Tommy was ruled by his father and mother.
Tommy was ruled by his elder brother.

Tommy was tyrannised over each hour
By a very small maid with a face of a flower.

But one day Tommy was given a wheel,
And he felt like a king on a throne of steel.

Now a sudden rise from a serf to king
Has always proven a dangerous thing.

The people who come into power too quick,
Go up like a rocket and down like a stick.

King Tom, before the first day was done
Was Emperor, Sultan, Czar in one.

He owned the pavement, he owned the street,
He ran the officers off their beat.

He frightened the coachmen out of their wits
As he scorched right under their horses bits.

Pedestrians fled as they saw him approach;
He caused disaster to carriage and coach.

For he never turned out, and his pace never slowed;
His bell was a signal to clear the road.

And I would not repeat, indeed, not I,
What the truckmen said when his bike went by.

And bolder and bolder each day he grew,
And faster and faster his bicycle flew;

And he was certain he owned the earth,
And all that was on it from girth to girth.

And he always got off without hurt or scratch,
Till all of a sudden he met his match.

Reigning one time in his usual spendour,
He came face to face with a Cables fender.

He rang his bell for the right of way,
But a biker may ring till his hair turns gray.

And a Cable-car, or its cousin Trolley,
Will pay no heed to that sort of folly.

All that King Tom recalls of that day
Was riding into the milky way,

Where he saw all the stars in the heavens. Well,
There isnt much more of his reign to tell.

He gave his wheel to his brother Bill,
And walks on two crutches, and always will.

And he says, as he looks at his wooden leg:
I went up like a rocket and down like a peg.

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

In Chambers's recitations for the children.
Selected and edited by R.C.H. Morison.
London, Edinburgh, W. & R. Chambers [1902]

Courtesy of Sally Ramsay.

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