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William the Conqueror said to his captains | 26-Oct-04

"William the Conqueror said to his Captains, I mean to a fix go out and borrow some bows and some arrows,
We're starting tomorrow.

So Will went conquering hither and thither until Angles and Saxons were all of a dither.."

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Comments:

I remember this poem from a book I was given in about 1934. Here it is:

William the Conqueror, 1066 said to his captains I men to affix
England to Normandy, go out and borrow
Some bows and some arrows, we're starting tomorrow.
So William went conquering hither and thither til Angels and Saxons were all of a dither.
He conquered so quickly you could'nt keep count of the counties he conquered
I think they amount to ten or a dozen or maybe a score
And I haven't a doubt he would have conquered some more
But death put an end to that terrible fix, William the Conqueror, 1066.

I have no idea of the author. It was in a large book of childrens stories and poems, possibly published by Cassells(?) in the early thirties.
Bound with a blue material and there was an embossed hare (I think, or maybe the Mad Hatter) on the cover.
If anyone knows could they please Email me.

Nick Withers

Don't know for sure, but this sounds VERY much like the style of A.A.Milne (of Winnie the Pooh fame). He published at least two collections of poems for children.

Off the top of my head, I think they were called "When We Were Very Young", and "Now We Are Six."

I have both books, and I'll check it out.
Michele Myers Beuerlein
Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Michele Myers Beuerlein

Well, I looked all through both of the Milne books of children's poetry, and alas! William the Conqueror was nowhere in evidence.
If Milne has poetry published elsewhere, I am not aware of it.

Sorry to bark up the wrong tree, but at least you can cross those two books off the list.

Michele Myers Beuerlein
Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Michele Beuerlein

With slight variations to that version already posted, my mum taught me the poem as follows:

William the Conqueror, 1066,
Said to his captains, 'I mean to affix
England to Normandy. Go out and borrow
Some bows and some arrows, we're starting tomorrow.'
So William went conquering hither and thither
'Til Angles and Saxons were all of a dither
He conquered so quickly you couldn't keep count
Of the counties he conquered, I think they amount
To ten, or a doxen, or even a score,
And I haven't a doubt he'd have conquered some more,
But death put an end to the tactics, thank Heaven,
Of William the Conqueror, 1087.
David Tomlinson

I remember precisely the same wording that David Tomlinson has sent, plus two additional lines which I have added in capital letters to his. The poem MAY have been in a children's book called The Muse Amuses, but that could be wrong.

William the Conqueror, 1066,
Said to his captains, 'I mean to affix
England to Normandy. Go out and borrow
Some bows and some arrows, we're starting tomorrow.'
So William went conquering hither and thither
'Til Angles and Saxons were all of a dither
He conquered so quickly you couldn't keep count
Of the counties he conquered, I think they amount
To ten, or a doxen, or even a score,
And I haven't a doubt he'd have conquered some more,
SO FULL AND SO PROUD OF HIS CONQUERING TRICKS
WAS WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, 1066.
But death put an end to the tactics, thank Heaven,
Of William the Conqueror, 1087.

Colin Tite

william the conquerer 1066 said to his captains i mean to affix england to normandy go out and borrow...definately the muse amuses wish i could find a copy!
lorraine homayon-jones

I've been trying to find the full poem too, and remember being taught as a class to quote it in the late 1950s/early sixties.

I remember the latter part of it being about him imposing the "couvre-feu" (curfew) of 8 pm when everybody had to be in bed for the night. It starts:

"At bong number one, they started to run,
Like a warren of rabbits, upset by a gun.
At bong number two, they were all in a stew,
.......
.......
.......
At bong number seven, they all prayed to heaven, ......
At bong number eight, they daren't be late,
And jumped into bed, like a bull at a gate."

I have no idea who wrote it, and my teacher at that time has since passed on.

Esther
esther gane

The poem that includes the line "So at BONG NUMBER ONE they all started to run", and carries on in a similar way, is a different poem, also about William the Conqueror. The poem is 'William I' by Eleanor Farjeon, and can be found in her collection Kings and Queens, which was published byJ.M. Dent in 1983.
Poetry Library

I think it was by Hugh Chesterman or similar name. It was in a collection of poems and stories called "The Ever Ever Land" I had it as a child in about 1947
Barbara Summers

My memory of the poem is almost thr same as Colom Tite's.
Line 9 'maybe' instead of 'even'
Line 11 'these' for 'his', line 14 'in 1087'
I think this poem was in a school reader (2nd class/primary 4}
Joe Dean

I have also been looking for this poem. I loved it when at primary school in the early fifties. I saw a copy of it again in 1963/4 but cannot now find it. I thought it was in 'Verse and Worse' but I have obtained an old copy and it is not.

The point of it is that William the Conqueror imposes a curfew. It then describes the confusion and haste of the Saxon villagers at each bong on the bell as they get themselves into their homes before the final bell. Hence "At bong number one they started to run." "At bong number two they were all in a stew with . . . . ."

I wish I could remember more or find it. I would love to share it with my grand children.

David Morling

Re: Bong number 1

My father used to say this to me when putting me to bed in the early sixties. I have repeated it to my own daughters, to much approval. The version I have inherited is as follows:

At Bong number one they were off at a run like a warren of rabbits upset by a gun.
At Bong number two they were all in a stew, flinging cap after tunic and hose after shoe.
At Bong number three they were bare to the knee, undoing the doings as fast as could be.
At Bong number four they were stripped to the core, putting on nightshirts the wrong side before.
At Bong number five they were looking alive, bizzing and buzzing like bees in a hive.
At Bong number six they all gave themselves kicks, tripping over the rushes to put out the wicks.
At Bong number seven from Durham to Devon they slipped a quick prayer for revenge up to Heaven.
At Bong number eight it was fatal to wait: in the deuce of a state I regret to relate they jumped Bong into bed like a bull at a gate.

In the style of my late father, Royce Chamberlain, this started slowly, but the last verse became quicker and quicker until the child was dropped on the bed at the last 'Bong'. The internal details all bear out the 'curfew' theme.

My mother remembers in the 1920s learning a poem about Henry VIII. 'Bluff King Hal was full of beans' etc. Does anyone know where this is published in full? She has one or two lines missing.
Alan Chamberlain

The last line is 1084 - the year of his death. I learnt this poem in 1948 as part pf my first year grammar school history lesson. No idea where it came from
Aileen Buckingham

The poem about Henry VIII is by Eleanor Farjeon, and it is from her book, _Kings and Queens_. Here it is:

Bluff King Hal was full of beans
He married half a dozen queens
For three called Kate they cried the banns
And one called Jane, and a couple of Annes.
[...]
Barbara McKee

I remember the poem well as I used it when I started teaching in the 1950s. I rather fancy that the author might be Hugh Chesterman as I also used three of his poems, viz: "King John", "Richard the First" and "Hide and Seek", the latter being about Charles the First. I have copies of these three but not of "William the Conqueror". The poem seems to be in Hugh Chesterman's style. Sorry I can't be of any more help.
David Hughes

I remember learning a poem about William the first as a choral poem over 40 years ago. It is the one with the curfew and bongs in. I would love to find the full version.
as far as I remember it started-

William the first was the first of our kings,
Not counting the Ethereds, Egberts and things.
..........
And they planned and they plotted far into the night,
Which William could tell by the candles alight
..........
at bong number one they all started to run, like a warren of rabbits upset by a gun...etc




If anyone knows it all...please contact me...put me out of my misery....thanks
monica connor

Please email me and I will send back what I now of the poem, which is about 97% complete, except for one or two lines near the beginning. I have been told by a colleague that the poem is in a book by Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon called Kings and Queens. It is available through Amazon. ?4.79. Hope this helps, as I too am looking for it!
Victoria Forester

I was taught this poem when I was about 9 and have never forgotten all the words. I have taught it to my children and grandchildren. They think it is very amusing.
Ellen Challis

I couldn't remember all the "Bongs" but here is the first part as I remember it:
William the first was the first of our kings,
Not counting the Ethereds, Egberts and things.
He had himself crowned and annointed and blessed
In 1060 - I needn't tell you the rest!
Now being a Norman, William the first
By the Saxons he conquered was hated and cursed,
And they planned and they plotted far into the night,
Which William could tell by the candles alight
So William decided these rebels to quell
By ringing the Curfew - a kind of a bell-
And if any Saxon was found out of bed
After eight o'clock sharp it was 'Off with his head!'

Jill Clare

Barbara Summers is right, the poem is by Hugh Chesterman 'William-the-Conqueror-ten-sixty-six' and it is in a book of his poetry called 'The Muse Amuses', illustrated by Chesterman and published by Thomas Nelson & Sons in 1933.
Hope that helps.
Ann G

honest. this is my name. just browsin 2 see if im famous

hehehehehehe. thanks. :D
hugh Chesterman

Trying to find a poem my mother used to quote about the Kings and Queens of England. It starts:
William the First from Normandy came
William the Second with an arrow was slain...

Very grateful if anyone knows it please.
Gill Clarke

William the conquerer, 1066
said to his men , I mean to afix,
Go out and borrow some bows and some arrows,
We are starting tomorrow.

I would love to have the rest of this, my dad used to tell it to us. I also had an old, blue bound book as a child, long since lost.
alison bennett

I remember this poem well, which I learnt at school aged about nine.

William the first was the first of our kings,
not counting the Ethreds, Egberts and things,
he had himself crowned, anointed and blessed
in ten sixty... I needn't tell you the rest.
But being a Norman, king William the first,
by Saxons he'd conquered was hated and cursed,
they plotted and planned far into the night,
which William could tell by the candles alight.
So William decided his rebels to quell,
by ringing a curfew, a sort of a bell,
and if any man was found out of bed
at eight o' clock sharp, it was off with his head!
So at bong number one they all started to run,
like a warren of rabbits upset by a gun.
At bong number two they were all in a stew,
flinging cap after tunic and hose after shoe.
At bong number three they were stripped to the knee,
undoing the doings as quick as could be.
At bong number four they were stripped to the core,
putting on nightshirts the wrong side before.
At bong number five they were looking alive,
bizzing and buzzing like bees in a hive.
At bong number six they gave themselves kicks,
tripping over rushes to snuff out the wicks.
At bong number seven, from Durham to Devon,
they sent up a prayer to Our Father in Heaven.
At bong number eight it was fatal to wait
so they jumped bong into bed like a bull at a gate.
Steve Hampton

I've been trying to find everything after the first 4 lines of '1066' for about 50 years. Isn't the web a wonderful thing?
alan minns

Colin Tite has the full poem apart from ?maybe a score? and ?his tactics?. But hey! What?s in a word or two?

I first came across this poem back in the late forties when I read it in a magazine whilst waiting for a dental appointment. I was so impressed with it that I sneakily tore out the page. Even then there was no author though. Sorry, I can?t remember which magazine.

James Buckley

I believe it to be by Hugh Chesterman, published in a collection called "The Muses Amuses" in 1933.

Chris Phillips
Chris Phillips

I had to memorize this 20 years ago in middle school . . . thanks for posting, I'm going to share it with my students.
Greg Kahn

I learned the poem '1066' about 60 years ago, and - apart from a word here or there - Steve Hampton seems to have it correctly; except for the ending which, according to my memory, went :
So at bong number eight it was fatal to wait,
And their hearts beating all at a terrible rate,
In a deuce of a state, I need hardly relate,
They jumped Bong into bed like a bull at a gate.
Maria McLoughlin

I too learned this poem as a boy. I am fairly sure it is the work of G.K. Chesterton and would also love to see a definitive copy
John
John Crossman

i don't have a flippin' clue. don't ask me.
someone @

i have this poem in a book called the muse amuses by hugh chesterman along with lots of other amusing poems.if anyone wants a copy i could be tempted to sell it.my email is mhowson@blueyonder.co.uk
mick howson

The poem with the "bongs" in it is definitely by Eleanor Farjeon and is callled "William the First 1066" I like many others learned it first at junior school in the fifties. I had forgotten it until reminded by a request for the words in Yours magazine.
Joyce Bonner

You can find it in a book called "Poems Of Spirit and Action". You can still buy this book from online antique book stores and I think sometimes ebay. My mother used it for school back in the late 50s, and I memorised this poem from it as a small child back in the 80s. Fantastic!
Poems of Spirit and Action by W M SMYTH. The one I have is published 1957.
Pola Von Slouch

My daughter recited a poem at school and apparently I gave it to her and we now have no trace of it. it was about 'The cauliflower in my pocket' and a school child trying to get rid of it after trying everything not to eat during a school meal. any ideas? HH
Hugh Hutchison

William the Conqueror, 1066,
Said to his captains, 'I mean to affix
England to Normandy. Go out and borrow
Some bows and some arrows, we're starting tomorrow.'
So William went conquering hither and thither
'Til Angles and Saxons were all of a dither
He conquered so quickly you couldn't keep count
Of the counties he conquered, I think they amount
To ten, or a dozen, or even a score,
And I haven't a doubt he'd have conquered some more,
But death put an end to his tactics, thank Heaven,
Of William the Conqueror, 1087.

Above is a poem I recited in a competion in the late forties and still remember to this day..



Colin Prior

I found this poem in a library book last week titled Forgotten Treasures ll, Express Newspapers 2007.
More or less as shown below but with an additional two lines :-
But death put an end to the tactics thank Heaven,
Of William the Conquerer 1087. ANON
Arthur Martin

I too learned the poem in primary school in the late 50's about the curfew imposed by King William (I think), but was unable to remember the title of the poem, or the author. Reading these posts has brought back forgotten memories as all I could remember was that there were "eight bongs" of the curfew and that near the begining was the line "Not counting Ethelreds, Egberts and things". It is nice to bring back the forgotten memories of my younger days!
Phil Briggs

I'm trying to find a poem about Mount . Popocatepetl the exact wording I'm not sure of but it is something like:
My friend if you shoulkd want to go and make your home in Mexico
The finest place for you to settle is by Mount . Popocatepetl
It's feet are green it's head is white it's ????? feet in height

Does anyone know this poem.
susan abbott

comes from a childrens poetry anthology called the muse amuses wish i still had it! also had rhymes about pegasus (the winged horse)
lori homayon-jones

According to my ex, this appeared in the book '1066 and All That@
Gelly Paddon

Just a few alterations. Sorry they are late.

ANTICS - not tactics
ANGLES - not Angels
But death put an end to the ANTICS (not tactics), thank heaven
of William the conqueror, 1087.


David Harmer

Just to slightly correct William 1st poem
William the first was the first of our kings,
Not counting Ethelreds, Egberts and things.
But being a Norman, King William the first
By the Saxons he conquered was hated and cursed.
So William decided these rebels to quell,
By ringing a curfew, a sort of a bell.
And if any Saxon was found out of bed,
After eight o'clock sharp it was 'off with his head'.

So at bong number one they all started to run,
Like a warren of rabbits upset by a gun.
At bong number two they were all in a stew,
Flinging cap after tunic and hose after shoe.
At bong number three they were bare to the knee,
Undoing the doings as fast as could be.
At bong number four they were stripped to the core,
And pulling on nightshirts the wrong side before.
At bong number five they were looking alive
And bizzing and buzzing like bees in a hive.
At bong number six they gave themselves kicks,
Tripping over the rushes to snuff out the wicks.
At bong number seven from Durham to Devon,
They slipped up a prayer to their father in heaven.
At bong number eight it was fatal to wait
So with hearts beating all at a terrible rate,
They jumped bong into bed, like a bull at a gate.
That's how I learned it!!!
vera bevan

The David Tomlinson version is the one which I learned sixty years ago. As I was only fourteen I have no idea of the source.I am surprised and delighted that so many people know of this poem as no one I ever knew had heard of it. It would be interesting to know the source.
Margaret Alty

I'm 99% certain that this poem is by Hugh Chesterman. Strangely enough I don't have a copy of this one but I remember using it in school when I was a teacher.
I do have complete copies of some other Hugh Chesterman's poems. They are:
London Calling Christopher Wren
Richard the First
King John
Hide and Seek
I used to arrange these poems for choric speaking in school. The children loved them.
If anyone would like copies of these for their personal use (they are still in copyright) please email me.
David Hughes

I too had the book with this rhyme in, yes it did have a blue cover.
I knew the beginning and the end but had forgotten the middle.
I loved the book. It also had a poem which started
'If you should ever want to settle
on Mount Popacatapettle ( I can't remember more but there was a picture of a mountain with a kettle on top, anyone remember that one?
Ann Schreer

William the 1st was the first of our Kings
Not counting Ethelreds, Egbert?s and things
He had himself crowned and anointed and blessed
In 1060; I needn't tell you the rest
But being a Norman, King William the 1st
By the Saxons he conquered was hated and cursed
And they planned and they plotted far into the night
Which William could tell by the candles alight
Now William decided these rebels to quell
By ringing a curfew; A sort of a bell
And if any man was found out of bed
After 8 O'clock sharp, it was off with his head
So at bong number one they all started to run
Like a warren of rabbits upset by a gun
At bong number 2 they were all in a stew
Flinging cap after tunic and hose after shoe
At bong number 3 they were bare to the knee
And doing their doings as quick as could be
At bong number 4 they were stripped to the core
And pulling on nightshirts the wrong side before
At bong number 5 they were looking alive
And bizzing and buzzing like bees in a hive
At bong number 6 they all gave themselves kicks
Tripping over the rushes to snuff out the wicks
At bong number 7 from Durham to Devon
They slipped up a prayer to our Father in Heaven
At bong number 8 it was fatal to wait
So with hearts beating all at a terrible rate
In the deuce of a state
I need hardly relate
They jumped bong into bed like a bull at a gate


I remember a party where other people recited Shakespeare etc, my contribution was the above! My sister and I learnt it as children an it's stuck with us ever since.
Anne Pammenter

Hi, the poem is on page 42 of Hugh Chesterman's the Muse Amuses, published by Thomas Nelson and Sons in 1933 as number 189 in the teaching of English series. Available at all fine and rare books shops in North Wales!
Patrick M Elliott

David Tomlinson's versiĆ³n is that which I remember, having learnt it in prep. school around 1953/4.But sadly have no idea at all of the autor. Should anyone eventually discover who did write it, I shoud be delighted to to know.
Graham Steel

Don't know this one but remember part of a poem about the kings of England I learned at school which started something like

The Norman conquest all historians fix
To the year of Christ 1066
Two Wills, one Henry kings are reckoned
Then Rose Plantagenet in Henry second

Can't recall the rest. Does anyone know know this poem ?
Stephen Higgins

This poem about William the Conqueror comes from the comic history book " 1066 and all that " by W.C. Sellars and R.J.Yeatman
Gelly Paddon

William the conqueror 1066, Said to his barons I mean to affix, England to Normandy, So go out and borrow some bows and some arrows, We're starting tomrrow. So William went conquering hither and thither, Till Angles and Saxons were all of a dither
ron grieve

I seem to remember some other lines like- a fellow called Tyrell an arrow let loose ,and William fell dead as a Michaelmas goose, and nobody knows if the fellow called Tyrell took williams red head for the king or a squirrel Noel Foley
noel Foleynafoley


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