Lady Moth and Mr. Rat


Lady Moth and Mr. Rat

Said Mr. Rat to Lady Moth
“My Lady Moth, pray don’t be wroth—
Well do I know I am below
Thy fair and free society—

Yet of your wingèd majesty
There is one thing I beg of thee;
One plea I tender for my life—
I beg that you will be my wife.”

Said Lady Moth to Mr. Rat
“Would, Sir, ye had not asked for that—
Of late my eye is dazzled by
Strange lights that are not of the sky;

Without the moon their light is warm
And they have never done me harm;
And you below, how can you know
The charm, the calm within that glow?”

To Lady Moth replied our Rat
“In faith, I cannot answer that;
I have no store, my state is poor
And thou alone shall I adore—

Let me prove and so remove
With thee to see these lights above—
Show thee I cannot bear to be
Without a shadow of thy love.”

So to the stair the two repaired
To see the lamps that lined the lane
Whose show had stole the lady’s heart
Beneath their pale electric flame—

But on the summer winds was borne
The fit, the fever of a storm
That bruised her wings and cast her down
Upon the wet and shining ground;

And blinder than the night, that light
That saw nor knew its lover’s plight;
Alive if fragile were the arms
That sought her, brought her out of harm.

They sat in silence: not a word
From either Moth or Rat was heard.
Then, wringing out her wings like clothes
And stretching on her slippered toes,

Said Lady Moth to Mr. Rat,
“What rain and wind, what light was that!
Beneath that cold unblinking eye
I thought that I would surely die.

“And thou art trembling, friend, and soaked;
Take off your dripping hat and coat;
Let’s light a fire in the lea—
You see the glare will not tempt me.”

Said Mr. Rat, “My lady dear,
I’ll strike a match and keep thee near;
If thou wilt rest here at my breast
Then I am well and truly blessed—

“Sweet Moth, fair maid, oh will you be
A light, delight, and wife to me?”
“For ay, I’ll be a wife,” said she,
“If thou art husband unto me.”


Written in response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt“Courage.”


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