Thomas Hood: 'Poetical Works' (8)

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A VALENTINE.


OH! cruel heart! ere these posthumous papers
    Have met thine eyes, I shall be out of breath;
Those cruel eyes, like two funereal tapers
    Have only lighted me the way to death.
Perchance, thou wilt extinguish them in vapours.
    When I am gone, and green grass covereth
Thy lover, lost; but it will be in vain—
It will not bring the vital spark again.

Ah! when those eyes, like tapers, burn'd so blue,
    It seemed an omen that we must expect
The sprites of lovers; and it boded true,
    For I am half a sprite—a ghost elect;
Wherefore I write to thee this last adieu.
    With my last pen-before that I effect
My exit from the stage; just stopp'd before
The tombstone steps that lead us to death's door.

Full soon those living eyes, now liquid bright,
    Will turn dead dull, and wear no radiance, save
They shed a dreary and inhuman light,
    Illum'd within by glow-worms of the grave:
These ruddy cheeks, so pleasant to the sight.
    These lusty legs, and all the limbs I have,
Will keep Death's carnival, and, foul or fresh.
Must bid farewell, a long farewell, to flesh!

Yea, and this very heart, that dies for thee,
    As broken victuals to the worms will go:
And all the world will dine again but me—
    For I shall have no stomach;—and I know,
When I am ghostly, thou wilt sprightly be
    As now thou art: but will not tears of woe
Water thy spirits, with remorse adjunct,
When thou dost pause, and think of the defunct?

And when thy soul is buried in a sleep,
    In midnight solitude, and little dreaming
Of such a spectre—what, if I should creep
    Within thy presence in such dismal seeming?
Thine eyes will stare themselves awake, and weep,
    And thou wilt cross thyself with treble screaming.
And pray With mingled penitence and dread
That I were less alive—or not so dead.

Then will thy heart confess thee, and reprove
    This wilful homicide which thou hast clone:
And the sad epitaph of so much love
    Will eat into my heart, as if in stone:
And all the lovers that around thee move,
    Will read my fate, and tremble for their own;
And strike upon their heartless breasts, and sigh,
"Man, born of woman, must of woman die!"

Mine eyes grow dropsical—I can no more—
    And what is written thou may'st scorn to read,
Shutting thy tearless eyes.—'Tis done—'tis o'er
    My hand is destin'd for another deed.
But one last word wrung from its aching core,
    And my lone heart in silentness will bleed;
Alas! it ought to take a life to tell
That one last word—that fare—fare—fare thee well.


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PLEASE TO RING THE BELLE.


I'LL tell you a story that's not in Tom Moore:—
Young Love likes to knock at a pretty girl's door:
So he call'd upon Lucy—'twas just ten o'clock—
Like a spruce single man, with a smart double knock.

Now a hand-maid, whatever her fingers be at,
Will run like a puss when she hears a rat-tat:
So Lucy ran up—and in two seconds more
Had question'd the stranger and answer'd the door.

The meeting was bliss; but the parting was woe;
For the moment will come when such comers must go:
So she kiss'd him, and whisper'd—poor innocent thing—
"The next time you come, love, pray come with a ring."


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LOVE.


O LOVE! what art thou, Love? the ace of hearts,
    Trumping earth's kings and queens, and all its suits;
A player, masquerading many parts
    In life's odd carnival;—a boy that shoots,
From ladies' eyes, such mortal woundy darts;
    A gardener, pulling heart's-ease up by the roots;
The Puck of Passion—partly false—part real—
A marriageable maiden's "beau ideal."

O Love! what art thou, Love? a wicked thing,
    Making green misses spoil their work at school;
A melancholy man, cross-gartering?
    Grave ripe-fac'd wisdom made an April fool?
A youngster, tilting at a wedding ring?
    A sinner, sitting on a cuttie stool?
A Ferdinand de Something in a hovel,
Helping Matilda Rose to make a novel?

O Love? what art thou, Love? one that is bad
    With palpitations of the heart—like mine—
A poor bewilder'd maid, making so sad
    A necklace of her garters—fell design!
A poet, gone unreasonably mad,
    Ending his sonnets with a hempen line?
O Love!—but whither, now? forgive me, pray;
I'm not the first that Love hath led astray.


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A RECIPE FOR CIVILIZATION.

 


THE following Poem—is from the pen of DOCTOR KITCHENER!—the most heterogeneous of authors, but at the same time—in the Sporting Latin of Mr. Egan,—a real Homo-genius or a Genius of a Man!  In the Poem, his CULINARY ENTHUSTIASM, as usual—boils over! and makes it seem written, as he describes himself (see The Cook's Oracle)—with the Spit in one hand!—and the Frying Pan in the other,—while in the style of the rhymes it is Hudibrastic,—as if in the ingredients of Versification, he had been assisted by his BUTLER!

    As a Head Cook, Optician-Physician, Music Master—Domestic Economist and Death-bed Attorney!—I have celebrated The Author elsewhere with approbation;—and cannot now place him upon the Table as a Poet, —without still being his LAUDER, a phrase which those persons whose course of classical reading recalls the INFAMOUS FORGERY on the Immortal Bard of Eden!——will find easy to understand.

 


SURELY, those sages err who teach
That man is known from brutes by speech,
Which hardly severs man from woman,
But not th' inhuman from the human,—
Or else might parrots claim affinity,
And dogs be doctors by latinity,—
Not t' insist, (as might be shown)
That beasts have gibberish of their own,
Which once was no dead tongue, tho' we
Since Esop's days have lost the key;
Nor yet to hint dumb men,—and, still, not
Beasts that could gossip though they will not,
But play at dummy like the monkeys,
For fear mankind should make them flunkies.
Neither can man be known by feature
Or form, because so like a creature,
That some grave men could never shape
Which is the aped and which the ape,
Nor by his gait, nor by his height,
Nor yet because he's black or white,
But rational,—for so we call
The only COOKING ANIMAL!
The only one who brings his bit
Of dinner to the pot or spit,
For where's the lion e'er was hasty,
To put his ven'son in a pasty?
Ergo, by logic, we repute,
That he who cooks is not a brute,—
But Equus brutum est, which means,
If a horse had sense he'd boil his beans,
Nay, no one but a horse would forage
On naked oats instead of porridge,
Which proves, if brutes and Scotchmen vary.
The difference is culinary.
Further, as man is known by feeding
From brutes,—so men from men, in breeding,
Are still distinguished as they eat,
And raw in manners, raw in meat,—
Look at the polish'd nations hight,
The civilized—the most polite
Is that which bears the praise of nations
For dressing eggs two hundred fashions,
Whereas, at savage feeders look,—
The less refined the less they cook;
From Tartar grooms that merely straddle
Across a steak and warm their saddle,
Down to the Abyssinian squaw,
That bolts her chops and collops raw,
And, like a wild beast, cares as little
To dress her person as her victual,
For gowns, and gloves, and caps, and tippets,
Are beauty's sauces, spice, and sippets,
And not by shamble bodies put on,
But those who roast and boil their mutton;
So Eve and Adam wore no dresses
Because they lived on water-cresses,
And till they learn'd to cook their crudities,
Went blind as beetles to their nudities.
For niceness comes from th' inner side
(As an ox is drest before his hide),
And when the entrail loathes vulgarity
The outward man will soon cull rarity,
For 'tis th' effect of what we eat
To make a man look like his meat,
As insects show their food's complexions:
Thus foplings' clothes are like confections.
But who to feed a jaunty coxcomb,
Would have an Abyssinian ox come?—
Or serve a dish of fricassees,
To clodpoles in a coat of frieze?
Whereas a black would call for buffalo
Alive—and, no doubt, eat the offal too
Now, (this premised) it follows then
That certain culinary men
Should first go forth with pans and spits 
To bring the heathens to their wits,
(For all wise Scotchmen of our century
Know that first steps are alimentary;
And, as we have prov'd, flesh pots and saucepans
Must pave the way for Wilberforce plans;)
But Bunyan err'd to think the near gate
To take man's soul, was battering Ear gate,
When reason should have work'd her course
As men of war do—when their force
Can't take a town by open courage,
They steal an entry with its forage.
What reverend bishop, for example,
Could preach horn 'd Apis from his temple?
Whereas a cook would soon unseat him,
And make his own churchwardens eat him.
Not Irving could convert those vermin
Th' Anthropophages, by a sermon;
Whereas your Osborne,* in a trice,
Would "take a shin of beef and spice,"—
And raise them such a savoury smother,
No Negro would devour his brother,
But turn his stomach round as loth
As Persians, to the old black broth,—
For knowledge oftenest makes an entry,
As well as true love, thro' the pantry,
Where beaux that came at first for feeding
Grow gallant men and get good breeding;—
Exempli gratia—in the West,
Ship-traders say there swims a nest
Lin'd with black natives, like a rookery,
But coarse as carrion crows at cookery.—
This race, though now call'd O. Y. E. men.
(To show they are more than A. B. C. men.)
Was once so ignorant of our knacks
They laid their mats upon their backs,
And grew their quartern loaves for luncheon
On trees that baked them in the sunshine.
As for their bodies, they were coated,
(For painted things are so denoted;)
But, the naked truth is, stark primevals,
That said their prayers to timber devils,
Allow'd polygamy—dwelt in wig-wams,—
And, when they meant a feast, ate big yams.—
And why?—because their savage nook
Had ne'er been visited by Cook,—
And so they fared till our great chief
Brought them, not methodists, but beef,
In tubs,—and taught them how to live,
Knowing it was too soon to give,
Just then, a homily on their sins,
(For cooking ends ere grace begins)
Or hand his tracts to the untractable
Till they could keep a more exact table—
For nature has her proper courses,
And wild men must be back'd like horses,
Which, jockeys know, are never fit
For riding till they've had a bit
I' the mouth; but then, with proper tackle,
You may trot them to a tabernacle;
Ergo (I say) he first made changes
In the heathen modes, by kitchen ranges,
And taught the king's cook, by convincing
Process, that chewing was not mincing,
And in her black fist thrust a bundle
Of tracts abridg'd from Glasse and Rundell,
Where, ere she had read beyond Welsh rabbits.
She saw the spareness of her habits,
And round her loins put on a striped
Towel, where fingers might be wiped,
And then her breast clothed like her ribs,
(For aprons lead of course to bibs)
And, by the time she had got a meat—
Screen, veil'd her back, too, from the heat—
As for her gravies and her sauces,
(Tho' they reform'd the royal fauces,)
Her forcemeats and ragouts,—I praise not,
Because the legend further says not,
Except, she kept each Christian high-day,
And once upon a fat good Fry-day
Ran short of logs, and told the Pagan,
That turn'd the spit, to chop up Dagon!—

* Cook to the late Sir Joseph Banks.


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THE MERMAID OF MARGATE.


"Alas! what perils do environ
  That man who meddles with a siren!"

                    HUDIBRAS.


On Margate beach, where the sick one roams,
    And the sentimental reads;
Where the maiden flirts, and the widow comes
    Like the ocean—to cast her weeds;—

Where urchins wander to pick up shells,
    And the Cit to spy at the ships,—
Like the water gala at Sadler's Wells,—
    And the Chandler for watery dips;—

There's a maiden sits by the ocean brim,
    As lovely and fair as sin!
But woe, deep water and woe to him,
    That she snareth like Peter Fin!

Her head is crowned with pretty sea-wares,
    And her locks are golden loose,
And seek to her feet, like other folks' heirs,
    To stand, of course, in her shoes!

And all day long she combeth them well,
    With a sea-shark's prickly jaw;
And her mouth is just like a rose-lipped shell,
    The fairest that man e'er saw!

And the Fishmonger, humble as love may be
    Hath planted his seat by her side;
"Good even, fair maid!   Is thy lover at sea,
    To make thee so watch the tide?"

She turned about with her pearly brows,
    And clasped him by the hand;
"Come, love, with me; I've a bonny house
    On the golden Goodwin sand."

And then she gave him a siren kiss,
    No honeycomb e'er was sweeter;
Poor wretch! how little he dreamt for this
    That Peter should be salt-Peter:

And away with her prize to the wave she leapt,
    Not walking, as damsels do,
With toe and heel, as she ought to have stept,
    But she hopped like a Kangaroo;

One plunge, and then the victim was blind,
    Whilst they galloped across the tide;
At last, on the bank he waked in his mind,
    And the Beauty was by his side

One half on the sand, and half in the sea,
    But his hair began to stiffen;
For when he looked where her feet should be,
    She had no more feet than Miss Biffen!

But a scaly tail, of a dolphin's growth,
    In the dabbling brine did soak:
At last she opened her pearly mouth,
    Like an oyster, and thus she spoke:

"You crimpt my father, who was a skate,—
    And my sister you sold—a maid;
So here remain for a fish'ry fate,
    For lost you are, and betrayed!"

And away she went, with a sea-gull's scream,
    And a splash of her saucy tail;
In a moment he lost the silvery gleam
    That shone on her splended mail!

The sun went down with a blood-red flame,
    And the sky grew cloudy and black,
And the tumbling billows like leap-frog came,
    Each over the other's back!

Ah me! it had been a beautiful scene,
    With the safe terra-firma round;
But the green water-hillocks all seem'd to him
    Like those in a churchyard ground;

And Christians love in the turf to lie,
    Not in watery graves to be;
Nay, the very fishes will sooner die
    On the land than in the sea.

And whilst he stood, the watery strife
    Encroached on every hand,
And the ground decreased,—his moments of life
    Seemed measured, like Time's, by sand;

And still the waters foamed in, like ale,
    In front, and on either flank,
He knew that Goodwin and Co. must fail,
    There was such a run on the bank.

A little more, and a little more,
    The surges came tumbling in,
He sang the evening hymn twice o'er,
    And thought of every sin!

Each flounder and plaice lay cold at his heart,
    As cold as his marble slab;
And he thought he felt, in every part,
    The pincers of scalded crab.

The squealing lobsters that he had boiled,
    And the little potted shrimps,
All the horny prawns he had ever spoiled,
    Gnawed into his soul, like imps!

And the billows were wandering to and fro,
    And the glorious sun was sunk,
And Day, getting black in the face, as though
    Of the nightshade she had drunk!

Had there been but a smuggler's cargo adrift,
    One tub, or keg, to be seen,
It might have given his spirits a lift
    Or an anker where Hope might lean!

But there was not a box or a beam afloat,
    To raft him from that sad place;
Not a skiff, not a yawl, or a mackerel boat,
    Nor a smack upon Neptune's face.

At last, his lingering hopes to buoy,
    He saw a sail and a mast,
And called "Ahoy!"—but it was not a hoy,
    And so the vessel went past.

And with saucy wing that flapped in his face,
    The wild bird about him flew,
With a shrilly scream, that twitted his case,
    "Why, thou art a sea-gull too!"

And lo! the tide was over his feet;
    Oh! his heart began to freeze,
And slowly to pulse:—in another beat
    The wave was up to his knees!

He was deafened amidst the mountain tops,
    And the salt spray blinded his eyes,
And washed away the other salt drops
    That grief had caused to arise:—

But just as his body was all afloat,
    And the surges above him broke,
He was saved from the hungry deep by a boat
    Of Deal—(but builded of oak).

The skipper gave him a dram, as he lay,
    And chafed his shivering skin;
And the Angel returned that was flying away
    With the spirit of Peter Fin!


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AS IT FELL UPON A DAY


Oh! what's befallen Bessy Brown,
    She stands so squalling in the street;
She's let her pitcher tumble down,
    And all the water's at her feet!

The little school-boys stood about,
    And laugh'd to see her pumping, pumping;
Now with a curtsey to the spout,
    And then upon her tiptoes jumping.

Long time she waited for her neighbours,
    To have their turns:—but she must lose
The watery wages of her labours,—
    Except a little in her shoes!

Without a voice to tell her tale,
    And ugly transport in her face;
All like a jugless nightingale,
    She thinks of her bereaved case.

At last she sobs—she cries—she screams!—
    And pours her flood of sorrows out,
From eyes and mouth, in mingled streams,
    Just like the lion on the spout.

For well poor Bessy knows her mother
    Must lose her tea, for water's lack,
That Sukey burns—and baby-brother
    Must be dryrubb'd with huck-a-back!


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RUTH.


She stood breast high amid the corn
Clasp'd by the golden light of morn,
Like the sweetheart of the sun,
Who many a glowing kiss had won.

On her cheek an autumn flush,
Deeply ripen'd;—such a blush
In the midst of brown was born,
Like red poppies grown with corn.

Round her eyes her tresses fell,
Which were blackest none could tell,
But long lashes veil'd a light,
That had else been all too bright.

And her hat, with shady brim,
Made her tressy forehead dim;—
Thus she stood amid the stooks,
Praising God with sweetest looks:—

Sure, I said, Heav'n did not mean,
Where I reap thou shouldst but glean,
Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
Share my harvest and my home.


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A FAIRY TALE.


On Hounslow heath—and close beside the road,
    As western travellers may oft have seen,—
A little house some years ago there stood,
                A minikin abode;
And built like Mr. Birkbeck's, all of wood:
The walls of white, the window-shutters green;—
Four wheels it had at North, South, East, and West
                (Though now at rest),
On which it used to wander to and fro',
Because its master ne'er maintained a rider,
        Like those who trade in Paternoster Row;
But made his business travel for itself,
                Till he had made his pelf,
And then retired—if one may call it so,
                Of a roadsider.

Perchance, the very race and constant riot
Of stages, long and short, which thereby ran,
Made him more relish the repose and quiet
                Of his now sedentary caravan;
Perchance, he loved the ground because 'twas common,
        And so he might impale a strip of soil
                That furnished, by his toil,
Some dusty greens, for him and his old woman;—
And five tall hollyhocks, in dingy flower:
Howbeit, the thoroughfare did no ways spoil
His peace, unless, in some unlucky hour,
A stray horse came, and gobbled up his bow'r!

But, tired of always looking at the coaches,
The same to come,—when they had seen them one day!
        And, used to brisker life, both man and wife
Began to suffer N U E's approaches,
And feel retirement like a long wet Sunday;—
So, having had some quarters of school breeding,
They turned themselves, like other folks, to reading;
But setting out where others nigh have done,
        And being ripened in the seventh stage,
                The childhood of old age,
Began, as other children have begun,—
Not with the pastorals of Mr. Pope,
                Or Bard of Hope,
Or Paley ethical, or learned Porson,—
But spelt, on Sabbaths, in St. Mark, or John,
And then relax'd themselves with Whittington,
                Or Valentine and Orson—
But chiefly fairy tales they loved to con,
And being easily melted in their dotage,
                Slobber'd,—and kept
                Reading,—and wept
Over the white Cat, in their wooden cottage.

        Thus reading on—the longer
They read, of course, their childish faith grew stronger
In Gnomes, and Hags, and Elves, and Giants grim,—
If talking Trees and Birds revealed to him,
She saw the flight of Fairyland's fly-wagons,
                And magic fishes swim
In puddle ponds, and took old crows for dragons,—
Both were quite drunk from the enchanted flagons;
When as it fell upon a summer's day,
        As the old man sat a feeding
                On the old babe-reading,
Beside his open street-and parlour door,
                A hideous roar
Proclaimed a drove of beasts was coming by the way.

Long-horned, and short, of many a different breed,
Tall, tawny brutes, from famous Lincoln-levels
                Or Durham feed;
With some of those unquiet black dwarf devils
                From nether side of Tweed,
                Or Firth of Forth;
Looking half wild with joy to leave the North,—
With dusty hides, all mobbing on together,—
When,—whether from a fly's malicious comment
Upon his tender flank, from which he shrank;
                Or whether
Only in some enthusiastic moment,—
However, one brown monster, in a frisk,
Giving his tail a perpendicular whisk,
Kicked out a passage through the beastly rabble;
And after a pas seul,—or, if you will, a
Horn-pipe before the basket-maker's villa,
                Leapt o'er the tiny pale,—
Back'd his beefsteaks against the wooden gable,
And thrust his brawny bell-rope of a tail
                Right o'er the page,
                Wherein the sage
Just then was spelling some romantic fable.

The old man, half a scholar, half a dunce,
Could not peruse,—who could?—two tales at once;
                And being huff'd
At what he knew was none of Riquet's Tuft,
                Bang'd-to the door,
But most unluckily enclosed a morsel
Of the intruding tail, and all the tassel:—
                The monster gave a roar,
And bolting off with speed, increased by pain,
The little house became a coach once more,
And, like Macheath, "took to the road" again!

Just then, by fortune's whimsical decree,
The ancient woman stooping with her crupper
Towards sweet home, or where sweet home should be,
Was getting up some household herbs for supper;
Thoughtful of Cinderella, in the tale,
And, quaintly wondering if magic shifts
Could o'er a common pumpkin so prevail,
To turn it to a coach;—what pretty gifts
Might come of cabbages, and curly kale;
Meanwhile she never heard her old man's wail,
Nor turned, till home had turned a corner, quite
                Gone out of sight!

At last, conceive her, rising from the ground,
Weary of sitting on her russet clothing,
                And looking round
                Where rest was to be found,
There was no house—no villa there—no nothing!
                            No house!
                The change was quite amazing;
It made her senses stagger for a minute,
The riddle's explication seemed to harden;
But soon her superannuated nous
Explain'd the horrid mystery;—and raising
Her hand to heaven, with the cabbage in it,
        On which she meant to sup,—
"Well! this is Fairy work!   I'll bet a farden,
Little Prince Silverwings has ketch'd me up,
And set me down in some one else's garden!"


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THE FALL OF THE DEER.

[FROM AN OLD MS.]


NOW the loud Crye is up, and harke!
The barkye Trees give back the Bark;
The House Wife heares the merrie rout,
And runnes,—and lets the beere run out,
Leaving her Babes to weepe,—for why?
She likes to heare the Deer Dogges crye,
And see the wild Stag how he stretches
The naturall Buck-skin of his Breeches,
Running like one of Human kind
Dogged by fleet Bailiffes close behind—
As if he had not payde his Bill
For Ven'son, or was owing still
For his two Hornes, and soe did get
Over his Head and Ears in Debt;—
Wherefore he strives to paye his Waye
With his long Legges the while he maye:—
But he is chased, like Silver Dish,
As well as anye Hart may wish
Except that one whose Heart doth beat
So faste it hasteneth his feet;—
And runninge soe, he holdeth Death
Four Feet from him,—till his Breath
Faileth, and slacking Pace at last,
From runninge slow he standeth faste,
With hornie Bayonettes at baye,
To baying Dogges around, and they
Pushing him sore, he pusheth sore,
And goreth them that seeke his Gore,
Whatever Dogge his Horne doth rive
Is dead—as sure as he's live!
Soe that courageous Hart doth fight
With Fate, and calleth up his might
And standeth stout that he maye fall
Bravelye, and be avenged of all,
Nor like a Craven yeeld his Breath
Under the Jawes of Dogges and Death!


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DECEMBER AND MAY.

"Crabbed Age and Youth cannot live together."

                      SHAKSPEARE.


SAID Nestor, to his pretty wife, quite sorrowful one day,
"Why, dearest, will you shed in pearls those lovely eyes away?
You ought to be more fortified;" "Ah, brute, be quiet, do,
I know I'm not so fortyfied, nor fiftyfied as you!

Oh, men are vile deceivers all, as I have ever heard,
You'd die for me you swore, and I—I took you at your word.
I was a tradesman's widow then—a pretty change I've made;
To live, and die the wife of one, a widower by trade!"

"Come, come, my dear, these flighty airs declare, in sober truth,
You want as much in age, indeed, as I can want in youth;
Besides, you said you liked old men, though now at me you
        huff."
"Why, yes," she said, "and so I do—but you're not old enough!'"

"Come, come, my dear, let's make it up, and have a quiet hive;
I'll be the best of men,—I mean,—I'll be the best alive!
Your grieving so will kill me, for it cuts me to the core."—
"I thank ye, Sir, for telling me—for now I'll grieve the more!"


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A WINTER NOSEGAY.


O, WITHER'D winter Blossoms,
Dowager-flowers,—the December vanity.
In antiquated visages and bosoms,—
                What are ye plann'd for,
                Unless to stand for
Emblems, and peevish morals of humanity?

                There is my Quaker Aunt,
A Paper-flower,—with a formal border
                No breeze could e'er disorder,
Pouting at that old beau—the Winter Cherry,
                A pucker'd berry;
And Box, like tough-liv'd annuitant,—
                Verdant alway—
From quarter-day even to quarter-day;
And poor old Honesty, as thin as want,
                Well named—God-wot;
Under the baptism of the water-pot,
The very apparition of a plant;
                And why,
Dost hold thy head so high,
                Old Winter-Daisy:—
Because thy virtue never was infirm,
                Howe'er thy stalk be crazy?
That never wanton fly, or blighted worm,
Made holes in thy most perfect indentation?
                'Tis likely that sour leaf,
                To garden thief,
Forcepp'd or wing'd, was never a temptation;
Well,—still uphold thy wintry reputation;
Still shalt thou frown upon all lovers' trial;
And when, like Grecian maids, young maids of
    ours
                Converse with flow'rs,
Then thou shalt be the token of denial.

                Away! dull weeds,
Born without beneficial use or needs!
Fit only to deck out cold winding-sheets;
And then not for the milkmaid's funeral bloom,
                Or fait Fidele's tomb——
                    To tantalise,—vile cheats!
Some prodigal bee, with hope of after-sweets,
                Frigid, and rigid,
                As if ye never knew
                One drop of dew,
        Or the warm sun resplendent;
Indifferent of culture and of care,
Giving no sweets back to the fostering air;
        Churlishly independent—
                I hate ye, of all breeds!
Yea, all that live so selfishly—to self,
And not by interchange of kindly deeds-
                Hence!—from my shelf!


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EQUESTRIAN COURTSHIP.


IT was a young maiden went forth to ride,
And there was a wooer to pace by her side;
His horse was so little, and hers so high,
He thought his angel was up in the sky,

His love was great tho' his wit was small:
He bade her ride easy—and that was all.
The very horses began, to neigh,—
Because their betters had nought to say.

They rode by elm and they rode by oak,
They rode by a church-yard, and then he spoke:—
"My pretty maiden, if you'll agree
You shall always amble through life with me"

The damsel answer'd him never a word,
But kick'd the gray mare, and away she spurr'd.
The wooer still follow'd behind the jade,
And enjoy'd—like a wooer—the dust she made,

They rode thro' moss, and they rode thro' moor,—
The gallant behind and the lass before:—
At last they came to a miry place,
And there the sad wooer gave up the chase

Quoth he, "If my nag were better to ride,
I'd follow her over the world so wide.
Oh, it is not my love that begins to fail,
But I've lost the last glimpse of the gray mare's tail!"


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A TRUE STORY.


Of all our pains, since man was curst,
I mean of body, not the mental,
To name the worst, among the worst,
The dental sure is transcendental;
Some bit of masticating bone,
That ought to help to clear a shelf,
But lets its proper work alone,
And only seems to gnaw itself;
In fact, of any grave attack
On victual there is little danger,
'Tis so like coming to the rack,
As well as going to the manger.

Old Hunks—it seemed a fit retort
Of justice on his grinding ways—
Possessed a grinder of the sort,
That troubled all his latter days.
The best of friends fall out, and so
His teeth had done some years ago,
Save some old stumps with ragged root,
And they took turn about to shoot;
If he drank any chilly liquor,
They made it quite a point to throb;
But if he warmed it on the hob,
Why then they only twitched the quicker.

One tooth—I wonder such a tooth
Had never killed him in his youth—
One tooth he had with many fangs,
That shot at once as many pangs,
It had a universal sting;
One touch of that ecstatic stump
Could jerk his limbs and make him jump,
Just like a puppet on a string;
And what was worse than all, it had
A way of making others bad.
There is, as many know, a knack,
With certain farming undertakers,
And this same tooth pursued their track,
By adding achers still to achers!

One way there is, that has been judged
A certain cure, but Hunks was loth
To pay the fee, and quite begrudged
To lose his tooth and money both;
In fact, a dentist and the wheel
Of Fortune are a kindred cast,
For after all is drawn, you feel
It's paying for a blank at last;
So Hunks went on from week to week,
And kept his torment in his cheek;
Oh! how it sometimes set him rocking,
With that perpetual gnaw—gnaw—gnaw,
His moans and groans were truly shocking,
And loud,—altho' he held his jaw.
Many a tug he gave his gum
And tooth, but still it would not come,
Tho' tied to string by some firm thing,
He could not draw it, do his best,
By draw'rs, altho' he tried a chest.

At last, but after much debating,
He joined a score of mouths in waiting,
Like his, to have their troubles out.
Sad sight it was to look about
At twenty faces making faces,
With many a rampant trick and antic,
For all were very horrid cases,
And made their owners nearly frantic.
A little wicket now and then
Took one of these unhappy men,
And out again the victim rush'd,
While eyes and mouth together gush'd;
At last arrived our hero's turn,
Who plunged his hands in both his pockets,
And down he sat, prepared to learn
How teeth are charmed to quit their sockets.

Those who have felt such operations,
Alone can guess the sort of ache,
When his old tooth began to break
The thread of old associations;
It touched a string in every part,
It had so many tender ties;
One cord seemed wrenching at his heart,
And two were tugging at his eyes;
"Bone of his bone," he felt, of course,
As husbands do in such divorce;
At last the fangs gave way a little,
Hunks gave his head a backward jerk,
And lo! the cause of all this work,
Went—where it used to send his victual!

The monstrous pain of this proceeding
Had not so numbed his miser wit,
But in this slip he saw a hit
To save, at least, his purse from bleeding;
So when the dentist sought his fees,
Quoth Hunks, "Let's finish, if you please,"
"How, finish! why, it's out!"—"Oh no—
'Tis you are out, to argue so;
I'm none of your before-hand tippers.
My tooth is in my head no doubt,
But, as you say you pulled it out,
Of course it's there—between your nippers,"
"Zounds, sir! d'ye think I'd sell the truth
To get a fee? no, wretch, I scorn it!"
But Hunks still asked to see the tooth,
And swore by gum! he had not drawn it.

His end obtained, he took his leave,
A secret chuckle in his sleeve;
The joke was worthy to produce one,
To think, by favour of his wit
How well a dentist had been bit
By one old stump, and that a loose one!
The thing was worth a laugh, but mirth
Is still the frailest thing on earth:
Alas! how often when a joke
Seems in our sleeve, and safe enough,
There comes some unexpected stroke
And hangs a weeper on the cuff!

Hunks had not whistled half a mile,
When, planted right against a stile,
There stood his foeman, Mike Mahoney,
A vagrant reaper, Irish born,
That helped to reap our miser's corn,
But had not helped to reap his money,
A fact that Hunks remembered quickly;
His whistle all at once was quelled,
And when he saw how Michael held
His sickle, he felt rather sickly.

Nine souls in ten, with half his fright,
Would soon have paid the bill at sight,
But misers (let observers watch it)
Will never part with their delight
Till well demanded by a hatchet—
They live hard—and they die to match it.
Thus Hunks prepared for Mike's attacking,
Resolved not yet to pay the debt,
But let him take it out in hacking;
However, Mike began to stickle
In words before he used the sickle;
But mercy was not long attendant:
From words at last he took to blows,
And aimed a cut at Hunks's nose,
That made it what some folks are not—
A member very independent.

Heaven knows how far this cruel trick
Might still have led, but for a tramper
That came in danger's very nick,
To put Mahoney to the scamper.
But still compassion met a damper;
There lay the severed nose, Alas!
Beside the daisies on the grass,
"Wee, crimson-tipt" as well as they,
According to the poet's lay:
And there stood Hunks, no sight for laughter:
Away went Hodge to get assistance,
With nose in hand, which Hunks ran after,
But somewhat at unusual distance.
In many a little country place
It is a very common case
To have but one residing doctor,
Whose practice rather seems to be
No practice, but a rule of three,
Physician—surgeon—drug-decoctor;
Thus Hunks was forced to go once more
Where he had ta'en his to t' before.
His mere name made the learn'd man hot,—
"What!  Hunks again within my door!
"I'll pull his nose;" quoth Hunks, "you cannot."

The doctor looked and saw the case
Plain as the nose not on his face.
"Oh! hum—ha—yes—I understand."
But then arose a long demur,
For not a finger would he stir
Till he was paid his fee in hand;
That matter settled, there they were,
With Hunks well strapped upon his chair.

The opening of a surgeon's job—
His tools, a chestful or a drawerful—
Are always something very awful,
And give the heart the strangest throb;
But never patient in his funks
Looked half so like a ghost as Hunks,
Or surgeon half so like a devil
Prepared for some infernal revel:
His huge black eye kept rolling, rolling,
Just like a bolus in a box:
His fury seemed above controlling,
He bellowed like a hunted ox:
"Now, swindling wretch, I'll show thee how
We treat such cheating knaves as thou;
Oh! sweet is this revenge to sup;
I have thee by the nose—it's now
My turn—and I will turn it up."

Guess how the miser liked the scurvy
And cruel way of venting passion;
The snubbing folks in this new fashion
Seemed quite to turn him topsy-turvy;
He uttered prayers, and groans, and curses,
For things had often gone amiss
And wrong with him before, but this
Would be the worst of all reverses!
In fancy he beheld his snout
Turned upwards like a pitcher's spout;
There was another grievance yet,
And fancy did not fail to show it,
That he must throw a summerset,
Or stand upon his head to blow it.

And was there then no argument
To change the doctor's vile intent,
And move his pity?—yes, in truth,
And that was—paying for the tooth.
"Zounds! pay for such a stump!   I'd rather—"
But here the menace went no farther,
For with his other ways of pinching,
Hunks had a miser's love of snuff.
A recollection strong enough
To cause a very serious flinching;
In short, he paid and had the feature
Replaced as it was meant by nature;
For tho' by this 'twas cold to handle
(No corpse's could have felt so horrid),
And white just like an naked candle,
The doctor deemed and proved it too,
That noses from the nose will do
As well as noses from the forehead;
So, fixed by din of rag and lint,
The part was bandaged up and muffled.
The chair unfastened, Hunks rose,
And shuffled off, for once unshuffled;
And as he went, these words he snuffled—
"Well, this is 'paying thro' the nose.' "


________________

[Top of page]

TIM TURPIN.

A PATHETIC BALLAD.


Tim Turpin he was gravel blind,
    And ne'er had seen the skies:
For Nature, when his head was made,
    Forgot to dot his eyes.

So, like a Christmas pedagogue,
    Poor Tim was forc'd to do—
Look out for pupils, for he had
    A vacancy for two.

There's some have specs to help their sight
    Of objects dim and small:
But Tim had specks within his eyes,
    And could not see at all.

Now Tim he woo'd a servant-maid,
    And took her to his arms;
For he, like Pyramus, had cast
    A wall-eye on her charms.

By day she led him up and down
    Where'er he wished to jog,
A happy wife, altho' she led
    The life of any dog.

But just when Tim had liv'd a month
    In honey with his wife,
A surgeon ope'd his Milton eyes,
    Like oysters, with a knife.

But when his eyes were open'd thus,
    He wish'd them dark again:
For when he look'd upon his wife,
    He saw her very plain.

Her face was bad, her figure worse,
    He couldn't bear to eat:
For she was any thing but like
    A Grace before his meat.

Tim he was a feeling man:
    For when his sight was thick,
It made him feel for every thing—
    But that was with a stick.

So with a cudgel in his hand—
    It was not light or slim—
He knocked at his wife's head until
    It open'd unto him.

And when the corpse was stiff and cold,
    He took his slaughter'd spouse,
And laid her in a heap with all
    The ashes of her house.

But like a wicked murderer,
    He lived in constant fear
From day to day, and so he cut
    His throat from ear to ear.

The neighbours fetch'd a doctor in:
    Said he, this wound I dread
Can hardly be sew'd up—his life
    Is hanging on a thread.

But when another week was gone,
    He gave him stronger hope—
Instead of hanging on a thread,
    Of hanging on a rope.

Ah! when he hid his bloody work
    In ashes round about,
How little he supposed the truth
    Would soon be sifted out.

But when the parish dustman came,
    His rubbish to withdraw,
He found more dust within the heap
    Than he contracted for!

A dozen men to try the fact,
    Were sworn that very day;
But tho' they all were jurors, yet
    No conjurors were they.

Said Tim unto those jurymen,
    You need not waste your breath,
For I confess myself at once
    The author of her death.

And, oh! when I reflect upon
    The blood that I have spilt,
Just like a button is my soul,
    Inscrib'd with double guilt!

Then turning round his head again,
    He saw before his eyes
A great judge, and a little judge,
    The judges of a-size!

The great judge took his judgment cap,
    And put it on his head,
And sentenc'd Tim by law to hang,
    'Till he was three times dead.

So he was tried, and he was hung
    (Fit punishment for such)
On Horsham-drop, and none can say
    It was a drop too much.


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THE MONKEY-MARTYR.

A FABLE.


"God help thee, said I, but I'll let thee out, cost what it will: so I turned
 about the cage to get to the door." —STERNE.


'Tis strange, what awkward figures and odd capers
Folks cut, who seek their doctrine from the papers;
But there are many shallow politicians,
Who take their bias from bewilder'd journals—
                Turn state-physicians,
And make themselves fools'-caps of the diurnals.
One of this kind, not human, but a monkey,
Had read himself at last to this sour creed—
That he was nothing but Oppression's flunkey,
And man a tyrant over all his breed.
                He could not read
Of niggers whipt, or over-trampled weavers,
But he applied their wrongs to his own seed,
And nourish'd thoughts that threw him into fevers;
His very dreams were full of martial beavers,
And drilling Pugs, for liberty pugnacious,
                To sever chains vexatious:
In fact, he thought that all his injur'd line
Should take up pikes in hand, and never drop 'em
Till they had cleared a road to Freedom's shrine,
Unless perchance the turn-pike men should stop 'em.

                Full of this rancour,
Pacing one day beside St. Clement Danes,
                It came into his brains
To give a look in at the Crown and Anchor;
Where certain solemn sages of the nation
Were at that moment in deliberation
How to relieve the wide world of its chains,
                Pluck despots down,
                And thereby crown
Whitee- as well as blackee-man-cipation.
Pug heard the speeches with great approbation.
And gaz'd with pride upon the Liberators;
                To see mere coal-heavers
                Such perfect Bolivars—
Waiters of inns sublim'd to innovators,
And slaters dignified as legislators—
Small publicans demanding (such their high sense
Of liberty) an universal license—
And pattern-makers easing Freedom's clogs-
                The whole thing seem'd
                So fine, he deem'd
The smallest, demagogues as great as Gogs!

Pug, with some curious notions in his noddle,
Walk'd out at last, and turn'd into the Strand,
                To the left hand,
Conning some portions of the previous twaddle,
And striding with a step that seem'd design'd
To represent the mighty March of Mind,
                Instead of that slow waddle
Of thought, to which our ancestors inclin'd—
No wonder, then, that he should quickly find
He stood in front of that intrusive pile,
                Where Cross keeps many a kind,
                Of bird confin'd,
And free-born animal, in durance vile—
A thought that stirr'd up all the monkey-bile!

                The window stood ajar—
                It was not far,
Nor, like Parnassus, very hard to climb—
The hour was verging on the supper-time,
And many a growl was sent through many a bar.
Meanwhile Pug scrambled upward like a tar,
                And soon crept in,
                Unnotic'd in the din
Of tuneless throats, that made the attics ring
With all the harshest notes that they could bring;
                For like the Jews,
                Wild beasts refuse,
In midst of their captivity—to sing.

        Lord! how it made him chafe,
Full of his new emancipating zeal,
To look around upon this brute-bastille,
And see the king of creatures in—a safe!
The desert's denizen in one small den,
Swallowing slavery's most bitter pills—
A bear in bars unbearable.   And then
The fretful porcupine, with all its quills
                Imprison'd in a pen!
        A tiger limited to four feet ten;
                And, still worse lot,
                A leopard to one spot!
                An elephant enlarg'd,
                But not discharg'd;
        (It was before the elephant was shot;)
A doleful wanderoo, that wandered not;
An ounce much disproportion'd to his pound.
                Pug's wrath wax'd hot
To gaze upon these captive creature's round;
Whose claws—all scratching—gave him full assurance
They found their durance vile of vile endurance.
He went above—a solitary mounter
Up gloomy stairs—and saw a pensive group
                Of hapless fowls—
                Cranes, vultures, owls,
In fact, it was a sort of Poultry-Compter,
Where feather'd prisoners were doom'd to droop:
Here sat an eagle, forc'd to make a stoop,
Not from the skies, but his impending roof;
                And there aloof,
A pining ostrich, moping in a coop;
With other samples of the bird creation;
All cag'd against their powers and their wills,
And cramp'd in such a space, the longest bills
Were plainly bills of least accommodation.
In truth, it was a very ugly scene
To fall to any liberator's share,
To see those winged fowls, that once had been
Free as the wind, no freer than fixed air.

        His temper little mended,
Pug from this Bird-cage Walk at last descended
                Unto the lion and the elephant,
                His bosom in a pant
To see all nature's Free List thus suspended,
And beasts depriv'd of what she had intended.
                They could not even prey
                In their own way;
A hardship always reckon'd quite prodigious.
                Thus he revolv'd—
                And soon resolv'd
To give them freedom, civil and religious.

That night there were no country cousins, raw
From Wales, to view the lion and his kin:
The keeper's eyes were fix'd upon a saw;
The saw was fix'd upon a bullock's shin!
                Meanwhile with stealthy paw,
                Pug hastened to withdraw
The bolt that kept the king of brutes within.
Now, monarch of the forest! thou shalt win
Precious enfranchisement—thy bolts are undone;
Thou art no longer a degraded creature,
But loose to roam with liberty and nature;
And free of all the jungles about London—
All Hampstead's heathy desert lies before thee!
Methinks I see thee bound from Cross's ark,
Full of the native instinct that comes o'er thee,
                And turn a ranger
Of Hounslow Forest, and the Regent's Park- -
Thin Rhodes's cows—the mail-coach steeds endanger, 
And gobble parish watchman after dark:—
Methinks I see thee, with the early lark,
Stealing to Merlin's cave—(thy cave.)—Alas,
That such bright visions should not come to pass!
Alas, for freedom, and for freedom's hero!
        Alas, for liberty of life and limb!
For Pug had only half unbolted Nero,
        When Nero bolted him!


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