Seeing's not Believing

by Thomas Haynes Bayley

I saw her, as I fancied, fair,
Yes, fairest of earth's creatures;
I saw the purest red and white
O'erspread her lovely features;
She fainted, and I sprinkled her,
Her malady relieving:
I washed both rose and lily off!
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I looked again, again I longed
To breathe love's fond confession
I saw her eyebrows formed to give
Her face its arch expression;
But gum is very apt to crack,
And whilst my breast was heaving,
It so fell out that one fell off!
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw the tresses on her brow
So beautifully braided;
I never saw in all my life
Locks look so well as they did,
She walked with me one windy day—
Ye zephyrs, why so thieving?
The lady lost her flaxen wig!
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw her form, by Nature's hand
So prodigally finished,
She were less perfect if enlarged,
Less perfect if diminished;
Her toilet I surprised—the worst
Of wonders then achieving;
None knew the bustle I perceived!
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw, when costly gems I gave,
The smile with which she took them;
And if she said no tender things,
I've often seen her look them;
I saw her my affianced bride,
And then, my mansion leaving,
She ran away with Colonel Jones!
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw another maiden soon,
And struggled to detain her;
I saw her plain enough—in fact,
Few women could be plainer;
'Twas said, that at her father's death
A plum she'd be receiving:
I saw that father's house and grounds!
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw her mother—she was deck'd
With furbelows and feathers;
I saw distinctly that she wore
Silk stockings in all weathers;
I saw, beneath a load of gems.
The matron's bosom heaving;
I saw a thousand signs of wealth!
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw her father, and I spoke
Of marriage in his study;
But would he let her marry me
Alas! alas! how could he?
I saw him smile a glad consent,
My anxious heart relieving,
And then I saw the settlements
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw the daughter, and I named
My moderate finances;
She spurned me not, she gave me one
Of her most tender glances.
I saw her father's bank—thought I,
There cash is safe from thieving;
I saw my money safely lodged:
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw the bank, the shutters up,
I could not think what they meant,
The old infirmity of firms,
The bank had just stopped payment!
I saw my future father then
Was ruined past retrieving,
Like me, without a single sou:
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw the banker's wife had got
The fortune settled on her;
What cared he, when the creditors
Talked loudly of dishonour!
I saw his name in the Gazette,
But soon I stared, perceiving,
He bought another house and grounds:
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw—yes, as plain as could be,
I saw the banker's daughter;
She saw me, too, and called for sal
Volatile and water.
She said that she had just espoused
A rich old man, conceiving
That I was dead or gone to gaol:
Oh! seeing's not believing!
I saw a friend, and freely spoke
My mind on the transaction;
Her brother heard it, and he called,
Demanding satisfaction.
We met—I fell—that brother's ball
In my left leg receiving;
I have two legs, true—one is cork:
Oh! seeing's not believing!