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But, like other true lovers in trouble, he thought

That his case was as bad as could be ;

So he said, "Though this greeting I dare not have sought,
Since it happens I here am by accident brought,

I should like this queer speaker to see."

Then he went round the corner, and found an old man,
With lean legs and an odd pinched-up face,
Who, without any preface, thus oddly began-
"Folks are never contented, do all that one can ;
And, Beau Billy, I well know thy case.

"Thou would'st thrash all thy rivals, and others perhaps :
Well-no matter, I'll give thee this stick ;

But observe, what to thee will appear gentle raps,
Will prove knock-me-down to those great boasting chaps,
So don't strike them too hard nor too quick."

Billy doubtingly smiled, and the odd old man frown'd,
And cried," Eh! then thou'rt hard to convince ?
Well-take that!" and away Billy flew with a bound,
And head over heels tumbled down on the ground,
While the pain from the blow made him wince.

Then the lean-legg'd old man danced and laugh'd in high glee,
And said, "Now then my word thou'lt not doubt;

So remember, no man, howsoe'er strong he be,
Can resist this prime twig which I now throw to thee.
There!-be off and mind what thou'rt about."

Though the stick was thrown gently, Bill fancied his head
Had been hit by a ponderous stone;

For his eyes flash'd with sparks, his brain reel'd, his nose bled,
And down tumbling again, he lay long like one dead,
Then awoke and rose up all alone.

He then scratch'd his dull pate, in bewilderment lost,
And exclaim'd, "I've been dreaming, I fear!

No; I ha'n't! Here's the queer stick that queer old chap tost,
And he certainly thrash'd me, I feel to my cost,

And has made me a conjurer-that's clear.

"Well, if all that he told me should prove to be true,"
Here he giggled with clownish delight,

"Thumping Robin, strong Tim, and tall Harry shall rue
The next challenge they offer to me before Sue,
And I hope I may meet them to-night."

Thus resolving, he ventured to take up the stick,
Which was wondrously handy to wield;
As he flourished it gaily, it flew round so quick,
He felt perfectly sure he could easily lick
All competitors out of the field.

So that day he dress'd gaily, his hat cock'd aside,
And conceitedly strutted about

Till the evening, and then to Sue's cottage he hied,
And had nearly approached it, when Harry he spied_
A rival, tall, bony, and stout.

They met close to the gate of the garden, and then

His rough rival exclaim'd with a leer,

"What! Beau Billy! Be'st thou come here courting agen? Well, there's nought so conceited as you little men;

But thee'dst better be off, or look here!"

And while speaking, he shook a stout stick in the face
Of our beau, who a moment drew back,

Then advanced, and just gave his tall taunter a brace
Of queer magical blows, that quite alter'd the case,
For he fell to the ground with a whack.

And felt shockingly sheepish, of course, as he'd caught
Just a glimpse of Sue's face peeping through

The half-closed cottage window, and therefore had thought
He would show off his prowess, though fearless of aught
His diminutive rival could do.

There he lay; but his pride was more mortified still
When he saw thumping Robin and Tim,

The two other big suitors to Sue, mount the hill
Just in time to behold him crow'd over by Bill,
In his dirty deplorable trim.

But as they were his friends, he call'd out for their aid,
And declared Bill had cowardly crept

Close behind him, and struck him two blows with a spade-
For that nothing less pond'rous such marks could have made;
And the fallen bully blubber'd and wept.

Tim and Robin believed him, because they knew well
It was nonsense for Billy to try,

In a fair stand-up fight, such a fellow to fell:

So they ask'd him the cause of his conduct to tell;
And he answer'd," He's told you a lie!"

Then he boldly continued, "You both of you know
How oft here he has boasted his strength,
And I let it all pass; but I can't stand a blow,
And he shook his stick at me, and threaten'd, and so
I have just made him measure his length.

"I had nought but this stick you see now in my hand:
You may stare, but 'tis perfectly true;

And affronts I'll endure from no man in the land,
So ye great gaping louts, if ye don't understand,
Here I'm ready for either of you,

"Or for both, if ye like; so come on! do your worst, And I pledge you my word I'll not run.”

Thumping Bob swell'd with anger as ready to burst,

While strong Tim laugh'd aloud, and cried, " I'll take him first— We shall now have some capital fun."

The queer stick did its duty. Tim's guard down it beat,
And eke broke his thick head at one blow;

At the next he could hardly remain on his feet,
But went tottering backward in awkward retreat,
Till the third on the ground laid him low.

Thumping Robin, amazed, oped his mouth and his eyes,
And the latter could hardly believe;

But Bill gave him short time to shake off his surprise,
For he said, "Now, big Rob, you'll be off if you're wise,
And I'll grant you for once a reprieve."

But big Bob was a huge o'ergrown fellow, who ne'er
In those parts found his equal before;

So he pluck'd up his courage, and said, "Never fear,
But I'll make you repent that you ever came here,
And take care you don't come any more.

"There, take that!" and he aim'd a fierce blow at Bill's head, Just as though he would knock down an ox; But Bill parried it lightly, and laughingly said, "What! d'ye call that a blow?

Well, take that tap instead!

Ha, ha, ha! so you're in the wrong box ?"

Then again the queer stick flew about, left and right,
With such swiftness it scarce could be seen,

And in very few seconds so finish'd the fight,
That black, blue, and breathless, in shocking bad plight,
Robin join'd his fallen friends on the green.

His arms flapping like wings, Bill then cried, " Och, aboo!"
And he crow'd like a cock o'er his foes;

“There, they're settled! and now I have nothing to do,
But in safety hereafter keep teasing dear Sue,

Till I make her say 'Yes.' So, here goes!"

Now, the maiden had seen the queer combats amazed,
But all pass'd so exceedingly quick,

That she scarce had concluded Beau Billy was crazed,
Ere he enter'd her door, neither bruised, hurt, nor grazed,
Gaily whistling and twirling his stick.

What he said, and he did, and she said in reply,
Would detain us too long to relate;

He'd her all to himself, and no one will deny,
That 'tis pleasanter courting with no rivals by,
To embarrass the loving debate.

When they parted, 'twas late, but they met again soon,
Billy beau'd her wherever she went ;

On the green they were seen almost each afternoon,
Then took long loving walks by the light of the moon,
Till by such means he gain'd her consent.

Then three times in the church both their names were announced,
And at length came the bright, happy day,

When his bride at the altar, deep blushing and flounced,
Billy faced, and observed she unfairly pronounced

The last words of " to love and obey."

Billy chuckled, and thought " If you won't, I know what,"
But his secret he cunningly hid;

And, apparently perfectly pleased with his lot,

Walk'd off, laughing, with Sue to their own little cot,

With the friends who to dinner were bid.

That day merrily pass'd, and some others beside,

Till the honeymoon drew to its wane ;

When there came a strange change o'er the ways of the bride, Who decided 'twere folly much longer to hide

Her intent in the cottage to reign.

So she order'd about her, and, shocking to tell,
At last call'd her husband a fool;

Which, though perfectly true, we all know very well
One don't like to be told. So the uproar to quell,
Bill resolved to establish his rule;

And accordingly brought the queer stick to his aid,
With intention most gently to smite,

Which when Susan beheld she began to upbraid:
"Strike a woman? you coward!" she cried; "Who's afraid?
Get along with you out of my sight!"

But Bill boldly stood firm, and self-conscious of power,
Thought I've only to give her a pat,

And henceforth at my glance, like a spaniel, she'll cower,
And obey me in all I command from this hour."

So he smote, saying, "Vixen! take that."

Though he used little strength, yet the blow seem'd to him,
When compared with his practice before,

Scarcely lighter than those that fell'd Rob, Hal, and Tim;
Yet it barely sufficed to indent the gay brim

Of the straw-plaited bonnet she wore.

In amazement he stared, and had just raised the stick,
To essay what the next tap would do,

When his wife, springing forward, infuriate and quick,
Snatch'd it out of his hand; then with blows smart and thick
She belabour'd her spouse black and blue.

That the stick held its magical powers was now plain ;
Fast as hail falls it patter'd "whack, whack!"

Billy roar'd out for quarter and mercy in vain,

Still," I'll teach you a woman to strike!" was her strain,
As he lay on the floor on his back.

When she ceased from fatigue Billy crawl'd off to bed,
Which he long kept in terrible plight ;

By the doctor drugg'd, plaster'd, anointed, and bled,
And by Susan with gruel and mutton broth fed,

Though she said that she'd served him quite right.

At length Time, the prime healer, completed his cure,
And he went for a stroll all alone,

Pondering dismally o'er what he'd still to endure,

And was groaning," She'll kill me some day, I'm quite sure," When he found himself near the grey stone.

Then again with odd cackling the queer old man's voice
Smote his ear, shouting “ Billy the Beau!

66

What! there moping again? when thou ought'st to rejoice
Thou hast won such a prize as the maid of thy choice;
But for me she might yet have said no.”

"A good job if she had," Billy sulkily growl'd.

The old man cried, "What's that that I hear?

Thou hast cudgell'd thy rivals, I heard how they howl'd,

And got married. What would'st thou ?" and fiercely he scowl'd,
In a way that made Bill quake for fear.

"Please your worship," he stammer'd, " I don't mean no harm;"
And he told what he'd suffered and done;

"Luckless Bill!" said the man," my gift lost not its charm,
And thy wife will henceforth rule your cottage and farm
In the very same style she's begun.

"When I told thee no man could that queer stick withstand,
Of thy beating thy wife I thought not;

But since now you're united by wedlock's strong band,
Thou hast stupidly let the staff out of thine hand-
Thou deservest the whole thou hast got.

"Man should never strike woman in conjugal strife,
Even though she mayn't always obey;

And indeed all agree, who've observed human life,
'Tis a queer stick indeed that can manage a wife,
When determined to have her own way."

Now all ye beaus who courting go, of Billy's fate beware,
Nor strive, by seeming what you're not, your sweethearts to ensnare ;
For scarcely man is he who can unfairly treat the fair.

And ye, fair maids of Britain's isle, take heed of dashing beaux,

Who sport queer sticks, and conjuring tricks, and swagger, lie, and glose; They rarely are the kind of men they'd have you to suppose.

Choose well your mates, and when you wed, deem not the rite a joke,
Pronounce each syllable distinct, nor seek for equivoque;

But let your words and thoughts agree, like honest upright folk.

And when the marriage knot is wreathed, and two become but one,
Let neither give the other cause to wish that knot undone ;
For two misjoin'd had better be a cloister'd monk and nun.

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