Little Billee

by WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY (1811-1863)

There 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 gorging Jack and guzzling Jimmy,
And the youngest he was little Billee.
Now when they got so 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.”

“Oh! 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-handkerchie.

“First let me say my catechism,
Which my poor mammy taught to me.”
“Make haste, make haste,” says guzzling Jimmy
While Jack pulled out his snickersnee.

So Billy went up to the main-topgallant 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.

William Makepeace Thackeray

An English journalist and novelist, Thackeray became famous for his novel “VANITY FAIR”, a tale of two middle-class London families. Most of Thackeray’s major novels were published as monthly serials. Portraying upper and middle class English life in a satirical, as well as moralistic, fashion, Thackerary was considered the equal of Charles Dickens at one time. Indeed, some thought him superior.

William Makepeace Thackeray Contemporaries
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Emanuel Geibel
Oliver Wendell Holmes

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