Wanted, a Young Lady Pianist for Exhibition [poem, The Bulletin, 21 August 1886]

[Editor: This poem, about an advertisement for a female piano player, appeared in the “Pepper and salt” column published in The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 21 August 1886.]

[Wanted, a Young Lady Pianist for Exhibition.]

“Wanted, a young lady pianist for Exbihition. Apply, — and Company.” — S.M. Herald advt.


For a lady to exhibit there’s no need to advertise,
When nearly all there is of them is patent to the eyes;
The little dears themselves take care the lesson to impress,
That the very highest circles wear the very lowest dress.

The ballet-girls who dance for coin their petticoats curtail,
And “ladies” bare the other end to captivate the male;
They first display their hose upon the stage because they must,
While those go to the next extreme and show their arms and bust.

There’s very little difference, that we see, anyway,
Between the means adopted their attractions to display;
While one outs short her skirts to dance, the gir1 whose blood is blue
Achieves a like result, but has another end in view.

Yet all of them exhibit, some show more and some show less,
But all show all they have to show, whichever way they dress —
Or undress — would be possibly a somewhat better term;
Ah! May the custom linger till we’re old and quite infirm.

The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 21 August 1886, p. 15 (column 3)

Editor’s notes:
advt. = an abbreviation of “advertisement”

hose = leg coverings; stockings; tights; pantyhose (in the modern era, such garments are usually worn by women; however, in earlier times, leg coverings known as “hose” were worn by men)

S.M. Herald = The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper (Sydney, NSW)

whose blood is blue = a reference to someone “of blue blood”, i.e. a someone who is of royalty blood, the nobility, the upper class, or of high social rank; the expression originates from the Spanish phrase “sangre azul” (meaning “blue blood”), which was a designation attributed to some of the nobility of Castile, who used it to indicate that their families had not intermarried with Moors, Jews, or other non-European peoples (the phrase “blue blood” refers to the blue appearance of veins in people of fair complexion)

[Editor: Changed “The first display” to “They first display”; “gi l” to “girl”.]

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