The Mishap

Original Text: 
William Edmondstoune Aytoun and Martin Theodore, The Book of Ballads, new edn. (London: William S. Orr, 1849): 242-44.
2    Why is thy cheek so pale?
3Look up, dear Jane, and tell me
4    What is it thou dost ail?
5"I know thy will is froward,
6    Thy feelings warm and keen,
7And that that Augustus Howard
8    For weeks has not been seen.
9"I know how much you loved him;
10    But I know thou dost not weep
11For him; -- for though his passion be,
12    His purse is noways deep.
13"Then tell me why those teardrops;
14    What means this woful mood?
15Say, has the tax-collector
16    Been calling, and been rude?
17"Or has that hateful grocer,
18    The slave! been here to-day?
19Of course he had, by morrow's noon,
20    A heavy bill to pay!
21"Come, on thy brother's bosom
22    Unburden all thy woes;
23Look up, look up, sweet sister;
24    There, dearest, blow your nose."
25"Oh, John, 'tis not the grocer,
26    For his account; although
27How ever he is to be paid,
28    I really do not know.
29"'Tis not the tax-collector;
30    Though by his fell command,
31They've seized our old paternal clock,
32    And new umbrella-stand:
33"Nor that Augustus Howard,
34    Whom I despise almost, --
35But the soot's come down the chimney, John,
36    And fairly spoiled the roast!"


1] Co-authored with Sir Theodore Martin. This poem begins as a parody of Keats' "La Belle Dame Sans Merci." Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: