A desperate dragon, of singular size,—
(His name was Wing-Fang-Scratch-Claw-Fum,)—
Flew up one day to the top of the skies,
While all the spectators with terror were dumb.
The vagabond vow'd, as he sported his tail,
He'd have a sky lark, and some glorious fun;
For he'd nonplus the natives that day without fail,
By causing a total eclipse of the sun!
He collected a crowd by his impudent boast,
(Some decently dress'd—some with hardly a rag on,)
Who said that the country was ruin'd and lost,
Unless they could compass the death of the dragon.
The emperor came with the whole of his court,—
(His majesty's name was Ding-Dong-Junk)—
And he said—to delight in such profligate sport,
The monster was mad, or disgracefully drunk.
He call'd on the army: the troops to a man
Declar'd—though they didn't feel frighten'd the least—
They never could think it a sensible plan
To go within reach of so ugly a beast.
So he offer'd his daughter, the lovely Nan-Keen,
And a painted pavilion, with many a flag on,
To any brave knight who would step in between
The solar eclipse and the dare-devil dragon.
Presently came a reverend bonze,—
(His name, I'm told, was Long-Chin-Joss,)—
With a phiz very like the complexion of bronze;
And for suitable words he was quite at a loss.
But, he humbly submitted, the orthodox way
To succour the sun, and to bother the foe,
Was to make a new church-rate without more delay,
As the clerical funds were deplorably low.
Though he coveted nothing at all for himself,
(A virtue he always delighted to brag on,)
He thought, if the priesthood could pocket some pelf,
It might hasten the doom of this impious dragon.
The next that spoke was the court buffoon,—
(The name of this buffer was Whim-Wham-Fun,)—
Who carried a salt-box, and large wooden spoon,
With which, he suggested, the job might be done.
Said the jester, "I'll wager my rattle and bells,
Your pride, my fine fellow, shall soon have a fall:
If you make many more of your damnable yells,
I know a good method to make you sing small!"
And, when he had set all the place in a roar,
As his merry conceits led the whimsical wag on,
He hinted a plan to get rid of the bore,
By putting some salt on the tail of the dragon!
At length appear'd a brisk young knight,—
(The far-fam'd warrior, Bam-Boo-Gong,)—
Who threaten'd to burke the big blackguard outright,
And have the deed blazon'd in story and song.
With an excellent shot from a very long bow
He damag'd the dragon by cracking his crown;
When he fell to the ground (as my documents show)
With a smash that was heard many miles out of town.
His death was the signal for frolic and spree—
They carried the corpse in a common stage-waggon;
And the hero was crown'd with the leaves of green tea,
For saving the sun from the jaws of the dragon.
A poet, whose works were all the rage,—
(This gentleman's name was Sing-Song-Strum,)—
Told the terrible tale on his popular page:
(Compar'd with his verses, my rhymes are but rum!)
The Royal Society claim'd, as their right,
The spoils of the vanquish'd—his wings, tail, and claws;
And a brilliant bravura, describing the fight,
Was sung on the stage with unbounded applause.
"The valiant Bam-Boo" was a favourite toast,
And a topic for future historians to fag on,
Which, when it had reach'd to the Middlesex coast,
Gave rise to the legend of "George and the Dragon."