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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Charles Dibdin (1745–1814)


JOHN BULL for pastime took a prance,

Some time ago, to peep at France,

To talk of sciences and arts,

And knowledge gained in foreign parts.

Monsieur, obsequious, heard him speak,

And answered John in heathen Greek;

To all he asked, ’bout all he saw,

’Twas, “Monsieur, je vous n’entends pas.”

John to the Palais Royal come,

Its splendour almost struck him dumb.

“I say, whose house is that there here?”

“House? Je vous n’entends pas, monsieur.”

“What, Nongtongpaw again!” cries John;

“This fellow is some mighty Don;

No doubt he’s plenty for the maw.

I’ll breakfast with this Nongtongpaw.”

John saw Versailles from Marie’s height,

And cried, astonished at the sight,

“Whose fine estate is that there here?”

“State? Je vous n’entends pas, monsieur.”

“His? What! the land, and houses, too?

The fellow’s richer than a Jew;

On everything he lays his claw.

I’d like to dine with Nongtongpaw.”

Next tripping came a courtly fair.

John cried, enchanted with her air,

“What lovely wench is that there here?”

“Ventch! Je vous n’entends pas, monsieur.”

“What! he again? Upon my life,

A palace, lands, and then a wife,

Sir Joshua might delight to draw!

I’d like to sup with Nongtongpaw.

“But hold! whose funeral’s that?” cries John.

“Je vous n’entends pas.” “What! is he gone?

Wealth, fame, and beauty could not save

Poor Nongtongpaw, then, from the grave!

His race is run, his game is up.

I’d with him breakfast, dine, and sup,

But, since he chooses to withdraw,

Good-night t’ye, Mounseer Nongtongpaw.”