Printed broadside ballad titled 'Old Coal's Joke.' [A satire on King George IV's marriage to Queen Caroline, parodying the nursery rhyme of 'Old King Cole'.]

[King George IV of the United Kingdom (1762-1830) [previously Prince Regent] and his wife Queen Caroline [Caroline of Brunswick] (1768-1821); Hodgson & Co., printers; broadside ballad]
Publication details: 
Without place or date. [London: Hodgson & Co., 1821?]
SKU: 12681

On one side of a strip of wove paper, 46.5 x 9.5 cm. Cut down. In fair condition, on aged and lightly ruckled paper. 96 lines arranged in 12 numbered eight-line stanzas. The first stanza reads: 'OLD King Coal was a dandy fine, | And a dandy spruce was he; | Among the women he loved to shine, | For a handsome man was he: | No man in the world could make such a bow | As Old King Coal could make, | And he wore his wig no one could tell how, | But the ladies' hearts did quake.' The last stanza alludes to the death of Queen Caroline in 1821: 'When Old King Coal was about therescore, | Threescore years old was he; | His good wife died, and he loudly swore, | Again he would married be, | So Old King Coal wish'd for another good wife, | His royal Queen to be: | But the ladies all fear'd to live in strife, | And to be ill-used by he.' The author sails close to the legal wind, with references to George IV's 'concubines, one, two, three', and to how when he was young 'deeply into debt he ran, | For a spendthrift gay was he'. Of the future queen the poet writes in the sixth stanza: 'Old King Coal a gay cousin had, | And a cousin gay had he; | They thought for a wife she was not bad, | For a lady fair was she: | So poor King Coal, who was on the fret, | No other way could see, | To please his dad, and get out of debt, | Than to be married to she.' Of the queen's death the poet writes: 'Old Coal such a merry blade was, | That a rush he did not care, | He wish'd his wife dead, and that was poz, [sic] | Since worse he could not fare.' Excessively scarce: the only copies traced among the Madden Ballads at Cambridge, and in the British Library; the entry for the latter copy giving the publisher as Hodgson & Co (presumably from a slug which has been trimmed off in this copy), and tentatively dates the item to London in 1821.