Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
Lily Dale
By John Davidson (1857–1909)
(From In a Music Hall, 1891)

SHE’S thirty, this feminine cove,
  And she looks it at hand, you’ll allow.
I was once on the streets. By Jove,
  I was handsomer then than now.
Thin lips? Oh, you bet! and deep lines.        5
  So I powder and paint as you see;
And that’s belladonna that shines
  Where a dingier light ought to be.
But I’m plump, and my legs—do you doubt me?—
  You’ll see when I go on the stage!        10
And there isn’t a pad, sir, about me;
  I’m a proper good girl for my age!
I can’t sing a bit, I can’t shout;
  But I go through my songs with a birr;
And I always contrive to bring out        15
  The meaning that tickles you, sir.
They were written for me; they’re the rage;
  They’re the plainest, the wildest, the shyest;
For I find on the music-hall stage,
  That that kind of song goes the highest.        20
So I give it them hot, with a glance
  Like the crack of a whip—oh, it stings!
And a still, fiery smile, and a dance
  That indicates naughtiest things.
And I like it. It isn’t the best:        25
  There are nurses, and nuns, and good wives;
But life’s pretty much of a jest,
  And you can’t very well lead two lives.
But sometimes wild eyes will grow tame,
  And a voice have a tone—ah, you men!—        30
And a beard please me—oh, there’s my name!
  Well? I take a week’s holiday then.

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