Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MRS. HARRIS'S PETITION: TO EXCELLENCIES THE LORDS JUSTICES OF IRELAND, by JONATHAN SWIFT



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
MRS. HARRIS'S PETITION: TO EXCELLENCIES THE LORDS JUSTICES OF IRELAND, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Humbly showeth: / that I went to warm myself in lady betty's chamber
Last Line: Shall ever pray.
Variant Title(s): Mrs. Harris's Petition;mrs. Francis Harrison's Petition;the Humble Petition Of Frances Harris, Who Must Starve ...;the Humble Petition Of Frances Harris
Subject(s): Crime & Criminals


THE HUMBLE PETITION OF FRANCES HARRIS, WHO MUST STARVE,
AND DIE A MAID, IF IT MISCARRIES. WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1701,

Humbly showeth,

THAT I went to warm myself in Lady Betty's chamber, because
I was cold.
And I had in a purse seven pounds, four shillings, and
sixpence, besides farthings, in money and gold:
So, because I had been buying things for my lady last night,
I was resolved to tell my money, and see if it was right,
Now you must know, because my trunk has a very bad lock,
Therefore all the money I have, which God knows, is a very
small stock,
I keep in my pocket, tied about my middle, next my smock.
So, when I went to put up my purse, as luck would have it,
my smock was unripped.
And instead of putting it into my pocket, down it slipped:
Then the bell rung, and I went down to put my lady to bed:
And, God knows, I thought my money was as safe as my stupid head!
So, when I came up again, I found my pocket feel very light:
But when I searched, and missed my purse, law! I thought I
should have sunk outright.
'Lawk, madam,' says Mary, 'how d'ye do?' 'Indeed,' says I,
'never worse:
But pray, Mary, can you tell what I've done with my purse?'

'Lawk, help me!' said Mary, 'I never stirred out of this place:'
'Nay,' said I, 'I had it in Lady Betty's chamber, that's a
plain case.'
So Mary got me to bed, and covered me up warm:
However, she stole away my garters, that I might do myself no harm.
So I tumbled and tossed all night, as you may very well think,
But hardly ever set my eyes together, or slept a wink.
So I was a-dreamed, methought, that I went and searched the
folks round,
And in a corner of Mrs. Dukes's box, tied in a rag the
money was found.
So next morning we told Whittle, and he fell a-swearing:
Then my dame Wadger came: and she, you know, is thick of hearing:
'Dame,' said I, as loud was I could bawl, 'do you know what
a loss I have had?'
'Nay,' said she, 'my Lord Colway's folks are all very sad;
For my Lord Dromedary comes a Tuesday without fail.'
'Pugh!' said I. 'but that's not the business that I ail.'
Says Cary, says he, 'I've been a servant this
five-and-twenty years come spring,
And in all the places I lived I never heard of such a thing,'
'Yes,' says the steward, 'I remember, when I was at my Lady
Shrews-bury's.
Such a thing as this happened, just about the time of gooseberries.'
So I went to the party suspected, and I found her full of grief
(Now you must know, of all things in the world I hate a thief),
However, I was resolved to bring the discourse slily about:
'Mrs. Dukes,' said I, 'here's an ugly accident has happened out:
'Tis not that I value the money three ships of a mouse;
But the thing I stand upon is the credit of the house.
'Tus true, seven pounds, four shillings, and sixpence,
makes a great hole is my wages:
Besides, as they say, service is no inheritance in these ages.
Now, Mrs. Dukes, you know, and everybody understands,
That though 'tis hard to judge, yet money can't go without hands.'
'The devil take me,' said she (blessing herself). 'if ever I saw 't!'
So she roared like a Bedlam, as though I had called her all to naught.
So you know, what could I say to her any more?
I e'en left her, and came away as wise as I was before.
Well: but then they would have had me gone to the cunning man.
'No,' said I, 'tis the same thing, the chaplain will be here anon.'
So the chaplain came in. Now the servants say he is my sweetheart,
Because he's always in my chamber, and I always take his part.
So, as the devil would have it, before I was aware, out I plundered,
'Parson,' said I, 'can you cast a nativity when a body's plundered?'
(Now you must know, he hates to be called parson, like the devil.)
'Truly,' says he, 'Mrs. Nab, it might become you to be more civil;
If your money be gone, as a learned divine says, d'ye see,
You are no text for my handling; so take that from me:

I was never taken for a conjurer before, I'd have you to know.'
'Law!' said I, 'don't be angry, I am sure I never thought you so;
You know I honour the cloth; I design to be a parson's wife,
I never took one in your coat for a conjurer in all my life.'
With that, he twisted his girdle at me like a rope, as who should say,
'Now you may hang yourself for me!' and so went away.
Well: I thought I should have swooned, ' Law!' said I, '
what shall I do?
I have lost my money, and shall lose my true love too!'
Then my lord called me: 'Harry,' said my lord, 'don't cry,
I'll give you something towards your loss'; and, says my
lady, 'so will I.'
'O, but,' said I, 'what if, after all, the chaplain won't come to?'
For that, he said (an't please your Excellencies), I must
petition you.
The premises tenderly considered, I desire your
Excellencies' protection.
And that I may have a share in next Sunday's collection;
And, over and above, that I my have your Excellencies' letter,
With an order for the chaplain aforesaid, or, instead of
him, a better:
And then your poor petitioner both night and day,
Or the chaplain (for tis his trade), as in duty bound,
shall ever pray.






Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net