Lament for the Shoppes

Song notes

In the early 16th century the Scottish poet William Dunbar wrote a poem about death and all the poets it had claimed: the Lament for the Makers. My song is a reworking of that poem applied to a much less serious (though still a bit depressing) subject: all the shops that seem to keep going out of business here in Britain. My wife kindly contributed the Latin refrain which means “the death of shops disturbs me”.

Lyrics

I that once could shop with pleasure
Am more and more denied that leisure
So many gaps in town I see
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

On streets once full of fine boutiques
Now only rotted hoarding creaks
With scarce a shop of charity
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

The balance sheet doth change and vary
Banks to lend now bold now chary
Folk on-line bargains greet with glee
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

Bankruptcy taketh every name
No matter its esteem or fame
It seems this doom no firm can flee
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

It hath ta’en Woolworths full of sweets
The Megastore for all its beats
Blockbusters and its DVDs
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

The Shoppe for Sockes I once did prize
My neck clad by the Rack of Ties
In Bejam bargains once did see
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

This bane of brands it did devour
Past Times (of gift shops the flower)
Both Borders books, and their coffee
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

Athena now doth show no poster
Nor hath Rumbelows a toaster
No sportswear sells at JJB
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

Mothercare could not pay their rents
From what they could persuade new parents
To spend upon their sweet baby
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

So many firms are falling low
Before their unrelenting foe
In some towns soon we’ll no stores see
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

Yet though these shops may ne’er return
Perhaps we can this lesson learn
To buy not on-line constantly
Mors tabernarum conturbat me

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