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Poem by John Gay


Dame Doleful, as old stories say, 
Foresaw thevents of every day, 
And tho to Satan no relation, 
Dealt largely in prognostication: 
Whatever accident befel, 
She plainly could the cause foretell; 
A hundred reasons she could show, 
And finish with  I told you so!

One day her son (a waggish youth) 
Put on the serious face of truth, 
And feigning sorrow, to her ran  
He thus his wondrous tale began: 
Oh mother!  mother!  What dye think? 
Letting old Dobbin out to drink, 
Poor beast, he neighd, and shook his mane, 
And had such megrims in his brain, 
That I did fear.  Dame stoppd him short 
Before half finished his report: 
Ay, ay; thy mother all forsees  
Dobbin hath falln and broke his knees 
I knew how twas;  I told you so. 
In vain her son replied, No, no; 
Good mother, listen, hear me out  
As Dobbin, hungry, smelt about,  
Boy, I foresee what thou wouldst say, 
Dobbin hath eat  the rick of hay! 
O worse than that!  He pawd the ground, 
And snorted, kickd, and gallopd round, 
Then, wildly staring, ran to find 
The stone on which our scythes we grind; 
And knawd  and knawd  ah, woe betide! 
He oped his hungry chops so wide, 
And lookd so ravenous, dye see, 
I was afraid hed swallow me!  
At last Ay, ay, Im not surprised, 
 Tis what I all along surmised,  
I knew twould be  I heard him groan  
Dobbin hath eat  the grinding  stone!

John Gay

John Gay's other poems:
  1. Sweet William's Farewell to Black-Ey'd Susan
  2. To a Young Lady, with Some Lampreys
  3. An Elegy on a Lap-dog
  4. If the Heart of a Man
  5. The Quidnunckis

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