Dick Whittington And His Cat.

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Old 17-Oct-2010
Dick Whittington And His Cat.

Versified by Mrs. Clara Doty Bates.

Dick, as a little lad, was told
That the London streets were paved with gold.
He never, in all his life, had seen
A place more grand than the village green;
So his thoughts by day, and his dreams by night,
Pictured this city of delight,
Till whatever he did, wherever he went,
His mind was filled with discontent.

There was bitter taste to the peasant bread,
And a restless hardness to his bed;
So, after a while, one summer day,
Little Dick Whittington ran away.
Yes--ran away to London city!
Poor little lad! he needs your pity;
For there, instead of a golden street,
The hot, sharp stones abused his feet.

So tired he was he was fit to fall,--
Yet nobody cared for him at all;
He wandered here, and he wandered there,
With a heavy heart, for many a square.
And at last, when he could walk no more,
He sank down faint at a merchant's door.
And the cook--for once compassionate--
Took him in at the area-gate.

And she gave him bits of broken meat,
And scattered crusts, and crumbs, to eat;
And kept him there for her commands
To pare potatoes, and scour pans,
To wash the kettles and sweep the room;
And she beat him dreadfully with the broom;
And he staid as long as he could stay,
And again, in despair, he ran away.

Out towards the famous Highgate Hill
He fled, in the morning gray and chill;
And there he sat on a wayside stone,
And the bells of Bow, with merry tone,
Jangled a musical chime together,
Over the miles of blooming heather:
"Turn, turn, turn again, Whittington,
Thrice Lord Mayor of London town!"

And he turned--so cheered he was at that--
And, meeting a boy who carried a cat,
He bought the cat with his only penny,--
For where he had slept the mice were many.
Back to the merchant's his way he took,
To the pans and potatoes and cruel cook,
And he found Miss Puss a fine device,
For she kept his garret clear of mice.

The merchant was sending his ship abroad,
And he let each servant share her load;
One sent this thing, and one sent that,
And little Dick Whittington sent his cat.
The ship sailed out and over the sea,
Till she touched at last at a far country;
And while she waited to sell her store,
The captain and officers went ashore.

They dined with the king; the tables fine
Groaned with the meat and fruit and wine;
But, as soon as the guests were ranged about,
Millions of rats and mice came out.
They swarmed on the table, and on the floor,
Up from the crevices, in at the door,
They swept the food away in a breath,
And the guests were frightened almost to death!

To lose their dinners they thought a shame.
The captain sent for the cat. She came!
And right and left, in a wonderful way,
She threw, and slew, and spread dismay.
Then the Moorish king spoke up so bold:
"I will give you eighteen bags of gold,
If you will sell me the little thing."
"I will!" and the cat belonged to the king.

When the good ship's homeward voyage was done,
The money was paid to Dick Whittington;
At his master's wish 'twas put in trade;
Each dollar another dollar made.
Richer he grew each month and year,
Honored by all both far and near;
With his master's daughter for a wife,
He lived a prosperous, noble life.

And the tune the Bow-bells sang that day,
When to Highgate Hill he ran away,--
"Turn, turn, turn again, Whittington,
Thrice Lord Mayor of London town,"--
In the course of time came true and right,
He was Mayor of London, and Sir Knight;
And in English history he is known,
By the name of Sir Richard Whittington!

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