The shades of night had almost fled
As through a Cavan village sped
A youth who bore upon his tric –
Ycle this somewhat strange device –
The spokes were polished up, each one,
Gleamed as it caught the rising sun,
And flashed with nickel-plated sheen,
The axles of that strange machine –
“Don’t be an ass,” the old man cried,
“The Cavan hills are hard to ride,
Take my advice and get a car.”
A voice responded from afar –
“Oh, stay,” the maiden said, “and rest.
Of course you know your business best,
But why you toil the live-long day –
I can’t conceive, nor why you say –
“Fair maid,” the youth replied, “I would
That I could stay with thee for good.
But ah, my worldly wealth is small,
And so I must obey the call –
“Begob,” ‘twas thus the peasant spoke,
“But that’s the quarest sort o’ yoke.
I beg your pardon, sir but might –“
A voice replied far up the height –
What motive urged his flying feet?
A rendezvous with maiden sweet?
– Alas, ‘tis time that I reveal
The secret of thy triple wheel –
Methinks it was the greed of gain
Which urged him thus across the plain.
No rest thy wheels may know the while
They pay him eighteen pence per mile –
French, Percy. (1980) ‘Prose, Poems & Parodies.’ Dublin, Helicon Limited