Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GADFLY, by JOHN KEATS



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THE GADFLY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: All gentle folks who owe a grudge
Last Line: The gadfly's little sting.


(FROM A LETTER TO TOM KEATS)

I.

ALL gentle folks who owe a grudge
To any living thing
Open your ears and stay your t[r]udge
Whilst I in dudgeon sing.

II.

The Gadfly he hath stung me sore--
O may he ne'er sting you!
But we have many a horrid bore
He may sting black and blue.

III.

Has any here an old grey Mare
With three legs all her store,
O put it to her Buttocks bare
And straight she'll run on four.

IV.

Has any here a Lawyer suit
Of Seventeen-Forty-Three,
Take Lawyer's nose and put it to 't
And you the end will see.

V.

Is there a Man in Parliament
Dum[b-]founder'd in his speech,
O let his neighbour make a rent
And put one in his breech.

VI.

O Lowther how much better thou
Hadst figur'd t'other day
When to the folks thou mad'st a bow
And hadst no more to say

VII.

If lucky Gadfly had but ta'en
His seat * * *
And put thee to a little pain
To save thee from a worse.

VIII.

Better than Southey it had been,
Better than Mr. D--,
Better than Wordsworth too, I ween,
Better than Mr. V--.

IX.

Forgive me pray good people all
For deviating so--
In spirit sure I had a call--
And now I on will go.

X.

Has any here a daughter fair
Too fond of reading novels,
Too apt to fall in love with care
And charming Mister Lovels,

XI.

O put a Gadfly to that thing
She keeps so white and pert--
I mean the finger for the ring,
And it will breed a wort.

XII.

Has any here a pious spouse
Who seven times a day
Scolds as King David pray'd, to chouse
And have her holy way--

XIII.

O let a Gadfly's little sting
Persuade her sacred tongue
That noises are a common thing.
But that her bell has rung.

XIV.

And as this is the summum bonum of all conquering,
I leave "withouten wordes mo"
The Gadfly's little sting.





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