Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > French
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. X–XI: French
 
The King of Yvetot
By Pierre Jean de Béranger (1780–1857)
 
From “Songs”

IT was a king of Yvetot,
  Whom few historians name;
A sleeper fast, a waker slow,
  No dreams had he of fame.
By Betty’s hand with night-cap crown’d,        5
He snored in state—the whole clock round—
            Profound!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! Ho! ho! ho! ho!
A kingdom match with Yvetot!
            Ho! ho!        10
 
Four goodly meals a day, within
  His palace-walls of mud,
He stow’d beneath his royal skin;
  And on an ass—his stud—
In triumph through his realm would jog,        15
His guard, with vigilance agog—
            A dog!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! Ho! ho! ho! ho!
A kingdom match with Yvetot!
            Ho! ho!        20
 
No costly regal tastes had he,
  Save thirstiness alone;
But ere a people blest can be,
  We must support the throne!
So from each cask new tapp’d he got        25
(His own tax-gath’rer), on the spot,
            A pot!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! Ho! ho! ho! ho!
A kingdom match with Yvetot!
            Ho! ho!        30
 
So well he pleased the damsels all,
  The folks could understand
A hundred reasons him to call
  The Father of his Land.
His troops he levied in his park        35
But twice a year—to hit a mark,
            And lark!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! Ho! ho! ho! ho!
A kingdom match with Yvetot!
            Ho! ho!        40
 
To stretch his rule he never sought;
  No neighbors’ slumbers vexed;
To frame his laws (as good kings ought)
  Took pleasure’s code for text.
He never caused his subjects dear        45
To shed save only on his bier—
            A tear!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! Ho! ho! ho! ho!
A kingdom match with Yvetot!
            Ho! ho!        50
 
The portrait of this prince serene,
  The greatest of his line,
In Yvetot may still be seen,
  His fav’rite beer-shop’s sign!
On holidays the boozing crowd        55
Shout, pledging deep the relic proud,
            Aloud,
Ha! ha! ha! ha! Ho! ho! ho! ho!
He was the king for Yvetot!
            Ho! ho!        60
 
 
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