For those who aren't familiar with the term "Tyke" is slang for either a cross-bred dog, or a Yorkshireman, or a naughty boy - as in, 'Stop that this minute, you little tyke!' And for anyone not familiar with Yorkshiremen, let me assure you they don't take kindly to being taken for idiots, as this tale tells.
|Temple Bar, now moved to St Paul's Churchyard|
Temple Bar marked the boundary between the City of London (where Fleet Street ends) and the City of Westminster (where the Strand begins) and has now been moved close to St Paul's Cathedral. Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London and Pidcock's bears is a reference to Pidcock's Menagerie, improbably situated on an upper floor of the Exeter Change in the Strand. Billingsgate was the principal fish market of London,
It happen'd once that a young Yorkshire clown,
But newly come to far-fam'd London-town,
Was gaping round at many a wond'rous sight,
Grinning at all he saw with vast delight,
Attended by his terrier, Tyke,
Who was as sharp as sharp may be;
And thus the master and the dog, d'ye see,
Were very much alike.
|The portico of Mansion House looking towards Cornhill|
After wand'ring far and wide,
And seeing all the streets and squares,
And Temple-bar, and Pidcock's bears,
The Mansion-house, the Regent's Park,
And all in which your cocknies place their pride;
After being quizz'd by many a city spark,
For coat of country cut, and red-hair'd pate,
He came, at length to noisy Billinsgate;
He saw the busy scene with mute surprise,
Opening his ears and eyes
At the loud clamour and the monstrous fish,
Hereafter doom'd to grace full many a dish.
|Pidcock's (also known as Polito's) Menagerie|
Close by him was a turbot on a stall,
Who, with stretch'd mouth, as if to gasp for breath,
Seem'd in the agonies of death:
Said Andrew, “Pray what name d'ye that fish call?"
“A turbot, 'tis,” (said the sarcastic elf)
“A flat, you see - so something like yourself."
“ D'ye think," said Andrew, “that he'll bite?"
“Why," said the fellow, with a roguish grin,
"His mouth is open; put your finger in,
And then you'll know." – “Why,” replied the wight,
“I shouldn’t like to try; but here's my Tyke
Shall put his tail there, an' you like."
|Billingsgate Fish Market with fighting fishwives|
“Agreed," rejoin'd the man, and laugh'd delight.
Within the turbot's teeth was plac'd the tail,
Who bit it too, with all his might;
The dog no sooner felt the bite
Than off he ran, the fish still holding tight;
And though old Ling began to swear and rail,
After a number of escapes and dodgings,
Tyke safely got to Master Andrew’s lodgings;
Who, when the fisherman in a passion flew,
Said, “Master, Lunnon tricks on we wont do
I've come from York to queer such flats as you;
And Tyke, my dog, is Yorkshire too!"
Then laughing at the man he went away,
And had the fish for dinner that same day.
A wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers!