The Bawdy Jokes of Keats

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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The Bawdy Jokes of Keats

Postby Ravenwing » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:05 pm

It has been regretted by some of us at this message board "that more of his [Keats] bawdy jokes haven't survived," to quote Cybele: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11950#p32379

This thread is where members can compile a list of Keats' surviving ribald and risqué poems and letters, as well as the racy anecdotes of his friends in their letters and remembrances about him.

To start this list, I cite Keats' "Daisy's Song" poem from his "Extracts from an Opera," which features a lecherous daisy that likes to look up the dresses of pretty lasses.

Extracts from an Opera: Daisy's Song
by John Keats (1818).

The sun, with his great eye,
Sees not so much as I;
And the moon, all silver-proud,
Might as well be in a cloud.

And O the spring—the spring!
I lead the life of a king!
Couch'd in the teeming grass,
I spy each pretty lass.

I look where no one dares,
And I stare where no one stares;
And when the night is nigh,
Lambs bleat my lullaby.

Source: ... ope01.html
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Re: The Bawdy Jokes of Keats

Postby Cybele » Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:45 pm

Keats repeated in a letter to Tom and George this short, mildly scatological verse by Horace Smith:
"What precious extempore verses are Twiss's
Which he makes ere he waters, and vows as he pisses,
'Twould puzzle the Sages of greece to unriddle
Which flows out the fastest his verse or his piddle,
And 'twould pose them as much to know whether or not
His Piss or his Poems go quickest to Pot."

The letter was long-lost, but rediscovered in 1955. The story of its rediscovery is interesting:
"The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence."
Wallace Stevens
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Re: The Bawdy Jokes of Keats

Postby Sid13 » Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:17 pm

I can think of a couple of other short bawdy poems by Keats. One begins "Over the hill and over the dale" and is sometimes titled "Dawlish Fair":

Over the hill and over the dale,
And over the bourn to Dawlish--
Where gingerbread wives have a scanty sale
And gingerbread nuts are smallish.

Rantipole Betty she ran down a hill
And kicked up her petticoats fairly.
Says I, "I'll be Jack if you will be Jill."
So she sat on the grass debonairly.

"Here's somebody coming, here's somebody coming!"
Say I, "'Tis the wind at a parley."
So without any fuss, any hawing and humming,
She lay on the grass debonairly.

"Here's somebody here, and here's somebody there!"
Says I, "Hold your tongue, you young gipsy."
So she held her tongue and lay plump and fair,
And dead as a Venus tipsy.

O who wouldn't hie to Dawlish fair,
O who wouldn't stop in a meadow?
O who would not rumple the daisies there,
And make the wild fern for a bed do?

The second one begins "O blush not so" and is sometimes published as "Sharing Eve's Apple":

O blush not so! O blush not so!
Or I shall think you knowing;
And if you smile the blushing while,
Then maidenheads are going.

There's a blush for won't, and a blush for shan't,
And a blush for having done it:
There's a blush for thought, and a blush for naught,
And a blush for just begun it.

O sigh not so! O sigh not so!
For it sounds of Eve's sweet pippin;
By those loosened hips you have tasted the pips
And fought in an amorous nipping.

Will you play once more at nice-cut-core,
For it only will last our youth out?
And we have the prime of the kissing time,
We have not one sweet tooth out.

There's a sigh for yes, and a sigh for no,
And a sigh for I can't bear it!
O what can be done, shall we stay or run?
O, cut the sweet apple and share it!
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