More Cricket Songs - Part 1

Part 1

More Cricket Songs.

by Norman Gale.


Not long ago you reminded me that once, when you were a boy and I was a schoolmaster, I was angry with you because you pouted all through a lesson in arithmetic. Let bygones be bygones, and accept as a proof of my continuing friendship the dedication of this little volume, in which there are no other sums than those of the Telegraph.

Most sincerely yours,


Here's to the lad with his useful Fifteen, Here's to the Bowler that's thrifty, Here's to the Bat who is Lord of the Green With his frequent and thundering Fifty!


_(A Song In and Out of Season.)_

Excuse me, Sweetheart, if I smear, With wisdom learnt from ancient teachers, Now winter time once more is here, This grease upon your lengthy features!

Behaving thus, your loyal friend No whit encourages deception: Believe me, Fairest, in the end This oil will better your complexion.

Fairest, believe!

Did you imagine in the bag To sleep the sleep of Rip Van Winkle, Removed from sunshine's golden flag And duller daylight's smallest twinkle?

Well have you earned your rest; but yet, Although disturbance seem uncivil, Unless your cheeks and chin be wet With oil, your beauteousness will shrivel.

Rarest, believe!

Absorb, that, when for our delight The May unpacks its lovely blossom, With beaming face, with shoulders bright You leave the bag's congenial bosom.

Then shall the Lover and his La.s.s Walk out toward the pitch together, And, glorying in the shaven gra.s.s, Tackle, with mutual faith, the leather.

Dearest, absorb!


If ever there was a Golden Game To brace the nerves, to cure repining, To put the Dumps to flight and shame, It's Cricket when the sun is shining!

Gentlemen, toss the foolscap by, Gentlemen, change from books to leather!

Breathe your fill of the breeze from the hill, Thanking Bliss for the great blue weather.

If ever there was a bag could beat The box possessed by Miss Pandora, 'Tis that in which there cuddle neat The tools to shape the flying Fourer.

Gentlemen, watch the purple ball!

Gentlemen, keep your wits in tether!

Take your joy with the heart of a boy Under the dome of the big blue weather.

If ever I feel my veins abound With zealous blood more fit for Twenty, 'Tis when upon the shaven ground Fair Fortune gives me runs in plenty.

Gentlemen all, while sinews last, Bat ye, bowl ye, friends together!

Play the play till the end of your day, Mellowest mates in the big blue weather!

But ever the ancient tale is told, And History (the jade!) repeated: By Time, who's never over-bowled, At last we find ourselves defeated.

Gentlemen all, though stiff we be, Youth comes along in finest feather, Just as keen as we all have been Out on the turf in the great blue weather!

There's ever the deathless solace left-- To gaze at younger heroes smiting, Of neither grit nor hope bereft, Up to the end for victory fighting.

Gentlemen all, we taste delight, Banished now from the stream and heather, Calm and cool on an old camp-stool, Watching the game in the big blue weather!


If cursed by a son who declined to play cricket, (Supposing him sound and sufficient in thews,) I'd larrup him well with the third of a wicket, Selecting safe parts of his body to bruise.

In his mind such an urchin King Solomon had When he said, Spare the stump, and you bungle the lad!

For what in the world is the use of a creature All flabbily bent on avoiding the Pitch?

Who wanders about, with a sob in each feature, Devising a headache, inventing a st.i.tch?

There surely would be a quick end to my joy If possessed of that monster--the feminine boy!--

The feminine boy who declines upon croquet, Or halma, or spillikins (horrible sport!), Or any amus.e.m.e.nt that's female and pokey, And flatly objects to behave as he ought!

I know him of old. He is lazy and fat, Instead of this Thing, fit for punishment drastic, Give, Fortune, a son who is nimble and keen; A bright-hearted sample of human elastic, As fast as an antelope, supple and clean; Far other than he in whose dimples there lodge Significant signs of inordinate stodge.

Ay, give me the lad who is eager and chubby, A Stoddart in little, a hero in bud; Who'd think it a positive crime to grow tubby, And dreams half the night he's a Steel or a Studd!

There's the youth for my fancy, all youngsters above-- The boy for my handshake, the lad for my love!


I know that Bowler, dark and lean, Who holds his tongue, and pegs away, And never fails to come up keen, However hard and straight I play.

Spinning and living, from his hand The leather, full of venom, leaps; How nicely are his changes planned, And what a lovely length he keeps!

Because he pulls his brim so low, However earnestly one tries One never sees the darkling glow, That must be nimble in his eyes.

The fellow's judgment never nods, His watchful spirit never sleeps.

There was a clinking ball! Ye G.o.ds, Why, what a splendid length he keeps!

At times he bowls an awkward ball That in the queerest manner swerves, And this delivery of them all Takes most elastic from my nerves: It comes, and all along my spine A sense of desolation creeps; Till now the mastery is mine, But--what a killing length he keeps!

That nearly pa.s.sed me! That again Miraculously missed the bails!

Too good a sportsman to complain, He never flags, he never stales.

Small wonder if his varied skill So fine a harvest daily reaps, For how he marries wit and will!

And what a deadly length he keeps!