William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
Villon's Straight Tip to All Cross Coves
"Tout aux tavernes et aux filles."
1Suppose you screeve? or go cheap-jack?
2 Or fake the broads? or fig a nag?
3Or thimble-rig? or knap a yack?
4 Or pitch a snide? or smash a rag?
5 Suppose you duff? or nose and lag?
6Or get the straight, and land your pot?
7 How do you melt the multy swag?
8Booze and the blowens cop the lot.
9Fiddle, or fence, or mace, or mack;
10 Or moskeneer, or flash the drag;
11Dead-lurk a crib, or do a crack;
12 Pad with a slang, or chuck a fag;
13 Bonnet, or tout, or mump and gag;
14Rattle the tats, or mark the spot;
15 You can not bank a single stag;
16Booze and the blowens cop the lot.
17Suppose you try a different tack,
18 And on the square you flash your flag?
19At penny-a-lining make your whack,
20 Or with the mummers mug and gag?
21 For nix, for nix the dibbs you bag!
22At any graft, no matter what,
23 Your merry goblins soon stravag:
24Booze and the blowens cop the lot.
25 It's up the spout and Charley Wag
26With wipes and tickers and what not.
27 Until the squeezer nips your scrag,
28Booze and the blowens cop the lot.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: William Ernest Henley, Poems (London: Macmillan and Co., 1920): 289-90. PR 4783 A36 1921 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 4:2002/4/24
Other poems by William Ernest Henley