I'll tell of the Magna Charter
As were signed at the Barons' command
On Runningmead Island in t' middle of t' Thames
By King John, as were known as "Lack Land."
Some say it were wrong of the Barons
Their will on the King so to thrust,
But you'll see if you look at both sides of the case
That they had to do something, or bust.
For John, from the moment they crowned him,
Started acting so cunning and sly,
Being King, of course, he couldn't do wrong,
But, by gum, he'd a proper good try.
He squandered the ratepayers' money,
All their cattle and corn did he take,
'Til there wasn't a morsel of bread in the land,
And folk had to manage on cake.
The way he behaved to young Arthur
Went to show as his feelings was bad;
He tried to get Hubert to poke out his eyes,
Which is no way to treat a young lad.
It were all right him being a tyrant
To vassals and folks of that class,
But he tried on his tricks with the Barons an' all,
And that's where he made a 'faux pas'.
He started bombarding their castles,
And burning them over their head,
'Til there wasn't enough castles left to go round,
And they had to sleep six in a bed.
So they went to the King in a body,
And their spokesman, Fitzwalter by name,
He opened the 'ole in his 'elmet and said,
Conciliatory like, "What's the game?"
The King starts to shilly and shally,
He sits and he haws and he hums,
'Til the Barons in rage started gnashing their teeth,
And them with no teeth gnashed their gums.