In t’days o’ the great Roman Empire, the life and the times they was ‘ard.
They ‘ad’nt invented black puddin’, and flat ‘ats was right avant garde.
Devolution were still in the pipeline, and Rome were the centre o’ things.
And a bloke name o’ Julius Caesar were the fella what pulled all the strings.
Now the senators couldn’t stand Caesar, so they worked out their plan o’ attack,
And seein’ they’d not ‘eard ‘o elections, they just stabbed ‘im wi’ dagger in t’ back.
A young chap called ‘Adrian took over, once Caesar were out o’ the way,
‘Cos nobody else could be bothered, leastwise not on five shillin’ a day.
The first thing ‘e ‘ad to attend to were an island that lay beyond Gaul:
The Britons, they said, was revoltin’, and that wouldn’t do, not at all.
Now ‘Adrian found that this Britain were divided in two, just like such;
And the bit up at t’ top were called Scotland; and the rest o’ it – weren’t up to much....
The Scots was a warlike collection, and ‘ad been for many a year,
So’s the peaceable folk round the Border lived in state o’ perpetual fear.
They’d burn and they’d loot and they’d pillage, and gatecrash the Saturday dance;
And ravish the nubile young maidens (as offered ‘em ‘alf of a chance).
So ‘Adrian made proclamation as ‘ow all o’ this ‘ere ‘ad to cease;
But they took not a blind bit o’ notice, and just carried on doin’ as they pleased.
Then ‘is sidekick, ‘Oratio Ramsbottom (‘oo weren’t really a Roman at all),
Said, “’Appen we’d put paid to t’ problem by buildin’ a ruddy great wall.”
Now ‘Adrian ‘ad to admit it, as ‘Oratio ‘ad got an idea;
So ‘e sent for Sir Claudius McAlpine, and a band o’ ‘is bold Fusiliers.
They started on t’ wall one fine mornin’ – at the Newcastle end they began.
They’d got twenty mile done by Shrove Tuesday, in spite o’ an overtime ban.
It were marvel o’ Roman construction; it were massive and sturdy and wide;
With a footpath that ran along t’ top bit, so’s the soldiers could walk side by side.
They’d scarce got the last bit cemented, when ‘Oratio says, “Best come and see –
There’s five thousand Jocks marchin’ southward; and they don’t look too ‘appy to me.”
‘Adrian came to the ramparts, and regardin’ the Scots wi’ distaste,
Shouts, “The Empire’s no place for you fellows!” and caught plate o’ cold porridge in t’ face.
But that were as far as they took it, for the Wall were so fearsome to see,
That they all ‘ung their ‘eads and looked sheepish, and then went awa’ hame fer their tea.
But ‘Adrian now ‘ad a problem, for the Wall were so sturdy and stout,
That as well as it’s keepin’ the Scots in – it also kept ‘Adrian out!
‘Is dreams o’ subduin’ “North Britain” came to little or nothin’ at all;
For ‘e couldn’t march north wi’ ‘is army, ‘cos they couldn’t get over ‘is Wall!
And that’s why the great Roman Empire sort of just fizzled out near Carlisle
(Apart from some time-sharin’ villas, that was only in use for a while).
The Wall stood for ‘undreds ‘o years, and in fame and in legend it grew;
Though they ‘ad to shift bits ‘ere and there, to make room for a car park or two.
And ‘Adrian gets all the credit; though it weren’t ‘is idea at all:
But if ever you pay it a visit – just remember, it’s RAMSBOTTOM’S WALL!