Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BLIND MAN'S BUFF, by HORACE SMITH



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BLIND MAN'S BUFF, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Three wags (whom some fastidious carpers
Last Line: "out of your wages!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Blindness; Drinks & Drinking; Eyes; Visually Handicapped; Wine


THREE wags, (whom some fastidious carpers
Might rather designate three sharpers)
Entered, at York, the Cat and Fiddle,
And finding that the host was out
On business for two hours or more,
While Sam, the rustic waiter, wore
The visage of a simple lout,
Whom they might safely try to diddle,
They ordered dinner in a canter --
Cold or hot, it mattered not,
Provided it were served instanter;
And as the heat had made them very
Dry and dusty in their throttles,
They bade the waiter bring three bottles
Of prime old port and one of sherry. --

Sam ran with ardour to the larder,
Then to the kitchen;
And, as he briskly went to work, he
Drew from the spit a roasting turkey,
With sausages embellished, which in
A trice upon the board was spread,
Together with a nice cold brisket,
Nor did he even obliviscate
Half a pig's head.
To these succeeded puddings, pies,
Custards and jellies,
All doomed to fall a sacrifice
To their insatiable bellies;
As if, like camels, they intended
To stuff into their monstrous craws
Enough to satisfy their maws,
Until their pilgrimage was ended,
Talking, laughing, eating, quaffing,
The bottles stood no moment still;
They rallied Sam with joke and banter,
And, as they drained the last decanter,
Called for the bill. --

'Twas brought -- when one of them who eyed
And added up the items, cried,
"Extremely moderate indeed!
I'll make a point to recommend
This inn to every travelling friend;
And you, Sam, shall be doubly fee'd."
This said, a weighty purse he drew,
When his companion interposed --
"Nay, Harry, that will never do,
Pray let your purse again be closed;
You paid all charges yesterday,
'Tis clearly now my turn to pay."

Harry, however, wouldn't listen
To any such insulting offer,
His generous eyes appear to glisten
Indignant at the very proffer;
And though his friend talked loud, the clangour
Served but to aggravate Hal's anger,
"My worthy fellow," cried the third,
"Now really this is too absurd;
What! do both of ye forget
I haven't paid a farthing yet?
Am I eternally to cram
At your expense? 'tis childish quite;
I claim this payment as my right --
Here -- how much is the money, Sam?"

To this most rational proposal
The others gave such fierce negation,
One might have fancied they were foes all,
So hot became the altercation,
Each in his purse his money rattling,
Insisting, arguing, and battling.

One of them cried at last -- "A truce! --
This point we will no longer moot;
Wrangling for trifles is no use,
And thus we'll finish the dispute. --
That we may settle what we three owe,
We'll blindfold Sam, and whichsoe'er
He catches of us first shall bear
The whole expenses of the trio,
With half-a-crown (if that's enough,)
To Sam for playing Blindman's Buff."

Sam liked it hugely -- thought the ransom,
For a good game of fun was handsome;
Gave his own handkerchief beside,
To have his eyes securely tied,
And soon began to grope and search;
When the three knaves, I needn't say,
Adroitly left him in the lurch,
Slipped down the stairs and stole away.

Poor Sam continued hard at work; --
Now o'er a chair he gets a fall;
Now floundering forwards with a jerk,
He bobs his nose against the wall;
And now encouraged by a subtle
Fancy, that they're near the door,
He jumps behind it to explore,
And breaks his shins against the scuttle. --
Crying, at each disaster -- "Drat it!
Dang it! 'od rabbit it! and rat it!" --
Just in this crisis of his doom,
The host, returning, sought the room;
And Sam no sooner heard his tread,
Than, pouncing on him like a bruin,
He almost shook him into ruin,
And with a shout of laughter said --
"By gom, I've cotched thee now, so down
With cash for all, and my half crown!" --
Off went the bandage, and his eyes
Seemed to be goggling o'er his forehead,
While his mouth widened with a horrid
Look of agonised surprise.

"Gull!" roared his master, "Gudgeon! dunce!
Fool as you are you're right for once,
'Tis clear that I must pay the sum; --
But this one thought my wrath assuages --
That every halfpenny shall come
Out of your wages!"





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