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The Oceanides, Edited by Judith Pascoe

Curiosity and Scandal

There are some folks whom oft we see,
With such a taste for pedigree,
The moment a fresh face is found,
Enquiring whispers murmur round,
Of who she is, and where has been,
And what she says, and what has seen,
Who she is with, and what she knows,
The cut and colour of her clothes—
These folks remind me of the Bee,
(But not of useful industry)
Who range untir’d throughout the fields,
And suck the meanest flower it yields;
For they to gain their worthy end,
To every means will condescend,
With simple children e’en to try,
To make them a domestic spy;
They, if they could, would wish to gather
The history of their great-grandmother.
But be folks good, or full of flaws,
None can escape from Scandal’s claws;
All these fair with honied tongues
And blessed with ‘adamantine lungs’,
Unlike the bee which stings but once,
And only then in self-defence,
With them it is a constant humour,
They cannot sup without a rumour;
To take their tea would be surprising,
Without a hint of strange surmising:
Oh! were it only understood,
How much they seek their neighbour’s good,
A grateful country sure would raise
An edifice to note their praise,
With deaf and dumb it should be graced,
These ladies over them be placed,
And I am sure they soon would teach—
Their pupils liberty of speech.

M.J. Jewsbury

About this Page

Published @ RC

November 2003