Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Ballad, On A Late Occurrence
Poem by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Ungodly papers ev'ry week
Poor simple souls persuade
That courtiers good for nothing are,
Or but for mischief made.
But I who know their worthy hearts,
Pronounce that we are blind,
Who disappoint their honest schemes,
Who would be just and kind.
For in this vile degen'rate age
'Tis dangerous to do good;
Which will, when I have told my tale,
Be better understood.
A puppy, gamesome, blithe, and young,
Who play'd about the court,
Was destin'd by unlucky boys,
To be their noonday's sport.
With flatt'ring words they him entic'd,
(Words such as much prevail!)
And then with cruel art they tied
A bottle to his tail.
Lord Hervey at a window stood,
Detesting of the fact;
And cried aloud with all his might,
"I know the bottle's crack'd.
"Do not to such a dirty hole
Let them your tail apply;
Alas! you cannot know these things
One half so well as I.
"Harmless and young, you don't suspect
The venom of this deed;
But I see through the whole design, --
It is to make you bleed."
This good advice was cast away;
The puppy saw it shine;
And tamely lick'd their treach'rous hands,
And thought himself grown fine.
But long he had not worn the gem,
But as Lord Hervey said,
He ran and bled; the more he ran,
Alas! the more he bled.
Griev'd to the soul, this gallant lord
Tripp'd hastily down stairs;
With courage and compassion fir'd,
To set him free prepares.
But such was his ingratitude
To this most noble lord,
He bit his lily hand quite through,
As he untied the cord.
Next day the Maids of Honour came,
As I heard people tell;
They wash'd the wound with brinish tears,
-- And yet it is not well.
Oh! gen'rous youth, my counsel take,
And warlike acts forbear;
Put on white gloves, and lead folks out,
-- For that is your affair.
Never attempt to take away
Bottles from others' tails,
For that is what no soul will bear
From Italy to Wales.
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