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Caricature & Satire, Laurie & Whittle, Nobody’s Song, London, Antique Print, 1807

$100

Nobody’s Song (Plate 461)
Laurie & Whittle, 53 Fleet Street, London: March 18, 1807
Copperplate engraving
11 x 9 1/2 inches, sheet
10 x 8 1/2 inches, image and text
$100

Lyric sheet to Nobody’s Song, a comic and slightly bawdy song about situations where it is convenient to evade responsibility by blaming “nobody.” According to the subtitle it was “Sung in many convivial parties, by Mr. Blanchard, Theatre Royal Covent Garden.” Illustrated with a humorous engraving of the fourth verse. The words are reprinted below.

Description

Mr. Blanchard is listed as being in the cast on playbills for the Theatre Royal Covent Garden in the early 19th Century. The first Theatre Royal in Covent Garden was built in 1732. It has since been rebuilt twice, and is still a venue for performances.

Robert Laurie (1755-1836) and James Whittle (1757-1818) were London map, chart and printsellers active from 1794 to 1812 trading variously as Laurie and Whittle or Whittle and Laurie. Laurie began his career as a fine mezzotint engraver and exhibited at the Society of Artists from 1770 to 1776. With Whittle, they took over the large map and print business of Robert Sayer. Laurie & Whittle published many atlases and maps and products used for jigsaw puzzles. Robert’s son, Richard Holmes Laurie, succeeded him upon his retirement in 1812, and after Whittle’s death in 1818 carried on the business alone until at least 1840. The firm still exists as Imray, Laurie, Norie and Wilson Ltd., which has long specialized in marine charts.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, soiling, wear, soft creases. Few marginal short tears neatly restored.

Nobody’s Song

1
If to hear a droll Song, it is your intention,
I’ll Somebody hint at, — but Nobody mention;
Nobody! — you’ll say: — pshaw! that must be fluff,
Well, then, in singing I’m Nobody, that’s the first proof.

Nobody! Nobody! Nobody! No!

2
Whene’er the gallant, the wanton wife leaves,
The husband is frighten’d, and thinks it is thieves;
Then starting up, loudly cries out ‘who is there?’
The wife pats his cheek, and says, ‘Nobody dear.’

Nobody! No!

3
When negligent Servants, the China plates crack,
The fault is laid on poor Nobody’s back;
No mischief can happen at home, or abroad,
But Nobody’s blamed for it — ‘isn’t that hard?’

Nobody! No!

4
Nobody can tell, the pranks that are play’d,
When Nobody’s by, between Master and Maid;
She frighten’d, cries out ‘Somebody will hear us’
He gently replies, ‘there is Nobody near us.’

Nobody! No!

5
She big with Child proving, is quickly discarded,
When favors are granted, Nobody’s rewarded,
And when she’s examined cries, ‘Mercy forbid it,
For if I’m got with Child, ’twas Nobody did it.’

Nobody! No!

6
Enough then of Nobody, now has been sung,
If Nobody’s angry, then Nobody’s wrong;
I hope for free speaking, I shall not be blam’d,
For Nobody’s injur’d, when Nobody’s nam’d.

Reference:

Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members.” Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History. 2001. http://www.devon.gov.uk/library/locstudy/bookhist/lonl.html and http://www.devon.gov.uk/library/locstudy/bookhist/lonw.html (18 March 2002).

Additional information

Century

19th Century