Ballade of Madame Bovary

Was it for this I learned to read
And write and bake a cherry pie?
I was romantic—“All I need
Is love!" was my incessant cry.
But girls, however hard you try,
How long you work, how much you fret,
You'll meet the same reward as I—
A country doctor's all you get.

A wife is only fit to breed
Her brats and sing their lullaby.
Oh, had I only given heed
To those sweet nuns who glorify
The Lord in prayer, and daily die,
I might have been a virgin yet.
But marriage makes the world a sty—
A country doctor's all you get.

I learned to do adultery's deed:
I took two lovers—one a sly
And skillful horseman (I the steed
He rode with such an expert thigh).
My second love was sweetly shy,
An easy fish in rapture's net.
But when I needed cash—good-bye!
A country doctor’s all you get.


Girls, never raise your hopes too high.
Lower your standards, and forget
The dream of catching a rich man's eye—
A country doctor's all you get.

by Gail White

Gail White is active in the New Formalist movement and appears frequently in its journals and anthologies. An essay on her work appeared in the first issue of Mezzo Cammin. She lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Contact Gail White.

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