Monday, September 24, 2012

From the Top Shelf - Betsy Fry

We haven't had a spanking poem for a while so I thought I would remedy that today. Betsy Fry is one from a bygone age, author unknown. A naughty schoolgirl finds out what happens when she uses bad language. The poet calls her "such a great girl" so we will assume that she is a senior girl of eighteen who ought to be setting a good example for the younger pupils.

          Betsy Fry

The muses smiled, and gave consent,
when, whisk, at once away I went!
And, what was still more odd and risible
I found myself become invisible,
And slyly seated on a stool,
Among a pack of girls at school!

All tongues! As fast as they could chatter -
Sure never was there such a clatter
But one, much louder than the rest,
Amused them with a mighty jest -
A word! - she had picked up in the street!
A word this bard will not repeat!

Now, hushed at once, the little band,
Behold! The governess,so grand
The schoolroom enters! - not a word,
Where all was riot, now is heard!
Each head, by her majestic look,
Bent down on sampler, or on book!

When, Lo,the gloomy lowering eye
Prognosticates a storm is nigh:
Too sure a presage! Says the dame,
"What girl, as down the stairs I came,
Dared utter that vile, filthy word
Which never in my school was heard?

If now this instant you won't own
Who 'twas - I'll whip you all - each one!"
All- all - were ready then to cry,
'Twas not me, ma'am - 'twas Betsy Fry.'
'Who! Betsy Fry? - I'm quite ashamed -
such a great girl! - to hear her named;

But for this crime,a whipping ample
Shall be to others an example.
Indecent wretch! You, Sally Treacher,
Go run upstairs and tell the teacher
To bring that rod she made, just new,
And tied up with a ribbon blue;

Then such a punishment I'll give
You'll think on, long as you may live.
No begging,miss,will be no use
For such a crime there's no excuse
- No further talk!' and now Miss Glynn
With the birch rod marches in,

So smartly tied up with a bow,
It might be deemed a rod for show;
Yet though thus elegant the plan,
and wide expanded like a fan,
When well applied, each twig apart
Would tend to multiply the smart.

'You know, Miss Glynn, it is my rule,
when filthy words invade my school,
To use this instrument of pain
To whip and drive them out again:
So down with that vile hussy, Fry,
That I may flog and hear her cry'

The ready teacher then, Miss Glynn
(A thorough friend to discipline)
Proceeds the culprit straight to seize,
Crying, begging on her knees;
But vain her tears, and vain her prayer!-
For laid, she was, across a chair,

The governess now takes her stand,
The birchen sceptre in her hand;
With lofty air, inspiring awe,
and raised arm to enforce the law.
She shakes the whistling twigs and then,
Whip-whip-whip-whip-inflicts the pain;

Now pauses as missy roars aloud,
Sad warnings for the trembling crowd-
Crying 'Oh dear ma'am, pray do give o'er,
I will never say that word, no more.'
In vain; the rod's reiterations.

'These stripes I'm sorry to impart;
But 'tis for your own good you smart.
Who spares the rod will spoil the child
By me the proverb shan't be foiled.'
this brought the conflict to a close;
When quick the smarting culprit rose,

The governess, with awful state,
and head erect, resumed her seat;
Then calling up her victim, Fry
(sobbing and wiping either eye)
Descanted, with all due reflection,
On crimes provoking such correction;

But still, to heighten the impression
Of punishment for this transgression,
On a high stool she made her perch
And in her bosom stuck the birch;
Warning the school 'gainst crimes and errors
by the grand triumph of its terrors.

If this poem amuses you, it was taken to new heights by author Jonathan South, who wove it into a charming story called Ribbon Around the Rod Revisited.

From Hermione's Heart


Ana said...

Oh, poor Betsy! I am sure that she didn't mean to get in trouble. :D

Anonymous said...

Excellent poem.

Thank you for sharing.


ronnie said...

Poor Betsy. Lovely poem. Thanks Hermione.


Unknown said...

It certainly does conjure up a bygone era, and in my opinion (as a Mother) I am glad it is gone. By thanks for sharing, Hermione :)

Hermione said...

Ana - She did get the short end of the stick:)

Joey - It was an unexpected find.

Ronnie - Well, she should have known better;D


ricky said...

Now, if they taught this in
English Lit,
I would've stayed awake!

Minielle Labraun said...

Where did you find this?
I read it out loud it was great fun.

Hermione said...

Ricky - I'll bet you would have memorized it too:D

Minelle - It's on the internet in various places. I'd like to hear it read aloud.


Hermione said...

Lillie - Sorry I missed you. Your comment went into the spam bucket. Those were violent times for sure.


Terpsichore said...

thank-you for sharing