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Sligo Independent 24 October 1914

We take the following from London Opinion:

I often have wanted to run along
For a bit of a jaunt on the Continong;
But the fares were high and the funds were low,
And I’d made up my mind that I’d never go.
When, all of a sudden, old Kaiser Bill
Starts smellin’ around for someone to kill,
And thinks he is takin’ us unawares,
While pokin’ his nose in others’ affairs.
So now I shall go to the Continong,
And I’ll see the sights and I’ll say “tray bon.”
The whole blooming trip won’t cost me a cent,
For it’s “everything found” by the Government—
A thorough good training in parley-voo;
The pleasure of killin’ a German or two;
Boardin’ and lodgin’ and French grub to eat,
While we follow the sausages in retreat.
And we’ll shout all over the Continong,
“Are we downhearted? the answer is — “Nong!
The Russians and us and the Frenchmen too,
Have got what is called a rondy-voo
On this side of Christmas in Berlin town,
To see the Kaiser’s moustache turned down.
So I’m off today, and I shan’t be long,
Before I come back from the Continong.

Archibald de Bear

Sligo Independent 26 December 1914

We take the following from the current issue of the Temperance Herald which is edited by Rev. W. Thorp, M.A., Chatton Manse, Belford, Northumberland:—

An Angel of Christmas looked down on the earth,
Prepared to do honour to Bethlehem’s birth;
But saw there was war where there ought to be peace,
And seemed from his labours compelled now to cease.

“Oh! where is the peace I proclaimed long ago?
“Oh! where the goodwill I expected to flow?
“From the cradle of Christ, or at least from His Cross?
“Is this too, like Eden, but a record of loss?”

But one of his brethren said, “Surely not so!
“In spite of the turmoil we see down below
“Fair peace is a welding—you see but the glow
“From the furnace that sets the good metal a-flow.

“From ore never yet was won metal so pure
“As to be of much use, unless smelted, I’m sure,
“And from strife must come wisdom in man’s evil heart,
“Nor strife that is raging unfruitful depart.”

Light came to the Angel, who had been in doubt,
And soon once again he was stirring about,
“E’en tho’ they are doomed through such warrings to live,
“To all who love peace a good Christmas we’ll give.”

December, 1914,     W.T.
Chatton Manse.

This witty poem was very popular in the early years of the great war and was republished in newspapers as far away as New Zealand where it appeared in the Observer in in October 1914 and Tasmania where it appeared in the Examiner in December 1914. It was read at a Alliance Francaise meeting in Adelaide South Australia, in April 1915.

The phrase "on the continong" was in common usage for some time and a collection of humorous pieces from Punch was published as "Mr Punch on the Continong" in or around 1910 in the
Punch Library of Humour series. Read the book here.

London Opinion and Today
, usually known as London Opinion, was a British magazine published from 1903 until 1954. It was a weekly from 1903 to 1939, and was then published monthly. The author's name appears to be a pen name.

I can find no information about Rev W. Thorp but Chatton Manse is now a Bed and Breakfast establishment. The house was built in 1873 and is said to still maintain many of its classic Victorian features.

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