Who is knocking for admission
At the convent's outer gate?
Is it possible a lady
Can be wandering so late?
Let me see her through the lattice,
And her story let me hear;
—Oh! your most obedient, madam;
May I ask what brings you here?
You will very much applaud me,
When you hear what I have done;
I've been naughty,—I'm a penitent,
and want to be a nun.
I've been treated most unfairly,
Though 'tis said I am most fair;
I am rich, ma'am, and a duchess,
And my name's La Vallière.
Get along, you naughty woman,
You'll contaminate us all;
When you touch'd the gate, I wonder
That the convent did not fall!
Stop! I think you mention'd money,—
That is—penitence, I mean:
Let her in,—I'm too indulgent;—
Pray how are the king and queen?
Lady Abbess, you delight me,—
Oh! had Louis been as kind!
But he used me ungenteely,
To my fondness deaf and blind.
Oh! methinks that now I view him,
With his feathers in his hat!—
Hem!—beg pardon—I'm aware, ma'am,
That I mustn't speak of that.
Not by no means, madam, never;
No—you mustn't even think;
(Put your feet upon the fender,
And here's something warm to drink:
Is it strong enough?—pray stir it:)
What on earth could make you go
From a palace to a convent?
Come,—I'm curious to know?
Can you wonder, Lady Abbess?—
At the change I should rejoice,—
I of vanities was weary,
And a convent was my choice.
I have had a troubled conscience,
And court manners did condemn,
Ever since I saw King Louis
Making eyes at Madam M.
Oh! I think I comprehend you:
But take care what you're about;
Though 'tis easy to get in here,
'Tan't so easy to get out:
You'll for beads resign your jewels,
And your robes for garments plain;
Ere you cut the world, remember
'Tis not cut and come again!
I am willing in a cloister
That my days and nights should pass;
—(This is very nice indeed, ma'am;
If you please, another glass)—
As for courtiers, I'll hereafter
Lay the odious topic by;
Oh! their crooked ways enough are
For to turn a nun awry!
Very proper: to the sisters
'Twould be wrong to chatter thus;
Now and then, when snug and cosey,
'Twill do very well for us.
It is strange how tittle-tattle
All about the convent spreads,
When the barber from the village
Comes to shave the sisters' heads.
Do you really mean to tell me
I must lose my raven locks?
Then I'll tie 'em up with ribbon,
And I'll keep 'em in my box:
Oh! how Louis used to praise 'em!
Hem!—I think I'll go to bed.—
Not another drop, I thank you,—
It would get into my head.
Benedicite! my daughter,
You'll be soon used to the place;
Though at meals our only duchess,
You will have to say your grace:
And when none can interrupt us,
You of courtly scenes shall tell,
When I bring a drop of comfort
From my cellar to my cell!