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William Blake (1757–1827). The Poetical Works. 1908.

The Pickering MS.

Long John Brown and Little Mary Bell

LITTLE Mary Bell had a Fairy in a nut,

Long John Brown had the Devil in his gut;

Long John Brown lov’d little Mary Bell,

And the Fairy drew the Devil into the nutshell.

Her Fairy skipp’d out and her Fairy skipp’d in;

He laugh’d at the Devil, saying ‘Love is a sin.’

The Devil he raged, and the Devil he was wroth,

And the Devil enter’d into the young man’s broth.

He was soon in the gut of the loving young swain,

For John ate and drank to drive away love’s pain;

But all he could do he grew thinner and thinner,

Tho’he ate and drank as much as ten men for his dinner.

Some said he had a wolf in his stomach day and night,

Some said he had the Devil, and they guess’d right;

The Fairy skipp’d about in his glory, joy and pride,

And he laugh’d at the Devil till poor John Brown died.

Then the Fairy skipp’d out of the old nutshell,

And woe and alack for pretty Mary Bell!

For the Devil crept in when the Fairy skipp’d out,

And there goes Miss Bell with her fusty old nut.