William Makepeace Thackeray

(1811-1863 / India)

Le Roi D’yvetot - Poem by William Makepeace Thackeray

Il etait un roi d'Yvetot,
Peu connu dans l'histoire;
Se levant tard, se couchant tot,
Dormant fort bien sans gloire,
Et couronne par Jeanneton
D'un simple bonnet de coton,
Oh! oh! oh! oh! ah! ah! ah! ah!
Quel bon petit roi c'etait la!
La, la.

Il fesait ses quatre repas
Dans son palais de chaume,
Et sur un ane, pas a pas,
Parcourait son royaume.
Joyeux, simple et croyant le bien,
Pour toute garde il n'avait rien
Qu'un chien.
Oh! oh! oh ! oh! ah! ah! ah! ah!
Il n'avait de gout onereux
Qu'une soif un peu vive;
Mais, en rendant son peuple heureux,
Il faut bien qu'un roi vive.
Lui-meme a table, et sans suppot,
Sur chaque muid levait un pot
Oh! oh! oh! oh! ah! ah! ah! ah!
Aux filles de bonnes maisons
Comme il avait su plaire,
Ses sujets avaient cent raisons
De le nommer leur pere:
D'ailleurs il ne levait de ban
Que pour tirer quatre fois l'an
Au blanc.
Oh! oh! oh! oh! ah! ah! ah! ah!
Il n'agrandit point ses etats,
Fut un voisin commode,
Et, modele des potentats,
Prit le plaisir pour code.
Ce n'est que loraqu'il expira,
Que le peuple qui l'enterra
Oh! oh! oh! oh! ah! ah! ah! ah!
On conserve encor le portrait
De ce digne et bon prince;
C'est l'enseigne d'un cabaret
Fameux dans la province.
Les jours de fete, bien souvent,
La foule s'ecrie en buvant
Oh! oh! oh! oh! ah! ah! ah! ah!

The King Of Yvetot

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,
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,
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?
Why, an old cur.
Sing ho, ho, ho !
If e'er he went into excess,
'Twas from a somewhat lively thirst;
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.
Sing ho, ho!
To all the ladies of the land,
A courteous king, and kind, was he;
The reason why you'll understand,
They named him Pater Patriae.
Each year he called his fighting men,
And marched a league from home, and then
Marched back again.
Sing ho, ho!
Neither by force nor false pretence,
He sought to make his kingdom great,
And made (O princes, learn from hence),—
'Live and let live,' his rule of state.
'Twas only when he came to die,
That his people who stood by,
Were known to cry.
Sing ho, ho!
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,
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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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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