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Faithless Nelly Gray

 A Pathetic Ballad

Ben Battle was a soldier bold,
And used to war's alarms;
But a cannon-ball took off his legs,
So he laid down his arms.
Now as they bore him off the field, Said he, 'Let others shoot; For here I leave my second leg, And the Forty-second Foot.
' The army-surgeons made him limbs: Said he, 'They're only pegs; But there's as wooden members quite, As represent my legs.
' Now Ben he loved a pretty maid, -- Her name was Nelly Gray; So he went to pay her his devours, When he devoured his pay.
But when he called on Nelly Gray, She made him quite a scoff; And when she saw his wooden legs, Began to take them off.
'O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray!' Is this your love so warm? The love that loves a scarlet coat Should be a little more uniform.
Said she, ' I loved a soldier once, For he was blithe and brave; But I will never have a man With both legs in the grave 'Before you had those timber toes Your love I did allow; But then, you know, you stand upon Another footing now.
' 'O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray! For all your jeering speeches, At duty's call I left my legs In Badajos's breaches.
' 'Why, then,' said she, 'you've lost the feet Of legs in war's alarms, And now you cannot wear your shoes Upon your feats of arms!' 'O false and fickle Nelly Gray! I know why you refuse: Though I've no feet, some other man Is standing in my shoes.
'I wish I ne'er had seen your face; But, now, a long farewell! For you will be my death' -- alas! You will not be my Nell!' Now when he went from Nelly Gray His heart so heavy got, And life was such a burden grown, It made him take a knot.
So round his melancholy neck A rope he did intwine, And, for his second time in life, Enlisted in the Line.
One end he tied around a beam, And then removed his pegs; And, as his legs were off -- of course He soon was off his legs.
And there he hung till he was dead As any nail in town; For, though distress had cut him up, It could not cut him down.
A dozen men sat on his corpse, To find out why he died, -- And they buried Ben in four cross-roads With a stake in his inside.

by Thomas Hood
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