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Category: Funny Burlesque Poems
       Classic humorous and funny poems using comic imitation and exaggeration in an absurd way.

  AN IDYLL OF PHATTE AND LEENE  

The hale John Sprat--oft called for shortness, Jack--
Had married--had, in fact, a wife--and she
Did worship him with wifely reverence.
He, who had loved her when she was a girl,
Compass'd her too, with sweet observances;
E'en at the dinner table did it shine.
For he--liking no fat himself--he never did,
With jealous care piled up her plate with lean,
Not knowing that all lean was hateful to her.
And day by day she thought to tell him o't,
And watched the fat go out with envious eye,
But could not speak for bashful delicacy.

At last it chanced that on a winter day,
The beef--a prize joint!--little was but fat;
So fat, that John had all his work cut out,
To snip out lean fragments for his wife,
Leaving, in very sooth, none for himself;
Which seeing, she spoke courage to her soul,
Took up her fork, and, pointing to the joint
Where 'twas the fattest, piteously she said;
"Oh, husband! full of love and tenderness!
What is the cause that you so jealously
Pick out the lean for me. I like it not!
Nay, loathe it--'tis on the fat that I would feast;
O me, I fear you do not like my taste!"

Then he, dropping his horny-handled carving knife,
Sprinkling therewith the gravy o'er her gown,
Answer'd, amazed: "What! you like fat, my wife!
And never told me. Oh, this is not kind!
Think what your reticence has wrought for us;
How all the fat sent down unto the maidWho
likes not fat--for such maids never do--
Has been put in the waste-tub, sold for grease,
And pocketed as servant's perquisite!
Oh, wife! this news is good; for since, perforce,
A joint must be not fat nor lean, but both;
Our different tastes will serve our purpose well;
For, while you eat the fat--the lean to me
Falls as my cherished portion. Lo! 'tis good!"
So henceforth--he that tells the tale relates--
In John Sprat's household waste was quite unknown;
For he the lean did eat, and she the fat,
And thus the dinner-platter was all cleared.

                                                                    Unknown.


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