Henry Clay Work

(1 October 1832 – 8 June 1884 / Middletown, Connecticut)

Where's My Billy Goat Gone To? - Poem by Henry Clay Work

'Twas a birthday gift Miss Posie had
When she was nine, and twenty:
Not of gold -- Oh, no! -- nor gem, nor pearl,
Tho' he who gave had plenty.
'Twas a gift she took so much to heart,
Her neighbors thought her silly;
'Twas a B-A-B-Y (Baby) Goat,
A snow-white Baby Billy!
Pretty little Billy, Billy -- Oh!
Where's my Billy Goat gone to?

Take my home! Take my farm!
Yes, me too (if you want to);
But tell me! tell me!
Where's my Billy Goat gone to?
Pretty little Billy, Billy -- Oh!
Where's my Billy Goat gone to?

When she tried to teach him how to read,
Twas only "baa" he'd utter;
As she coaxed him then with cake and cream,
He'd slyly turn to butt her.
Yet he taught himself a thousand tricks,
And many a curious caper;
He would clamber to her chimney top,
And dine there on brown paper.

When the winter came she bought him shoes,
And flannel red she ordered
For a Sunday suit, with trousers cut
Four-legged and embroidered
On the steeple soon in tatters hung,
They set the parson snarling;
And he called that goat Be-el-ze-bub --
The one that she called Darling.
Pretty little Billy, Billy -- Oh!
Where's my Billy Goat gone to?

He was fond of roaming on the rocks,
With workmen in the quarry;
And if there he found their luncheon pails,
Not he but they were sorry.
For he raised aloft his iron brow,
Despite the foreman's clamor;
And the pails, he crushed them one by one,
As with a blacksmith's hammer.
Pretty little Billy, Billy -- Oh!
Where's my Billy Goat gone to?

Then for pails replaced and pails concealed
Each morning he went searching,
Till at last he found a shining prize,
Upon a boulder perching.
Had he read its label, "Dynamite!"
He might have known his blunder;
But he gave it one tremendous blow,
And then came peals of thunder!
Pretty little Billy, Billy -- Oh!
Where's my Billy Goat gone to?


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Read poems about / on: baby, sorry, winter, snow, red, home



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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