Poem of the day

Little Billee
by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)

There were three sailors in Bristol City
Who took a boat and went to sea.

But first with beef and captain’s biscuits
And pickled pork they loaded she.

There was guzzling Jack, and gorging Jimmy,
And the youngster he was little Bil-ly.

Now very soon they were so greedy,
They didn’t leave not one split pea.

Says guzzling Jack to gorging Jimmy,
I am confounded hung-ery.

Says gorging Jim to guzzling Jacky,
We have no wittles, so we must eat we.

Says guzzling Jack to gorging Jimmy,
O gorging Jim, what a fool you be.

There’s little Bill as is young and tender,
We ’re old and tough—so let’s eat he.

O Bill, we’re going to kill and eat you,
So undo the collar of your chemie.

When Bill he heard this information,
He used his pocket-handkerchee.

O let me say my Catechism
As my poor mammy taught to me.

Make haste, make haste, says guzzling Jacky,
Whilst Jim pulled out his snicker-snee.

So Bill went up the main-top-gallant mast,
When down he fell on his bended knee.

He scarce had said his Catechism,
When up he jumps: ‛There’s land I see!

‛There’s Jerusalem and Madagascar
And North and South Ameri-key.

‛There’s the British fleet a-riding at anchor,
With Admiral Napier, K.C.B.’

So when they came to the Admiral’s vessel,
He hanged fat Jack and flogged Jim-my.

But as for little Bill, he made him
The Captain of a Seventy-three.

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