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Loudly they talked of his money that's gone,
We tucked him in, and had hardly done,
When, beneath the window calling,
Slowly and sadly we all walked down.
From his room in the uppermost story;
The Jackdaw of Rheims
THE Jackdaw sat on the Cardinal's chair!
Many a knight and many a squire,
With a great many more of lesser degree
In sooth, a goodly company;
And they served the Lord Primate on bended knee.
Never, I ween,
Was a prouder seen,
Read of in books, or dreamt of in dreams,
Than the Cardinal Lord Archbishop of Rheims !
In and out
Through the motley rout,
That little Jackdaw kept hopping about;
Here and there,
Like a dog in a fair,
Over comfits and cates,
Cowl and cope, and rochet and pall,
He perched on the chair.
Where, in state, the great Lord Cardinal sat
With a satisfied look, as if he would say,
"We two are the greatest folks here to-day!" And the priests, with awe,
As such freaks they saw,
Said, "The devil must be in that little Jackdaw!"
The feast was over, the board was cleared,
In nice clean faces, and nice white stoles,
Came, in order due,
Marching that grand refectory through!
A nice little boy held a golden ewer,
Two nice little boys, rather more grown,
Of the best white diaper, fringed with pink,
The great Lord Cardinal turns at the sight
His costly turquoise,
And, not thinking at all about little Jackdaws,
By the side of his plate,
While the nice little boys on his Eminence wait;
There's a cry and a shout,
And nobody seems to know what they're about,
But the monks have their pockets all turned inside out;
The friars are kneeling,
And hunting and feeling
The carpet, the floor, and the walls, and the ceiling.
The Cardinal drew
Off each plum-coloured shoe,
And left his red stockings exposed to the view;
He peeps and he feels,
In the toes and the heels;
They turn up the dishes, they turn up the plates,
They turn up the rugs,
They can't find THE RING!
And the Abbot declared that "when nobody twigged it, Some rascal or other had popped in and prigged it."
The Cardinal rose with a dignified look,
He called for his candle, his bell, and his book!
In holy anger and pious grief,
He solemnly cursed that rascally thief!
He cursed him at board, he cursed him in bed;
He should dream of the devil, and wake in a fright;
He cursed him in living, he cursed him in dying!— Never was heard such a terrible curse!
But, what gave rise
Nobody seemed one penny the worse!
The day was gone,
The night came on,
The monks and the friars they searched till dawn;
When the Sacristan saw,
On crumpled claw,
Come limping a poor little lame Jackdaw;
No longer gay,
His feathers all seemed to be turned the wrong way;
His pinions drooped, he could hardly stand,
His head was as bald as the palm of your hand;
His eye so dim,
So wasted each limb,
That, heedless of grammar, they all cried "THAT'S HIM! That's the scamp that has done this scandalous thing! That's the thief that has got my Lord Cardinal's ring!"
The poor little Jackdaw,
When the monks he saw,
Feebly gave vent to the ghost of a caw,
And turned his bald head, as much as to say, "Pray be so good as to walk this way!" Slower and slower
He limped on before,
Till they came to the back of the belfry door,
Midst the sticks and the straw,
Was the RING in the nest of that little Jackdaw!
Then the great Lord Cardinal called for his book,
The mute expression
Served in lieu of confession,
And, being thus coupled with full restitution,
The Jackdaw got plenary absolution!
When these words were heard,
Was so changed in a moment, 'twas really absurd;