If you question, if you ask him
What about this new Reform Bill,
Just brought in by BEN DISRAELI,
Fluent, mocking BEN DISRAELI,
In fulfilment of the pledges
Given by him, and by LORD DERBY,
Fluent, mocking EARL OF DERBY,
When last year they entered office?
Punch will answer, Punch will tell you
That the Bill has seventy clauses,
Not to mention certain schedules.

If you ask him. if you question,
Who, in case this Bill 's adopted,
Will, of all this British nation,
Have the right to vote, at poll-booth,
For the candidate aspiring
To be chosen and elected
To the English House of Commons?
Punch will answer, he will tell you,
Those he 's now about to mention.

He, with forty shilling freehold:
He who is the happy owner
Of five pounds of other tenure:
Or shall occupy, as tenant,
Aught of ten pound yearly value:
Or shall occupy apartments
(Here 's the clause to let in lodgers)
For the which he pays the moderate
Sum of twice four shillings weekly,
Or of twenty pounds per annum.
He whose stock, (or Bank or Indian)
Brings its owner ten pounds yearly,
He whose pension (army, navy,
Civil or uncivil service)
Is what 's called a twenty-pounder:
He who in a bank of Savings
Sixty pounds hath wisely hoarded.
He, a graduate of a College,
He, a clergyman, established,
He, a minister dissenting,
He, a barrister, or pleader,
He, a proctor, or attorney,
He, a doctor, (quacks excepted)
He, a certified schoolmaster,
And all other men, if any,
Qualified by the Reform Act
These are those to whom LORD DERBY
Gives, or else preserves, the franchise.

If you further ask or question,
What is in some fifty clauses,
Next ensuing numeration
Of the various coves, or parties,
Who will henceforth have a franchise
Punch will answer, Punch will tell you,
You may go and read those clauses.
Those who do not like can lump it.
All that verbiage (as it seemeth)
Is what statesmen call machinery,
Not affecting you, sweet reader.
But, if you make further query,
(As you will do, if inquiring,
Intellectual, patriotic,
Nil humani alienum
A te putans
) What great feature,
Principle, or point of party.

Is involved in this Reform Bill,
Planned by the inventive DERBY,
Published by the daring DIZZY P
Punch will answer, Punch will tell you,
That the Bill is, rather wisely,
Framed of Compromising order,
Doing much that 's good and proper,
Greatly pleasing neither party,
Greatly riling all the ultras;
And the British Lion slumbers,
Spite of everybody 's poking:
Long in pace requiescat.

For the boroughs and the counties
We have now a different franchise.
But this Bill, of good LORD DERBY's,
Makes in both the franchise equal,
This, unto the ultra-Tories
Seems an awful step and horrid,
Tearing down the Constitution,
Letting in a revolution,
Such the awe and such the terror
This proposal hath excited.
That the good and gentle Walpole,
And the good and growling HENLEY,
Both have jumped clean out of office;
Just as in the nursery legend,
MOSES and his brother AARON
In a pot were set a-boiling,
Whence, the legend adds, meek MOSES
Straight ('ere hot was AARON) jumped out.

Fifteen boroughs, now returning
Each its brace of members, henceforth
Must put up with half that number.
If, before, they 've sent two thin men,
Let them now elect one fat man,
Thus the self-same weight preserving
In the English House of Commons.
Fifteen seats, thus rendered vacant,
Into places are allotted
Which it seems want representing.
When he states that one is Gravesend,
With its shrimps and snobs and slippers,
Punch might be received with jeering
(But that well he wields a cudgel),
'Tis the truth, and no mistake, though.
Where, oh, where is BARON NATHAN,
Here's his seat, by BARON ROTHSCHILD?

Henceforth, freeholders in boroughs
Cease to have a vote for counties,
This displeases Lord John Russell,
Who, besides, proclaims his anger
That the Bill does next to nothing;
For, he says, the working classes
So declare both BRIGHT and ROEBUCK,
Who are bent on giving battle.

Needs not waste your time and Punch's
On a scheme of Voting Papers,
Meant to save some folks the trouble
Of attending at the hustings,
Or a scheme of polling-places,
Or on divers other details :
You requested general knowledge
Of the Bill which mocking DIZZY
Introduced on Monday, speaking
Just three hours and fifteen minutes ;
And the gracious Punch, delighted
To diffuse such information
As may lead to make the crisis
Plain to even the least enlightened —
Hath supplied you this description,
Daisied with his star-bright fannies.
Thank him, touch your hats, and hook it.

Last modified 10 June 2020