THE STREET OF A
THOUSAND LANTERNS
by Billy Bennett (1934)
(Almost a Gentleman)
Billy Bennett
In the street of the thousand lanterns
The East of Limehouse Reach
Lived a bland Chinee, who loved the sea
For he was a son of the beach.

At his pub called the Thousand Bung-holes
He would serve up dope and hashish
To a motley group who drank hair-soup
That was flavoured with Chinese moustaches.

He'd a wife called Who-flung-poo-poo
And at night when he came home merry
She'd jump out of bed, sling pots at his head
While the neighbours cried, 'Stick it, Jerry.'

They were married in umpteen-what-not
But they had no children sweet
She was fifty and fat, he was fatter than that
So never the twain shall meet.

They'd a beautiful niece called Wong-Wong
And Wong-Wong was yellow alright
Her father had been a Royal Marine
But two wongs don't make a white.

She'd eyes like the stars of the orient
And lips like hot cherries... yes, Sir
And the Chinks round Limehouse basin said,
'Oh, we must have a basin of her.'

She'd serve out the drinks and dance to the Chinks
And sing them an Eastern Pow-wow
If the tiddley Chinks had too many drinks
They'd go out to see a man about a bow-wow.

To the Port of a thousand Stenches
Came a Chinese junk one day
They'd sailed all the way from Suckitan Bay
That's an island off Houndsditch Way.

They'd a cargo of Chinese crackers aboard
But the crew had been wining with Bacchus
The ship bumped the dock, the crew got a shock
And the Captain sat down on his crackers.

To the bar of a thousand ales
From the ship came a conjuring man
A Celanese, from over the seas
By the name of Hugh Pi Kan. 

In the bar each night the Chinks he'd delight
And out of a Chinese caddy
He'd bring three rabbits, two bucks and a doe
And he'd ask them to find the lady.

He'd bring oranges out of his nostrils
And present them as souvenirs
He'd bring flowers and plants from out of his pants
And raspberries out of his ears.

Poor Wong-Wong fell for his magic
For Hugh Pi Kan's love she was burning
And Uncle Wun Lung and to Auntie Who-Flung
'Wong-Wong's going to take the wong turning.

When the bar was closed and Limehouse dozed
Uncle watched and Auntie kept nix
They saw the young man called Hugh Pi Kan
Showing Wong-Wong his box of tricks.

With a yell that awoke Limehouse
Wun Lung drew his snicker snee
He stabbed Wong-Wong in her em-bong-bong
And sliced Pi Kan's vertebrae. 

Then he tied both their pigtails together
And the pair in the river he threw
As they floated away tied together
He sang, 'I'll string along with you.'

All is silent in Limehouse Causeway
There is nothing but peasoup fog
It's so thick you can't see the lampposts
That's tough luck on a limping dog.

And that is the story of Wong-Wong
For a floating corpse is she
With her conjuring man from Suckitan
Who sailed o'er the Suckitan Sea. 
The end