Of all whom Venus has forask’n,
Whom Cupid’s line has slain,
Was never one by love so tak’n
As mighty Donny Lane:
A glutton of unseemly girth
(And quite an ugly fellow)
Whose skin is, ever since his birth,
A pale, unhealthy yellow,
His hair recedes and loses back
From top down to his ears:
His aged cheeks so hang with slack
You’d scarce believe his years.
And though his fate were fasten’d tight
For being so outcast,
He was with love's ambition dight
In the not distant past.
Sure as the seasons see their change
New loves would Donny find:
As one was gone, his interests ranged
Towards another kind.
He’d proudly boast, “true love’s found me!”
(Though it has never, really)
And wasn’t taken seriously:
His colleagues thought him silly.
And when they saw the glow renew’d
They’d roll and groan, “Oh, brother!”
And, seeing Donny darkly brood,
They’d laugh, “He’s lost another!”
For every hopeful shine he waxed,
A deathly pale he’d wane;
Sad cycle! So ambition taxed
The heart of Donny Lane.
For, though it was a common thing,
I lately saw him grinning,
His brown eyes bright and caroling
With notes alive and spinning:
He sat him at his office seat
Arranging into rows
Photographs of a lady meet
(Her name, yet, no-one knows).
For every photograph he placed
His eyes would briefly linger,
And, supping upon her radiant grace,
Stroke her with his fat finger.
“Why, Donny,” said I, skeptical,
“Who is that lovely miss?”
“She is,” he answered, beaming full,
“The well of earthly bliss.
“I met her over drinks, last night,
And love her oh-so-much!
It was love not just at-first-sight
But sound, and scent, and touch!
“I love her more than words can say,
And dearly she loves me;
And we shall fix our love today,
Beneath the apple tree.
“Her eyes are bright as emeralds,
And hark, how sweet her breasts!
And how her golden hair, in folds,
Over her shoulders rests.
“And she will make my arms her home;
I’ll all her burdens carry.
And then we’ll satisfy our love,
And then we’ll likely marry.
“So little time!” he sighed, “to find
So great a love o’ertake me!
She is so beautiful and kind,
A happy man, she’ll make me!”
He, chanting dreams, drew at him eyes
That whispered “fabrication,”
Thinking his song a strain of lies
From his imagination.
Despite such doubts, he’d let them laugh,
Nor give them his compliance,
But smiled and kissed his photographs
Eagerly, in defiance.
The mirth upon his oily cheeks
Shined through the afternoon:
Then fled he, like a bird who seeks
To fly towards the moon.
Some voices followed: “Donny, run!
Run, to the apple tree!
Your love lays nude beneath the sun!”
And faithfully ran he.
The morning next, our cruel joy
Its winning pose did see:
“What of your love, old Donny boy?
What of the apple tree?
“What of the woman whom you love,
Whose burdens you will carry?
The wedding ring you’d spoken of?
Did she decline to marry?”
So chided they poor Donny Lane
But missed him like a ghost,
For no more would he entertain
Their cruel remarks with boasts,
And no more would his heavy step
By avidness be leaven’d,
Nor would he make his office seat
A palace throne in heaven,
And no more will her pictures stand
Blithely arranged in rows:
He smote them with his mighty hand;
They fell like dominos.