This poem ends in a literary joke. Normally the last word of the last line would rhyme with the last word of the preceding line. There is even a perfect word to end this poem and make it rhyme - "stunk". Thackeray chose to end the poem with "smelt". You can almost hear the "sting" of the drum that ends a lame joke, "ba dum ching!" To me that makes it funnier!

At The Zoo - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

Written by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 - 1863).

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The sound of a drum "sting" which indicates a lame or corny joke...

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Monique Palomares for the illustration.