A Country Dance

Long Thomas was as proud a man
As boxed a Jesuit.
He went to an academy
An undergraduate.

He lodged within a narrow lane
And learned philosophy.
"I'll split these academic hairs
Not one day more!" said he.

"For squirrels who play in the trees
Will give me no respite
And ladybirds that hunt by day
Are fireships at night.

A mutton-monger lives next door
And all I learn's old hat.
I work all night - a burning shame
So goodbye to all that!"

He set off down the rustic road
Where basket makers thrive
And watched the wagtails fly about
And bees hum round their hive.

By lunchtime he was famished quite,
But smiles dispelled his frown
When he espied a baker's girl
Who called herself Miss Brown.

"Miss Brown," he said, "If you've a bun,
I'd thank you for a bite,
And for your trouble, be prepared
To pay your bill at sight."

"Salt tears I cry, my hungry man.
Here, take a slice for free,
And after we can dance a jig
If you'll come home with me.

For I'm a dancing girl at heart,
I wear my heels short.
You look an active man: I'd guess
High diving is your sport."

"Oh yes, I'll take a flying leap
Whenever there's a chance.
I thank you kindly for your gift,
And I will gladly dance."

Then come and taste my wares. You see
I've money of my own,
And truth be told, I'd sooner play
Upon the xylophone.

Within the dell, a water mill
Began at last to grind.
"What riches!" cried Miss Brown. "I wear
Duchess's shoes, I find."

Miss Brown brought out her kettle-drums
And Thomas tuned his flute.
"If you are careful, Tom" said she
"I'll let you play my lute."

They tipped the velvet, tapped a tune
And danced a merry jig,
Till Tom went to the coffee house
And got up in dog's rig.

"Oh, Thomas! You have poisoned me"
Miss Brown cried in dismay.
"My vine won't blossom anymore
And I will rue this day."

"Come, come!" said Tom. "Your black joke's thin:
I saw you cap in hand.
Don't make a face at me, my girl.
These things I understand.

Your gown is green, your pitcher cracked,
Your cauliflower's old.
So let us drive Moll Peatly's gig
Before the day grows cold."

But Buckinger's boot was scarcely on,
St George not tried his might,
When Miss Brown's eyes were troubled with
A most unwelcome sight.

"Here comes a man with new-grown horns:
He is your brother starling.
So turn your goat's feet round and run
Back to the smoke, my darling."

Long Thomas was a woeful man
And sadly lacking mettle.
"That girl should not be 'missed'" thought he
As he put on his kettle.


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