Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The King of Yvetot
By Pierre Jean de Béranger (1780–1857)
Version of William Makepeace Thackeray

THERE was a king of Yvetot,
  Of whom renown hath little said,
Who let all thoughts of glory go,
  And dawdled half his days a-bed;
And every night, as night came round,        5
By Jenny with a nightcap crowned,
        Slept very sound:
    Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!
    That’s the kind of king for me.
And every day it came to pass,        10
  That four lusty meals made he;
And step by step, upon an ass,
  Rode abroad, his realms to see;
And wherever he did stir,
What think you was his escort, sir?        15
        Why, an old cur.
    Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!
    That’s the kind of king for me.
If e’er he went into excess,
  ’Twas from a somewhat lively thirst;        20
But he who would his subjects bless,
  Odd’s fish!—must wet his whistle first;
And so from every cask they got,
Our king did to himself allot
        At least a pot.        25
    Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!
    That’s the kind of king for me.
To all the ladies of the land
  A courteous king, and kind, was he—
The reason why, you’ll understand,        30
  They named him Pater Patriæ.
Each year he called his fighting men,
And marched a league from home, and then
        Marched back again.
    Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!        35
    That’s the kind of king for me.
Neither by force nor false pretense,
  He sought to make his kingdom great,
And made (O princes, learn from hence)
  “Live and let live” his rule of state.        40
’Twas only when he came to die,
That his people who stood by
        Were known to cry.
    Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!
    That’s the kind of king for me.        45
The portrait of this best of kings
  Is extant still, upon a sign
That on a village tavern swings,
  Famed in the country for good wine.
The people in their Sunday trim,        50
Filling their glasses to the brim,
        Look up to him,
    Singing “ha, ha, ha!” and “he, he, he!
    That’s the sort of king for me.”

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