The Princess in Saturn and the Red Man in Mars
There once was a princess both fair and tall,
Who did not live on this earth at all.
She lived up in Saturn, And she was a pattern
Of every accomplishment, great and small;
The graces and virtues, she had them all.
Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, she had them pat;
And she played on the sackbut! think of that!
And she sang so sweet, All the birds at her feet
With envy and sorrow fell down quite flat;
I’ve been told they fell down quite remarkably flat.
Now all the princes and all the kings
Who lived in Saturn and all his rings,
They came and knelt Where the princess dwelt;
And they brought her all sorts of beautiful things,—
Oh! quite an assortment of elegant things.
For one king brought her a diamond hat;
And another presented a two-legged cat;
While another one said,”When my uncle is dead,
I will give you his monkey. Be sure of that!
His talented monkey; depend upon that!”
One powerful prince, with a haughty stride,
Came forward and said, “If you’ll be my bride,
You shall have the Great Bear To powder your hair,
And the small one to lace up your boots beside,—
To lace up your boots, and to shine them beside.”
But the princess sighed; and softly she said,
“Alas! not one of you all can I wed.
‘Tis my positive plan To marry a man
Who lives up in Mars, and is painted red,—
From his head to his feet, quite a violent red.
“I have often looked through my opera-glass,
And up and down I have seen him pass;
And so bright was his hue,And so lovely to view,
I felt that in him lay my fate, alas!
I read in his red my own fate, alas!
“So now, if you love me as fond and true
As all of you think that all of you do,
You will help me to wedMy ‘Study in Red.’
Oh, kings and princes, now pray you, do!
You dear kings and princes, I beg of you, do!”
The kings and princes arose with a frown,
And first they looked up, and then they looked down.
Not a man of them spoke Till he’d straightened his cloak,
And settled his wig, and adjusted his crown.
And then, “If you honestly wish,” they said,
“To marry a man who is painted red”
(In Saturn, I ween, All the people are green),
“We don’t know that there’s anything more to be said,—
Your Highness, there seems nothing more to be said.”
So they called a comet, and told him to go
To the Red Man in Mars, and give him to know
That a princess in Saturn,Of virtues the pattern,
Desired to marry him, whether or no,—
Was determined to marry him, whether or no.
Away whizzed the comet, and soon he came
To the Red Man in Mars, and called him by name.
And telling his news,Begged him not to refuse
To send back an answer at once to the same,—
“Just you make up your mind in regard to the same!”
But the Red Man sighed, and mournfully said,
“My friend, ’tis our law that all wives must be red;
And if I should be seen With a wife who is green,
Our king would be apt at removing my head,—
Not a moment he’d lose in removing my head.
“But if the young lady (who’s surely most kind),
Could in any way make up her princessly mind
To turn herself red,It need hardly be said
That a lover devoted in me she would find,—
That a husband adoring in me she would find.”
The comet whizzed back with the answer again,
And the kings and the princes received it with pain.
“Sure, the princess’s green Has so brilliant a sheen,
That the thought of a change is exceedingly vain,—
The idea of a change is prepost’rously vain.”
But when the princess this message heard,
She said, “I see nothing in this that’s absurd.”
Then to blush she began;And she blushed till the Man
In Mars was less ruddy by half, on my word,—
Less red by a generous half, on my word!
She blushed over cheek and lip and brow,
From her fair little head to her trim little toe.
And her hat and her shoe,And her farthingale too,
They blushed just as red as herself, I vow,—
They blushed for the love of herself, I vow.
She blushed till the Northern Lights grew pale;
And the Scorpion danced on the tip of his tail;
And the Red Man came In a fiery flame,
And cried, “My bee-yutiful bride, all hail!
My blushing, bee-yutiful bride, all hail!”
And so they were married, both he and she,
And the color of both was quite scarlet to see.
And they lived, the tale says,To the end of their days,
As happy, as happy, as happy could be:
Sure, no other couple so happy could be.
For she loved him in Hebrew, and likewise in Greek,
And the Latin tongue also she freely did speak.
And the sackbut she’d play Every hour in the day,
Till the Red Man in Mars would with ecstasy squeak,—
Till her cochineal husband with rapture would squeak.
But the people in Saturn were sad, I ween,
And evermore greener they grew, and more green;
And the princes and kings Said such heartbreaking things,
In these mirth-loving pages they must not be seen:
I really must stop, And the subject must drop,
For it won’t do at all for such things to be seen.