The Merry Song of Betty Thong

Let’s look along with Betty Thong who runs the shuttle all day long, who comes and sits and forms and fits and always hums a weavin’ song; warps and wends and darns and mends until the cloth is hale and strong.

She’s got no family but her kitty; full of life but not too pretty, ever wanting for a song, she always sings a merry ditty. Now and then she joins with men but finds them stale and none too witty.

She went to town to buy a pig of middlin’ weight but not too big, and coming home she met a man who always played a fiddlin’ jig. Tall and thin, he wore a grin, a waistcoat and a noble’s wig.

(And so she said to him): The month of June is coming soon, when hearts are light and lovers swoon, and hug and kiss and that and this and always sing a courtin’ tune; sit and scheme and hope and dream and laze away the afternoon.

He took her there with arms so fair, and danced with her without a care; they swept and whirled and leapt and twirled and always heard a sourceless air; swift and sweet and trim and neat, it could have come from anywhere.

He bade her pain to scour the lane and weave for him all out a grain a treasure by which he’d learn why he always heard that sweet refrain; all his days a ghostly haze of music had assailed his brain.

She wove for him a music sheet from skins of flax and stalks of wheat and sweetcorn oil and through her toil she always tapped a drummer’s beat; every measure was a pleasure with the music in her feet.

She worked until the light grew dim and ‘till the morning, bright and grim, and she was glad on Sundays that she always heard the churchyard hymn; as she sought her friend she thought how it suffused her every limb.

As soon as she bespied him he said “There is naught but air to me—this sheet is what I needed, but I’ll always be a melody. For these chords your just rewards will be to join me now I’m free.”

So now they’ll dance forevermore and through the hills and dales they’ll soar with grace sublime in perfect time and always to a heav’nly score; Betty Thong has found her song and all creation is her floor.