Oh! Mr Best You're Very Bad

Oh! Mr Best You're Very Bad by Jane Austen
Oh! Mr. Best, you're very bad
And all the world shall know it;
Your base behaviour shall be sung
By me, a tunefull Poet.--
You used to go to Harrowgate
Each summer as it came,
And why I pray should you refuse
To go this year the same?--

The way's as plain, the road's as smooth,
The Posting not increased;
You're scarcely stouter than you were,
Not younger Sir at least.--

If e'er the waters were of use
Why now their use forego?
You may not live another year,
All's mortal here below.--

It is your duty Mr Best
To give your health repair.
Vain else your Richard's pills will be,
And vain your Consort's care.

But yet a nobler Duty calls
You now towards the North.
Arise ennobled--as Escort
Of Martha Lloyd stand forth.

She wants your aid--she honours you
With a distinguished call.
Stand forth to be the friend of her
Who is the friend of all.--

Take her, and wonder at your luck,
In having such a Trust.
Her converse sensible and sweet
Will banish heat and dust.--

So short she'll make the journey seem
You'll bid the Chaise stand still.
T'will be like driving at full speed
From Newb'ry to Speen hill.--

Convey her safe to Morton's wife
And I'll forget the past,
And write some verses in your praise
As finely and as fast.

But if you still refuse to go
I'll never let your rest,
Buy haunt you with reproachful song
Oh! wicked Mr. Best!-- 
Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors.  I've read all her books, listen to most of them as audiobooks and debated at length whether the BBC, or Keira Knightley's 2005 Hollywood depiction of Pride and Prejudice is better - for the record the BBC version wins hands down although I do love the cinematography in director, Joe Wright's interpretation.  But I didn't know that Jane Austen also wrote poetry.  I love this cute little poem, it somehow illustrates Jane Austen's whimsical and mischeiveous side whilst still painting a very accurate picture of the norms, values and customs of the time.   


Sue said...

1st verse of New Year 1918 - by Private R. 'Cleve' Potter (b 1888, Glen Innes, NSW; written on 1 January 1918, Belgium
"The Year is dead, the grim, gaunt year
He closed his eyes last night
When all the world was cold and still
And decked in robes of white
Dull, drear Old Year
You disappear,
Nor could I wish you stay.
So sad you've been
That few, I ween,
Will weep for you today."

Sue said...

The poem goes on - it is a bit morbid being about the poet's experience of war, but I think it's still good. Look up the rest.

Clare B said...

The rhythm of the poem is wonderful. I looked up the rest and you're right - it is a little morbid. The reference to blood and crimson, reminded me of some of the 'war paintings' you see in the old european art galleries - horses, men and people falling everywhere.