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The Lovers -- Phoebe Cary

       
(Poem #915) The Lovers
 Sally Salter, she was a young teacher who taught,
 And her friend, Charley Church, was a preacher who praught,
 Though his enemies called him a screecher who scraught.

 His heart, when he saw her, kept sinking and sunk,
 And his eye, meeting hers, began winking, and wunk;
 While she, in her turn, kept thinking, and thunk.

 He hastened to woo her, and sweetly he wooed,
 For his love grew until to a mountain it grewed,
 And what he was longing to do then he doed.

 In secret he wanted to speak, and he spoke,
 To seek with his lips what his heart long had soke;
 So he managed to let the truth leak, and it loke.

 He asked her to ride to the church, and they rode;
 They so sweetly did glide that they both thought they glode,
 And they came to the place to be tied, and were toed.

 Then homeward, he said, let us drive, and they drove,
 And as soon as they wished to arrive, they arrove,
 For whatever he couldn't contrive, she controved.

 The kiss he was dying to steal, then he stole;
 At the feet where he wanted to kneel then he knole;
 And he said, "I feel better than ever I fole."

 So they to each other kept clinging, and clung,
 While Time his swift circuit was winging, and wung;
 And this was the thing he was bringing, and brung:

 The man Sally wanted to catch, and had caught;
 That she wanted from others to snatch, and had snaught;
 Was the one that she now liked to scratch, and she scraught.

 Anc Charley's warm love began freezing, and froze,
 While he took to teazing, and cruelly toze
 The girl he had wished to be squeezing, and squoze.

 "Wretch!" he cried, when she threatened to leave him, and left,
 "How could you deceive me, as you have deceft?"
 And she answered, "I promised to cleave, and I've cleft."
-- Phoebe Cary
Today's poem takes a delightfully silly look at English and its rather
irregular collection of past tenses. I've seen it done before, but seldom
better - "Lovers" actually manages to be funny all the way through, the joke
not palling after a couple of verses as one might expect. And, of course,
there's the extra bonus in the ending, where Cary plays on the double
meaning of cleave ("to stick to" and "to split apart").

Biography:
  [broken link] http://women.eb.com/women/articles/Cary_Alice_and_Phoebe.html

Links:

  We've run one of Cary's poems before - her slyly hilarious parody 'Ballad
  ot the Canal': poem #607

-martin

19 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Cuslis2 said...

Dear Mr. Iyer,
Thank you for including Phoebe Cary's "The Lovers" on you site. It is
a great poem. I was wondering if you could tell me where you found it, or
where it was originally published. I have been doing some research on Cary and
I have been having trouble finding this poem in any of her works. It's number
915 in the archive. Thanks a lot,

Lisa Cusack

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