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Oh! Mr Best You’re Very Bad

Jane Austen wrote this sprightly poem in 1806 when she was endeavoring to find a way for her friend Martha Lloyd to come and visit her. Apparently, Mr. Best could not be persuaded to set out on a journey and give Martha a ride. It is doubtful that he ever saw the work, though it was sure to have caused considerable amusement in the Austen family. Oh! Mr. Best, you’re very bad And all the world shall know it; Your base behaviour shall be sung By me, a tunefull Poet.– You used to go to Harrowgate Each summer as it came, And why I pray should you refuse To go this year the same?– The way’s as plain, the road’s as smooth, The Posting not increased; You’re scarcely stouter than you were, Not younger Sir at least.– If e’er the waters were of use Why now their use forego? You may not live another year, All’s mortal here below.– It is your duty Mr Best To give your health repair. Vain else your Richard’s pills will be, And vain your Consort’s care. But yet a nobler Duty calls You now towards the North. Arise ennobled–as Escort Of Martha Lloyd stand forth. She wants your aid–she honours you With a distinguished call. Stand forth to be the friend of her Who is the friend of all.– Take her, and wonder at your luck, In having such a Trust. Her converse sensible and sweet Will banish heat and dust.– So short she’ll

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