O stately pile, could you but speak
Of days of long ago,
What hectic chronicles you’d tell
Of gay gallant and beau,
Of ladye faire, with well “permed” hair
And very rosy cheeks,
Of kings and notabilities
Adorned with skin-tight “breeks.”
You’d tell of days when Bluff King Hal
A courtier would send
To bid the Rushden Squire prepare
A room for next week-end.
And later, on the terrace east,
You’d picture Henry Eight
Absorbing sherry, claret, port
With Ann or Jane or Kate.
In later years his offspring Bess
Quite oft would make a call
And by her charming manner would
Endear herself to all;
For when, 300 years ago,
A fire destroyed the pile,
The ancient house was re-built in
The massive kitchen then would breathe
The scent of flesh and game,
For eating, drinking, courtship was
The object and the aim.
They must look down in pity now
(We hope they rest in peace)
Upon our weekly pound of meat
And two small dabs of grease.
Ah, well, ye mellowed, ancient pile,
Each old, licentious ghost
Must now lie low, as through your rooms
There echoes such a host
Of wise-cracks, laughter, gaiety
A portent of the day
When jungle law shall be deposed
And peace again hold sway.