Once upon a time – oh, quite a long time ago,
There lived a King and Queen, and a Princess, don’t you know.
In fact there were twelve princesses, a dozen in a row,
Sally, Bertha, Lizzie, Alice, Peg and Bet, and Flo,
Esmeralda, Prudence,Katie, Muriel … and Bo !
Bo the youngest was … her name was Boraleen.
Bo was called for short … she was seldom seen.
Sometimes called Bo-Peep, and this was so, I ween,
Because she wore glass spectacles, pink and blue and green …
Pink for Sunday, blue for Thursday, green for in between.
As the time went on each princess found a mate.
Sally’s was an Emperor, she lived in Regal state !
Bertha hooked a Bishop, strangely to relate !
Lizzie won a Sultan, a Sultana was her fate !
While Alice, Peg and Beth and Flo did well, and so did Kate.
Now Esmeralda wed a knight so bold and true !
And Prudence took an Earl whose blood was really blue !
And then at length a doctor appeared and married Mu !
But with the youngest, Bo, they didn’t know what to do !
The King said, “Who will wed her?” The Queen just echoed, “Who?”
But Bo, she didn’t mind ! She said,”What must be, must !”
While her career her parents agitatedly discussed
She looked out through her spectacles in happiness and trust
And saw the world all tinted and bright with faery dust;
She ate her bread in silence and did not despise the crust !
Anon there came a stranger, a stranger gaunt and grey,
From whom most everybody in terror fled away,
For on his face was suffering, he was not blithe and gay,
And no-one in his presence could ever bear to stay.
So loveless through the world he was doomed alone to stray.
The King and Queen were frightened: they trembled when he came;
And wondered at his coming, and wondered at his name;
And would have turned him from the door in agony and shame;
But Princess Bo, she saw him in her spectacles’ round frame
As beautiful as Apollo and as vivid as a flame !
She calmed her parents’ terror. The stranger’s hand she took.
He looked at her and worshipped. She gave him look for look.
His ugly face was softened. He spoke, and speaking, shook.
“My dear, you welcome one whom all the world forsook.
I love you !” They were married, by the Bishop, ring, and book !
Happiness was theirs ! Their joy was deep and wide,
For true joy only comes when the selfish is denied.
He grew famed for wisdom, for kindness grew his bride.
The world was at their feet, the heavens were their guide.
For ever and a day Truth and Love lived side by side !