Samuel Lover

The Crooked Stick

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Julia was lovely and winning--
And Julia had lovers in plenty,
They outnumber'd her years
More than twice, it appears--
She killed fifty before she was twenty.
Young Harry
Had asked her to marry;
But Julia could never decide,
Thus early, on being a bride;
With such ample choice,
She would not give her voice,
In wedlock so soon to be tied;
And though she liked Hal, thought it better to wait,
Before she would finally fix on her fate;
For though "Harry was every way worthy" to get her,
Perhaps she might see some one else she liked better.

Hal, discarded by Venus, went over to Mars;
And set off to the war in a troop of hussars;
To sabres and bullets exposing a life
Made wretched to him by the want of a wife;
But Death would not take what fair Julia refused;
And, in fact, Harry thought himself very ill used
By "Death and the Lady"--till Time's precious ointment,
Cured the wound Julia made,
And the soldier's bold blade
Soon won him a colonel's appointment;
And then he went home, by hard service made sager,
And found Julia had married a yellow old major.
For the sake of old times, Harry called on the lady,
Who was now on that side of this life they call "shady;"
Which, though pleasant in streets, in the summer's bright sun,
On life's path is not pleasant--when summer's all done.
He took her hand kindly--and hoped she was well--
And looked with a tender regret on his belle!
"Ah! Julia! how's this?--I would not give you pain,
But I think I may ask, without being thought vain,
How the girl who refused to let Harry encage her,
Could consent to be trapped by a yellow old major?"

"Come dine here," said she--"and at evening we'll take,
On horseback a ride through the hazlewood brake;
And as I've lost my whip--you must go to the wood,
And cut me a riding switch handsome and good,
Something nice--such a one as I'll keep for your sake,
As a token of friendship; but pray do not make
Your absence too long--for we dine, sharp, at six;
But you'll see, before then, many beautiful sticks."

Harry went on this mission, to rifle the riches
Of the hazlewood brake--and saw such lovely switches,
But none good enough to present, as a token,
To her who, "lang syne," had his burning heart broken;
The wood was passed through--and no switch yet selected,
When "six o'clock," suddenly, Hal recollected,
And took out his watch:--but ten minutes to spare--
He employed those ten minutes with scrupulous care,
But, spite of his pains--the best switch he selected
Did not equal, by much, many first he rejected;
He eye'd it askance--and he bent it--and shook it--
And owned, with a shrug, 'twas a leetle bit crooked.
He returned, and told Julia the state of the case,
When she--(a faint smile lighting up a sad face)--
Said, "Harry, your walk through the hazlewood brake
Is my history--a lesson that many might take;
At first, you saw beautiful sticks by the score,
And hoped to get better, with such 'plenty more,'
But at the last moment--no time left to pick--
You were forced to put up with a crooked stick."

Oh Woman!--designed for the conquest of hearts,
To your own native charms add not too many arts;
If a poet's quaint rhyme might dare offer advice,
You should be nice all over--but not over-nice.
I don't wish a lady so wondrously quick
As to sharpen her knife for the very first stick;
But--for one good enough--it were best not o'erlook it,
Lest, in seeking too straight ones--you get but the crooked.

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Samuel Lover