Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > French
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. X–XI: French
 
The Education of Young Ladies
By Pierre Jean de Béranger (1780–1857)
 
From “Songs”

WHAT! this Monsieur de Fénélon
  The girls pretend to school!
Of Mass and needlework he prates;
  Mama, he’s but a fool.
Balls, concerts, and the piece just out,        5
Can teach us better far, no doubt:
Tra la la la, tra la la la,
Thus are young ladies taught, Mama!
 
Let others mind their work; I’ll play,
  Mama, the sweet duet,        10
That for my master’s voice and mine
  Is from Armida set.
If Rénaud felt love’s burning flame,
I feel some shootings of the same:
Tra la la la, tra la la la,        15
Thus are young ladies taught, Mama!
 
Let others keep accounts; I’ll dance,
  Mama, an hour or two;
And from my master learn a step
  Voluptuous and new.        20
At this long skirt my feet rebel;
To loop it up a bit were well.
Tra la la la, tra la la la,
Thus are young ladies taught, Mama!
 
Let others o’er my sister watch;        25
  Mama, I’d rather trace—
I’ve wondrous talent—at the Louvre
  The Apollo’s matchless grace:
Throughout his figure what a charm!
’Tis naked, true—but that’s no harm!        30
Tra la la la, tra la la la,
Thus are young ladies taught, Mama!
 
Mama, I must be married soon,
  Even fashion says no less;
Besides, there is an urgent cause,        35
  I must, Mama, confess.
The world my situation sees—
But there they laugh at scrapes like these.
Tra la la la, tra la la la,
Thus are young ladies taught, Mama!        40
 
 
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