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A false note is really fun
From such a bird as you!
Open your musical beak;
You need only to speak !”
The nightingale shyly took
Her head from under her wing, And, giving the dove a look,
Straightway began to sing. There was never a bird could pass;
The night was divinely calm; And the people stood on the grass
To hear that wonderful psalm.
The nightingale did not care,
She sang only to the skies; Her song ascended there,
And there she fixed her eyes.
She knew but little about;
-Jean Ingelow. FAITHLESS NELLY GRAY
This is a poem of puns. A pun is the lowest order of wit, but some of these are exceedingly clever. Every stanza has a play on the double meaning of words or phrases, and these double meanings should be sought out. For example, the last word in the tenth stanza might be spelled either “Nell” or “Knell,” for the author intends it to have both of these meanings. In the twelfth stanza, the last word means both the infantry and the rope with which the soldier is about to hang himself. The reader should study' out all of these double meanings or puns—there are more than a dozen of them—for the poem is simply an exercise in turning words to eccentric uses. A list of these verbal twists might be made. There is nothing else of value in the piece. “Forty-second Foot,” in stanza two, means the Forty-second Company of Infantry.
FAITHLESS NELLY GRAY
Ben Battle was a soldier bold,
And used to war’s alarms;
So he laid down his arms!
2 Now, as they bore him off the field,
Said he, “Let others shoot, For here I leave my second leg,
And the Forty-second Foot !"
The army surgeons made him limbs;
Said he, “They're only pegs; But there 's as wooden members quite,
As represent my legs!”
Now Ben, he loved a pretty maid,
Her name was Nelly Gray;
When he'd devoured his pay.
But when he called on Nelly Gray,
She made him quite a scoff;
Began to take them off !
Is this your love so warm?
Should be more uniform !"
Said she, "I loved a soldier once,
For he was blithe and brave; But I will never have a man
With both legs in the grave !
8 "Before you had these timber toes,
Your love I did allow, But then, you know, you stand upon
Another footing now !”
9 “O false and fickle Nelly Gray!
I know why you refuse: Though I've no feet-some other man
Is standing in my shoes !
But, now, a long farewell !
You will not be my Nell!”.
11 Now when he went from Nelly Gray,
His heart so heavy got,
It made him take a knot !
A rope he did entwine,
Enlisted in the Line !
And then removed his pegs,
He soon was off his legs.
As any nail in town;
BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE
Sir John Moore, commanding the British forces in Spain in the war with Napoleon, was killed at the battle of Corunna, Spain, January 16, 1809. The battle occurred at the end of a long and hard retreat, and although the English had the advantage, they embarked at Corunna after the battle and returned to England.