American Old Time Song Lyrics: 07 The Hornets Nest

Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 7

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When I was young," said cousin Tom,
"At the old bouse that I came from,
A honeysuckle used to grow,
That clambered round the portico.
How sweetly, I remember well,
Its yellow blossoms used to smell;
And how, one Summer, in its shade.
Their great, gray nest the hornets made.

Around the room they buzzing flew.
And wandered all the garden through,
And always knew precisely where
Grew sweetest plum and choicest pear.
With their dull drone and cruel stings.
They seemed such idle, spiteful things.
To drive them off, I said, one day,
' I'll tear their ugly nest away!'
' No, Tom,' my mother said; ' no. no!
You must not think of doing so;
You foolish boy! 'tis never best
To meddle with a hornet's nest.'

Her good advice away was thrown;
The moment that I was alone
1 climbed, and hold of it I caught
To pull it down; when, quick as thought
Out flew the hornets, great and small,
And full of fury, one and all;
About my neck and face they clung.
Nose, eyelids, ears and mouth they stung;
I tried to beat them off in vain,
And shrieked aloud with fright and pain.
The startled household hurried out-
What could the outcry be about? '
My burning, smarting hands they swathed
With linen cloths, and gently bathed
My swollen face and throbbing head.
And laid me tenderly in bed;
And then-my mother talked with me­' You've been a naughty boy,' said she;
' I told you that it was not best
To meddle with a hornet's nest.

But all your pain to good will turn,
If you will now a lesson learn,
And keep it, when you older grow,
Wherever you may chance to go-
To aid the wronged, to help the weak,
One should not be afraid to speak;
But every wise and prudent man
Keeps out of quarrels if he can;
For in this world 'tis never best
To meddle with a hornet's nest.'"
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