The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #83915   Message #1545281
Posted By: harpmolly
18-Aug-05 - 08:27 PM
Thread Name: The Wiser Maid (please critique!)
Subject: THE WISER MAID (please critique!)
OK, I've finally cracked. I've listened to one too many "broken token" song where the young woman, after cooling her heels on the beach for seven years, has her faith "tested" by her returning sailor, who has clearly been far too busy drinking grog and pinching wenches to lift the quill and write her a letter...anyway, I digress. The poor young doormat passes the test, whereupon he throws his arms around her and says "Oh boy, you've been faithful, now we can be married!" and she says, "Goody goody gumdrops!" instead of smacking him upside the head, which would be my reaction.

So, here's my version. It needs some major work, as there were several cliches I couldn't seem to avoid and some phrases that lack a certain je ne sais quoi ("his returning ship to sight?" Whaaa?). It's far too long as well. But I'd love to hear anyone's opinion--positive or negative. Pardon me while I don my asbestos longjohns...

Note: I'm sort of hearing the melody to 'I Am A Maid That's Deep In Love," as performed by Jacqui McShee & Pentangle. Not sure, though...the song's already long, and the rather drawn-out pacing of this melody might just stretch it out longer. "I am...a pine...?"

OK, shutting up now. Here it is. Fire away.



I am a maid-in-waiting, for my Johnny I do pine,
And though for seven years he's gone, he lingers in my mind;
I have put off all suitors gay, all lords and men of might,
And spend my days upon the shore, his returning ship to sight.

It happened then one evening, as I walked out alone,
A handsome youth approached me beneath the setting sun.
He bowed with courtly manners, he offered me his hand,
And asked if I might walk with him along the white sea-strand.

"O, you are not the first to ask, neither the first refused;
For seven years have lords and poets sought me as their Muse.
But I am not at liberty to walk with any man
Until my true-love John returns from his long ship's command."

"The sailor's life is dangerous," this young man said to me,
"For storms do rage, and waves do toss the ship upon the sea;
What if your love be drowned and lost, and all his vows the same?
Will you then wait forever here, your hope a dying flame?"

"My hope will never die," I cried, "and steadfast shall I stay;
Despite your sweet and honeyed words, you'll not draw me away.
If my dear love be drowned and lost, then likewise I shall be,
And gladly will I lie with him beneath the deep blue sea."

"Your faith is true," he slyly said, "and this I well admire,
But could it be that seven years have caused his own to tire?
What of this John you love so well? What word do you receive?
For surely he'll have written you of his brave, noble deeds?"

Upon these words I must confess a tear I did let fall;
For of my John for seven years I'd had no word at all.
But bravely I did smile, and said, "His letters they are long,
And of his love I am assured; he'll never do me wrong."

When this deceit had passed my lips I blushed and dropped my gaze;
But what I saw when next I looked, my eyes it did amaze!
Gone was his cloak, his feathered cap; gone was his satin glove;
And handsome John before me stood, his eyes ablaze with love.

"My precious jewel, my lovely Molly, now I can breathe free--
For seven years my only fear was your forsaking me.
I know you've waited long, my love, and long it's felt to me;
But you have passed the test, and now it's married we will be!"

O, then he clasped me in his arms and kissed me long and sweet;
And on my finger slipped a ring with gold and gems replete.
"O, what say you, my dear?" quoth he, "shall we to chapel go?"
I bent my lips unto his ear and sweetly answered, "No."

Then at his feet I threw the ring, my temper mounting strong,
"For shame!" I cried, "and twice for shame, to do me such a wrong!
For seven years I've languished here while you at sea did play,
And now you seek to test my love--how well I am repaid!"

My Johnny has gone back to sea, his tears and pleas in vain;
And I have made a handsome match, a far more tender man.
My husband he is rich and young, he's honest, fair and wise;
He values me above the sun, and NEVER tells me lies!

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