[The Royal Visit to Reading, 1870.] Printed handbill poem headed 'New Version to an Old Nursery Rhyme', and beginning 'Sing a song of Thousand Guineas', an attack on the mayor Peter Spokes, on the foundation of the new Grammar School.

[Royal Visit to Reading, 1870; Queen Victoria; Sir Peter Spokes (1830-1910) of Redlands, Mayor of Reading]
Publication details: 
Without place or date [Reading, Berkshire; 1870].
SKU: 14268

1p., 12mo. On trimmed wove paper. Aged and worn, with traces of mount on reverse. 24 lines, arranged in six four-line stanzas, beneath the title 'New Version to an Old Nursery Rhyme.' The poem - based on 'Sing a song of sixpence' - begins: 'Sing a song of Thousand Guineas, | Pockets full of brass; | Rate-payer's money's nought to me, | I'll squander it like an ass. | Sing a song of Royal Visit, | Ain't I a man of sense | To shake hands and sit with Royalty, | At Rate-payers expence. | Sing a song of Grammar School, | Also of Plummery Ditch; | We've founded a place to educate, | The children of the rich.' In the following stanzas there are references to Spokes's estate at Readlands ('Iron Works as well'), and to him as a 'money lending swell' and 'Paltry Toadying Saint [a reference to Spokes's initials 'PTS'] | Who kept a Chemist's Shop' (Spokes had made his money as purveyor of such potions as 'Pinniger's Balm of Liquorice' and 'Spokes' Rhubarb, Ginger, and Dandelion Pills'). In the fifth stanza he 'Was heard to say to R---s | Going home one night, | All our scheming is no use, | I shant now be a Knight.' Spokes was in fact knighted the following year. Excessively scarce, with no reference found, and no entries on COPAC or OCLC WorldCat.