Today is the one hundred year anniversary of the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. I learned the following verses from my father - who was born in 1900 - and who believed they appeared in the West Cork newspaper The Southern Star sometime after the outbreak of World War 1.
The Great War 1914 – 1918
A crazy conspirator down in Belgrade
Imagined that Kings were injurious to trade
He blamed Ferdinand for his failure in life
And in consequence blew up the Archduke and his wife.
When William the Kaiser received the sad news
He said, “Cousin Francis, we have an excuse,
This act to the Slav population we’ll charge
And make war on the Serbian nation at large.
Now, the Serbians Ma was akin to the Czar
Who remarked as his cousin he joined in the war,
“The Kaiser may wear his big helmet so thick,
But I know where to land him a well deserved kick.
“Par Bleu” said the Frenchman, “I don’t see my way
To leave my friend Nicholas alone in the fray.
I have an old score that I want to wipe out
So I’m glad of a chance to give William a clout.”
Then up spoke John Bull with a serious frown
“The small Belgian nation must not be stepped on.
I’ll help my brave allies with bayonet and gun
To teach you some manners, you son of a Hun.
Now six Christian Nations with culture replete
Are tearing each other like dogs in the street
And while mangled corpses litter the sod
They all pray for aid to a merciful God.