Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What The Dickens!


Dickens' women do distress me,
Aggravate me and depress me.
Masochistic, self-denying,
bosom-beating, fond of crying:

Dare I say it, Lady Dedlock
Bore a baby out of wedlock.
Through bitter cold, and sleet and slush
She's punished for her girlhood crush.
Blackmailed for this moral crime
(By lawyer Tulkinghorn—that slime!)
She's forced to leave her lord's estate
And ends up at the graveyard gate.
While gazing at her lover's tomb,
She dies. O tragic female womb!

Florence Dombey, gentle Flora—
Daddy dear did not adore her.
He loved his son, his Paul, soon dead—
That small chip off his male blockhead.
But Florence blames herself, alas,
And when at last it comes to pass
He strikes, rejects her, casts her out
She trickles back without a shout
And, kneeling at her father's feet,
Repents and turns the other cheek.

David's Dora, ditzy, sweet,
Could not cook, or mend, or sweep.
Seventeen and silly, silly
David finds that, willy-nilly,
What entranced him when he's single
Drives him nuts when their lives mingle.
(How did she cope with menstruation
Let alone her defloration?)
And soon she dies. It's just as well, we
Can't imagine her at forty.

Edith Dombey, proud and haughty,
Sells herself for money; naughty!.
Dombey is the man she'll wed
Martyr'd by the marriage bed.
He glares at her and says "You must!"
With flashing eye and heaving bust
She runs away—to someone worse.
And tells him so verse after verse.
Her problem is quite simply said.
She has no way to earn her bread.

Esther of the pockmarked face
Was told she was her Ma’s disgrace.
She loves a doctor but her duty
Makes her John Jarndyce’s booty.
Esther, with your bunch of keys,
Dame Durden, Little Woman, please,
Locked into your box of virtue
What is life to do but hurt you?
In the end she finds her lover -
Her name, her birthright, and her mother.

Miss Haversham, whom love rejects,
Desires revenge on all the sex.
She’s raised Estella with that aim,
Cold and heartless (what a shame).
Her beauty’s just a bargaining chip
(She flirts and taunts and teases Pip).
But Estella just compounds the crime.
She spurns the true and weds a swine.
He takes her money, body, mind—
What is there left for Pip to find?

Lizzie Hexham. Now, she's better.
A working girl who rows the river,
Helping Father, as she oughter,
Fish the corpses from the water.
Courted by a rake and also
A pedant with a well-grown torso,
She runs away to stop their fighting
(By George, her life is quite exciting).
The rake's half-murdered but, quiescent,
She weds him when he's convalescent.

Poor Nancy, friend of Olly Twist,
Knows well the feel of Bill Sykes' fist.
She's cheerful, spunky, kind to all—
Bill thinks she's just a punching ball.
To Fagin's boys she's like a mother
But she cannot leave her lover.
Oliver she helps escape, but
She's like Bullseye, Sikes' old mutt.
Bill needs her, so her duty's plain.
She stays. He kills her. Who's to blame?


Dickens, Dickens, they're pathetic,
Sentimental and bathetic.
Masochistic, self-denying,
bosom-beating, fond of crying.


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