Menella Bute Smedley

Lord Rubadub

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'Neath the shade of a daisy, just two inches high,
A poor little fairy sits weeping alone;
She says, “What a desolate creature am I,
My Lord Rubadub has the heart of a stone!

“He will not allow me to dance on a cherry,
To swing in a cobweb, or ride on a bee;
He tells me to hush when I want to be merry,
Which is hard on a gay little fairy like me.
“Our queen is so delicate, dainty, and dear,
But I fear she will marry my Lord Rubadub.
He struts at her side with a lounge and a leer,—
I wonder she'll look at the dandified cub!

“To fly from the court I announced my intention,
But Rubadub says (and I fancy 'tis true),
I must serve seven years, or I'll not get my pension;
So what is a poor little fairy to do?
“Lord Rubadub's head is as large as my house;
His legs stride as far as the north from the south;
He can hold in his hand that big monster, the mouse;
And he puts a whole dinner at once in his mouth!

“I do not deny he has wit and acumen,
But he's dreadfully fat and disgracefully tall;
I think he's a changeling, a thing they call human;
I do not believe he's a fairy at all!
“But, hush! here he comes.” So she hid in the moss,
While vulgarly saunter'd, in insolent pride,
A fat little boy, who appear'd rather cross,
Though the beautiful fairy queen flew at his side.

He flung himself down with a flop on the daisy,
And sticking a meerschaum his thick lips between,
Bawl'd out, “Look alive there—Flare up—Don't be lazy,
But fan me to sleep with your wings, fairy queen!”
The delicate fairy queen perch'd on his nose,
And flapping her gossamer wings up and down,
The cross little fellow is wrapt in repose—
A sneer on his lips, on his forehead a frown.

The delicate fairy queen falters and flutters,
Afraid to desist. Ah, what slavery this!
But the fairy that's hid in the moss slily mutters,
“Now, now is the moment to test what he is!”
41:She creepeth along, (we can all guess what for,
For who is so stupid as not to have heard
That test of a fairy, that signal of awe,
That almost unspeakable, horrible word!)

She creepeth along, coming nearer and nearer;
She reacheth one ear (for the creature has two!)
Then shouts, and no bell than her voice sounded clearer,
That almost unspeakable word, “Bugaboo!”
Hey presto, he's gone! Down, down on the grass
Drops the queen from the wonderful height of his nose.
Was he here? has he vanish'd? did none see him pass?
Hey presto, he's gone! but how, nobody knows!

The sly little creature laughs out in derision;
The queen's tears would soon float a fine fairy fish.
Then clapping their hands, they exert fairy vision;
And flapping their wings, they see all that they wish.
They see a big chamber, in whose boundless space
Sit fifty big boys, with big books in their hands,
And, lo! in the centre, in dreadful disgrace,
On a high stool of penance, Lord Rubadub stands.

Oh, fairy queen, faint not! that brow which thy kisses
So often have touch'd, like the wing of a fly,
Is crown'd with a fool's cap of paper, where this is
Engraved in black letters a hundred feet high:—
Tom the Truant, that's all; Tom the Truant—alas!
Oh, fairy queen, weep, for thy darling they snub!
Oh, weep that such glory so lightly should pass,
To find a cow'd schoolboy in Lord Rubadub!

The fairies are sorry,—they surely have reason;
To see him stand there makes their tender hearts ache;
And their queen wore half-mourning for many a season,
And rode a blackbeetle for Rubadub's sake.

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Menella Bute Smedley