LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI.
Punch, August 19, 1903
Whene’er I take my Phyllis out
For moonlight walks, I like to stroll;
It gives me—I am rather stout—
More chance of laying bare my soul.
My tender pleading, I reflect,
Is robbed of all the charm that’s in it
If my remarks are rudely checked
By gasps and puffing every minute.
Yet nothing less is now my fate;
Each night we wander to and fro:
Our normal pace has been of late
A good six miles an hour or so.
Sadly the moments flit away:
No rays of joy my burdens lighten;
My Phyllis, I regret to say,
Is training for a walk to Brighton.
When I let fall a gentle hint
That I’m no devotee of pace,
She answers, “Now, suppose we sprint?
I must get fit before the race.
Unless I exercise my limbs
I feel my chances wane, diminish;
And I should die if that Miss Sims
Arrived before me at the finish.”
So off we go. No more her ears
May I enchant with honeyed phrase;
No more I win her smiles and tears,
As once I could—in happier days.
We don’t fall out; we’ve have no tiff;
My passion glows without cessation;
But still, I’d love her better if
She’d choose some calmer recreation.
Unsigned verse as printed; credited to P. G. Wodehouse in the Index to Vol. 125 of Punch.