The Three Kings Of Chickeraboo

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

There were three niggers of Chickeraboo
Pacifico, Bang-Bang, Popchop who
Exclaimed, one terribly sultry day,
"Oh, let's be kings in a humble way."

The first was a highly-accomplished "bones,"
The next elicited banjo tones,
The third was a quiet, retiring chap,
Who danced an excellent break-down "flap."

"We niggers," said they, "have formed a plan
By which, whenever we like, we can
Extemporize islands near the beach,
And then we'll collar an island each.

"Three casks, from somebody else's stores,
Shall rep-per-esent our island shores,
Their sides the ocean wide shall lave,
Their heads just topping the briny wave.

"Great Britain's navy scours the sea,
And everywhere her ships they be,
She'll recognize our rank, perhaps,
When she discovers we're Royal Chaps.

"If to her skirts you want to cling,
It's quite sufficient that you're a king:
She does not push inquiry far
To learn what sort of king you are."

A ship of several thousand tons,
And mounting seventy-something guns,
Ploughed, every year, the ocean blue,
Discovering kings and countries new.

The brave Rear-Admiral Bailey Pip,
Commanding that superior ship,
Perceived one day, his glasses through,
The kings that came from Chickeraboo.

"Dear eyes!" said Admiral Pip, "I see
Three flourishing islands on our lee.
And, bless me! most extror'nary thing!
On every island stands a king!

"Come, lower the Admiral's gig," he cried,
"And over the dancing waves I'll glide;
That low obeisance I may do
To those three kings of Chickeraboo!"

The admiral pulled to the islands three;
The kings saluted him graciouslee.
The admiral, pleased at his welcome warm,
Pulled out a printed Alliance form.

"Your Majesty, sign me this, I pray
I come in a friendly kind of way
I come, if you please, with the best intents,
And Queen Victoria's compliments."

The kings were pleased as they well could be;
The most retiring of all the three,
In a "cellar-flap" to his joy gave vent
With a banjo-bones accompaniment.

The great Rear-Admiral Bailey Pip
Embarked on board his jolly big ship,
Blue Peter flew from his lofty fore,
And off he sailed to his native shore.

Admiral Pip directly went
To the Lord at the head of the Government,
Who made him, by a stroke of a quill,
Baron de Pippe, of Pippetonneville.

The College of Heralds permission yield
That he should quarter upon his shield
Three islands, vert, on a field of blue,
With the pregnant motto "Chickeraboo."

Ambassadors, yes, and attaches, too,
Are going to sail for Chickeraboo,
And, see, on the good ship's crowded deck,
A bishop, who's going out there on spec.

And let us all hope that blissful things
May come of alliance with darkey kings.
Oh, may we never, whatever we do,
Declare a war with Chickeraboo!

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