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Matilda told such dreadful lies

Language: English

Matilda told such dreadful lies,
It made one gasp and stretch one's eyes;
Her aunt, who, from her earliest youth,
Had kept a strict regard for truth,
Attempted to believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her, 
[And would have done so, had not she 
Discovered this Infirmity.]1
[For]2 once, towards the Close of Day,
[Matilda, growing tired of play,]1
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's noble Fire-Brigade.
[Within an hour the Gallant Band 
Were pouring in on every hand,]1
From Putney, Hackney Downs and Bow,
With courage high and hearts a-glow
They galloped, roaring though the town,
'Matilda's house is burning down!'
[Inspired by British Cheers and Loud 
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,]1
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the ball-room Floor;
And took peculiar pains to souse
The pictures up and down the house,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away!
It happened that a few weeks later
Here Aunt went off to the Theatre
To see that [interesting]3 Play
'The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.'
[She had refused to take her Niece 
To hear this Entertaining Piece: 
A Deprivation Just and Wise 
To Punish her for Telling Lies.]1
That night a fire did break out-
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her scream and bawl,
And throw the window up and call
[To People passing in the Street- 
(The rapidly increasing Heat 
Encouraging her to obtain 
Their confidence)-but it was all in vain!]1
[For]4 every time she shouted "Fire!"
They only answered "Little liar!"
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the house, were burned.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Lehmann.
2 Lehmann: "Now"
3 Lehmann: "entertaining"
4 Lehmann: "But"

Submitted by Barbara Miller


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Text added to the website: 2004-01-26.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:04
Line count: 50
Word count: 295

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