Mary Robinson ( )


The Granny Grey, a Love Tale


DAME DOWSON, was a granny grey,
Who, three score years and ten,
Had passd her busy hours away,
In talking of the Men !
They were her theme, at home, abroad,
At wake, and by the winter fire,
Whether it froze, or blew, or thawd,
In sunshine or in shade, her ire
Was never calmd; for still she made
Scandal her pleasure--and her trade!

A Grand-daughter DAME DOWSON had--
As fair, as fair could be!
Lovely enough to make Men mad;
For, on her cheeks soft downy rose
LOVE seemd in dimples to repose;
Her clear blue eyes lookd mildly bright
Like ether drops of liquid light,
Or sapphire gems,--which VENUS bore,
When, for the silver-sanded shore,
She left her native Sea!

ANNETTA, was the damsels name;
A pretty, soft, romantic sound;
Such as a lovers heart may wound;
And set his fancy in a flame:
For had the maid been christend JOAN,
Or DEBORAH, or HESTER,--
The little God had coldly prest her,
Or, let her quite alone!
For magic is the silver sound--
Which, often, in a NAME is found!

ANNETTA was belovd; and She
To WILLIAM gave her vows;
For WILLIAM was as brave a Youth,
As ever claimd the meed of truth,
And, to reward such constancy,
Nature that meed allows.
But Old DAME DOWSON could not bear
A Youth so brave--a Maid so fair.

The GRANNY GREY, with maxims grave
Oft to ANNETTA lessons gave:
And still the burthen of the Tale
Was, Keep the wicked Men away,
For should their wily arts prevail
Youll surely rue the day!
And credit was to GRANNY due,
The truth, she, by EXPERIENCE, knew!
ANNETTA blushd, and promisd She
Obedient to her will would be.

But Love, with cunning all his own,
Would never let the Maid alone:
And though she dard not see her Lover,
Lest GRANNY should the deed discover,
She, for a womans weapon, still,
From CUPIDS pinion pluckd a quill:
And, with it, provd that human art
Cannot confine the Female Heart.

At length, an assignation She
With WILLIAM slily made,
It was beneath an old Oak Tree,
Whose widely spreading shade
The Moons soft beams contrivd to break
For many a Village Lovers sake.
But Envy has a Lynxs eye
And GRANNY DOWSON cautious went
Before, to spoil their merriment,
Thinking no creature nigh.

Young WILLIAM came; but at the tree
The watchful GRANDAM found!
Straight to the Village hastend he
And summoning his neighbours round,
The Hedgerows tangled boughs among,
Conceald the listning wondring throng.
He told them that, for many a night,
An OLD GREY OWL was heard;
A fierce, ill-omend, crabbed Bird--
Who filld the village with affright.
He swore this Bird was large and keen,
With claws of fire, and eye-balls green;
That nothing rested, where she came;
That many pranks the monster playd,
And many a timid trembling Maid
She brought to shame
For negligence, that was her own;
Turning the milk to water, clear,
And spilling from the cask, small-beer;

Pinching, like fairies, harmless lasses,
And shewing Imps, in looking-glasses;
Or, with heart-piercing groan,
Along the church-yard path, swift gliding,
Or, on a broomstick, witchlike, riding.
All listend trembling; For the Tale
Made cheeks of Oker, chalky pale;
The young a valiant doubt pretended;
The old believd, and all attended.

Now to DAME DOWSON he repairs
And in his arms, enfolds the Granny:
Kneels at her feet, and fondly swears
He will be true as any !
Caresses her with well feignd bliss
And, fearfully , implores a Kiss--
On the green turf distracted lying ,
He wastes his ardent breath, in sighing.

The DAME was silent; for the Lover
Would, when she spoke,
She feard, discover
Her envious joke:
And she was too much charmd to be
In haste,--to end the Comedy!

Now WILLIAM, weary of such wooing,
Began, with all his might, hollooing:--
When suddenly from evry bush
The eager throngs impatient rush;
With shouting, and with boistrous glee
DAME DOWSON they pursue,
And from the broad Oaks canopy,
Oer moonlight fields of sparkling dew,
They bear in triumph the Old DAME,
Bawling, with loud Huzzas, her name;
A witch, a witch ! the people cry,
A witch ! the echoing hills reply:
Till to her home the GRANNY came,
Where, to confirm the tale of shame,
Each rising day they went, in throngs,
With ribbald jests, and sportive songs,
Till GRANNY of her spleen, repented;
And to young WILLIAMS ardent prayr,
To take, for life, ANNETTA fair,--
At last ,--CONSENTED.

And should this TALE, fall in the way
Of LOVERS CROSSD, or GRANNIES GREY,--
Let them confess, tis made to prove--
The wisest heads ,--TOO WEAK FOR LOVE!



Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 9. Ye, Who in Alleys Green
  2. Sonnet 13. Bring, Brick to Deck My Brow
  3. Ode to Melancholy
  4. Ode to Valour
  5. Sonnet 24. O Thou! Meek Orb


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