Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
 
The Ballad of Eliza Davis
By William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)
 
From “Ballads of Policeman X”

GALLIANT gents and lovely ladies,
  List a tail vich late befel,
Vich I heard it, bein on duty,
  At the pleace hoffice, Clerkenwell.
 
Praps you know the fondling chapel,        5
  Vere the little children sings:
(Lor! I likes to hear on Sundies
  Them there pooty little things!)
 
In this street there lived a housemaid,
  If you particklarly ask me where—        10
Vy, it vas at four-and-tventy
  Guilford Street, by Brunsvick Square.
 
Vich her name was Eliza Davis,
  And she went to fetch the beer;
In the street she met a party        15
  As was quite surprised to see her.
 
Vich he vas a British sailor,
  For to judge him by his look:
Tarry jacket, canvas trousies,
  Ha-la Mr. T. P. Cooke.        20
 
Presently this mann accostes
  Of this hinnocent young gal:
“Pray,” saysee, “excuse my freedom,
  You’re so like my sister Sal!
 
“You’re so like my sister Sally,        25
  Both in valk and face and size,
Miss, that—dang my old lee scuppers—
  It brings tears into my heyes!
 
“I’m a mate on board a wessel,
  I’m a sailor bold and true;        30
Shiver up my poor old timbers,
  Let me be a mate for you!
 
“What’s your name, my beauty, tell me!”
  And she faintly hansers, “Lor,
Sir, my name’s Eliza Davis,        35
  And I live at tventy-four.”
 
Hofttimes came this British seaman,
  This deluded gal to meet;
And at tventy-four was welcome,
  Tventy-four in Guilford Street.        40
 
And Eliza told her master
  (Kinder they than misuses are),
How in marridge he had ast her,
  Like a galliant British tar.
 
And he brought his landlady vith him        45
  (Vich was all his hartful plan),
And she told how Charley Thompson
  Reely vas a good young man:
 
And how she herself had lived in
  Many years of union sweet        50
Vith a gent she met promiskous,
  Valkin in the public street.
 
And Eliza listened to them,
  And she thought that soon their bands
Vould be published at the fondlin,        55
  Hand the clergyman jine their ands.
 
And he ast about the lodgers
  (Vich her master let some rooms),
Likevise vere they kep their things, and
  Vere her master kep his spoons.        60
 
Hand this vicked Charley Thompson
  Came on Sundy veek to see her;
And he sent Eliza Davis
  Hout to fetch a pint of beer.
 
Hand while pore Eliza vent to        65
  Fetch the beer, dewoid of sin,
This etrocious Charley Thompson
  Let his wile accomplish hin.
 
To the lodgers, their apartments,
  This abandingd female goes;        70
Prigs their shirts and umberellas;
  Prigs their boots, and hats, and clothes—
 
While the scoundrle Charley Thompson,
  Lest his wictim should escape,
Hocust her vith rum and vater,        75
  Like a fiend in huming shape.
 
But a hi was fixed upon ’em
  Vich these raskles little sore;
Namely, Mr. Hide, the landlord
  Of the house at tventy-four.        80
 
He was valkin in his garden,
  Just afore he vent to sup;
And on looking up he sor the
  Lodgers’ vinders lighted up.
 
Hup the stairs the landlord tumbled;        85
  Something’s going wrong, he said;
And he caught the vicked voman
  Underneath the lodger’s bed.
 
And he called a brother pleaceman,
  Vich was passing on his beat,        90
Like a true and galliant feller,
  Hup and down in Guilford Street.
 
And that pleaceman able-bodied
  Took this voman to the cell;
To the cell vere she was quodded,        95
  In the Close of Clerkenwell.
 
And though vicked Charley Thompson
  Boulted like a miscrant base,
Presently another pleaceman
  Took him to the self-same place.        100
 
And this precious pair of raskles
  Tuesday last came up for doom;
By the beak they was committed,
  Vich his name was Mr. Combe.
 
Has for poor Eliza Davis,        105
  Simple gal of tventy-four,
She, I ope, vill never listen
  In the streets to sailors moar.
 
But if she must ave a sweet-art
  (Vich most every gal expex),        110
Let her take a jolly pleaceman;
  Vich his name peraps is—X.
 
 
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