19th Century

Cheer up! Cheer up! Ye Chartist Boys! | Anonymous

The following song was written in 1839 after the government’s rejection of the first Chartist petition, which would have seen the right to vote extended to all adult males regardless of their income. It first appeared in a short-lived newspaper called The Western Vindicator on 20 November 1839 and was subsequently reprinted in Hugh Williams’s National Songs and Poetical Pieces, published at the end of that same year. The tone of the poem is clear: it is urging the working classes to carry on their fight for the vote. The poem was transcribed by Stephen Basdeo for this website.

Cheer up! cheer up! ye Chartist boys!

And drive away your gloom;

Despair not yet of freedom’s joys,

For freedom’s day must come.

               Cheer up! cheer up! and sing

               A merry, merry lay;

               For liberty’s the thing,

               Whack! fal de ral de ray!

Cheer up! cheer up! and show the foe

A dauntless spirit still;

In spite of each malignant blow

Invincible in will!

               Cheer up! cheer up! &c.

Cheer up! cheer up! with valour fraught,

And, till the work be done,

Think ye as Julius Caesar thought,

The work is but begun

               Cheer up! cheer up! &c.

Cheer up! cheer up! and raise your eyes

To see yon golden beams

That on England’s joyous skies,

How freedom’s dawning gleams.

               Cheer up! cheer up! &c.

Cheer up ! cheer up ! just as the dawn

Removes the shades of night,

So Freedom’s veil shall be withdrawn

When glows her glorious light.

               Cheer up, cheer up, &c.

Cheer up ! cheer up! behold the day

Of Liberty shines forth;

A western light, from far away,

Illumines all the north.

               Cheer up, cheer up, &c.

A sun: a sun! a glorious light

Like that which burns on high;

Some darker spots upon the bright

In both may meet the eye.

               Cheer up, cheer up, &c.

1 reply »