There lived a King, as I’ve been
In the wonder-working days of old,
When hearts were twice as good as gold,
And twenty times as mellow.
Good temper triumphed in his face,
And in his heart he found a place
For all the erring human race
And every wretched fellow.
When he had Rhenish wine to drink
It made him very sad to think
That some, at junket or at jink,
Must be content with toddy.
He wished all men as rich as he
(And he was rich as rich could be),
So to the top of every tree
Ambassadors cropped up like hay,
Prime Ministers and such as they
Grew like asparagus in May,
And Dukes were three a penny.
Lord Chancellors were cheap as sprats.
And Bishops in their shovel hats
Were plentiful as tabby cats—
If possible, too many.
On every side Field-Marshals gleamed,
Small beer were Lords Lieutenant deemed
With Admirals the ocean teemed
All round his wide dominions;
And Party Leaders you might meet
In twos and threes in every street
Maintaining, with no little heat,
Their various opinions.
That King, although no one denies
His heart was of abnormal size,
Yet he’d have acted otherwise
If he had been acuter.
The end is easily foretold,
When every blessed thing you hold
Is made of silver, or of gold,
You long for simple pewter.
When you have nothing else to wear
But cloth of gold and satins rare,
For cloth of gold you cease to care—
Up goes the price of shoddy.
In short, whoever you may be,
To this conclusion you’ll agree,
When every one is somebodee,
Then no one’s anybody!
Try we life long, we can never
Straighten out life’s tangled skein,
Why should we, in vain endeavor,
Guess and guess and guess again?
Life’s a pudding full of plums;
Care’s a canker that benumbs.
Wherefore waste our elocution
On impossible solution?
Life’s a pleasant institution,
Let us take it as it comes!
Set aside the dull enigma,
We shall guess it all too soon;
Failure brings no kind of stigma—
Dance we to another tune!
String the lyre and fill the cup,
Lest on sorrow we should sup.
Hop and skip to Fancy’s fiddle,
Hands across and down the middle—
Life’s perhaps the only riddle
That we shrink from giving up!