Villon’s Good-Night

Villon’s Good-Night


You bible-sharps that thump on tubs, 1 false clericos
You lurkers on the Abram-sham, 2 beggar feigning sickness
You sponges miking round the pubs, 3 cadgers; loafing
You flymy titters fond of flam, 4 saucy girls; non-sense
You judes that clobber for the stramm, 5 women dress; game
You ponces good at talking tall,
With fawneys on your dexter famm— 6 rings; right hand
A mot’s good-night to one and all! 7 harlot


Likewise you molls that flash your bubs 8 prostitutes; expose paps
For swells to spot and stand you sam, 9 see; pay for
You bleeding bonnets, pugs, and subs,
You swatchel-coves that pitch and slam. 10 Punch-and-judy-man
You magsmen bold that work the cram, 11 pattering tradesman
You flats and joskins great and small,
Gay grass-widows and lawful-jam— 12 wife
A mot’s good-night to one and all!


For you, you coppers, narks, and dubs, 13 police; informers; warders
Who pinched me when upon the snam, 14 arrested; stealing
And gave me mumps and mulligrubs 15 "the blues"
With skilly and swill that made me clam, 16 refuse food
At you I merely lift my gam— 17 leg
I drink your health against the wall! 18 urinate
That is the sort of man I am,
A mot’s good-night to one and all!

The Farewell.

Paste ’em, and larrup ’em, and lamm!
Give Kennedy, and make ’em crawl! 19 thrash them and make them stir
I do not care one bloody damn,
A mot’s good-night to one and all.


William Ernest Henley, poet, critic, dramatist, and editor was born at Gloucester in 1849, and educated at the same city. In his early years (says Men of the Time) he suffered much from ill-health, and the first section of his Book of Verses (1888: 4th ed. 1893), In Hospital: Rhymes and Rhythms, was a record of experiences in the Old Infirmary, Edinburgh, in 1873-5. In 1875 he began writing for the London magazines, and in 1877 was one of the founders as well as the editor of London. In this journal much of his early verse appeared. He was afterwards appointed editor of The Magazine of Art, and in 1889 of The Scots, afterwards The National Observer. To these journals, as well as to The Athenaeum and Saturday Review he has contributed many critical articles, a selection of which was published in 1890 under the title of Views and Reviews. In collaboration with Robert Louis Stevenson he has published a volume of plays, one of which, Beau Austin, was produced at the Haymarket Theatre in 1892. His second volume of verses—The Song of the Sword—marks a new departure in style. He has edited a fine collection of verses, Lyra Heroica, and, with Mr. Charles Whibley, an anthology of English prose. In 1893 Mr. Henley received the honour of an L.L.D. degree of St. Andrew’s university. At the present time he is also editing The New Review, a series of Tudor Translations, a new Byron, a new Burns, and collaborating with Mr. J. S. Farmer in Slang and its Analogues; an historical dictionary of slang.

Taken from Musa Pedestris, Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang Rhymes [1536―1896], collected and annotated by John S. Farmer.

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. . .
Miss Dolly Trull
The By-Blow Of The Jug
The Cadger’s Ball
Dear Bill, This Stone-Jug
The Leary Man
A Hundred Stretches Hence
The Chickaleary Cove
Blooming Æsthetic
’Arry at a Political Picnic
Rum Coves that Relieve us
Villon’s Good-Night
Villon’s Straight Tip To All Cross Coves
Culture in the Slums
A Plank-Bed Ballad
The Rondeau of the Knock
The Rhyme of the Rusher
Wot Cher!
Our Little Nipper
The Coster’s Serenade