Sunday, November 05, 2017



Thomas Ingoldsby (i.e. Richard Harris Barham), "The Old Woman's Cat," The Ingoldsby Lyrics (London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1881), pp. 91-93:
The old woman sat in her rush-bottom'd chair,
And she snorted and sniff'd with her nose in the air;
            "Dear me! dear me!
            What's this?" quoth she;
"Here's a very bad smell; why, what can it be?
            I'll wager a hat
            It's that horrid Tom cat
      Has been on the rug, or the carpet, or mat;
            All this has been
            From his being shut in.
Betty, go run for Carpenter Gore,
Make him cut a great hole by the sill of the door,
And the cat will get out and annoy us no more."

Straight at the little old woman's command
Came Carpenter Gore with his saw in his hand,
And he saw'd and he chisel'd, and close by the floor
He cut a great hole by the sill of the door;
And the little old woman began for to snore,
            For now, without doubt,
            As the cat could get out,
She conceived he would "never do so any more."
            But when she awoke
            She was ready to choke;
            Oh dear! how she wheez'd
            And snuff'd and sneez'd,
For the smell was a hundred times worse than before.

The old woman bann'd and the old woman swore,
And she vented her spite upon Carpenter Gore;
But Carpenter Gore cared little for that,
He put up his saw and he put on his hat,
And to Betty he said with a grin:
            "A hole, no doubt,
            That lets one cat out
Will let half a score cats in!"

Little old women, wherever ye be,
Gentle or simple, come listen to me—
            Beware how you storm,
            And bawl for Reform,
And great alterations begin,
            Lest, in going about,
            To rout one grievance out,
You let half a score come in.
Qui habet aures audiendi, audiat.

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