In our blessed marriage, there is a bitter breach,
For you, my good lady, have badly overreached.
Remember, I pray, your solemnest wedding vows
And in whose domicile you now are sweetly housed.
Impress upon your empress heart—I am your governor;
To my will humbly you have much to answer for.
Secure in this, my manly poet’s pulpit, I now preach.
I speak, as well, to men of all ages, races, and creeds—
I pray you, sirs, these earnest urgent words do heed….
My situation’s deplorable, I concede:
My wife implores me to read Jane Austen.
I am afraid I would find that terribly exhausting.
Dependent as I am on my wife’s affections
For the satisfaction of—ahem—my predilections,
I dare not daunt her well-worn wifely wishes,
But what am I to do! All about me she swishes!
She flaunts her Janey wit like week-old stinking fishes.
This places me in a most terrible dilemma.
All Austen’s titles sound so maiden auntly—
Persuasion, Social Occasion, Emma,
A Subtle Hint, Sanditon, A Bit of Lint,
Pride and Prejudice, Pomp and Circumstance,
O, Perdition—I wish they’d all go out of print.
Can I, mere mortgaged mate, begin to compete
With—Lord have mercy!—Mister Darcy’s riding pants?
The deuce I say! I hate that Fitz who gives me fits.
Attired as he I cannot walk or stand or sits.
A king-size, lord, I fear I’ll get unseemly splits.
(One more word, my miss, about his tight white britches,
And I’ll pepper and salt your hams with white-hot switches.)
Dear drear wife, your Austen collection is complete
Not just her blasted books—but T-shirts, tea cozies,
And so much, much more, for, yes, I am quite nosy—
You’ve stacks of saucers, empire gowns, ballet slippers!
(Everything it seems but cheese and Taiwan zippers.)
You’ve cards for whist, Chinese fans, and hedgerow trimmers!
(My Irish ire is risen far past a sour simmer.)
You’ve piles of porridge pots, bobbins, a fishing lure!
(How much more of this Bath chowder can I endure?)
You’ve spent on spinet wax, dustpans, hair brushes, bodice creams!
(All, I’m sure, to stimulate misty English dreams.)
You’ve bought blue beaded purses, face paint, sausage mills!
(Sure to give my accountant pencil-biting chills.)
In bed with hot water bottles, sleep socks, hankies!
(I can’t find you for flannel sheets, quilts, and blankies.)
Copper candle caps, andirons, enamelware!
Enough, enough, it’s just, I tell you, not not fair.
But, listen, lest you wind up playing solitaire—
I will not wear Mister Darcy-brand underwear.
Z. "Buck" McFate
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