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The Three Warnings: Mrs. Thrale Post by :guitara Category :Poems Author :John Gay Date :May 2011 Read :3723

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The Three Warnings: Mrs. Thrale

The tree of deepest root is bound
With most tenacity to earth;
'Twas therefore thought by ancient sages,
That with the ills of life's last stages
The love of life increased, with dearth
Of fibres rooting it to ground.
It was young Dobson's wedding-day,
Death summoned him, the happy groom,
Into a sombre private room,
From marriage revelries away;
And, looking very grave, said he:
"Young Dobson, you must go with me."
"Not if I know it," Dobson cried;
"What! leave my Susan,--quit my bride?
I shan't do any such a thing:
Besides I'm not at all prepared,--
My thoughts are all upon the wing.
I'm not the fellow to be scared,
Old Death, by you and those pale awnings:
I have a right to my three warnings."
And Death, who saw that of the jobs on
His hand, just then, tough was this Dobson,
Agreed to go and come again;
So, as he re-adjusted awnings
About his brows, agreed three warnings
Should be allowed; and Dobson, fain
To go back to the feast, agreed
Next time to do as was decreed:
And so they parted, with by-byes,
And "humble servants," "sirs," and "I's."
And years ran by right cheerily:
Susan was good, and children three,--
All comforts of his days--they reared;
So Dobson tumbled, unawares,
Upon the bourn of fourscore years,
And Death then reappeared--
And Dobson said, with look of wonder,
"Holloa, old Death--another blunder!
You may go back again: you see
You promised me three warnings--three;
Keep word of honour, Death!"
"Ay, ay," said Death, and raised his veil,
"I'm joyed to see you stout and hale;
I'm glad to see you so well able
To stump about from farm to stable,
All right in limb and breath."
"So, so--so, so!"--old Dobson sighed--
"A little lame though." Death replied:
"Ay, lame; but then you have your sight?"
But Dobson said--"Not quite, not quite."
"Not quite; but still you have your hearing?"
But Dobson said, "Past all repairing,
Ears gone downright!"
Death on his brow then dropped the awnings,
And said--"Friend you can't stay behind:
If you are lame, and deaf, and blind,
You have had your three sufficient warnings."


(The end)
John Gay's poem: Three Warnings: Mrs. Thrale

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