Blue Beard

Blue Beard

Miss F. Richardson


There dwelt ’tis said in days of yore
(We vouch not that the tale is true)
A fell magician of great pow’r
With hideous mien and Beard of Blue.


His house was stately to behold
And gay and wide his gardens grew
His plates and dishes were of gold
Yet all could see his Beard was Blue.


Around him many a lady fair
There dwelt, right comely to the view,
But none would to his hall repair
They dreaded so his Beard of Blue.


Yet was he hated most I ween
Because the neighbors round him knew
His mind was hideous as his mien
His heart was black, his Beard was Blue.


To be his bride each damsel fear’d
Because a rumour round there flew
That soon and strangely disappear’d
All who had wedded Beard of Blue.


Now one grand lady there dwelt near
(The mother of fair daughters two)
And this same lady lent no ear
To what was said ’gainst Beard of Blue.


The daughters were their mother’s pride
The charms did all men’s hearts subdue
And one was asked for as his bride
By this said monster Beard of Blue.


The damsels they did both agree
That whichsoever he should woo
They neither ‘ere would married be
To one who had a Beard of Blue.


Yet still they both were so well bred
They told him not the reason true
But each her sister wish’d she said
To marry with this Beard of Blue.


To gain his suit he’s so intent
He ask’d the dame and daughters two
To be his guests, and they consent
In spite of his long Beard of Blue.


Now to his castle they repair’d
Where wealth and pomp no medium knew
And soon the youngest nymph declar’d
“His beard was not so very blue.”


This charge the fell magician found
His suit with zeal he did renew
And soon in marriage ties came bound
The youngest maid and Beard of Blue.


The honeymoon was nearly done
Her chain the nymph did not yet rue
Her lady mother home was gone
And left the bride and Beard of Blue.


Now Blue Beard to his wife did say
“I’ll leave you for a day or two
For bus’ness calls me far away”
A merchant was this Beard of Blue.


“And while I am away my dear
You ev’ry pleasure may pursue
Your friends I pray invite them here”
So spake the might Beard of Blue.


“This key my wardrobe will unfold
This brings my jewels to your view
This locks my plate of burnish’d gold”
Thus vaunted on this Beard of Blue.


“And you’ve the key of every room
But this of brilliant sapphire hue
On this one key depends your doom”
He said, and shook his Beard of Blue.


“Into the lock ne’er put the key
For dire misfortune will ensue
Obey in this, in all else free”
So spake the haughty Beard of Blue.


Soon as her spouse depart she sees
The lady (as allow’d to do)
Invites her friends and shows the keys
Just giv’n to her by Beard of Blue.


Now thro’ the rooms each guest descends
And some with envy look askew
While some said nought could make amends
For that same hideous Beard of Blue.


But our fair lady little heeds
The pleasures which her friends pursue
So much she ponders on and dreads
The charge pronounc’d by Beard of Blue.


Yet still she greatly longs to know
Why she’s forbid this room to view
“If she had thought he’d use her so
She not have wedded Beard of Blue.”


Sad restless curiosity
Which brings effects we often rue
Makes her more wish that room to see
Than all the rest of Beard of Blue.


With trembling hands the key she takes
The fatal lock she puts it thro’
While thunder the apartment shakes
And all the lights at one burn blue.


Appall’d with fear the lady stood
While flitting shades around her flew
Whose garments were besmear’d with blood
The shades of wives to Beard of Blue.


Afraid to move she long did stand
And still more faint and faint she grew
The fatal key dropped from the hand
Of the last spouse of Beard of Blue.


At last reviving by degrees
She shut the door and quick withdrew
When looking on the key she found
To blood was chang’d its sapphire hue!


She tried to wash the stains away
But as she tried more deep they grew
This key was given by a fay
A wicked friend of Beard of Blue.


Now as ill luck would have it so
Quite unexpected homeward drew
Her dreadful spouse; and she must go
To welcome home great Beard of Blue.


“Right welcome home, my lord,” she cried
“This quick return I look’d not to”
“I’m glad it gives you joy,” replied
With doubting accent, Beard of Blue.


“And now return me back the keys.”
The lady pale with terror grew
Her fright with frowns her husband sees
“What ails you?” thunder’d Beard of Blue.


“This terror looks like guilt” (quoth he)
“If my suspicions are not true
Then quickly give me back the key
That key beset with jewels blue”


All stain’d with blood she gave the key
And pale as ashes was her hue
“Whence came these drops of blood I see?
You’ve ope’d the door,” said Beard of Blue.


Now for because you’ve disobey’d
The solemn charge I gave to you
Your life must be the forfeit paid
So fate decrees,” cried Beard of Blue.


“And must I die,” she said in tears,
“Then let me this small favor sue
Grant me some time to say my prayers”
“Well be it so,” said Beard of Blue.


Now when he’d left her to her prayers
She calls her sister her unto
And “Ann,” she cries, “pray run upstairs
Oh save me from dread Beard of Blue.”


“For he will take my life today
Then sister look if you can view
My brothers riding by for they
Were soon to visit Beard of Blue.”


Her sister to the window hies
And short the time of respite grew
Oh! see you nothing, Ann,” she cries
“Come down, I say,” cries Beard of Blue.


“What see you, Anna,” now she cries
“A cloud of dust obstructs my view”
The trusty sister she replies
To the last wife of Beard of Blue.


“Oh sister take another peep
What caus’d the dust descried by you”
“Alas ’twas but a flock of sheep”
“I’m coming up,” cries Beard of Blue.


“What see you yet, dear sister say”
“Two horsemen now appear in view
And onward fast they speed their way
Towards the gates of Beard of Blue.”


“They are my brothers I’ve no doubt”
And hope now in her bosom grew
Just as she finish’d she’s dragg’d out
By the rude hand of Beard of Blue.


Now Blue Beard drags her down the stairs
And o’er her head his sword he drew
When lo each brother quick appears
Before the ruthless Beard of Blue.


A guilty fear his soul appals
He flies but quickly they pursue
Then loudly to his slaves he calls
To aid their master, Beard of Blue.


His rascals quickly round him swarm’d
And all attack these brothers two
Albeit they were both unarm’d
Yet fear’d they not this Beard of Blue.


While one did ev’ry slave withstand
The other near to Blue Beard drew
Struck the sword from the tyrant’s hand
And with that sword struck Beard of Blue.


The slaves who saw the wond’rous sight
All quickly down their weapons threw
Nor mourn’d the issue of the fight
For no one lov’d fierce Beard of Blue.


The lady with her fear half dead
Could scarce believe her senses true
Or think she’d nothing more to dread
From the vile threats of Beard of Blue.


But when the tyrant’s head she found
She thank’d her valiant brothers two
And hard before her on the ground
Fell all the slaves of Beard of Blue.


Their homage could not change her heart
Nor fail’d she in requital due
Into four lots she strait did part
The wealth immense of Beard of Blue.


A quarter of the wealth receives
Each of her valiant brothers two
To Anna the third portion gives
The widow’d wife of Beard of Blue.


Soon Anna weds a valiant youth
Who long her favor did pursue
His only wealth was love and truth
Far diff’rent he from Beard of Blue.


And many a knight whose secret love
As yet constrain’d did lie perdue
By valiant deeds now sought to move
The former spouse of Beard of Blue.


And one among the number came
A youth right noble brave and true
This youth did woo and win the dame
The relict fair of Beard of Blue.


The story to conclusion brought
Think when you read it o’er anew
What useful lesson may be taught
By these exploits of Beard of Blue.


To gratify her curious mind
What perils she upon her drew
Brought to the verge of death we find
The prying spouse of Beard of Blue.


The cruel here are warn’d no less
(But such I hope are none of you)
And when they others would oppress
Let them remember Beard of Blue.