I stole them from a Bee –
Because – Thee –
Sweet plea –
He pardoned me!
F226 (1861) 200
This sweet poem was not written for publication and is certainly not among anthologized works. So just enjoy it!
|A sweet plea to a hungry bee
The “Sweet plea” is just too close to “sweet pea” to be ignored. And sweet peas are definitely bee magnets. I think the poet has “stolen” some sweet peas for a friend, the “Thee,” despite the claims a busy bee had on the flowers. She made a “sweet plea” about her theft of the sweet peas, and the bee pardoned her.
I enjoy some of the poetic techniques. The first line trots off in a nice iambic trimeter. It trips off the tongue. But then things thicken up fast with a lot of adjacent accented syllables. I underline them here: Because – Thee – / Sweet plea – / He pardoned me! In addition, each line ends with a rhyme of “Bee” – reinforced by the assonance of “Sweet” in the third line. The effect is that the first line is read as a hurried whisper – a confession; the rest of the short poem must be read slowly and with emphasis as befitting a parody of great relief.