The Rose and the Ring  by William Makepeace Thackeray


Here begins the pantomine.

Royal folks at breakfast time.

Awful consequence of crime!

Ah, I fear, King Valoroso,

That your conduct is but so‑so!

Here, behold the monarch sit,

With her majesty opposite.

How the monarch ruled his nation.

Gruffanuff, and what her station.

Beware of pride without a cause.

Who the fairy Blackstick was.

Fairy roses, Fairy rings,

Turn out sometimes troublesome things.

Flattering courtiers make poor martyrs.

Who was king of the Crim Tartars?

Gruffanuff is silenced quite,

Don't you think she served him right?

All ye footmen, rude and rough,

Warning take by Gruffanuff!

How the Princess, as she played,

Met a little beggar-maid.

How this little beggar-baby

Danced and sang, as droll as may be.

Of the mistress and the maid,

Whilst one worked, the other played.

Shows how Giglio evinces

Idle tastes like other princes.

How his pretty cousin meets him,

And how saucily she treats him.

Much I fear, when hearts are ill,

Small 's the good of doctor's pill.

Folks with whom we're all acquainted

Aren't so handsome as they're painted.

O you painter, how you flatter!

Sure he must be laughing at her!

Other girls, the author guesses,

Love to flirt besides princesses.

Other folks, as well as they,

Blindly fling good luck away.

Flourish trumpets! rattle drums

Royal Bulbo this way comes!

Friends, if we were princes, too,

Drums would beat for me and you.

Giglio's jealous of the Crim-

Tartar prince, and laughs at him.

Here's a pretty figure for laughter!

How they dined and quarrelled after,

Read, and take a warning by 't,

Have good care of what you write.

Poor Betsinda! Much, I fear,

Grief 's in store for you, my dear!

Jealousy, in some men's souls,

Warmer burns than pans of coals.

Even though you wear a crown,

Burning love will knock you down.

See the Monarch in a huff;

Look at lovely Gruffanuff!

Critics serve us authors thus:

Sport to them is death to us.

Leaving Bulbo in this fix,

We return to Gruffy's tricks.

She has Giglio's plighted troth.

Prince and maid, she hates them both.

See! How woman's anger flies out,

Sure they'll tear Betsinda's eyes out!

While the rope 's round Bulbo's neck fast,

King and Queen sit down to breakfast.

Here, upon the new scaffold

Thank our stars! Jack Ketch is baffled;

Bulbo and his bride are married.

Now we're to Betsinda carried.

To a hut she gains admission,

What a touching recognition!

Champion bold of right and beauty,

To Rosalba pay your duty!

You, who with success would fight,

Should be strong as well as right.

How Count Hogginarmo woo'd her,

Surely nothing could be ruder.

Much I fear your reign is over.

Poor Rosalba! where's your lover?

King Padella comes a wooing.

Here we see what Giglio's doing.

As becomes his lineage knightly,

Master Giglio acts politely.

Of the bag, and how she gave it,

Oh! how I should like to have it!

Humble pie is wholesome meat,

Good for all of us to eat.

In the papers here we read

Most important news indeed.

On perusal of this letter

Giglio swears that he'll abet her.

Now good-bye to book and pen,

Follow Giglio, gentlemen!

Hasten, rescue! Giglio run! for

Else our poor Rosalba 's done for.

Little suffering victim tender!

From these lions Heaven defend her!

I'll keep clear when lions sup;

These ate Hogginarmo up.

Yet the terrible Crim Tartar,

Still would poor Rosalba martyr.

Of poor Bulbo, how they picked him

Out, as usual, for a victim.

May we ne'er be thus befriended!

Bulbo's pains seem well-nigh ended.

Hark! they play the March in Saul!

But the young Queen rescues all.

Kissings, huggings, billings, cooings,

And all sorts of merry doings.

After kissing, billing, cooing,

Up, Sir King! for mischief 's brewing!

Trumpets pealing, chargers prancing,

Stabbing, slashing, axing, lancing.

Now the dreadful battle 's over,

Onward ride they, maid and lover.

Here's a pretty pair of knaves,

Tell us how the king behaves.

Bulbo now is happy quite.

Madam Gruff demands her right.

Giglio shows extreme disgust,

Says he won't, but knows he must.

Gruffy, 'twixt the cup and lip,

Sure we know there's many a slip.

Plans of rogues are often crost,

Gruffy's husband 's won and lost.

So our little story ends,

Merry Christmas, good my friends.