FARMER BENNETT (REYNARD THE FOX, 1920) by JOHN MASEFIELD

Old Farmer Bennett followed these
Upon his big-boned savage black
Whose mule-teeth yellowed to bite back
Whatever came within his reach.
Old Bennett sat him like a leech.
The grim old rider seemed to be
As hard about the mouth as he.
The beaters nudged each other’s ribs
With “There he goes, his bloody Nibs.
He come on Joe and Anty Cop,
And beat ’em with his hunting crop
Like tho’ they’d bin a sack of beans.
His pickers were a pack of queans,
And Joe and Anty took a couple,
He caught ’em there, and banged ’em supple.
Women and men, he didn’t care
(He’d kill ’em some day, if he dare),
He beat the whole four nearly dead.
‘I’ll learn ‘ee rabbit in my shed,
That’s how my ricks get set afire.’
That’s what he said, the bloody liar;
Old oaf, I’d like to burn his ricks,
Th’ old swine’s too free with fists and sticks.
He keeps that Mrs. Jones himselve.”
Just like an axehead on its helve
Old Bennett sat and watched the gathering.
He’d given many a man a lathering
In field or barn, and women, too.
His cold eye reached the women through
With comment, and the men with scorn.
He hated women gently born;
He hated all beyond his grasp;
For he was minded like the asp
That strikes whatever is not dust.

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