29 January 2015

Original Poem "Do You Know the Muffin Man?"

History In Pictures

A silly little rhyming game or a dire warning? 


Do You Know the Muffin Man?

“Do you know the Muffin Man?
The Muffin Man, the Muffin Man
Do you know the Muffin Man
Who lives in Drury Lane?”

Should I know the Muffin Man?
Will you tell me? What is his tale?
Do I want to know that man
Behind his friendly veil?

What lurks there… can you tell me…
Of what evil hides in plain sight…
Warning what darkness you see…
In soiled innocence plight?

Rife the news of missed women's
Bodies dragged for in tributary…
And all down along the Thames…
Where evil might carry.

Is’t worse than th’Angel Maker,
That loathsome ‘Ogress of Reading,’
Who wound tape o’ dressmaker
Round babes ‘stead o’bedding?

This Muffin Man of-whom you warn…
Is he worse than ‘Melia Dyer,
Who four hundred babes did not mourn,
But murdered for false hire?

Is’t worse than tales weighted hard
Of life there and down Feathers Court
Where life comes so cheaply marred
And death doth hope abort?

This warning dire you deliver
To ‘ware the wicked Muffin Man,
Does set my soul a-quiver
In fear of the villain. 

I don’t want to know that man
That Muffin Man, that Muffin Man
I don’t want to know that man
Who lives in Drury Lane!

by D. Denise Dianaty
© 25 October 2014


Amelia Dyer killed 400 or more mostly illegitimate babies between 1880 and 1896. She was paid -- a practice called “baby farming” -- to take the children, usually with the understanding that she was adopting them or finding homes for them. Dyer killed the infants by wrapping dressmaker’s tape around their little necks " but not so tightly as to kill them quickly -- and slowly strangling them. She confessed to her crimes, -- and to her pleasure watching the life slip away from those choking innocents -- admitting, “You'll know all mine by the tape around their necks.” She was tried and hanged in 1896 for murder. 

Drury Lane was long infamous -- even in Shakespeare’s time -- as a place of abject poverty, of moral and social degradation. From the 16th through the 18th centuries, Covent Garden, especially in the area of Drury Lane, was the primary location of London’s sex trade. It was long known for it’s questionable ladies whose clientele included not just the poor and criminally or socially questionable inmates of the area, but also privileged gentlemen seeking entertainments found between Drury Lane and Covent Garden. Doubtless many of Amelia Dyer’s victims were progeny of that human flesh trade. 


by D. Denise Dianaty
© 25 October 2014


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