The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood, by Thomas Hood

The Drowning Ducks.

Amongst the sights that Mrs. Bond

Enjoyed yet grieved at more than others,

Were little ducklings in a pond,

Swimming about beside their mothers —

Small things like living water-lilies,

But yellow as the daffo-dillies.

“It’s very hard,” she used to moan,

“That other people have their ducklings

To grace their waters — mine alone

Have never any pretty chucklings.”

For why! — each little yellow navy

Went down — all downy — to old Davy!

She had a lake — a pond, I mean —

Its wave was rather thick than pearly —

She had two ducks, their napes were green —

She had a drake, his tail was curly —

Yet ‘spite of drake, and ducks, and pond,

No little ducks had Mrs. Bond!

The birds were both the best of mothers —

The nests had eggs — the eggs had luck —

The infant D’s came forth like others —

But there, alas! the matter stuck!

They might as well have all died addle

As die when they began to paddle!

For when, as native instinct taught her,

The mother set her brood afloat,

They sank ere long right under water,

Like any overloaded boat;

They were web-footed too to see,

As ducks and spiders ought to be!

No peccant humor in a gander

Brought havoc on her little folks —

No poaching cook — a frying pander

To appetite — destroyed their yolks —

Beneath her very eyes, Od rot ’em!

They went, like plummets, to the bottom.

The thing was strange — a contradiction

It seemed of nature and her works!

For little ducks, beyond conviction,

Should float without the help of corks:

Great Johnson, it bewildered him!

To hear of ducks that could not swim.

Poor Mrs. Bond! what could she do

But change the breed — and she tried divers

Which dived as all seemed born to do;

No little ones were e’er survivors —

Like those that copy gems, I’m thinking,

They all were given to die-sinking!

In vain their downy coats were shorn;

They floundered still! — Batch after batch went!

The little fools seemed only born

And hatched for nothing but a hatchment!

Whene’er they launched — oh, sight of wonder!

Like fires the water “got them under.”

No woman ever gave their lucks

A better chance than Mrs. Bond did;

At last quite out of heart and ducks,

She gave her pond up, and desponded;

For Death among the water-lilies,

Cried ”Duc ad me” to all her dillies!

But though resolved to breed no more,

She brooded often on this riddle —

Alas! ’twas darker than before!

At last about the summer’s middle,

What Johnson, Mrs. Bond, or none did,

To clear the matter up the Sun did!

The thirsty Sirius dog-like drank

So deep, his furious tongue to cool,

The shallow waters sank and sank,

And lo, from out the wasted pool,

Too hot to hold them any longer,

There crawled some eels as big as conger!

I wish all folks would look a bit,

In such a case below the surface;

And when the eels were caught and split

By Mrs. Bond, just think of her face,

In each inside at once to spy

A duckling turned to giblet-pie!

The sight at once explained the case,

Making the Dame look rather silly:

The tenants of that Eely Place

Had found the way to Pick a dilly,

And so, by under-water suction,

Had wrought the little ducks’ abduction.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hood/thomas/poetical-works/poem107.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 20:51