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Lyr Add: The Fair Rosamonde (Arthur Askey)

Jim Dixon 30 Nov 18 - 10:17 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FAIR ROSAMONDE (Arthur Askey)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Nov 18 - 10:17 AM

This is a recitation without music. For the original semi-legendary story, see Wikipedia: Rosamund Clifford. I have omitted some patter at the beginning and end of the story, in which Askey claims to be telling the story to children.

As recorded by Arthur Askey (1941) on “Vintage British Comedy, Vol. 3”

I tell of King Henry the Second
And the story of how he got fun
Of one of his customers’ daughters,
A girl called the Fair Rosamonde.

’Twas a lovely romance while it lasted.
The course of true love ran serene
Till some nosy parkering varlet
Started carrying tales to the queen.

The queen was at first incredulous.
She said: “What a tale to invent!
The king wouldn’t stoop to such baseness,
At any rate, not during lent.”

But one morning she picked up a doublet
That he’d dropped on his bedroom settee.
It had three golden hairs on the shoulder
And a strong smell of Soir de Paree.

She went to the king in a passion
And showed him this evidence clear,
And swore by her distaff and wimple
That she weren’t having not of that theer.

She said: “If I catch that young woman,
She’ll leave no more hairs on your coat.
Her trying to pinch other folks’ monarchs!
I’ll give her a swim in the moat.”

So the king took Rose off to the country
To an old-fashioned manor of his
With a Hampton-Court maze in the garden
That he kept for occasions like this.

But the queen wasn’t fooled for a moment.
She knew all about Henry's ways.
She slipped off herself the next morning
And secretly watched that there maze.

She was hiding among the petunias
When Rosie came after the milk,
And she fixed to her dress as she passed her
The end of a bobbin of silk.

Poor Rosie went back not suspecting
The trail she was leaving behind,
And the queen slowly followed her, gloating
At what she expected to find.

The king sat there toasting a muffin
And Rosie were wetting the tea,
When in walked the queen, her face shining
With a look of malevolent glee.

She’d a basin of poison in one hand,
In the other, a glittering knife.
The king kind of goggled a moment
Then turned, said: “Rose, meet the wife.”

The queen shoved the basin at Rosie
And held the knife out by its point.
It was plain she had only two choices:
The soup or a cut off the joint.

The Fair Rosamonde begged for mercy.
She said: “What you’ve heard is not true.
Our friendship was purely platonic”—
A yarn which in those days was new.

The king told the same tale as Rosie.
“And if that’s not the truth, queen,” he cried,
May I die on this spot where I’m standing.”
As he said it, he slipped to one side.

The queen at the finish believed him,
But to save further messing around,
She packed Rosie off to a convent
And had the maze burned to the ground.

- - -
* As spelled on the above-named album. Some sources use the spelling “Rosamond,” “Rosamund,” or “Rosamunde.”

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