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Poetry Magnum Opus

Light as Lilac, Heavy as Falling Stone


dedalus
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A country river, an old willow tree,

there I first met my love and she met me,

how my heart misbehaved! She gave

me a ribbon still warm from her breast,

a pink ribbon, I think, which I caressed

and from that time I was enslaved ...

 

to love only her and her alone,

and so on. But this actually happened,

 

and as I decipher these spidery scrawls,

the discovered diaries of 18th century Uncle John,

I think what a sentimental fool he was, to be sure,

but a dangerous man with the rapier,

a deadly shot with those early pistols!

 

Well, you had to be impressive, really,

with ancient pretensions to aristo birth

and no bloody money to speak of.

Fend off the rivals and carry off the girl!

Naturallement! You’d be looking at

ten thousand (pounds) if you were lucky.

 

He continues:

 

The zephrys blow upon the trees

as I gaze upon wild raging moors.

My heart contracts to an aching please

to open up those shuttered doors!

 

This is pretty slick, almost modern.

Johnny is getting into his groove here.

The girl replies (we think), since nearly

all girls reply to love letters in some way

if even to say don’t send them any more.

 

Her replies are sadly lost to history.

 

The girl’s family were blithely unaware,

blissfully blinded to this mutual passion,

and so carefully set up an arranged marriage

for Georgiana (for that is her name, poor girl)

to a somewhat equal male companion.

 

John goes berserk!

 

He wants to challenge the guy to a duel!

Of course he will kill him, slash or boom,

so Georgiana exerts feminine perspicacity

and takes to her bed for three weeks.

The prospective suitor backs off rather quickly

 

for who wants a sickly wife, when your plan

is to have, say, six to maybe 14 children?

 

John, not surprisingly, moves in:

He writes to the parents …

 

My dear Lord and Lady R ------ ham

It is with the greatest regret that I have been informed

of the severe illness of your beloved daughter

whom I have been given to understand is a person

of the greatest refinement, and a credit to her sex,

which she is not getting a lot of, thanks to you,

and which I am damn sure I can do something about!

 

The latter part of the letter, I believe,

was not included.

 

He writes (by messenger) to Georgiana:

 

I don’t want your money.

I want your cunny.

 

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

somewhat mischievously cites this

as the first appearance of the slang term,

but this is untrue, academically unsound.

 

So … what happened, then?

Did Georgiana and John get married?

Ho, yes, indeed! Had a load of kids.

And were they happy forever after? Don’t

ask silly questions. Romance, my dears,

burns out, burns out in every marriage.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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An entertaining slant on the circumlocutory language of those times-- often used in dramatic

old ballads and folk culture. One of my favourites.....“I'll make

you as happy as any lady...if you will grant to me one small relief.” :biggrin: B

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