British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

424                             ST. Clement's day.                    [Nov. 23.
bunting, with a crown and anchor, made of wood, on the top and around it, four transparencies representing the " Black­smiths' Arms," " Anchor Smiths at Work," " Britannia with her Anchor," and " Mount Etna." He has before him a wooden anvil, and in his hands a pair of tongs and wooden hammer. A mate, also masked, attends him with a wooden sledge-hammer; he is also surrounded by a number of other attendants, some of whom carry torches, banners, flags, &c.; others, battle-axes, tomahawks, and other accoutrements of war. This procession, headed by a drum and fife, and six men with Old Clem mounted on their shoulders, proceed round the town, not forgetting to call on the blacksmiths and officers of the dockyard: here the money-box is pretty freely handed, after Old Clem and his mate have recited their speeches, which commence by the mate calling for order with,
" Gentlemen all, attention give, And wish St. Clem long, long to live."
Old Clem then recites the following speech :— " I am the real St. Clement, the first founder of brass, iron, and steel, from the ore. I have been to Mount Etna, where the god Vulcan first built his forge, and forged the armour and thunderbolts for the god Jupiter. I have been through the deserts of Arabia; through Asia, Africa, and America; through the city of Pongrove, through the town of Tipmingo, and all the northern parts of Scotland. I arrived in London on the 23rd of November, and came down to his Majesty's dockyard at Woolwich to see how all the gentle­men Vulcans came on there. I found them all hard at work, and wish to leave them well on the twenty-fourth." The mate then subjoins :
" Come all you Vulcans stout and strong, Unto St. Clem we do belong ; I know this house is well prepared With plenty of money and good strong beer ; And we must drink before we part, All for to cheer each merry heart. Come all you Vulcans, strong and stout, Unto St. Clem I pray turn out; For now St. Clem's going round the town, His coach-and-six goes merrily round. Huzza—a—a."
Previous Contents Next