Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
Henry Cuyler Bunner. 1855–1896
14. Behold the Deeds!
I WOULD that all men my hard case would know, 
  How grievously I suffer for no sin: 
I, Adolphe Culpepper Ferguson, for lo! 
  I of my landlady am lockèd in 
For being short on this sad Saturday,         5
Nor having shekels of silver wherewith to pay: 
She turned and is departed with my key; 
Wherefore, not even as other boarders free, 
  I sing, (as prisoners to their dungeon-stones 
When for ten days they expiate a spree):  10
  Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones! 
One night and one day have I wept my woe; 
  Nor wot I, when the morrow doth begin, 
If I shall have to write to Briggs & Co., 
  To pray them to advance the requisite tin  15
For ransom of their salesman, that he may 
Go forth as other boarders go alway— 
As those I hear now flocking from their tea, 
Led by the daughter of my landlady 
  Piano-ward. This day, for all my moans,  20
Dry-bread and water have been servèd me. 
  Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones! 
Miss Amabel Jones is musical, and so 
  The heart of the young he-boarder doth win, 
Playing "The Maiden's Prayer" adagio—  25
  That fetcheth him, as fetcheth the "bunko skin" 
The innocent rustic. For my part, I pray 
That Badarjewska maid may wait for aye 
Ere sits she with a lover, as did we 
Once sit together, Amabel! Can it be  30
  That all that arduous wooing not atones 
For Saturday's shortness of trade dollars three? 
  Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones! 
Yea! She forgets the arm that was wont to go 
  Around her waist. She wears a buckle whose pin  35
Galleth the crook of her young man's elbow. 
  I forget not, for I that youth have been! 
Smith was aforetime the Lothario gay. 
Yet once, I mind me, Smith was forced to stay 
Close in his room. Not calm as I was he;  40
But his noise brought no pleasaunce, verily. 
  Small ease he got of playing on the bones 
Or hammering on the stove-pipe, that I see. 
  Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones! 
Thou, for whose fear the figurative crow  45
  I eat, accursed be thou and all thy kin! 
Thee I will show up—yea, up I will show 
  Thy too-thick buckwheats and thy tea too thin. 
Ay! here I dare thee, ready for the fray: 
Thou dost not "keep a first-class house" I say!  50
It does not with the advertisements agree. 
Thou lodgest a Briton with a puggaree, 
  And thou hast harbored Jacobses and Cohns, 
Also a Mulligan. Thus denounce I thee! 
  Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones!  55

Boarders! the worst I have not told to ye:
She hath stolen my trousers, that I may not flee 
  Privily by the window. Hence these groans. 
There is no fleeing in a robe de nuit. 
  Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones!  60

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