Friday, August 4, 2017

The Maiden - A Parody of the Poe's The Raven 1879

The Maiden. A Parody of the Poe's The Raven 1879

Once upon a summer morning, whilst I watched the sun 
All the hilltops lying round me with an ever-golden hue, 
Suddenly I saw a maiden with a basket heavy laden, 

Yes, a basket heavy laden with some clothes which looked
like new, 
And I cried, "My pretty maiden, these look just as good 
as new;
Have they, pray, been washed by you?"

Ah! distinctly I remember how my soul burned like an 
As the maiden's eyes grew brighter—eyes of such a lovely 
How her auburn tresses glistened in the sunlight while I 
Wondering how she had been christened; but her
answering words were few, 
And somehow they didn't please me, these her answering 
words so few—
"Truly, sir, what's that to you?"

Then I said, "O, lovely maiden, with this basket heavy
Tell me truly, I implore thee, from what parent-stock
you grew?
If your father is a humble, honest, labourer like the Bumble
Bee that works, but does not grumble at the work he has
to do? 
Maiden did you ever grumble at the work you had to do?" 
Quoth the maid, "What's that to you?"

Presently my soul grew stronger, hesitating then no longer, 
For I felt a little angry, and thus said what wasn't true: 
"Hark you, maid, my friend, Joe Simmen, says that all you 
Are as sour as any lemon, cross as any ole clo' Jew; 
Tell me maiden, is it not so, that you're like some ole clo' 
Quoth the maid "What's that to you?"

Deep into that countenance peering, long I stood there 
wondering, fearing, 
Lest the girl should prove a vixen, and begin to hit 
me too; 
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no 
And the only words there spoken were the whispered
words, "Pooh! pooh!" 
These I whispered, for I feared her, whispered just the 
words, "Pooh! pooh!"
And I knew not what to do.

Round about myself then turning, all my soul within me 
For I did not dare to face her, as she was I knew 
not who; 
I began at once to wonder how on earth I could thus 
And why I thus should cower under these her answering
words so few, 
And I could not find a reason why her words should be 
so few;
Still I knew not what to do.

Then I glanced across my shoulder, as it were some sheltering 
And I saw the maiden laughing, laughing till her face 
was blue. 
Then I thought "'Tis now or never," so I said (and thought 
it clever), 
"Pretty maiden, did you ever have a nice young sweet-
heart, who 
Was, as I am, tall and handsome? If so, prithee 
tell me who?"
Quoth the maid "What's that to you?"

And the maiden, thus beguiling all my angry soul to 
Made me say. "Ah! lovely maiden, fairly I'm in love 
with you." 
Then began my heart to flutter, and began my tongue to 
And began my lips to mutter, while around me objects
flew. Thus I muttered, while the objects round about me swiftly 
"Maiden, I'm in love with you."

But the maiden, sitting lonely on the velvet sod, spoke only 
These four words when I made of her some interrogation 
So upon the green grass sinking, I betook myself to linking 
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what on earth I now should do, 
And I asked the washer maiden, what on earth I now 
should do?
Quoth the maid "What pleases you."

"Torment!" said I, "thing of evil! you, at least, 
might have been civil, 
And not given such answers to the questions I have put 
to you. 
When I told you that I loved you, surely then I think I 
moved you, 
And I think it had behoved you to make answers straight
and true, 
'Stead of which you gave me answers which were anything 
but true."
Quoth the maid, "What's that to you."

"Be these words our sign of parting, saucy maid!" I shrieked, upstarting. 
"Get you back into the village, take these clothes along 
with you! 
Leave no thread even as a token of these horrid words 
you've spoken! 
Leave my loneliness unbroken! Take these clothes which
look like new, 
And return to where you came from, with these clothes as 
clean as new!"
Quoth the maiden, "Not for you."

So I left the washer maiden and her basket heavy laden, 
And I hope that I may never, never more behold the 
Yet my sleep is oft enchanted, and my dreams are often 
By her form when just not wanted, and the basket seems
there too, 
And she asks in tones of mockery, pointing at the 
basket, too,
"What is this, now, sir, to you?"

D. J. M.
Edinburgh Paper, November, 8, 1879.

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