|When rival adorers come courting a maid,
There's something or other may often be said,
Why he should be pitched upon rather than him.
This wasn't the case with Old PAUL and Old TIM.
No soul could discover a reason at all
For marrying TIMOTHY rather than PAUL;
Though all could have offered good reasons, on oath,
Against marrying either — or marrying both.
They were equally wealthy and equally old,
They were equally timid and equally bold;
They were equally tall as they stood in their shoes —
Between them, in fact, there was nothing to choose.
Had I been young EMILY, I should have said,
"You're both much too old for a pretty young maid,
Threescore at the least you are verging upon";
But I wasn't young EMILY. Let us get on.
No coward's blood ran in young EMILY'S veins,
Her martial old father loved bloody campaigns;
At the rumours of battles all over the globe
He pricked up his ears like the war-horse in "Job."
He chuckled to hear of a sudden surprise —
Of soldiers, compelled, through an enemy's spies,
Without any knapsacks or shakos to flee —
For an eminent army-contractor was he.
So when her two lovers, whose patience was tried,
Implored her between them at once to decide,
She told them she'd marry whichever might bring
Good proofs of his doing the pluckiest thing.
They both went away with a qualified joy:
That coward, Old PAUL, chose a very small boy,
And when no one was looking, in spite of his fears,
He set to work boxing that little boy's ears.