Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

In Defense - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

You may say, if you please, Johnny Bull, that our girls
Are crazy to marry your dukes and your earls;
But I've heard that the maids of your own little isle
Greet bachelor lords with a favoring smile.

Nay, titles, 'tis said in defense of our fair,
Are popular here because popular there;
And for them our ladies persistently go
Because 'tis exceedingly English, you know.

Whatever the motive, you'll have to confess
The effort's attended with easy success;
And-pardon the freedom-'tis thought, over here,
'Tis mortification you mask with a sneer.

It's all very well, sir, your scorn to parade
Of the high nasal twang of the Yankee maid,
But, ah, to my lord when he dares to propose
No sound is so sweet as that 'Yes' from the nose.

Our ladies, we grant, walk alone in the street
(Observe, by-the-by, on what delicate feet!)
'Tis a habit they got here at home, where they say
The men from politeness go seldom astray.

Ah, well, if the dukes and the earls and that lot
Can stand it (God succor them if they cannot!)
Your commoners ought to assent, I am sure,
And what they 're not called on to suffer, endure.

''Tis nothing but money?' 'Your nobles are bought?'
As to that, I submit, it is commonly thought
That England's a country not specially free
Of Croesi and (if you'll allow it) Croesae.

You've many a widow and many a girl
With money to purchase a duke or an earl.
'Tis a very remarkable thing, you'll agree,
When goods import buyers from over the sea.

Alas for the woman of Albion's isle!
She may simper; as well as she can she may smile;
She may wear pantalettes and an air of repose
But my lord of the future will talk through his nose.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 28, 2012



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