Punch, August 17, 1904


[At a recent glove-fight between FitzSimmons and Jack O’Brien, at Philadelphia, the greater and more enthusiastic part of the audience was composed of women.]

Bedelia, ’neath your tiny boot
 My throbbing heart I throw:
Oh, deign to smile upon my suit—
 Presumptuous, I know.
My income is not large, it’s true,
 Of wealth I’m quite bereft:
But still—this must appeal to you—
 I’ve such a pretty left.

I never read romantic books,
 No verse can I recite;
I only know the jabs and hooks
 That go to win a fight:
I cannot sing nor dance with grace,
 But oh! I know the punch
That takes the victim on the place
 Where he has stowed his lunch.

I’ve loved you ever since the night
 (Which I remember still!)
When I put up that eight-round fight
 With Colorado Bill.
How well I recollect, my own,
 The soothing words you said,
“Leave the gazebo’s wind alone,
 And swat him on the head!”

I’m but a worm compared to you,
 But still, I beg to state,
I’ve licked the world at ten stone two,
 Which is my fighting weight.
And if you will but marry me,
Bedelia, then perhaps
My second I will let you be
 In all my future “scraps.”




Unsigned poem as printed; credited to P. G. Wodehouse in the Index to Vol. 127 of Punch.


“WOMEN AT A PRIZE FIGHT. Of the 3,000 persons who watched a pugilistic exhibition encounter in Philadelphia between FitzSimmons and O’Brien, organized for the benefit of a free ice fund, one fourth were women who cheered and clapped their hands when the hardest blows were struck, and showed none of the usual feminine horror of blood. Their conduct elicited the strongest condemnation from clergymen and members of women’s clubs. Some of the fair spectators in their excitement are stated to have called out, ‘It’s better than a baseball game. It even beats the races.’ ” (Cornishman, August 11, 1904)


John Dawson