Matilda Maud Mackenzie frankly hadn't any chin,
Her hands were rough, her feet she turned invariably in;
Her general form was German,
By which I mean that you
Her waist could not determine
To within a foot or two:
And not only did she stammer,
But she used the kind of grammar
That is called, for sake of euphony, askew.
From what I say about her, don't imagine I desire
A prejudice against this worthy creature to inspire.
She was willing, she was active,
She was sober, she was kind,
But she never looked attractive
And she hadn't any mind!
I knew her more than slightly,
And I treated her politely
When I met her, but of course I wasn't blind!
Matilda Maud Mackenzie had a habit that was droll,
She spent her morning seated on a rock or on a knoll,
And threw with much composure
A smallish rubber ball
At an inoffensive osier
By a little waterfall;
But Matilda's way of throwing
Was like other people's mowing,
And she never hit the willow-tree at all!
One day as Miss Mackenzie with uncommon ardor tried
To hit the mark, the missile flew exceptionally wide,
And, before her eyes astounded,
On a fallen maple's trunk
Ricochetted, and rebounded
In the rivulet, and sunk!
Matilda, greatly frightened,
In her grammar unenlightened,
Remarked: "Well now I ast yer! Who'd 'er thunk?"
But what a marvel followed! From the pool at once there rose
A frog, the sphere of rubber balanced deftly on his nose.
He beheld her fright and frenzy,
And, her panic to dispel,
On his knee by Miss Mackenzie
He obsequiously fell.
With quite as much decorum
As a speaker in a forum
He started in his history to tell.
"Fair maid," he said, "I beg you, do not hesitate or wince,
If you'll promise that you'll wed me, I'll at once become a prince;
For a fairy old and vicious
An enchantment round me spun!"
Then he looked up, unsuspicious,
And he saw what he had won,
And in terms of sad reproach he
Made some comments, sotto voce,*
* (Which the publishers have bidden me to shun!)
Matilda Maud Mackenzie said, as if she meant to scold:
"I never! Why, you forward thing! Now ain't you awful bold!"
Just a glance he paused to give her,
And his head was seen to clutch,
Then he darted to the river,
And he dived to beat the Dutch!
While the wrathful maiden panted:
"I don't think he was enchanted!"
(And he really didn't look it overmuch!)
The Moral: In one's language one conservative should be:
Speech is silver, and it never should be free!