Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE KING OF YVETOT, by PIERRE JEAN DE BERANGER



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THE KING OF YVETOT, by            
First Line: There flourished once a potentate
Last Line: This jolly little king!


THERE flourished once a potentate,
Whom history doesn't name;
He rose at ten, retired at eight,
And snored unknown to fame!
A night-cap for his crown he wore,
A common cotton thing,
Which Jeanette to his bedside bore,
This jolly little king!
Ho, ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha, ha!
This jolly little king!

With four diurnal banquets he
His appetite allayed,
And on a jackass leisurely
His royal progress made.
No cumbrous state his steps would clog,
Fear to the winds he'd fling;
His single escort was a dog,
This jolly little king!
Ho, ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha, ha!
This jolly little king!

He owned to only one excess,—
He doted on his glass,—
But when a king gives happiness,
Why that, you see, will pass!
On every bottle, small or great,
For which he used to ring,
He laid a tax inordinate,
This jolly little king!
Ho, ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha, ha!
This jolly little king!

Such crowds of pretty girls he found
Occasion to admire,
It gave his subjects double ground
For greeting him as Sire!
To shoot for cocoanuts he manned
His army every spring,
But all conscription sternly banned
This jolly little king!
Ho, ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha, ha!
This jolly little king!

He eyed no neighboring domain
With envy or with greed,
And, like a pattern sovereign,
Took Pleasure for his creed!
Yet, it was not, if aright I ween,
Until his life took wing,
His subjects saw that he had been
A jolly little king.
Ho, ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha, ha!
This jolly little king!

This worthy monarch, readers mine,
You even now may see
Embellishing a tavern-sign
Well known to you and me!
There, when the fête-day bottle flows,
Their bumpers they will bring,
And toast beneath his very nose
This jolly little king!
Ho, ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha, ha!
This jolly little king!





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