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About this Poem 

From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).


The King of Brentford

There was a king in Brentford,—of whom no legends tell, But who, without his glory,—could eat and sleep right well. His Polly's cotton nightcap,—it was his crown of state, He slept of evenings early,—and rose of mornings late. All in a fine mud palace,—each day he took four meals, And for a guard of honor,—a dog ran at his heels, Sometimes, to view his kingdoms,—rode forth this monarch good, And then a prancing jackass—he royally bestrode. There were no costly habits—with which this king was curst, Except (and where's the harm on't?)—a somewhat lively thirst; But people must pay taxes,—and kings must have their sport, So out of every gallon—His Grace he took a quart. He pleased the ladies round him,—with manners soft and bland; With reason good, they named him,—the father of his land. Each year his mighty armies—marched forth in gallant show; Their enemies were targets—their bullets they were tow. He vexed no quiet neighbor,—no useless conquest made, But by the laws of pleasure,—his peaceful realm he swayed. And in the years he reigned,—through all this country wide, There was no cause for weeping,—save when the good man died. The faithful men of Brentford,—do still their king deplore, His portrait yet is swinging,—beside an alehouse door. And topers, tender-hearted,—regard his honest phiz, And envy times departed—that knew a reign like his.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.

by this poet

  I seem, in the midst of the crowd,
    The lightest of all;
  My laughter rings cheery and loud,
    In banquet and ball.
  My lip hath its smiles and its sneers,
    For all men to see;
  But my soul, and my truth, and my tears,
    Are for thee, are for thee!

  Around me they flatter and fawn—
  Ah! bleak and barren was the moor,
    Ah! loud and piercing was the storm,
  The cottage roof was shelter'd sure,
    The cottage hearth was bright and warm—
  An orphan-boy the lattice pass'd,
    And, as he mark'd its cheerful glow,
  Felt doubly keen the midnight blast,
    And doubly cold the fallen
  Dear Jack, this white mug that with Guinness I fill,
  And drink to the health of sweet Nan of the Hill,
  Was once Tommy Tosspot's, as jovial a sot
  As e'er drew a spigot, or drain'd a full pot—
  In drinking all round 'twas his joy to surpass,
  And with all merry tipplers he swigg'd off his glass