(Poem #94) The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet
Little Miss Muffet discovered a tuffet, (Which never occurred to the rest of us) And, as 'twas a June day, and just about noonday, She wanted to eat - like the rest of us: Her diet was whey, and I hasten to say It is wholesome and people grow fat on it. The spot being lonely, the lady not only Discovered the tuffet, but sat on it. A rivulet gabbled beside her and babbled, As rivulets always are thought to do, And dragon flies sported around and cavorted, As poets say dragon flies ought to do; When, glancing aside for a moment, she spied A horrible sight that brought fear to her, A hideous spider was sitting beside her, And most unavoidably near to her! Albeit unsightly, this creature politely Said: " Madam, I earnestly vow to you, I'm penitent that I did not bring my hat. I Should otherwise certainly bow to you." Thought anxious to please, he was so ill at ease That he lost all his sense of propriety, And grew so inept that he clumsily stept In her plate - which is barred in Society. This curious error completed her terror; She shuddered, and growing much paler, not Only left tuffet, but dealt him a buffet Which doubled him up in a sailor knot. It should be explained that at this he was pained: He cried: "I have vexed you, no doubt of it! Your fists's like a truncheon." "You're still in my luncheon," Was all that she answered. "Get out of it!" And the Moral is this: Be it madam or miss To whom you have something to say, You are only absurd when you get in the curd But you're rude when you get in the whey.
Guy Carryl has written a number of wonderfully funny versifications of fables and fairytales, collected in 'Fables for the Frivolous' and a few other books. (Those of you familiar with Roald Dahl's 'Revolting Rhymes' might find it fun to compare the two.) The one above is typical - complicated rhymes, a metre reminiscent of Gilbert and a wonderful (or awful, depending on your point of view) pun at the end.  for the G&S fans among you, this one almost, but not quite, scans to the Lord Chancellor's song from Iolanthe ("when you're lying awake, with a dismal headache...") m.