The King of Brentford
There was a king in Brentford,—of whom no legends tell,
But who, without his glory,—could eat and sleep right well.
His Polly's cotton nightcap,—it was his crown of state,
He slept of evenings early,—and rose of mornings late.
All in a fine mud palace,—each day he took four meals,
And for a guard of honor,—a dog ran at his heels,
Sometimes, to view his kingdoms,—rode forth this monarch good,
And then a prancing jackass—he royally bestrode.
There were no costly habits—with which this king was curst,
Except (and where's the harm on't?)—a somewhat lively thirst;
But people must pay taxes,—and kings must have their sport,
So out of every gallon—His Grace he took a quart.
He pleased the ladies round him,—with manners soft and bland;
With reason good, they named him,—the father of his land.
Each year his mighty armies—marched forth in gallant show;
Their enemies were targets—their bullets they were tow.
He vexed no quiet neighbor,—no useless conquest made,
But by the laws of pleasure,—his peaceful realm he swayed.
And in the years he reigned,—through all this country wide,
There was no cause for weeping,—save when the good man died.
The faithful men of Brentford,—do still their king deplore,
His portrait yet is swinging,—beside an alehouse door.
And topers, tender-hearted,—regard his honest phiz,
And envy times departed—that knew a reign like his.
This poem is in the public domain.
About this Poem
From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).
William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.
Date Published: 2018-07-11
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/king-brentford