (1812-1900). [Click here to listen to a performance of this song by Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, and the Victorian Web’s Editor for Music.]
The names of the so-called “rotten boroughs,” those with too few voters to count fairly as a voting district (often under the control of a wealthy landowner) appear on the trunks: Wakefield, Totnes, Yarmouth, Calne, and Wells along with the faces representing those M. P.s who will lose their seats. (I don’t know if they are actual portraits.) They plead with Disraeli, the woodsman. — George P. Landow
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Last modified 2 April 2016