G.H. Goodwin
Alfred the Great
This 'ere's about Charles the Second, 
Not 'im as lost 'is 'ead-
But feller who came after 
Oliver Cromwell were dead.

'E courted a lass as sold oranges 
Up an' down old London town. 
Nell Gwynn was wot they called 'er: 
She'd play hide an' seek with 'is crown

She'd amuse dear old Charlie
By sometimes dancin' a jig.
The things she did while performing
Fair took the curl from his wig

The court were fair astonished
At such low goin's on;
An' when Nell took to callin' at palace,
They thought it right took the bun.

Duke o' York who were Charlie's brother.
Then took a 'and in the game:
E' went straight up to t'monarch
An' said, "Wot's goin' on with this dame?"

Charlie laughed when 'e 'eard 'im,
An' said, "It's only a lark.
She's best bird I've clapped eyes on
Since I stopped feeding t'ducks in 'yde Park.

The Duke got real 'oity toity 
On 'earing these frivolous words, 
"That's no way for a King to be talking, 
Referring to dames as birds. "

"Why don't you mind your own business?" 
Said Charlie gettin' quite mad. 
"If you were sitting on me throne 
You'd be twice as bad."

That didn't go down well 
With t'duke who were kind of straight lace 
"By gum," said 'e with a royal snarl, 
"I'll 'ave that lass from that place."

When Nellie found out wot was 'appenin' 
She really started to fret, 
For selling oranges was not wot it was, 
And Charles was 'er second best bet.

She racked 'er brains to think of summat 
To foil 'er royal foe. 
But it's 'ard to think of anything 
When Charlie's rarin' to go.

She told Charlie, who was dallyin', 
And 'e stopped an' thought for a minute, 
Then said, "Don't thee worry Nellie lass, 
I'll tell 'im to put a sock in it."

So off 'e went to 'is brother's house 
An' banged on 'is front door, 
An' when t'Duke went an' opened it, 
Yelled, "Don't come to t'palace no more."

Duke were right upset at this, 
Cos at palace 'e liked to look in, 
Up there 'e dodged 'is Ma-in-law, 
An' 'is wife's attempts at cookin'.

So 'e called all 'is men, ten thousand in all, 
An' said, "Get ready to fight, 
I'll get Nell Gwynn out t'palace, 
If it takes me an' thee all night.

To get to t'palace they 'ad to climb a 'ill, 
An ' it were a 'eck of a walk, 
'Is men were so tired when they got to t'top, 
It caused a lot of rude talk.

Duke got fair mad when 'e 'eard them, 
An' shouted, "You lot are a dead loss!" 
"It's all right for thee, a sergeant said, 
"Thy's t'only one ridin' a hoss."

When they reached t'palace gates, Duke said, 
"Charge when I give the word. 
Then laughed an' said, "Aren't I silly, 
I've gone an' forgotten me sword. "

"We'll 'ave to go back an' fetch it, 
It won't take us a minute. 
It won't do for me to lead a charge 
Wavin' me 'and wi' nowt in it."

So off they went back to t'Duke's abode. 
"By gum," said t'Duke, "they're in bed, 
A fine thing when a feller goes fightin', 
You'd think I was already dead."

Just then 'is wife came to t'window 
An' shouted, "Wot's all that noise out theer?" 
"I want me sword luv," shouted t'Duke 
An' received it round 'is ear.

So off they went back to t'palace, 
Climbing that 'ill at the double, 
An' Duke could tell by the looks that 'e got, 
That 'is men were lookin' for trouble.

When they reached the gates of t'palace, 
Duke's men were fair tuckered out, 
An' started to check time by their sun dials, 
"We don't fight after ten," was the shout.

"It's a fine thing," said t'Duke, bangin' 'is sword, 
"You an' your union rule.
You let me come all this way for nowt, 
An' make me look such a fool!"

"It's all thy fault," said t'sergeant. 
"Fancy forgettin' thy sword.
We'd 'ave 'ad time to fight if it weren't for thee
An' now all t'men are bored."

On 'earin this, Duke went real wild, 
An' charged palace gates with a cry, 
"I'll do it meself, I don't need your help. 
But Nellie was ready and let fly.

She caught the Duke a real beauty
With an orange as big as Saint Paul's dome.
It sent t'Duke o'York flyin'
An' wishin' 'e'd never left 'ome.

All the men started suckin' oranges, 
That Nell 'ad chucked at their 'eads, 
And spittin' the pips at the Duke, 
Began to walk down the 'ill to their beds.

The Duke gave up when 'e saw 'em. 
Besides .... 'is eye was givin' 'im pain. 
'E decided that Nell wasn't worth it, 
And marched down the 'ill again.

An' that's 'ow the legend started, 
About t'Duke and 'is ten thousand men 
Who marched them up to the top of the 'ill, 
An' marched them all back again.
The end