The Poetry Corner

The Gadfly

By John Keats

All gentle folks who owe a grudge To any living thing Open your ears and stay your t[r]udge Whilst I in dudgeon sing. The Gadfly he hath stung me sore O may he ne'er sting you! But we have many a horrid bore He may sting black and blue. Has any here an old grey Mare With three legs all her store, O put it to her Buttocks bare And straight she'll run on four. Has any here a Lawyer suit Of 1743, Take Lawyer's nose and put it to't And you the end will see. Is there a Man in Parliament Dum[b-] founder'd in his speech, O let his neighbour make a rent And put one in his breech. O Lowther how much better thou Hadst figur'd t'other day When to the folks thou mad'st a bow And hadst no more to say. If lucky Gadfly had but ta'en His seat And put thee to a little pain To save thee from a worse. Better than Southey it had been, Better than Mr. D-------, Better than Wordsworth too, I ween, Better than Mr. V-------. Forgive me pray good people all For deviating so -- In spirit sure I had a call -- And now I on will go. Has any here a daughter fair Too fond of reading novels, Too apt to fall in love with care And charming Mister Lovels, O put a Gadfly to that thing She keeps so white and pert -- I mean the finger for the ring, And it will breed a wort. Has any here a pious spouse Who seven times a day Scolds as King David pray'd, to chouse And have her holy way -- O let a Gadfly's little sting Persuade her sacred tongue That noises are a common thing, But that her bell has rung. And as this is the summon bo num of all conquering, I leave "withouten wordes mo" The Gadfly's little sting.