The Ballad of Eliza Davis

- 1811-1863
  Galliant gents and lovely ladies,
    List a tail vich late befel,
  Vich I heard it, bein on duty,
    At the Pleace Hoffice, Clerkenwell.

  Praps you know the Fondling Chapel,
    Vere the little children sings:
  (Lor! I likes to hear on Sundies
    Them there pooty little things!)

  In this street there lived a housemaid,
    If you particklarly ask me where—
  Vy, it vas at four-and-tventy
    Guilford Street, by Brunsvick Square.

  Vich her name was Eliza Davis,
    And she went to fetch the beer:
  In the street she met a party
    As was quite surprized to see her.

  Vich he vas a British Sailor,
    For to judge him by his look:
  Tarry jacket, canvass trowsies,
    Ha-la Mr. T. P. Cooke.

  Presently this Mann accostes
    Of this hinnocent young gal—
  "Pray," saysee, "excuse my freedom,
    You're so like my Sister Sal!

  "You're so like my Sister Sally,
    Both in valk and face and size,
  Miss, that—dang my old lee scuppers,
    It brings tears into my heyes!"

  "I'm a mate on board a wessel,
    I'm a sailor bold and true;
  Shiver up my poor old timbers,
    Let me be a mate for you!

  "What's your name, my beauty, tell me;"
    And she faintly hansers, "Lore,
  Sir, my name's Eliza Davis,
    And I live at tventy-four."

  Hoftimes came this British seaman,
    This deluded gal to meet;
  And at tventy-four was welcome,
    Tventy-four in Guilford Street.

  And Eliza told her Master
    (Kinder they than Missuses are),
  How in marridge he had ast her,
    Like a galliant Brittish Tar.

  And he brought his landlady vith him,
    (Vich vas all his hartful plan),
  And she told how Charley Thompson
    Reely vas a good young man.

  And how she herself had lived in
    Many years of union sweet,
  Vith a gent she met promiskous,
    Valkin in the public street.

  And Eliza listened to them,
    And she thought that soon their bands
  Vould be published at the Fondlin,
    Hand the clergymen jine their ands.

  And he ast about the lodgers,
    (Vich her master let some rooms),
  Likevise vere they kep their things, and
    Vere her master kep his spoons.

  Hand this vicked Charley Thompson
    Came on Sundy veek to see her;
  And he sent Eliza Davis
    Hout to fetch a pint of beer.

  Hand while pore Eliza vent to
    Fetch the beer, dewoid of sin,
  This etrocious Charley Thompson
    Let his wile accomplish him.

  To the lodgers, their apartments,
    This abandingd female goes,
  Prigs their shirts and umberellas;
    Prigs their boots, and hats, and clothes.

  Vile the scoundrel Charley Thompson,
    Lest his wictim should escape,
  Hocust her vith rum and vater,
    Like a fiend in huming shape.

  But a hi was fixt upon 'em
    Vich these raskles little sore;
  Namely, Mr. Hide, the landlord
    Of the house at tventy-four.

  He vas valkin in his garden,
    Just afore he vent to sup;
  And on looking up he sor the
    Lodgers' vinders lighted hup.

  Hup the stairs the landlord tumbled;
    Something's going wrong, he said;
  And he caught the vicked voman
    Underneath the lodgers' bed.

  And he called a brother Pleaseman,
    Vich vas passing on his beat;
  Like a true and galliant feller,
    Hup and down in Guilford Street.

  And that Pleaseman able-bodied
    Took this voman to the cell;
  To the cell vere she was quodded,
    In the Close of Clerkenwell.

  And though vicked Charley Thompson
    Boulted like a miscrant base,
  Presently another Pleaseman
    Took him to the self-same place.

  And this precious pair of raskles
    Tuesday last came up for doom;
  By the beak they was committed,
    Vich his name was Mr. Combe.

  Has for poor Eliza Davis,
    Simple gurl of tventy-four,
  SHE I ope, vill never listen
    In the streets to sailors moar.

  But if she must ave a sweet-art,
    (Vich most every gurl expex,)
  Let her take a jolly pleaseman;
    Vich his name peraps is—X.

More by William Makepeace Thackeray

The Mahogany Tree

Christmas is here;
Winds whistle shrill,
Icy and chill,
Little care we;
Little we fear
Weather without,
Shelter'd about
The Mahogany Tree.

Once on the boughs
Birds of rare plume
Sang, in its bloom;
Night birds are we;
Here we carouse,
Singing, like them,
Perch'd round the stem
Of the jolly old tree.

Here let us sport,
Boys, as we sit—
Laughter and wit
Flashing so free.
Life is but short—
When we are gone,
Let them sing on,
Round the old tree.

Evenings we knew,
Happy as this;
Faces we miss,
Pleasant to see.
Kind hearts and true,
Gentle and just,
Peace to your dust!
We sing round the tree.

Care, like a dun,
Lurks at the gate:
Let the dog wait;
Happy we 'll be!
Drink every one;
Pile up the coals,
Fill the red bowls,
Round the old tree.

Drain we the cup.—
Friend, art afraid?
Spirits are laid
In the Red Sea.
Mantle it up;
Empty it yet;
Let us forget,
Round the old tree.

Sorrows, begone!
Life and its ills,
Duns and their bills,
Bid we to flee.
Come with the dawn,
Blue-devil sprite,
Leave us to-night,
Round the old tree.

The Speculators

  The night was stormy and dark,
  The town was shut up in sleep:
  Only those were abroad who were out on a lark,
  Or those who'd no beds to keep.

  I pass'd through the lonely street,
  The wind did sing and blow;
  I could hear the policeman's feet
  Clapping to and fro.

  There stood a potato-man
  In the midst of all the wet;
  He stood with his 'tato-can
  In the lonely Hay-market.

  Two gents of dismal mien,
  And dank and greasy rags,
  Came out of a shop for gin,
  Swaggering over the flags:

  Swaggering over the stones,
  These shabby bucks did walk;
  And I went and followed those seedy ones,
  And listened to their talk.

  Was I sober or awake?
  Could I believe my ears?
  Those dismal beggars spake
  Of nothing but railroad shares.

  I wondered more and more:
  Says one—"Good friend of mine,
  How many shares have you wrote for,
  In the Diddlesex Junction line?"

  "I wrote for twenty," says Jim,
  "But they wouldn't give me one;"
  His comrade straight rebuked him
  For the folly he had done:

  "O Jim, you are unawares
  Of the ways of this bad town;
  I always write for five hundred shares,
  And THEN they put me down."

  "And yet you got no shares,"
  Says Jim, "for all your boast;"
  "I WOULD have wrote," says Jack, "but where
  Was the penny to pay the post?"

  "I lost, for I couldn't pay
  That first instalment up;
  But here's 'taters smoking hot—I say,
  Let's stop, my boy, and sup."

  And at this simple feast
  The while they did regale,
  I drew each ragged capitalist
  Down on my left thumbnail.

  Their talk did me perplex,
  All night I tumbled and tost,
  And thought of railroad specs,
  And how money was won and lost.

  "Bless railroads everywhere,"
  I said, "and the world's advance;
  Bless every railroad share
  In Italy, Ireland, France;
  For never a beggar need now despair,
  And every rogue has a chance."

The Battle of Limerick

    Ye Genii of the nation,
    Who look with veneration.
  And Ireland's desolation onsaysingly deplore;
    Ye sons of General Jackson,
    Who thrample on the Saxon,
  Attend to the thransaction upon Shannon shore,

    When William, Duke of Schumbug,
    A tyrant and a humbug,
  With cannon and with thunder on our city bore,
    Our fortitude and valiance
    Insthructed his battalions
  To respict the galliant Irish upon Shannon shore.

    Since that capitulation,
    No city in this nation
  So grand a reputation could boast before,
    As Limerick prodigious,
    That stands with quays and bridges,
  And the ships up to the windies of the Shannon shore.

    A chief of ancient line,
    'Tis William Smith O'Brine
  Reprisints this darling Limerick, this ten years or more:
    O the Saxons can't endure
    To see him on the flure,
  And thrimble at the Cicero from Shannon shore!

    This valliant son of Mars
    Had been to visit Par's,
  That land of Revolution, that grows the tricolor;
    And to welcome his returrn
    From pilgrimages furren,
  We invited him to tay on the Shannon shore.

    Then we summoned to our board
    Young Meagher of the sword:
  'Tis he will sheathe that battle-axe in Saxon gore;
    And Mitchil of Belfast
    We bade to our repast,
  To dthrink a dish of coffee on the Shannon shore.

    Convaniently to hould
    These patriots so bould,
  We tuck the opportunity of Tim Doolan's store;
    And with ornamints and banners
    (As becomes gintale good manners)
  We made the loveliest tay-room upon Shannon shore.

    'Twould binifit your sowls,
    To see the butthered rowls,
  The sugar-tongs and sangwidges and craim galyore,
    And the muffins and the crumpets,
    And the band of hearts and thrumpets,
  To celebrate the sworry upon Shannon shore.

    Sure the Imperor of Bohay
    Would be proud to dthrink the tay
  That Misthress Biddy Rooney for O'Brine did pour;
    And, since the days of Strongbow,
    There never was such Congo—
  Mitchil dthrank six quarts of it—by Shannon shore.

    But Clarndon and Corry
    Connellan beheld this sworry
  With rage and imulation in their black hearts' core;
    And they hired a gang of ruffins
    To interrupt the muffins,
  And the fragrance of the Congo on the Shannon shore.

    When full of tay and cake,
    O'Brine began to spake;
  But juice a one could hear him, for a sudden roar
    Of a ragamuffin rout
    Began to yell and shout,
  And frighten the propriety of Shannon shore.

    As Smith O'Brine harangued,
    They batthered and they banged:
  Tim Doolan's doors and windies down they tore;
    They smashed the lovely windies
    (Hung with muslin from the Indies),
  Purshuing of their shindies upon Shannon shore.

    With throwing of brickbats,
    Drowned puppies and dead rats,
  These ruffin democrats themselves did lower;
    Tin kettles, rotten eggs,
    Cabbage-stalks, and wooden legs,
  They flung among the patriots of Shannon shore.

    O the girls began to scrame
    And upset the milk and crame;
  And the honorable gintlemin, they cursed and swore:
    And Mitchil of Belfast,
    'Twas he that looked aghast,
  When they roasted him in effigy by Shannon shore.

    O the lovely tay was spilt
    On that day of Ireland's guilt;
  Says Jack Mitchil, "I am kilt!  Boys, where's the back door?
    'Tis a national disgrace:
    Let me go and veil me face;"
  And he boulted with quick pace from the Shannon shore.

    "Cut down the bloody horde!"
    Says Meagher of the sword,
  "This conduct would disgrace any blackamore;"
    But the best use Tommy made
    Of his famous battle blade
  Was to cut his own stick from the Shannon shore.

    Immortal Smith O'Brine
    Was raging like a line;
  'Twould have done your sowl good to have heard him roar;
    In his glory he arose,
    And he rushed upon his foes,
  But they hit him on the nose by the Shannon shore.

    Then the Futt and the Dthragoons
    In squadthrons and platoons,
  With their music playing chunes, down upon us bore;
    And they bate the rattatoo,
    But the Peelers came in view,
  And ended the shaloo on the Shannon shore.