Trial by Jury
The fairies have lost a fairy, They don't know what to do; The rumours about her vary, And all of them can't be true. They say she stood on a lily, And fell in its depths immense; But I don't think she'd be so silly, For she was a fairy of sense! They say that a butterfly riding, She dropp'd from a fearful height; But her flymanship she took pride in, So I don't believe it quite. They say they actually saw her Drown'd in a drop of rain; They say an emmet came for her, Who won't bring her back again! They cry, “Let us have a trial, A judge and a jury both, And we will not accept a denial, And we'll all of us take an oath. Of course, we're not wanting to hurt her, The troublesome little thing; But when she is proved a deserter, We'll brand a big D on her wing.” So off they fly to a laurel That spread out its branches far, And straightway begin to quarrel; How foolish fairies are! They all refuse to be jury, They all desire to be judge; They all strut about in a fury, Each owing the others a grudge. Then little Snowbud, who ever Had something refined to say, Remarks that the Major is clever, And some of his hair is grey. But Wicksy exclaims, “I'll wager (Wicksy was never polite) “The Captain's as 'cute as the Major, And most of his hair is white!” The Major runs forward bowing, And pushing his bright hair back; They all clap their hands, avowing That grey grows under the black. The Captain sits down despairing, “Fool that I was!” he cries; “This morning I dyed my hair in Solution of Bluebottle flies!” They take the respectable Major, Pluck some of the black hairs out, Cut off the rest with a razor, And frizz the grey locks about. They wrap a thick cobweb o'er him, His eyebrows they fiercely smudge, They kneel in the dust before him, And call him a lovely judge. They seize upon twelve old fairies, So old they can hardly fly; They say, “Never mind what your hair is, Our jury you'll be or—die!” The old fairies crouch and shiver, And cry it is most unfair; But the Judge just points to the river, And says, “We have sacks—beware!” So every one is pleasant, As if no cloud had been: The jury is quite quiescent, The judge is all serene. The only drawback I heard of (And that was but by the bye) Was just that there was not a word of Any pris'ner to try. So the judge put on his black cap In a death-condemning speech, Which the jury declared was clap-trap, And begg'd him not to preach. The jury said, “Guilty, 'pon honour,” While loudly cheer'd the crowd; The judge pronounced sentence on her, And the Captain swore aloud. Thus, the trial being ended, They all began to dance, And Wicksy his steps defended As just come over from France. Then some of them took to kissing, And loudly for supper did call, Where the fairy they thought was missing Gobbled up more than them all.
Menella Bute Smedley’s other poems:
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