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106 The ancientest there, and was godmother at The Christening of the Gorgons. Her bones peep’d through a rhinoceros’ skin, Like a mummy through its cerement, But she had a mother’s heart, and guess’d What pinch’d her son; whom she thus address’d, In terms that bespoke endearment:- “What ails my Nicky, my Darling Imp, My Lucifer bright, my Beelze,72 My Pig, my Pug-with-a-curly-tail, You are not well. Can a mother fail To see that which all Hell see! “O, Mother dear, I am dying, I fear; Prepare the yew and the willow And the cypress black; for I get no ease By day or by night for the cursed fleas That skip about my pillow” “Your pillow is clean and your pillow-beer For I wash’d ‘em in Styx last night, Son, And your blankets both and dried them upon The brimstony banks of Acheron It is not the fleas that bite, son I wish my Nicky is not in Love – “O, Mother, you have nick’d it And he turn’d his head with a blush Not red-hot pokers or crimson plush Could half so deep have pricked it. 72 Beelzebub.

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