Selected American and British Poems


Meddlesome Matty

by Ann and Jane Taylor
Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1883
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Source: Taylor, A. & J. (1883). Little Ann and Other Poems New York: George Routledge & Sons
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 1.2
  • Word Count: 376
  • Genre: Poetry
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One ugly trick has often spoiled
   The sweetest and the best:
Matilda, though a pleasant child,
   One grievous fault possessed,
Which, like a cloud before the skies,
Hid all her better qualities.

Sometimes she’d lift the teapot lid
   To peep at what was in it;
Or tilt the kettle, if you did
   But turn your back a minute.
In vain you told her not to touch,
Her trick of meddling grew so much.

Her grandmamma went out one day
   And by mistake she laid
Her spectacles and snuffbox gay
   Too near the little maid.
“Ah! well,” thought she, “I’ll try them on
As soon as grandmamma is gone.”

Forthwith she placed upon her nose
   The glasses large and wide;
And looking round, as I suppose,
   The snuffbox too she spied:
“Oh! what a pretty box is that;
I’ll open it,” said little Matt.

“I know that grandmamma would say,
   ‘Don’t meddle with it, dear’;
But then, she’s far enough away,
   And no one else is near.
Besides, what can there be amiss
In opening such a box as this?”

So thumb and finger went to work
   To move the stubborn lid,
And presently a mighty jerk
   The mighty mischief did;
For all at once, ah! woeful case.
The snuff came puffing in her face.

Poor eyes and nose and mouth, beside,
   A dismal sight presented;
In vain, as bitterly she cried,
   Her folly she repented;
In vain she ran about for ease,
She could do nothing now but sneeze.

She dashed the spectacles away
   To wipe her tingling eyes,
And as in twenty bits they lay,
   Her grandmamma she spies.
“Heyday! and what’s the matter now?”
Says grandmamma with lifted brow.

Matilda, smarting with the pain,
   And tingling still, and sore,
Made many a promise to refrain
   From meddling evermore.
And ‘tis a fact, as I have heard,
She ever since has kept her word.