Citizen Guillotine

Britain has the world’s oldest national anthem. There’s some doubt as to when it’s exactly from but the first recorded public performance was in 1745 during Charles Edward Stuart’s rebellion. The Theatre Royal on Drury Lane had Mrs Cibber, John Beard, and Thomas Reinhold, famed Handelian singers all, sing the anthem, along with a male-voice chorus, to an arrangement by Thomas Arne, the musical director of the theatre, at the close of 28th September 1745s performances, and indeed subsequently.
Mrs Cibber said: “The rebellion is so far from being a disadvantage to the Playhouse, that, I assure you, it brings them very good houses.”
It wasn’t all flag-waving and jingoism, this parody from the 1795 was inspired by the French Revolution and was sung to the same familiar tune.
It’s a broadsheet, the popular music and news, of the time by Richard ‘Citizen’ Lee.

Citizen Guillotine
A New Shaving Machine

Tune “Bob shave a King,”

To the just Guillotine,
Who shaves off Heads so clean,
I tune my string!
Thy power is so great,
That ev’ry Tool of State,
Dreadeth thy mighty weight,
Wonderful Thing!
Sweet Billy thee shall hail,
Johnny Reeves at his Tail,
Pride of our days!
Placemen, Swan-like shall sing,
Guillotine, mighty King,
Echoes from Crowds shall ring,
With thy just Praise!
No, Billy shall not swing,
An hour upon a String,
To stop his Breath!
Right Honourable Friend,
The swine shall ne’er suspend,
Thy neck from Halters End,
In Ling’ring Death.
No, no, the shining Blade,
Shall hail the Felon’s Head,
Fraternal wise,
One blest, but happy stroke,
One soft tho’ sudden shock,
Shall roll it from the Block,
‘Midst joyful cries.
Long live great Guilotine,
Who shaves the Head so clean,
Of Queen or King ;
Whose power is so great,
That ev’ry Tool of State,
Dreadeth thy mighty weight,
Wonderful Thing!!!
citizen-guillotine-broadsheet-by-richard-citizen-lee-1795

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