The Downfall of Charing Cross

Charles Mackay

Undone! undone! the lawyers cry,
They ramble up and down;
We know not the way to WESTMINSTER
Now CHARING-CROSS is down.

Now fare thee well, old Charing-Cross,
Then fare thee well, old stump;
It was a thing set up by a King,
And so pull'd down by the RUMP.

And when they came to the bottom of the Strand
They were all at a loss:
This is not the way to WESTMINSTER,
We must go by CHARING-CROSS.
Then fare thee well, etc.

The Parliament did vote it down
As a thing they thought most fitting,
For fear it should fall, and so kill 'em all
In the House as they were sitting.
Then fare thee well, etc.

Some letters about this CROSS were found,
Or else it might been freed;
But I dare say, and safely swear,
It could neither write nor read.
Then fare thee well, etc.

The WHIGs they do affirm and say
To POPERY it was bent;
For what I know it might be so,
For to church it never went,
Then fare thee well, etc.

They were so damn'd hard-hearted;
They pass'd a vote that CHARING-CROSS
Should be taken down and carted:
Then fare thee well, etc.

Now, WHIGS, I would advise you all,
'Tis what I'd have you do;
For fear the King should come again,
Pray pull down TYBURN too.
Then fare thee well, etc.

Charles Mackay's Editor's Note: Charing-Cross, as it stood before the civil wars, was one of those beautiful Gothic obelisks, erected to conjugal affection by Edward I, who built such a one wherever the hearse of his beloved Eleanor rested in its way from Lincolnshire to Westminster.  But neither its ornamental situation, the beauty of its structure, nor the noble design of its erection (which did honour to humanity), could preserve it from the merciless zeal of the times; for in 1647 it
was demolished by order of the House of Commons, as Popish and superstitious.  This occasioned the following not unhumorous sarcasm, which has been often printed among the popular sonnets of those times.

The plot referred to in ver. 3 was that entered into by Mr Waller the poet, and others, with a view to reduce the city and Tower to the service of the King; for which two of them, Nath. Tomkins and Richard Chaloner, suffered death, July 5, 1643. 

Poetry Atlas note: The site of the Eleanor Cross erected by Edward I at the hamlet of Charing (Charing Cross) is now occupied by a statue of King Charles I in front of Charing Cross railway station.