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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

May 1

Lines on a Late Hospicious Ewent

By William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)

  • By a Gentleman of the Foot-Guards. (Blue.)
    Prince Arthur was the third son of Queen Victoria. He was born on May 1, the birth day of the Duke of Wellington, and was named after him.

  • I PACED upon my beat

    With steady step and slow,

    All huppandawnd of Ranelagh Street;

    Ran’lagh St. Pimlico.

    While marching huppandownd

    Upon that fair May morn,

    Beold the booming cannings sound,

    A royal child is born!

    The Ministers of State

    Then presnly I sor,

    They gallops to the Pallis gate,

    In carridges and for.

    With anxious looks intent,

    Before the gate they stop,

    There comes the good Lord President,

    And there the Archbishopp.

    Lord John he next elights;

    And who comes here in haste?

    ’Tis the ero of one underd fights,

    The caudle for to taste.

    Then Mrs. Lily, the nuss,

    Towards them steps with joy;

    Says the brave old Duke, “Come tell to us,

    Is it a gal or a boy?”

    Says Mrs. L. to the Duke,

    “Your Grace, it is a Prince.”

    And at that nuss’s bold rebuke

    He did both laugh and wince.

    He vews with pleasant look

    This pooty flower of May,

    Then says the wenerable Duke,

    “Egad, it’s my buthday.”

    By memory backards borne,

    Peraps his thoughts did stray

    To that old place where he was born

    Upon the first of May.

    Perhaps he did recall

    The ancient towers of Trim;

    And County Meath and Dangan Hall

    They did rewisit him.

    I phansy of him so

    His good old thoughts employin’;

    Fourscore years and one ago

    Beside the flowin’ Boyne.

    His father praps he sees,

    Most musicle of Lords,

    A playing maddrigles and glees

    Upon the Arpiscords.

    Jest phansy this old Ero

    Upon his mother’s knee!

    Did ever lady in this land

    Ave greater sons than she?

    And I shouldn be surprize

    While this was in his mind,

    If a drop there twinkled in his eyes

    Of unfamiliar brind.


    To Hapsly Ouse next day

    Drives up a Broosh and for,

    A gracious prince sits in that Shay

    (I mention him with Hor!).

    They ring upon the bell,

    The Porter shows his Ed,

    (He fought at Vaterloo as vell,

    And vears a Veskit red).

    To see that carriage come,

    The people round it press:

    “And is the galliant Duke at ome?”

    “Your Royal Ighness, yes,”

    He stepps from out the Broosh

    And in the gate is gone;

    And X, although the people push,

    Says wery kind, “Move hon.”

    The Royal Prince unto

    The galliant Duke did say,

    “Dear Duke, my little son and you

    Was born the self-same day.

    “The Lady of the land,

    My wife and Sovring dear,

    It is by her horgust command

    I wait upon you here.

    “That lady is as well

    As can expected be;

    And to your Grace she bid me tell

    This gracious message free.

    “That offspring of our race,

    Whom yesterday you see,

    To show our honour for your Grace,

    Prince Arthur he shall be.

    “That name it rhymes to fame;

    All Europe knows the sound:

    And I couldn’t find a better name

    If you’d give me twenty pound.

    “King Arthur had his knights

    That girt his table round,

    But you have won a hundred fights,

    Will match ’em, I’ll be bound.

    “You fought with Bonypart,

    And likewise Tippoo Saib;

    I name you then with all my heart

    The Godsire of this babe.”

    That Prince his leave was took,

    His hinterview was done,

    So let us give the good old Duke

    Good luck of his god-son,

    And wish him years of joy

    In this our time of Schism,

    And hope he’ll hear the Royal boy

    His little catechism.

    And my pooty little Prince

    That’s come our arts to cheer,

    Let me my loyal powers ewince

    A welcomin of you ere.

    And the Poit-Laureat’s crownd,

    I think, in some respex,

    Egstremely shootable might be found

    For honest Pleaseman X.