THIS MONTH’S PARODY (July) The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God

THE GREEN EYE OF THE LITTLE YELLOW GOD is a poem written in 1911 by the English actor and poet J(ohn) Milton Hayes (1884-1940). It was a great favourite of the actor Bransby Williams, perhaps the most famous ‘monologist’ of the time, during the early years of the 20th century.  Obviously inspired by the ballads of Rudyard Kipling, it is set in Nepal (‘to the north of Katmandu’) during the British Raj. The best-known parody of the poem is The Green Tie on the Little Yellow Dog  by the magnificent Billy ‘Almost a Gentleman’ Bennett (1887-1942). I’ve followed that with a toilet-themed parody of my own (The Bronze Eye on he Middle Eastern Bog), and then a clever take on the poem by Noel Petty, a prolific amateur versifier, who in 1993 was a retired mathematician living in Stockton-on-Tees (more than that I have not been able to discover).  He had managed to compress the whole plot of Verdi’s Aida in a few verses!

The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God

J. Milton Hayes

There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There’s a little marble cross below the town;
There’s a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.

He was known as “Mad Carew” by the subs at Khatmandu,
He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell;
But for all his foolish pranks, he was worshipped in the ranks,
And the Colonel’s daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along, with a passion of the strong,
The fact that she loved him was plain to all.
She was nearly twenty-one and arrangements had begun
To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew;
They met next day as he dismissed a squad;
And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do
But the green eye of the little Yellow God.

On the night before the dance, Mad Carew seemed in a trance,
And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars:
But for once he failed to smile, and he sat alone awhile,
Then went out into the night beneath the stars.

He returned before the dawn, with his shirt and tunic torn,
And a gash across his temple dripping red;
He was patched up right away, and he slept through all the day,
And the Colonel’s daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through;
She brought it, and he thanked her with a nod;
He bade her search the pocket saying “That’s from Mad Carew,”
And she found the little green eye of the god.

She upbraided poor Carew in the way that women do,
Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet;
But she wouldn’t take the stone and Mad Carew was left alone
With the jewel that he’d chanced his life to get.

When the ball was at its height, on that still and tropic night,
She thought of him and hurried to his room;
As she crossed the barrack square she could hear the dreamy air
Of a waltz tune softly stealing thro’ the gloom.

His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through;
The place was wet and slipp’ry where she trod;
An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew,
‘Twas the “Vengeance of the Little Yellow God.”

There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There’s a little marble cross below the town;
There’s a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.


The Green Tie on the Little Yellow Dog

Billy Bennett (1926)


There’s a little sallow idle man lives north of Waterloo,
And he owns the toughest music hall in town.
There are broken-hearted comics, there’s a graveyard for them too
And the gallery gods are forever gazing down.
He was known as Fat Caroo in the pubs round Waterloo,
And he wore a green tie with a diamond pin;
He was worshipped in the ranks by the captain of the swanks,
And the coalman’s daughter loved his double chin.
He had loved her all along and despite his ong-bong-pong
The fact that she loved him they say was right,
Though her complexion was a fake, and her teeth were put and take
(Put in by day and taken out by night).
‘Twas the fifteenth anniversary of her twenty-second year,
So he smiled at her as sweetly as a hog
And asked what present she would like, and jestingly she said:
“Your green tie for my little yellow dog.”
Fat Caroo seemed in a trance and his heart slipped through his pants,
But he tried his utmost not to look a wreck,
So he handed her the tie and kissed her hand good bye –
When he bowed his head she bit his neck.
Later on Caroo came to – his tie had gone, it’s true
And his tiepin with it! He seemed in a fog.
He rushed liked mad to find, that she’d tied that tie behind
To the tailpiece of her little yellow dog.
She was screaming like a child, the dog was running wild,
Biting policemen as he galloped up the straight;
For the little dog, called Tom, when he wagged his to and from,
Felt the tie pin urge him on to meet his fate.
The dog returned at dawn with his windscreen slightly torn,
And unseen took something from the lady’s room.
To another room he flew, saying: “That’s for Fat Caroo,”
And silently he slunk out in the gloom.
When Caroo jumped into bed, he’d ‘ve wakened up the dead
With a scream as he fell like a hog.
Her false teeth, they were buried in the seat of Fat Caroo –
‘Twas the vengeance of that little yellow dog.
There’s a cockeyed yellow poodle to the north of Conga Pooch,
There’s a little hot cross bun that’s turning green,
There’s a double-jointed woman doing tricks in Chu-Chin-Chow –
And you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.


Here’s the opening of another version (inspired by Billy Bennett’s?) which my correspondent Eddie Duggan recalled from his days in the RAF. Does anyone know how it continues?

There’s a stinking gents urinal to the north of Waterloo
And another one for ladies further down.
For a penny as deposit you can hire a water closet
And a season ticket costs you half a crown.

I myself contributed to the theme when I wrote this during a British Council tour of the Middle East in the autumn of November 1986. Disgusting it may be, but it was based on first-hand experience.


                                   Jeremy Nicholas

There’s a filthy water closet in the Cairo Opera House
And another one that’s backstage here as well;
There’s a nasty blocked urinal it’s impossible to flush
And a pungent, rather disconcerting smell.

I have sat on plastic loo seats that have cracks right down the middle
And I’ve used the seatless loos of Istanbul;
I have seen the seats that fall down when you’re half-way through a piddle
And the cisterns with no rope or chain to pull.

I have sat on bowls of porcelain I can’t describe in words
With my legs held straight in front to shut the door;
I’ve been confronted by the spectacle of other peoples’ turds
And their mis-directed pee upon the floor.

The condition of some lavatories is quite beyond belief –
I wouldn’t stoop to grace them with a fart.
Enamel bowls I’ve come across when I have sought relief
Have been left resembling modern abstract art.

I’ve seen some bogs in Alexandria in such a state, they say
The cockroaches agreed they won’t go near;
And in Athens there’s a loo attendant who you have to pay
For the privilege of having diarrhoea.

There are toilets I have sat upon that came out of the Ark
Where you can’t breathe for the smell of shit and piss;
I have used them with the light on (though more often in the dark)
But I’ve never, EVER seen a place like this.


Still in Egypt…

AIDA by Noel Petty

There’s a little stony pile hard by Memphis-on-the-Nile,
And a little pile of hollow bones within,
So patience, gentle reader, while I tell you of Aida.
Are you comfortably perched? Then I’ll begin.
Our hero, Radames, could attain high Cs with ease,
And at every martial enterprise excel.
He was worshipped both by peers and by carriers of spears
And the Pharoah’s daughter smiled on him as well.
But he knew he’d find no bliss with the Princess Amneris:
Aida only made his heart take wing.
But at court she was reviled as a slave-girl, and the child
Of the Pharoah’s foe, the Ethiopian King.
The Ethiopian horde now attacked with fire and sword
And Radames was picked as Egypt’s leader,
Which caused the poor chap’s brain to reel beneath the strain
Of loving both his country and Aida.
But he quickly acquiesced, and was soon with victory blessed:
No enemy could stand against his skill.
So our hero was repaid with a victory parade
To glad the heart of Cecil B. De  Mille.
The Pharoah’s next reward was a somewhat two-edged sword:
As son-in-law brave Radames he’d choose.
Which turned his guts to water – such a gift from such a quarter
Was an offer that you couldn’t well refuse.
Amonasro, Ethiop’s leader, the father of Aida,
By now a prisoner, thought it well worth trying
To use the love-lorn please of besotted Radames
To do a little military spying.
Aida would not bend to deceive her loving friend,
So Radames was with temptation plied:
He was given to understand he could have Aida’s hand
As a transfer fee to join the other side.
It was all to no avail: nothing could the pair assail.
But Amneris now entered, black with hate.
And seeing Radames tête-à-tête with such as these,
Denounced him as a traitor of the state.
In the storm to which this led, both the Ethiopians fled
And Radames, though innocent, was doomed.
The council met next day and the High Priest had his way,
With Radames condemned to be entombed.
The solemn music swells, and he says his last farewells;
The stones are ready on the massive set.
But who is this we see? Holy Isis! Can it be?
It’s Aida, come to share a last duet.
There’s a little stony pile hard by Memphis-on-the-Nile,
And a little pile of hollow bones inside,
And travellers have averred that two voices can be heard
And the interval is just an octave wide.


  • Mike Webster wrote:

    I was looking for the words to the orginal little yellow idol when I came across your website. Absolutely brilliant!
    Thank you for the unexpected laughs!

  • It’s brilliant to see both Bennett’s and Petty’s takes on the original. I think those are no disrespect to it, rather the reverse; its melodrama and crafting have inspired further varied creativity.

  • suzi wrote:

    Love parodies these are great

  • Roger Gurling wrote:

    All very good and funny
    I am seeking Billy Bennetts parody of The wreck of the Hesperus Can you help please
    Many thanks

  • Roger – There are many parodies of the Longfellow poem but I’ve never come across Billy Bennett’s. He certainly never recorded it. I can only offer you this – which is rather wonderful. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Eddie Duggan wrote:

    I remember a lad reciting this when I was serving in the RAF. I just remember the opening lines, but wonder if anyone knows the full poem. There’s a stinking gents urinal just the north of Waterloo and another one for ladies further down, for a penny as deposit you can hire a water closet and a season ticket costs you half a crown. Here’s hoping someone out there can let us know the rest.

  • Eddie – thanks for this. Briliant. I’ve never come across it before. I am adding it to my pages. As you say, let’s hope someone can supply the rest. It promises to be a classic!

  • chris miller wrote:

    I herd this many years ago but i can’t remember the whole rhyme

    Theres a stinking male urinal at the north of waterloo and another for ladies further down that where i met else tucker for a shilling you could fuck her and half a crown you could spend the whole night long, she was known as else tucker by the friends that used to fuck her but her name was really isadora black and they say she made a dame living on her back

  • Lynn wrote:

    My Dad knew a version of this poem that the soldiers used to recite in WWII (Dad was a gunner in north africa and italy). He would never recite the poem for me, because it was ‘too rude for a girl’ and he wouldn’t write it down for posterity. I’d hoped you had found it, but I shall have to keep on looking – oh well…

  • Harry Shaw wrote:

    There’s a cross-eyed yellow idol to the north of Tiddlypush,
    There’s a soppy date named Jamjah in the town,
    Who keeps the idol dusted and washes its fat puss,
    For which he gets large wage of half-a-crown.
    Now, the chief priest of the temple is a Brahmin, name of Bong,
    A nasty piece of work is this old gent –
    He keeps poor Jamjah working all the day and all night long,
    Then takes his half-crown back as temple rent
    (in Knockout comic c. 1941)

  • Barbara Timmons wrote:

    Thank you for the selection of alternatives to the original ‘Mad Carew’. They were fun, but I have been searching for one which has not surfaced … yet. In the 40s/50s there was a programme on BBC Radio (Maybe Workers Playtime) which I remember clearly but fail to recall the persons involved. I think this was where I first heard the dialogue between two old codgers, ex-military types discussing the truth of the situation. VERY VERY funny, recalling the events as if they had been there.
    Picture burly Fred Emiry and Richard Murdoch
    They tore the poem to shreads.
    To the north? …No… the south.
    Mad Carew was a bungling incompetent who got up everybodies nose. And the Colonal’s daughter was a little raver who was well known in the ranks. In the end she took off with the emerald and never returned to ‘tend the grave of Mad Carew’
    I hope you have more success than myself in locating this gem. It is too good to be forgotten and I wish I had sent this info the the Two Ronnies years ago. It would have suited their style.

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