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Category: Funny Narrative Poems
       Classic humorous and funny story poems. Narrative poems are written accounts of connected events in poetry format.

  THE KNIGHT AND THE LADY  

The Lady Jane was tall and slim,
                The Lady Jane was fair
And Sir Thomas, her lord, was stout of limb,
And his cough was short, and his eyes were dim,
And he wore green "specs" with a tortoise shell rim,
And his hat was remarkably broad in the brim,
And she was uncommonly fond of him--
                And they were a loving pair!
And wherever they went, or wherever they came,
Every one hailed them with loudest acclaim;
                Far and wide,
                The people cried,
All sorts of pleasure, and no sort of pain,
To Sir Thomas the good, and the fair Lady Janel

Now Sir Thomas the good, be it well understood,
Was a man of very contemplative mood--
He would pour by the hour, o'er a weed or a flower,
Or the slugs, that came crawling out after a shower;
Black beetles, bumble-bees, blue-bottle flies,
And moths, were of no small account in his eyes;
An "industrious flea," he'd by no means despise,
While an "old daddy long-legs," whose long legs and thighs
Passed the common in shape, or in color, or size,
He was wont to consider an absolute prize.
Giving up, in short, both business and sport, he
Abandoned himself, tout entier, to philosophy.

Now as Lady Jane was tall and slim,
                And Lady Jane was fair.
And a good many years the junior of him,
There are some might be found entertaining a notion,
That such an entire, and exclusive devotion,
To that part of science, folks style entomology,
                Was a positive shame,
                And, to such a fair dame,
Really demanded some sort of apology;
Ever poking his nose into this, and to that--
At a gnat, or a bat, or a cat, or a rat,
At great ugly things, all legs and wings,
With nasty long tails, armed with nasty long stings
And eternally thinking, and blinking, and winking,
At grubs--when he ought of her to be thinking.
But no! ah no! 'twas by no means so
                With the fair Lady Jane,
                Tout au contraire, no lady so fair,
Was e'er known to wear more contented an air;
And--let who would call--every day she was there
Propounding receipts for some delicate fare,
Some toothsome conserve, of quince, apple or pear
Or distilling strong waters--or potting a hare--
Or counting her spoons, and her crockery ware;
Enough to make less gifted visitors stare.

                Nay more; don't suppose
                With such doings as those
This account of her merits must come to a close;
No!--examine her conduct more closely, you'll find
She by no means neglected improving her mind;
For there all the while with an air quite bewitching
She sat herring-boning, tambouring, or stitching,
Or having an eye to affairs of the kitchen.
                Close by her side,
                Sat her kinsman, MacBride--
Captain Dugald MacBride, Royal Scots Fusiliers;--
And I doubt if you'd find, in the whole of his clan,
A more highly intelligent, worthy young man;
                And there he'd be sitting,
                While she was a-knitting,
Reading aloud, with a very grave look,
Some very "wise saw," from some very good book--
                No matter who came,
                It was always the same,
The Captain was reading aloud to the dame,
Till, from having gone through half the books on the shelf,
They were almost as wise as Sir Thomas himself.

                Well it happened one day--
                I really can't say
The particular month;--but I think 'twas in May,
'Twas I know in the spring-time, when "nature looks gay,"
As the poet observes--and on tree-top and spray,
The dear little dickey birds carol away,
That the whole of the house was thrown into affright,
For no soul could conceive what was gone with the Knight.

                It seems he had taken
                A light breakfast--bacon,
An egg, a little broiled haddock--at most
A round and a half of some hot buttered toast,
With a slice of cold sirloin from yesterday's roast.
                And then, let me see,--
                He had two,--perhaps three
Cups, with sugar and cream, of strong gunpowder tea,--
                But no matter for that--
                He had called for his hat,
With the brim that I've said was so broad and so flat,
And his "specs" with the tortoise-shell rim, and his cane.
With the crutch-handled top, which he used to sustain
His steps in his walk, or to poke in the shrubs
Or the grass, when unearthing his worms or his grubs;
Thus armed he set out on a ramble--a-lack!
He set out, poor dear soul!--but he never came back!
                "First dinner bell" rang
                Out its euphonous clang
At five--folks kept early hours then--and the "last"
Ding-donged, as it ever was wont, at half-past.
Still the master was absent--the cook came and said, he
Feared dinner would spoil, having been so long ready,
That the puddings her ladyship thought such a treat
He was morally sure, would be scarce fit to eat!
Said the lady, "Dish up! Let the meal be served straight,
And let two or three slices be put on a plate,
And kept hot for Sir Thomas."--Captain Dugald said grace,
Then set himself down in Sir Thomas' place.

Wearily, wearily, all that night,
        That live-long night did the hours go by;
                And the Lady Jane,
                In grief and pain,
        She sat herself down to cry!
                And Captain MacBride,
                Who sat by her side,
Though I really can't say that he actually cried,
        At least had a tear in his eye!
As much as can well be expected, perhaps,
From "very young fellows," for very "old chaps."
                And if he had said
                What he'd got in his head,
'Twould have been, "Poor old Duffer, he's certainly dead!"
The morning dawned--and the next--and the next
And all in the mansion were still perplexed;
                No knocker fell,
                His approach to tell;
Not so much as a runaway ring at the bell.

Yet the sun shone bright upon tower and tree,
And the meads smiled green as green may be,
And the dear little dickey birds caroled with glee,
And the lambs in the park skipped merry and free.--
Without, all was joy and harmony!

And thus 'twill be--nor long the day--
Ere we, like him, shall pass away!
Yon sun that now our bosoms warms,
Shall shine--but shine on other forms;
Yon grove, whose choir so sweetly cheers
Us now, shall sound on other ears;
The joyous lambs, as now, shall play,
But other eyes its sports survey;
The stream we loved shall roll as fair,
The flowery sweets, the trim parterre,
Shall scent, as now, the ambient air;
The tree whose bending branches bear
The one loved name--shall yet be there--
But where the hand that carved it? Where?

                These were hinted to me as the very ideas
Which passed through the mind of the fair Lady Jane,
As she walked on the esplanade to and again,
                With Captain MacBride,
                Of course at her side,
Who could not look quite so forlorn--though he tried,
An "idea" in fact, had got into his head,
That if "poor dear Sir Thomas" should really be dead,
It might be no bad "spec" to be there in his stead,
And by simply contriving, in due time, to wed
                A lady who was young and fair,
                A lady slim and tall,
To set himself down in comfort there,
                The lord of Tapton Hall.

                Thinks he, "We have sent
                Half over Kent,
And nobody knows how much money's been spent,
Yet no one's been found to say which way he went!
Here's a fortnight and more has gone by, and we've tried
Every plan we could hit on--and had him well cried
                '|Missing|!! Stolen or Strayed,
                Lost or Mislaid,
|A Gentleman|;--middle-aged, sober and staid;
Stoops slightly;--and when he left home was arrayed
In a sad-colored suit, somewhat dingy and frayed;
Had spectacles on with a tortoise-shell rim,
And a hat rather low crowned, and broad in the brim.
                Whoe'er shall bear,
                Or send him with care,
(Right side uppermost) home; or shall give notice where
Said middle-aged |Gentleman| is; or shall state
Any fact, that may tend to throw light on his fate,
To the man at the turnpike, called Tappington Gate,
Shall receive a reward of Five Pounds for his trouble.
N.B. If defunct, the Reward will be double!!'

                "Had he been above ground,
                He must have been found.
No; doubtless he's shot--or he's hanged--or he's drowned!
                Then his widow--ay! ay!
                But what will folks say?--
To address her at once, at so early a day.
Well--what then--who cares!--let 'em say what they may."
                When a man has decided
                As Captain MacBride did,
And once fully made up his mind on the matter, he
Can't be too prompt in unmasking his battery.
He began on the instant, and vowed that her eyes
Far exceeded in brilliance the stars in the skies;
That her lips were like roses, her cheeks were like lilies;
Her breath had the odor of daffadowndillies!--
With a thousand more compliments, equally true,
Expressed in similitudes equally new!
                Then his left arm he placed
                Round her jimp, taper waist--

Ere she fixed to repulse or return his embrace,
Up came running a man at a deuce of a pace,
With that very peculiar expression of face
Which always betokens dismay or disaster,
Crying out--'twas the gard'ner--"Oh, ma'am! we've found master!!"
"Where! where?" screamed the lady; and echo screamed,
            "Where?"
            The man couldn't say "there!"
            He had no breath to spare,
But gasping for breath he could only respond
By pointing--be pointed, alas! |TO THE POND|.
'Twas e'en so; poor dear Knight, with his "specs" and his hat,
He'd gone poking his nose into this and to that;
When close to the side of the bank, he espied
An uncommon fine tadpole, remarkably fat!
            He stooped;--and he thought her
            His own;--he had caught her!
Got hold of her tail--and to land almost brought her,
When--he plumped head and heels into fifteen feet water!

The Lady Jane was tall and slim,
            The Lady Jane was fair,
Alas! for Sir Thomas!--she grieved for him,
As she saw two serving men sturdy of limb,
            His body between them bear;
She sobbed and she sighed, she lamented and cried,
        For of sorrow brimful was her cup;
She swooned, and I think she'd have fallen down and died,
            If Captain MacBride
            Hadn't been by her side
With the gardener;--they both their assistance supplied,
        And managed to hold her up.
            But when she "comes to,"
            Oh! 'tis shocking to view
    The sight which the corpse reveals!
            Sir Thomas' body,
            It looked so odd--he
    Was half eaten up by the eels!

                His waistcoat and hose,
                And the rest of his clothes,
Were all gnawed through and through;
                And out of each shoe,
                An eel they drew;
And from each of his pockets they pulled out two!
And the gardener himself had secreted a few,
                As well might be supposed he'd do,
For, when he came running to give the alarm,
He had six in the basket that hung on his arm.

Good Father John was summoned anon;
Holy water was sprinkled and little bells tinkled,
                And tapers were lighted,
                And incense ignited,
And masses were sung, and masses were said,
All day, for the quiet repose of the dead,
And all night no one thought about going to bed.

But Lady Jane was tall and slim,
                And Lady Jane was fair,
And ere morning came, that winsome dame
Had made up her mind, or--what's much the same--
Had thought about, once more "changing her name,"
                And she said with a pensive air,
To Thompson the valet, while taking away,
When supper was over, the cloth and the tray,
"Eels a many I've ate; but any
                So good ne'er tasted before!--
They're a fish too, of which I'm remarkably fond--
Go--pop Sir Thomas again in the pond--
        Poor dear!--he'll catch us some more."

                                    MORAL

All middle-aged gentlemen let me advise,
If you're married, and hav'n't got very good eyes,
Don't go poking about after blue-bottle flies.
If you've spectacles, don't have a tortoise-shell rim,
And don't go near the water--unless you can swim.
Married ladies, especially such as are fair,
Tall and slim, I would next recommend to beware,
How, on losing one spouse, they give way to despair,
But let them reflect, there are fish, and no doubt on't,
As good in the river, as ever came out on't.

                                                                Richard Harris Barham.


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