The Whigs Didn’t like Jackson Either

Crossing Salt River on a Rickety Bridge


As sung by the Philadelphia Clay Minstrels.

Oh Polk! Oh Polk!
Don’t you know you’ll end in smoke!
For up Salt River you must go Polk!
And the way you’ll go up won’t be slow Polk!
Oh Polk! Oh Polk!
Don’t you know you’ll end in smoke!
You may run and your friends all may do their very best,
But twill all be in vain you’ll find;
For the log cabin boys go for Harry of the West,
And you’ll soon see that you can’t shine;
You must mind that you’re about,
For as sure as you are born,
You are bound to fizzle out
At the small end of the horn.
Oh Polk! Oh Polk!


A “quodlibet” is:  (1.)  1. archaic: a  topic for or exercise in philosophical or theological discussion; or (2.) literary:  a lighthearted medley of well-known tunes.

The tune may be well-known (or was well known in 1844), but it isn’t given.

“Polk” is James Knox Polk, Democratic candidate for president in 1844.

“End in smoke” means a misfire (with a muzzle-loading firearm; a flash-in-the-pan).
“Salt River” is the symbolic river of political doom.
A “slow Polk” is a slowpoke.
The “log cabin boys” refers to President William Henry Harrison’s supporters.  (Harrison supposedly lived in a log cabin.  In reality he may have seen one once.  At a distance.)
“Harry of the West” is  Henry Clay.
According to Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms, “the small end of the horn” is to be worsted in an enterprise.

Tomorrow: The Fighting Captain!  (If you’re thinking “Markle,” you’ll be right!)

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