Dirty Father Thames

Filthy river, filthy river,
Foul from London to the Nore,
What art thou but one vast gutter,
One tremendous common shore?

All beside thy sludgy waters,
All beside thy reeking ooze,
Christian folks inhale mephitis,
Which thy bubbly bosom brews.

All her foul abominations
Into thee the City throws;
These pollutions, ever churning,
To and fro thy current flows.

And from thee is brew’d our porter –
Thee, thou guilty, puddle, sink!
Thou, vile cesspool, art the liquour
Whence is made the beer we drink!

Thou, too, hast a Conservator,
He who fills the civic chair;
Well does he conserve thee, truly,
Does not, my good LORD MAYOR?

– Punch, July-December 1848


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