Where's the Poker?

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Where's the Poker? Fable IV  (1752) 
by Christopher Smart
From Fables.

         WHERE'S the POCKER        


 
FABLE IV.

The Poker lost, poor Susan storm'd,
And all the rites of rage perform'd;
As scolding, crying, swearing, sweating,
Abusing, fidgetting, and fretting.
5 “Nothing but villany, and thieving;
“Good heavens! what a world we live in?
If I don't find it in the morning,
I'll surely give my master warning.
He'd better far shut up his doors,
10Than keep such good for nothing whores;
For wheresoe'er their trade they drive,
We vartuous bodies cannot thrive.”
Well may poor Susan grunt and groan;
Misfortunes never come alone,
15But tread each other's heels in throngs,
For the next day she lost the tongs:
The salt box, cullender, and pot,
Soon shar'd the same untimely lot.
In vain she vails and wages spent
20On new ones—for the new ones went.
There'd been, (she swore) some dev'l or witch in,
To rob or plunder all the kitchen.
One night she to her chamber crept,
(Where for a month she had not slept;
25Her master being, to her seeming,
A better play fellow than dreaming.)
Curse on the author of these wrongs,
In her own bed she found the tongs,
(Hang Thomas for an idle joker!)
30In her own bed she found the poker;[1]
With salt box, pepper box, and kettle,
With all the culinary metal.—
Be warn'd, ye fair, by Susan's crosses,
Keep chaste, and guard yourselves from losses;
35 For if young girls delight in kissing,
No wonder, that the poker's missing.


1752


Notes

First published in The Midwife; or The Old Woman's Magazine (iii. 103-5, Aug. 1752). Reprinted 1758, 1791.

  1. 30. And there, good luck! she found the poker, (Text 1752).
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.