Black Kate

A poem by Henry Kendall

Kate, they say, is seventeen
Do not count her sweet, you know.
Arms of her are rather lean
Ditto, calves and feet, you know.
Features of Hellenic type
Are not patent here, you see.
Katie loves a black clay pipe
Doesn’t hate her beer, you see.

Spartan Helen used to wear
Tresses in a plait, perhaps:
Kate has ochre in her hair
Nose is rather flat, perhaps.
Rose Lorraine’s surpassing dress
Glitters at the ball, you see:
Daughter of the wilderness
Has no dress at all, you see.

Laura’s lovers every day
In sweet verse embody her:
Katie’s have a different way,
Being frank, they “waddy” her.
Amy by her suitor kissed,
Every nightfall looks for him:
Kitty’s sweetheart isn’t missed
Kitty “humps” and cooks for him.

Smith, and Brown, and Jenkins, bring
Roses to the fair, you know.
Darkies at their Katie fling
Hunks of native bear, you know.
English girls examine well
All the food they take, you twig:
Kate is hardly keen of smell
Kate will eat a snake, you twig.

Yonder lady’s sitting room
Clean and cool and dark it is:
Kitty’s chamber needs no broom
Just a sheet of bark it is.
You may find a pipe or two
If you poke and grope about:
Not a bit of starch or blue
Not a sign of soap about.

Girl I know reads Lalla Rookh
Poem of the “heady” sort:
Kate is better as a cook
Of the rough and ready sort.
Byron’s verse on Waterloo,
Makes my darling glad, you see:
Kate prefers a kangaroo
Which is very sad, you see.

Other ladies wear a hat
Fit to write a sonnet on:
Kitty has the naughty cat
Neither hat nor bonnet on!
Fifty silks has Madame Tate
She who loves to spank it on:
All her clothes are worn by Kate
When she has her blanket on.

Let her rip! the Phrygian boy
Bolted with a brighter one;
And the girl who ruined Troy
Was a rather whiter one.
Katie’s mouth is hardly Greek
Hardly like a rose it is:
Katie’s nose is not antique
Not the classic nose it is.

Dryad in the grand old day,
Though she walked the woods about,
Didn’t smoke a penny clay
Didn’t “hump” her goods about.
Daphne by the fairy lake,
Far away from din and all,
Never ate a yard of snake,
Head and tail and skin and all.

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