Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Miscellaneous
King Dagobert
Anonymous
 
(Excerpt)
Translated by John Oxenford

KING DAGOBERT, so stout,—
He wore his breeches wrong side out.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      Unseemly are        5
      The hose you wear.”
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he;
“But now I ’ll turn them right, you ’ll see.”
*        *        *        *        *
King Dagobert, one day,
Put on his coat of green so gay.        10
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “Look, mon roi,
      In your best coat
      A hole I note.”
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he;        15
“But yours is whole, so lend it me.”
 
His stockings, too, were seen
In holes,—by maggots gnawed, I ween.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,        20
      Just look below,
      Your calves you show.”
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he,
“So please your stockings lend to me.”
 
King Dagobert, so brave,        25
In winter was not wont to shave.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      You ’ll get, I hope,
      A little soap.”        30
Then said the king: “I will,” said he;
“Have you a penny? Lend it me.”
 
King Dagobert, of yore,
He wore his wig hind-part before.
      Good Saint Eloi        35
      Said: “O mon roi,
      Your wig ’s not right,
      You look a fright.”
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he;
“You ’ve got a scratch, so lend it me.”        40
 
King Dagobert, of yore,
His cloak too short in winter wore.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      Your cloak is scant,        45
      New cloth you want.”
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he,
“So put on inches two or three.”
 
King Dagobert wrote verse
So ill that nothing could be worse.        50
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      Songs, if you please,
      You ’ll leave to geese.”
Then said the king: “I will,” said he,        55
“So you shall make my songs for me.”
 
King Dagobert, they say,
Near Antwerp went to hunt one day.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,        60
      You ’re out of breath
      And tired to death.”
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he,
“A rabbit scampered after me.”
 
King Dagobert, of yore,        65
A mighty sword of iron wore.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      Ain’t you afraid
      Of that sharp blade?”        70
Then said the king: “I am,” said he,
“A wooden sword pray give to me.”
 
King Dagobert was sad,
His dogs were with the mange so bad.
      Good Saint Eloi        75
      Said: “O mon roi,
      To clean each hound
      It must be drowned.”
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he,
“So drowned with you they all shall be.”        80
 
King Dagobert, so stout,
When fighting, flung his blows about.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      I fear they will        85
      Your highness kill.”
Then said the king: “They may,” said he,
“So clap yourself in front of me.”
 
So proud the monarch grew
He thought the world he could subdue,        90
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      A trip so far
      Is full of care.”
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he,        95
“’T is better far at home to be.”
 
King Dagobert of old
Made war although ’t was winter cold.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,        100
      Your highness’ nose
      Will soon be froze.”
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he,
“So back again at home I ’ll be.”
 
One day, so runs the tale,        105
The king upon the sea would sail.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      If outward bound,
      You may be drowned.”        110
Then said the king: “That ’s true,” said he;
“Le roi boit, then, the cry will be.”
 
The good King Dagobert
Was very fond of his dessert.
      Good Saint Eloi        115
      Said: “O mon roi,
      More than enough
      You cut and stuff.”
“Pooh, monsieur,” said the king, said he;
“In stuffing you ’re a match for me.”        120
 
King Dagobert the great,
When he had tippled, walked not straight.
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      Your footsteps slide        125
      From side to side.”
“Pooh, monsieur,” said the king, said he;
“When you get drunk, you walk like me.”
 
And when the good king died,
The devil came to his bedside.        130
      Good Saint Eloi
      Said: “O mon roi,
      You can’t do less
      Than now confess.”
Then said the king: “Alas!” said he,        135
“Why can’t you die instead of me.”
 
 
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