Hereward the Wake
by
G.H. Goodwin
Hereward the Wake
William the Conqueror 'ad just warmed up throne 
And were relaxin' 'is old tired feet 
When one of 'is serfs brought the news 
There was another feller to beat

'By 'eck' said Bill 'Wot a to-do,
I've just finished seein' 'Arold out 
Now when I'm busy writin' me Doomsday book
You tell me of another English lout'

''E's not a lout' said cringin' serf 
Bein' careful to bend 'is knee 
'It's a feller by the name of 'Ereward 
'Oo thinks 'e should be King, not thee.'

'E's been 'idin' among all t'bogs
Just waitin' for 'is chance,
'E's got an army with 'im an' all
An' they're not dressed up for a dance'

'Y'know wot these English are like 
Never 'appy unless there's a fight 
They've never really forgiven thee 
For puttin' 'Arold to flight'

Then into t'palace came 'Ereward 
'Oo strode in all alone 
'Phew!' said William 'That bog where you live 
Isn't exactly eau-de-cologne'

'Wot does thee mean?' asked 'Ereward 
Stung by William's comment 
'I've not come 'ere to be insulted 
By me army I've been sent'

'I'm not surprised' answered William 
'An' I don't mean to be 'arsh 
But if I were thy army I'd lose thee 
'Cos thy's lived too long in that marsh'

'I'll tell thee summat an' don't get mad 
I think thy friends are too polite to tell 
But if I were thee I'd change me abode 
An' thy might 'ave a bath as well'

'Thy's got a certain air about thee
Which isn't kingly, but don't get me wrong 
I'll be willin' to fight thee anytime 
If thy'll get rid of that pong'

'Ereward stood there fair dumbstruck
'E 'd been told things 'e never knew 
Of course if you've lived in a bog for years
You find your friends are few.

'E went where 'is army was waitin' 
And knew 'e'd 'ave to face their wrath 
'We'll 'ave to postpone t'battle' 'e said 
'Until I've scrubbed meself in a bath'

English couldn't believe their ears
An' all of 'em started to jeer
'We don't mind fightin' wi' thee' said one
'So long as you don't get too near'

Then an Irishman 'oo'd joined 'cos 'e liked a fight 
Raised 'is fist uppard to shake 
'Bejabers! Begorrah! 'e said, Irish like 
'We should call 'im 'Ereward the Wake'

''Ereward the Wake?' asked some English
'Oo'd never 'eard an Irishman speak 
'Wot 'e means' said one 'oo'd travelled 
'Is that we should call 'im 'Ereward the Weak.'

'That's right' said this Irish feller '
'Ereward the Wake that's 'is name 
'Ere's me come all the way from Ireland 
An 'e won't blow t'whistle to start game'

'Right!' said 'Ereward, 'Let's go an' fight 
An' when I've finished I'll give thee games
I'm not 'avin' any Irishman comin' 'ere . 
Makin' fun an' callin' me names'

So 'Ereward 'ad 'is battle an' lost 
And you'll find this 'ard to take 
Because an Irishman couldn't talk proper' 
'E's been known since as 'Ereward the Wake. 
The end