How many times had some beastly princesse
Woken in terror (or, leastways, distress),
Scrubbing the lips, with a feverish fist,
That, so devoutly, so gently, he’d kissed,

Screamed for her governess, mother or maid,
Called him crapaud (contumelious jade!),
Hit him, with hairbrush, tiara or pumps
Till he was hopping and covered in bumps?

Others, no doubt, would have tried to forget,
Left for Algeria, kepi à tête,
Hid in a cloister, subfuscally cloaked,
Given up food and heartbrokenly croaked.

Jules, though, while maddened by each new affront,
Vowed to press on with the pleasureless hunt,
Kiss every blue-blooded flibbertigibbet,
Till one awoke whose reaction was, “Ribbit!

Peter Austin

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