The Choice

For twenty years I sat and pondered,

For twenty years I sat and wondered,

For twenty years, all checked and numbered,

I stare at my prison door.

Until the Watchman came a-calling,

With his breath, 'twas plum appalling,

The Watchman, he did come a-calling,

And opened up the door.

He paused a while to catch his breath,

And looked around the floor.

The cell, he said, was quite untidy,

For there'd been no cleaners since last Friday,

                        But all the same he gave a hiding,

                        On the cold, stone floor.

                        He picked me up and beat me roundly,

                        Across the head he cuffed me soundly,

                        His strength surprised me quite profoundly,

                        As I lay on the floor,

                        He gave the message as I lay there,

Semi-conscious on the floor.

The Warden, (oh that righteous saviour!)

Would do me a tremendous favour:

A hasty parole for good behaviour;

(Where had I heard this before?)

But it was on just one condition,

On which he made this proposition;

A simple one, above suspicion,

The Warden did implore.

Then from the door, in scarlet silks,

Came his daughter, Eleanor.

Her face was splendid as a picture,

Or some ornamental fixture,

A beauteous, entrancing mixture

I'd never seen before.

She smiled at me, with great conviction;

At once I saw a premonition

Of the Warden's one condition

He'd offered not long before.

Could it be he wanted me

to marry Eleanor?

So't was, I soon discovered,

Eleanor wanted me for her lover,

To fill the jackboots of another

Who she'd loved behind closed door.

And, though my head was deeply flustered,

And my legs had turned to custard,

From my quaking heart I mustered

Up the words I was searching for:

"My dear, you are a beauty,

As your father said before.

"But I have a no golden riches;

All I have are cuts and stitches,

Bruises, scratches and terrible itches

You'll not have seen before.

I live in rags and tattered wrappings;

I have no horses, estate or trappings,

I pray thee find some other chap

who suits your standing more."

She whispered in a sultry voice:

"I want you and nothing more.

"I don't desire golden riches,

I'll dress your wounds and mind your stitches,

And would be glad to scratch your itches,

For I've seen much worse before.

I'm not repulsed by rags and wrappings;

I've horse and land, though I wish for no trappings;

I detest those blasted dandy chaps

who come courting at my door."

She repeateth, in a voice so sultry,

"I want you and nothing more."

And so, my friends, this was my choice,

I coughed a little, to groom my voice,

I wished to cry, but still rejoice

at the warmness flooding from my core.

The warmth then strengthened, and began to burn,

I'd reached The Point of No Return,

I admit, from then on, my heart did yearn

to entwine with Eleanor.

I spoke: "Sweet lady, if you'll have me,

My devotion will endure.

"You may live, if you want, without gold riches,

We'll dress our wounds and mind our stitches,

And be glad to have someone who'll scratch our itches,"

I said to Eleanor.

"We'll ride on horseback and buy fine trappings;

And never will I be caught napping,

When those bloody dandies start their tapping,

On our chamber door.

We'll make the moon and sun seem slow,

We'll make our lives up as we go,

We'll buy a monkey that jigs and prances,

Express our selves in carnal dances,

Travel to the farthest Pole,

And climb it just to catch a glimpse

of what's on the side we've not been to before."

And then we embraced and I spoke one last time:

"I want you and nothing more,

My precious Eleanor."