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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4 - 50/53 -

Jones's to tea, Mother, dear mother, I Forgot the door-key! And as the night was cold And the way steep, Mrs. Jones kept me to Breakfast and sleep."

Whether her Pa and Ma Fully believed her, That we shall never know, Stern they received her; And for the work of that Cruel, though short, night Sent her to bed without Tea for a fortnight.

MORAL Hey diddle diddlety, Cat and the fiddlety, Maidens of England, take caution by she! Let love and suicide Never tempt you aside, And always remember to take the door-key.

William Makepeace Thackeray [1811-1863]

POETS AND LINNETS After Robert Browning

Where'er there's a thistle to feed a linnet And linnets are plenty, thistles rife - Or an acorn-cup to catch dew-drops in it There's ample promise of further life. Now, mark how we begin it.

For linnets will follow, if linnets are minded, As blows the white-feather parachute; And ships will reel by the tempest blinded - Aye, ships and shiploads of men to boot! How deep whole fleets you'll find hid.

And we blow the thistle-down hither and thither Forgetful of linnets, and men, and God. The dew! for its want an oak will wither - By the dull hoof into the dust is trod, And then who strikes the cither?

But thistles were only for donkeys intended, And that donkeys are common enough is clear, And that drop! what a vessel it might have befriended, Does it add any flavor to Glugabib's beer? Well, there's my musing ended.

Tom Hood [1835-1874]


The Jam-pot - tender thought! I grabbed it - so did you. "What wonder while we fought Together that it flew In shivers?" you retort.

You should have loosed your hold One moment - checked your fist. But, as it was, too bold You grappled and you missed. More plainly - you were sold.

"Well, neither of us shared The dainty." That your plea? "Well, neither of us cared," I answer. . . . "Let me see. How have your trousers fared?"

Rudyard Kipling [1865-1936]

BALLAD After William Morris

Part I The auld wife sat at her ivied door, (Butler and eggs and a pound of cheese) A thing she had frequently done before; And her spectacles lay on her aproned knees.

The piper he piped on the hill-top high, (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese) Till the cow said "I die," and the goose asked "Why?" And the dog said nothing, but searched for fleas.

The farmer he strode through the square farmyard; (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese) His last brew of ale was a trifle hard - The connection of which with the plot one sees.

The farmer's daughter hath frank blue eyes; (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese) She hears the rooks caw in the windy skies, As she sits at her lattice and shells her peas.

The farmer's daughter hath ripe red lips; (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese) If you try to approach her, away she skips Over tables and chairs with apparent ease.

The farmer's daughter hath soft brown hair; (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese) And I met with a ballad, I can't say where, Which wholly consisted of lines like these.

Part II She sat, with her hands 'neath her dimpled cheeks, (Butler and eggs and a pound of cheese) And spake not a word. While a lady speaks There is hope, but she didn't even sneeze.

She sat, with her hands 'neath her crimson cheeks, (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese) She gave up mending her father's breeks, And let the cat roll in her new chemise.

She sat, with her hands 'neath her burning cheeks, (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese) And gazed at the piper for thirteen weeks; Then she followed him out o'er the misty leas.

Her sheep followed her, as their tails did them. (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese) And this song is considered a perfect gem, And as to the meaning, it's what you please.

Charles Stuart Calverley [1831-1884]

THE POSTER-GIRL After Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The blessed Poster-girl leaned out From a pinky-purple heaven; One eye was red and one was green; Her bang was cut uneven; She had three fingers on her hand, And the hairs on her head were seven.

Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem, No sunflowers did adorn, But a heavy Turkish portiere Was very neatly worn; And the hat that lay along her back Was yellow like canned corn.

It was a kind of wobbly wave That she was standing on, And high aloft she flung a scarf That must have weighed a ton; And she was rather tall - at least She reached up to the sun.

She curved and writhed, and then she said, Less green of speech than blue: "Perhaps I am absurd - perhaps I don't appeal to you; But my artistic worth depends Upon the point of view."

I saw her smile, although her eyes Were only smudgy smears; And then she swished her swirling arms, And wagged her gorgeous ears, She sobbed a blue-and-green-checked sob, And wept some purple tears.

Carolyn Wells [186? -

AFTER DILETTANTE CONCETTI After Dante Gabriel Rossetti

"Why do you wear your hair like a man, Sister Helen? This week is the third since you began." "I'm writing a ballad; be still if you can, Little brother. (O Mother Carey, mother! What chickens are these between sea and heaven?)"

"But why does your figure appear so lean, Sister Helen? And why do you dress in sage, sage green?" "Children should never be heard, if seen, Little brother! (O Mother Carey, mother! What fowls are a-wing in the stormy heaven!)"

"But why is your face so yellowy white,

The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4 - 50/53

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