William And Bill

A poem by Edward Dyson

Our Mr. Jiggs was certainly an estimable youth,
A pillar of propriety, a champion of truth;
He had a good position in a warehouse in the town;
A staunch church-worker, he became a layman of renown.

Jiggs owned a bijou villa in a little suburb here;
His wife was small but precious, and their baby was a dear;
But a fly in William’s ointment (and intrude such creatures will)
Was his father, known about the neighborhood as “Bill.”

Now if you’re a serious soul, and known as “William” still,
It’s unpleasant to have hanging round a father who is “Bill.”
So William had discovered, for at sixty-two his dad
Behaved with great exuberance, aspired to be “a lad”;

Got shicker on occasion, and came home with the milk
(Which also means the whisky) and with fellows of the ilk
Would sing a ribald ditty, and he’d dance upon his hat,
Then curl hard down, and slumber on the goodly William’s mat.

If you’re a worker at the church, abhorring wicked fun,
An old man sleeping on your mat in full light of the sun
Is very detrimental; so William had to steal
From bed full oft his roystering pa to drag in by the heel.

And Bill went giddy with the girls, and made excessive love
To the wives of William’s neighbors. There was one two doors above
Who said he was a nice old man, so very clean and gay,
She let him buy her suppers, and went with him to the play.

Her husband was a travelling man. One day he spoke to Bill.
Bill pointed out where on the lawn toiled unsuspecting Will.
That ma he struck at Will with his fist, a thing of fear,
He knocked him down, he kicked him, and he trod upon his ear.

He beat him with a rake, and with the hose he washed him round,
Till William, stunned and helpless now, was presently half-downed.
Then said the fellow: “Billy Jiggs, I hope from this time out
You’ll kindly let my wife alone when I am not about.”

Will sadly looked upon his dad, reproachment in his eye.
Bills raised him up, and to his glance made reverent reply:
“Sins of the fathers fall upon the children. Be resigned.
It’s according to the gospel, so I thought you wouldn’t mind.”

Now William hides at Cooktown, and old Bill resides at hay.
Responsible for all his venal actions, so to say.
Of William Jiggs, whose “gorn all wrong,” a touching tale he’ll tell,
“A-renouncin’ of the Scriptures. And I brought him up so well!”

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