20 May 2010
Funny Poem Fairy Tale: How Beauty Contrived to Get Square With the Beast
Renaissance Robin Photo by Denny Lyon
How Beauty Contrived to Get Square With the Beast
MISS Guinevere Platt
Was so beautiful that
She couldn't remember the day
When one of her swains
Hadn't taken the pains
To send her a mammoth bouquet.
And the postman had found,
On the whole of his round,
That no one received such a lot
Of bulky epistles
As, waiting his whistles,
The beautiful Guinevere got!
A significant sign
That her charm was divine
Was seen in society, when
The chaperons sniffed
With their eyebrows alift:
"Whatever's got into the men?"
There was always a man
Who was holding her fan,
And twenty that danced in details,
And a couple of mourners,
Who brooded in corners,
And gnawed their mustaches and nails.
John Jeremy Platt
Wouldn't stay in the flat,
For his beautiful daughter he missed:
When he'd taken his tub,
He would hie to his club,
And dally with poker or whist.
At the end of a year
It was perfectly clear
That he'd never computed the cost,
For he hadn't a penny
To settle the many
Ten thousands of dollars he'd lost!
F. Ferdinand Fife
Was a student of life:
He was coarse, and excessively fat,
With a beard like a goat's,
But he held all the notes
Of ruined John Jeremy Platt!
With an adamant smile
That was brimming with guile,
He said: "I am took with the face
Of your beautiful daughter,
And wed me she ought ter,
To save you from utter disgrace!"
Miss Guinevere Platt
Didn't hesitate at
Her duty's imperative call.
When they looked at the bride
All the chaperons cried:
"She isn't so bad, after all!"
Of the desolate men
There were something like ten
Who took up political lives,
And the flower of the flock
Went and fell off a dock,
And the rest married hideous wives!
But the beautiful wife
Of F. Ferdinand Fife
Was the wildest that ever was known:
She'd grumble and glare,
Till the man didn't dare
To say that his soul was his own.
She sneered at his ills,
And quadrupled his bills,
And spent nearly twice what he earned;
Her husband deserted,
And frivoled, and flirted,
Till Ferdinand's reason was turned.
He repented too late,
And his terrible fate
Upon him so heavily sat,
That he swore at the day
When he sat down to play
At cards with John Jeremy Platt.
He was dead in a year,
And the fair Guinevere
In society sparkled again,
While the chaperons fluttered
Their fans, as they muttered:
"She's getting exceedingly plain!"
The Moral: Predicaments often are found
That beautiful duty is apt to get round:
But greedy extortioners better beware
For dutiful beauty is apt to get square!
by Guy Wetmore Carryl (1873-1904)
"How Beauty Contrived to Get Square With the Beast" is reprinted from Grimm Tales Made Gay. Guy Wetmore Carryl. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1902.
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