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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MALLY, by                    
First Line: Ah well-a-day! What will become of me?
Last Line: My door stands open; open are my arms
Subject(s): Absence;love - Marital; Separation;isolation;wedded Love;marriage - Love

AH well-a-day! what will become of me?
None comes to woo: must I a maiden die?
I flouted Hobbinol, my flouts I moan:
As pettish babies, when the pap is gone,
Cry for't again, but all their cries are vain;
The lulling mothers trow not what they mean.
O come, my love; ah me, why did I scorn?
Deaf as a fish! I sorrow in my turn.
One winter's eve thy love appearéd plain,
When thou, albee the cold, the wind, and rain,
O'er yon high rocky mountain came to woo:
Ah, what could love 'gainst every danger do!
Plain was thy love, and hence might well be known:
Thy love I plainly saw, but little wist my own.
Mad, giddy girl, I lewdly held the door,
And called: 'Get home': he went, but comes no more.
His love is changed, I fear. It cannot be:
Did I not see him stand behind a tree
At me to peep, attending of my ewes?
He saw me look, and skulked among the boughs.
Thou surely loves me still; did I not find
An Emm, new-carvéd on yon beech's rind?
This was thy work: what other could it mean?
No Mally else but me lives on our green.
By this, it seems, I am not quite forgot;
He, sure enough, this Emm for Mally wrote.
And, pray, what lass is liker him than me?
Birds of like feather will together be.
His sheep with crabs, and him with plums, I'll beat:
Crabs been too hard; he does not hear me say't.
He'll chase and take me; if he lets me go,
That he may take again, again I'll throw.
He may love Nan o'th'Dale, but she's not fair,
Nor kon she rightly tend a shepherd's care;
Nor heal their ills, with simples well prepared,
Nor shear the corn, nor milk the brindly herd:
She little knows the dairy-maiden's care,
Or cheese to press, or butter to prepare,
All which I do. I have full twenty ewes,
Besides their lambs, and tway right fair-flecked cows;
A milking-pail, a skimming-dish, a churn,
A sheep-hook rarely carved, but somewhat worn;
A cypress cheese-vat, spinning-wheel, though old;
A chaff-bed and green rug, to keep from cold.
What would one more? and yet my mother said
She'd give me th'elbow-chair when I was wed.
My garter's loose, and that's a certain show
That my sweetheart is thinking of me now:
It must mean Mopsy; Hobbinol is gone.
Poor Hobbinol, why on thee did I frown?
Mopsy could love me well, though Hob disdains,
Or else no truth abides in shepherd swains.
He told our Roger I was passing fair,
Besides he sends me many a Cath'rin pear.

I met two tawny gypsies on a day,
And gypsies been right knowing folk, they say.
They took my hand and wistful-looking said
That I was then wooed by a lovely lad,
Who should be mine: he wore a cap of green.
This must be Hob, but Hob comes not again.
I dreamed of bulls; and now for sure I know
That dreams of bulls forebode some deal of woe:
Oh, henceforth may I dream of bulls no more!
Come, Hobbinol, nor shun to dark my door.
Why scornéd I? ah me, why did I scorn,
And not thy love with equal love return?
Ah, why? but 'tis too late, 'tis all in vain,
My dear is gone, and cometh not again.
O come again; why thus impair my charms?
My door stands open; open are my arms.

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