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Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt


 

 

LITTLE BILLEE

[41] "Little Billee," by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-63), finds a place here because it carries a good lesson good-naturedly rendered. An accomplished teacher recommends it, and I recollect two young children in Chicago who sang it frequently for years without getting tired of it.

There were three sailors of 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 gorging Jack and guzzling Jimmy,

And the youngest he was little Billee.

Now when they got so far as the Equator

They'd nothing left but one split pea.


Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,

"I am extremely hungaree."

To gorging Jack says guzzling Jimmy,

"We've nothing left, us must eat we."


Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,

"With one another, we shouldn't agree!

There's little Bill, he's young and tender,

We're old and tough, so let's eat he."


"Oh! Billy, we're going to kill and eat you,

So undo the button of your chemie."

When Bill received this information

He used his pocket-handkerchie.


"First let me say my catechism,

Which my poor mammy taught to me."

"Make haste, make haste," says guzzling Jimmy

While Jack pulled out his snickersnee.


[42]

So Billy went up to the main-topgallant mast,

And down he fell on his bended knee.

He scarce had come to the Twelfth Commandment

When up he jumps, "There's land I see.


"Jerusalem and Madagascar,

And North and South Amerikee:

There's the British flag a-riding at anchor,

With Admiral Napier, K.C.B."


So when they got aboard of the Admiral's

He hanged fat Jack and flogged Jimmee;

But as for little Bill, he made him

The Captain of a Seventy-three.


WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY.


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