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William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

Barmaid


              1Though, if you ask her name, she says Elise,
              2Being plain Elizabeth, e'en let it pass,
              3And own that, if her aspirates take their ease,
              4She ever makes a point, in washing glass,
              5Handling the engine, turning taps for tots,
              6And countering change, and scorning what men say,
              7Of posing as a dove among the pots,
              8Nor often gives her dignity away.
              9Her head's a work of art, and, if her eyes
            10Be tired and ignorant, she has a waist;
            11Cheaply the Mode she shadows; and she tries
            12From penny novels to amend her taste;
            13And, having mopped the zinc for certain years,
            14And faced the gas, she fades and disappears.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Ernest Henley, "London Types XIII," Poems (London: Macmillan and Co., 1920): 215. PR 4783 A36 1921 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 4:2002/4/24

Form: English Sonnet
Rhyme: ababcdcdefefgg


Other poems by William Ernest Henley