Little Willie

Original Text: 
Robert Conrow, Field Days: The Life, Times, & Reputation of Eugene Field (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974): 114-16.
1When Willie was a little boy,
2    No more than five or six,
3Right constantly he did annoy
4    His mother with his tricks.
6    For what he did or said,
7Unless, as happened frequently,
8    The rascal wet the bed.
9Closely he cuddled up to me,
10    And put his hands in mine,
11Till all at once I seemed to be
12    Afloat in seas of brine.
14    And filled my soul with dread,
15Yet I could only grin and bear
16    When Willie wet the bed.
17'Tis many times that rascal has
18    Soaked all the bedclothes through,
19Whereat I'd feebly light the gas
20    And wonder what to do.
21Yet there he lay, so peaceful like;
22    God bless his curly head,
23I quite forgave the little tyke
24    For wetting of the bed.
25Ah me, those happy days have flown.
26    My boy's a father, too,
27And little Willies of his own
28    Do what he used to do.
29And I! Ah, all that's left for me
30    Is dreams of pleasure fled!
31Our boys ain't what they used to be
32    When Willie wet the bed.
33Had I my choice, no shapely dame
34    Should share my couch with me,
35No amorous jade of tarnished fame,
36    Nor wench of high degree;
37But I would choose and choose again
38    The little curly head,
39Who cuddled close beside me when
40    He used to wet the bed.

Notes

5] picayune: Spanish coin once used in southern US; a trivial thing Back to Line
13] Sabean: Arabian (cf. Job 1.15). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1974
Publication Notes: 
in various copies during Field's lifetime; formally, in 1974.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.
Rhyme: