by: W.M. Thackeray (1811-1863)

      HERE were three sailors of Bristol City
      Who took a boat and went to sea,
      But first with beef and captain's biscuits,
      And pickled pork they loaded she.
      There was a gorging Jack, and guzzling Jimmy,
      And the youngest he was little Billee.
      Now when they'd got as far as the Equator,
      They'd nothing left but one split pea.
      Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
      "I am extremely hungaree."
      To gorging Jack says guzzling Jimmy,
      "We've nothing left, us must eat we."
      Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
      "With one another we shouldn't agree!
      There's little Bill, he's young and tender,
      We're old and tough, so let's eat he."
      "O Billy! we're going to kill and eat you,
      So undo the button of your chemie."
      When Bill received this information,
      He used his pocket-handkerchief.
      "First let me say my catechism,
      Which my poor mother taught me."
      "Make haste! make haste!" says guzzling Jimmy,
      While Jack pulled on his snicker-snee.
      Then Bill went up to the main-top-gallant-mast,
      And down he fell on his bended knee,
      He scarce had come to the Twelfth Commandment
      When up he jumps--"There's land I see!"
      "Jerusalem and Madagascar,
      And North and South Amerikee,
      There's the British flag a-riding at anchor,
      With Admiral Napier, K.C.B."
      So when they got aboard of the Admiral's,
      He hanged fat Jack and flogged Jimmee,
      But as for little Bill, he made him
      The captain of a Seventy-three.

"Little Billee" is reprinted from A Nonsense Anthology. Ed. Carolyn Wells. New York: Charles Scribner's Son, 1915.




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