Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.

Every fiddler had a fiddle fine,
And a very fine fiddle had he, had he.
Tweedle dum, tweedle dee, went the fiddlers three,
Tweedle dum dee, dum dee deedle dee.

Tweedle dum, tweedle dee, went the fiddlers three,
Tweedle dum dee, dum dee deedle dee.

nursery rhyme

Old King Cole
Edwin Arlington Robinson

In Tilbury Town did Old King Cole
A wise old age anticipate,
Desiring, with his pipe and bowl,
No Khan's extravagant estate.
No crown annoyed his honest head,
No fiddlers three were called or needed;
For two disastrous heirs instead
Made music more than ever three did.

Bereft of her with whom his life
Was harmony without a flaw,
He took no other for a wife,
Nor sighed for any that he saw;
And if he doubted his two sons,
And heirs, Alexis and Evander,
He might have been as doubtful once
Of Robert Burns and Alexander.

Alexis, in his early youth,
Began to steal -- from old and young.
Likewise Evander, and the truth
Was like a bad taste on his tongue.
Born thieves and liars, their affair
Seemed only to be tarred with evil --
The most insufferable pair
Of scamps that ever cheered the devil.

The world went on, their fame went on,
And they went on -- from bad to worse;
Till, goaded hot with nothing done,
And each accoutred with a curse,
The friends of Old King Cole, by twos,
And fours, and sevens, and elevens,
Pronounced unalterable views
Of doings that were not of heaven's.

And having learned again whereby
Their baleful zeal had come about,
King Cole met many a wrathful eye
So kindly that its wrath went out --
Or partly out. Say what they would,
He seemed the more to court their candor;
But never told what kind of good
Was in Alexis and Evander.

And Old King Cole, with many a puff
That haloed his urbanity,
Would smoke till he had smoked enough,
And listen most attentively.
He beamed as with an inward light
That had the Lord's assurance in it;
And once a man was there all night,
Expecting something every minute.

But whether from too little thought,
Or too much fealty to the bowl,
A dim reward was all he got
For sitting up with Old King Cole.
"Though mine," the father mused aloud,
"Are not the sons I would have chosen,
Shall I, less evilly endowed,
By their infirmity be frozen?

"They'll have a bad end, I'll agree,
But I was never born to groan;
For I can see what I can see,
And I'm accordingly alone.
With open heart and open door,
I love my friends, I like my neighbors;
But if I try to tell you more,
Your doubts will overmatch my labors.

"This pipe would never make me calm,
This bowl my grief would never drown.
For grief like mine there is no balm
In Gilead, or in Tilbury Town.
And if I see what I can see,
I know not any way to blind it;
Nor more if any way may be
For you to grope or fly to find it.

"There may be room for ruin yet,
And ashes for a wasted love;
Or, like One whom you may forget,
I may have meat you know not of.
And if I'd rather live than weep
Meanwhile, do you find that surprising?
Why, bless my soul, the man's asleep!
That's good. The sun will soon be rising."

Old King Cole

Old King Cole was in fact Coel Hen, an early King of Britain during the third century. Legend says that his daughter Elen is the same as St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great and finder of the True Cross.


note: I don't know why they spelled it "sole"--I would think it'd be spelled "soul." However, that's the way I found it, so don't blame me!

Now Old King Cole was a merry old sole and a merry old sole was he
He called for 'is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for his Gunners three.

Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There's none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery.

Now Old King Cole was a merry old sole and a merry old sole was he
He called for 'is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for his Bombardiers three.

Bubble Line Level Line Bubble said the Bombardier
Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There's none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery

Now Old King Cole was a merry old sole and a merry old sole was he
He called for 'is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for his Sergeants three

Move to the right in Threes said the Sergeant
Bubble Line Level Line Bubble said the Bombardier
Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There's none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery

Now Old King Cole was a merry old sole and a merry old sole was he
He called for 'is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for his Sar-Majors three

Charge that man said the Sergeant Major
Move to the right in Threes said the Sergeant
Bubble Line Level Line Bubble said the Bombardier
Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There's none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery

Now Old King Cole was a merry old sole and a merry old sole was he
He called for 'is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for his Subalterns three

I do all the work said the Subaltern
Charge that man said the Sergeant Major
Move to the right in Threes said the Sergeant
Bubble Line Level Line Bubble said the Bombardier
Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There's none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery

Now Old King Cole was a merry old sole and a merry old sole was he
He called for 'is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for his Captains three.

When do I get my leave said the Captain
I do all the work said the Subaltern
Charge that man said the Sergeant Major
Move to the right in Threes said the Sergeant
Bubble Line Level Line Bubble said the Bombardier
Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There's none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery

Now Old King Cole was a merry old sole and a merry old sole was he
He called for 'is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for his Majors three.

Where have you put my Guns said the Major?
When do I get my leave said the Captain
I do all the work said the Subaltern
Charge that man said the Sergeant Major
Move to the right in Threes said the Sergeant
Bubble Line Level Line Bubble said the Bombardier
Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There's none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery

Now Old King Cole was a merry old sole and a merry old sole was he
He called for 'is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for his Colonels three.

Blah, Blah, Blah said the Colonel
Where have you put my Guns said the Major?
When do I get my leave said the Captain
I do all the work said the Subaltern
Charge that man said the Sergeant Major
Move to the right in Threes said the Sergeant
Bubble Line Level Line Bubble said the Bombardier
Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There's none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery

Now Old King Cole was a merry old sole and a merry old sole was he
He called for 'is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for his Padres three.

God save our gracious Queen said the Padre
Blah, Blah, Blah said the Colonel
Where have you put my Guns said the Major?
When do I get my leave said the Captain
I do all the work said the Subaltern
Charge that man said the Sergeant Major
Move to the right in Threes said the Sergeant
Bubble Line Level Line Bubble said the Bombardier
Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There's none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery.

(New Zealand Army)

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