David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Duchess of Faint Heart

My mistress, Annabelle de la Plante
Was the Duchess of faint heart,
She was always prone to the vapours
And would faint at a passing cart,
The cruder odours brought on a fit
When they’d permeate the room,
So the fabric crepes and the window drapes
Were doused in a strong perfume.

She rarely ventured into the street
But would seek her own boudoir,
Where scents so strong had seemed to belong
Brought back from the Indian Raj,
I wore a mask to protect me then
From the essence of musk and fern,
Camphorous oils and sandalwood
That would choke my throat, and burn.

She bathed in essential oils and rubbed
Cologne well into her skin,
There wasn’t a day went by that she
Did not smell as sweet as sin,
But she grew suddenly weak and frail
And took to her sickness bed,
And lay for days in a sort of haze
Her eyes rolled up in her head.

The Lady Mirabelle often called
With a dress, or a hat and gloves,
And asked that Annabelle try them on
So she could adjust the cuffs,
But every time that she wore the gloves
She’d suffer a brief relapse,
And I caught the scent of peach in them
Before her sudden collapse.

Mirabelle long had been engaged
To my lady’s cousin, Tom,
He’d not been wise with his small stipend
And now it had nearly gone,
But he stood to inherit a fortune if
And when the Duchess died,
So I was more than suspicious then,
Stuck close to my lady’s side.

I took the gloves to a chemist who
Conducted some tests on them,
Told me the heart of the problem seemed
To be the peach blossom,
They yielded cyanic acid when
The kernels, wet, were squeezed,
And poison would leach into the skin…
So I went home, more than pleased.

The day that Mirabelle married, I
Was standing by the aisle,
Watching her slow approach, I
Caught her eye, and saw her smile,
But up at the altar, she collapsed
With anaphylactic shock,
And died with the scent of bitter almonds
Leaching from her frock.

My Duchess came to the country where
The air is clean and clear,
I managed to wean her from cologne
No need for perfume here,
I married her in a little church
And she’s found a strange delight,
To walk with me in the country lanes
And make love every night.

10 April 2013

Submitted: Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Duchess of Faint Heart by David Lewis Paget )

Enter the verification code :

  • Freshman - 1,457 Points Douglas Scotney (4/9/2013 8:27:00 PM)

    Good. Reminded me of Jonathan Swift, but with vengeance.
    See his 'The Lady's Dressing Room', on Poemhunter. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. 'Charlie Girl', Katherine Nordhaus
  2. Madrigal Dedicated To An Angel., Marcondes Pereira
  3. Halloween, lee fones
  4. Canned thoughts, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  5. Aunt Giovanna, at 80, Gary Corseri
  6. For To be An Indian English Poet, You St.., Bijay Kant Dubey
  7. Magical, David Harris
  8. A Necessary Wish, Sandra Feldman
  9. Stations of life, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  10. Waves of customers inside those stores, MOHAMMAD SKATI

Poem of the Day

poet John Clare

I love to see the old heath's withered brake
Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling,
While the old heron from the lonely lake
Starts slow and flaps its melancholy wing,
...... Read complete »


Modern Poem

poet Grace Paley


Trending Poems

  1. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  2. And Death Shall Have No Dominion, Dylan Thomas
  3. Fern Hill, Dylan Thomas
  4. A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
  5. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  6. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  7. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  8. Before I Knocked, Dylan Thomas
  9. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]