Beauty in Trouble    

Beauty in trouble flees to the good angel
   On whom she can rely
To pay her cab-fare, run a steaming bath,
   Poultice her bruised eye;

Will not at first, whether for shame or caution,
   Her difficulty disclose;
Until he draws a cheque book from his plumage,
   Asking her how much she owes;

(Breakfast in bed: coffee and marmalade,
   Toast, eggs, orange-juice,
After a long, sound sleep - the first since when? -
   And no word of abuse.)

Loves him less only than her saint-like mother,
   Promises to repay
His loans and most seraphic thoughtfulness
   A million-fold one day.

Beauty grows plump, renews her broken courage
   And, borrowing ink and pen,
Writes a news-letter to the evil angel
   (Her first gay act since when?):

The fiend who beats, betrays and sponges on her,
   Persuades her white is black,
Flaunts vespertilian wing and cloven hoof;
   And soon will fetch her back.

Virtue, good angel, is its own reward:
   Your dollars were well spent.
But would you to the marriage of true minds
   Admit impediment?

Robert Graves

Geoff Wilkins' Web site