Aunt Tabitha by Oliver Wendell Holmes

THE YOUNG GIRL’S POEM

WHATEVER I do, and whatever I say,
Aunt Tabitha tells me that is n’t the way;
When she was a girl (forty summers ago)
Aunt Tabitha tells me they never did so.

Dear aunt! If I only would take her advice!
But I like my own way, and I find it so nice
And besides, I forget half the things I am told;
But they all will come back to me–when I am old.

If a youth passes by, it may happen, no doubt,
He may chance to look in as I chance to look out;
She would never endure an impertinent stare,–
It is horrid, she says, and I must n’t sit there.

A walk in the moonlight has pleasures, I own,
But it is n’t quite safe to be walking alone;
So I take a lad’s arm,–just for safety, you know,–
But Aunt Tabitha tells me they did n’t do so.

How wicked we are, and how good they were then!
They kept at arm’s length those detestable men;
What an era of virtue she lived in!–But stay–
Were the men all such rogues in Aunt Tabitha’s day?

If the men were so wicked, I ‘ll ask my papa
How he dared to propose to my darling mamma;
Was he like the rest of them? Goodness! Who knows?
And what shall I say, if a wretch should propose?

I am thinking if Aunt knew so little of sin,
What a wonder Aunt Tabitha’s aunt must have been!
And her grand-aunt–it scares me–how shockingly sad
That we girls of to-day are so frightfully bad!

A martyr will save us, and nothing else can;
Let me perish–to rescue some wretched young man!
Though when to the altar a victim I go,
Aunt Tabitha ‘ll tell me she never did so.

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