by Marriott Edgar (1939)

The day after Christmas, Young Albert
Were what's called confined to his hed
With a tight kind of pain in his stummick
And a light feeling up in his head.

His parents were all of a fluster
When they saw little lad were so sick;
They said 'Put out your tongue!' - When they'd seen it
They said 'Put it back again - quick!'

Ma made him a basin of gruel,
But that were a move for the worse;
Though the little lad tried hard to eat it,
At the finish he did the reverse.

The pain showed no signs of abating,
So at last they got Doctor to call;
He said it were in the abdomain
And not in his stummick at all.

He sent up a bottle of physick,
With instructions on t' label to say
'To be took in a recumbent posture,
One teaspoonful, three times a day.'

As Ma stood there reading the label
Pa started to fidget about;
He said 'Get a teaspoon and dose him
Before he gets better without.'

'I can manage the teaspoon,' said Mother,
A look of distress on her face;
'It's this 'ere recumbulent posture -
I haven't got one in the place.'

Said Pa 'What about Mrs Lupton
Next door 'ere - you'd better ask her;
A woman who's buried three husbands
Is sure to have one of them there.'

So they went round and asked Mrs Lupton.
'Aye, I know what you mean,' she replied,
'I had got one on order for 'Orace,
But poor dear got impatient and died.'

She said 'You'd best try the Co-op Shop,
They'll have one in stock I dare say;
'Fact I think I saw one in the winder
Last time I were passing that way.'

So round they went to the Co-op Shop,
And at the counter for household supplies
Pa asked for a recumbent posture,
And the Shopman said, 'Yes, sir - what size?'

Said Ma 'It's for our little Albert,
I don't know what size he would use;
I know he takes thirteens in collars,
And sixes, four fittings, in shoes.'

'If it's little lad's size as you're wanting,'
Said the Shopman, 'I'm sorry to say
We'd but had one in the building,
And that one were sold yesterday.'

He sent them across to a Tin-Smith,
Who said 'I know what you've in mind;
If you'll draw me a pattern I'll make one' -
But Pa'd left his pencil behind.

They tried every shop they could think on,
They walked for two hours by the clock,
And though most places reckoned to keep them,
They'd none of them got one in stock.

The last place they tried was a Chemist's,
He looked at them both with a frown,
And told them a Recumbent Posture
Were Latin, and meant lying down.

'It means 'Lying down' - put in Latin,'
Said Father, 'That's just what I thowt.'
Then he picked up a side-glance from Mother
And pretended he hadn't said nowt.

'They're not dosing my lad wi' Latin,'
Said Mother, her face looking grim;
'Just plain Castor Oil's all he's gettin',
And I'm leaving the posture to him.'


Stanley Holloway

page last updated 10th April 1999