The Gadfly

The Gadfly

by John Keats

The Gadfly


All gentle folks who owe a grudge

To any living thing

Open your ears and stay your t[r]udge

Whilst I in dudgeon sing.


The Gadfly he hath stung me sore

may he ne’er sting you!

But we have many a horrid bore

He may sting black and blue.


Has any here an old grey Mare

With three legs all her store,

O put it to her Buttocks bare

And straight she’ll run on four.


Has any here a Lawyer suit

Of 1743,

Take Lawyer’s nose and put it to’t

And you the end will see.


Is there a Man in Parliament

Dum[b-] founder’d in his speech,

let his neighbour make a rent

And put one in his breech.


Lowther how much better thou

Hadst figur’d t’other day

When to the folks thou mad’st a bow

And hadst no more to say.


If lucky Gadfly had but ta’en

His seat

And put thee to a little pain

To save thee from a worse.


Better than Southey it had been,

Much than Mr. D——-,

Better than Wordsworth too, I ween,

Better than Mr. V——-.


Forgive me pray good people all

For deviating so —

In spirit sure I had a call —

And now I on will go.


Has any here a daughter fair

Too fond of reading novels,

Too apt to fall in love with care

And charming Mister Lovels,


O put a Gadfly to that thing

She keeps so white and pert —

I mean the finger for the ring,

And it will breed a wort.


Has any here a pious spouse

Who seven times a day

Scolds as King David pray’d, to chouse

And have her holy way —


O let a Gadfly’s little sting

Persuade her sacred tongue

That noises are a common thing,

But that her bell has rung.


And as this is the summon bo

num of all conquering,

I leave “withouten wordes mo”

The Gadfly’s little sting.


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