What Our Republic Needs Is A Merry JigCommentary • history • rich • ISSUE 35•04 • Feb 3, 1999 By H. Ulysses Zweibel Booooooooo! 'Tis I, Herman Ulysses Zweibel, long-dead founder of The Onion, or, as it was more eloquently known in my day, The Mercantile-Onion. Boooooooo!Faithful readers of this space know that it is ordinarily occupied by my half-witted son, T. Herman, who dispenses his usual worth-less opinions without ever remotely approaching the heart of the matter. He believes the Republic is in grave peril because people refuse to work an honest day and mind their betters. But there is a far deeper reason. The Republic is in grave peril because of the terrible absence of a merry jig or horn-pipe to which to dance and frolic! My reasoning is simple: If there are no jolly tunes, the masses will grow discontented and choleric, and leave their ploughs and looms to agitate in the streets. In no time, the mill-owner, the parson and the mayor will find them-selves being disemboweled, and mind-less rebellion will be the order of the day! In my day, there were as many merry jigs as there were grains of wheat, and each one was a joy! How Mother Zweibel and I used to spend many evenings capering and gamboling to the fiddle and the spinet! In fact, one of the most popular songs of the 1830s was my very own "Zweibel Reel," which went like this: O, the cows low in the meadowMike Fink's aboard his keelDarky take up your banjoSing hey for the Zweibel Reel! [Chorus:] O, the merry, merry, merry, merryMerry Zweibel Reel!Raise a cup of hard ciderFor the sake of the Zweibel Reel!Young men shall go a-courtin' Mercantile-Onion in handFathers untie your daughtersAnd rollick to the lively band![Reprise Chorus] I defy any-one to say that their heart is not now a thousand-fold lighter. O, that I were no longer a mere wraith! Would that I could shed this confining shroud of ectoplasm and bob and spin about like a care-free sprite!