The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood, by Thomas Hood

Domestic Poems.

“It’s hame, hame, hame.”— A. CUNNINGHAM.

“There’s no place like home.”— CLARI.

1. Hymeneal Retrospections.

O KATE! my dear Partner, through joy and through strife!

When I look back at Hymen’s dear day,

Not a lovelier bride ever chang’d to a wife,

Though you’re now so old, wizen’d, and gray!

Those eyes, then, were stars, shining rulers of fate!

But as liquid as stars in a pool;

Though now they’re so dim, they appear, my dear Kate,

Just like gooseberries boil’d for a fool!

That brow was like marble, so smooth and so fair;

Though it’s wrinkled so crookedly now,

As if time, when those furrows were made by the share,

Had been tipsy whilst driving his plough!

Your nose, it was such as the sculptors all chose,

When a Venus demanded their skill;

Though now it can hardly be reckon’d a nose,

But a sort of Poll-Parroty bill!

Your mouth, it was then quite a bait for the bees,

Such a nectar there hung on each lip;

Though now it has taken that lemon-like squeeze,

Not a blue-bottle comes for a sip!

Your chin, it was one of Love’s favorite haunts,

From its dimple he could not get loose;

Though now the neat hand of a barber it wants,

Or a singe, like the breast of a goose!

How rich were those locks, so abundant and full,

With their ringlets of auburn so deep!

Though now they look only like frizzles of wool,

By a bramble torn off from a sheep!

That neck, not a swan could excel it in grace,

While in whiteness it vied with your arms;

Though now a grave ‘kerchief you properly place,

To conceal that scrag-end of your charms!

Your figure was tall, then, and perfectly straight,

Though it now has two twists from upright —

But bless you! still bless you! my Partner! my Kate!

Though you be such a perfect old fright!

2.

The sun was slumbering in the West.

My daily labors past;

On Anna’s soft and gentle breast

My head reclined at last; —

The darkness clos’d around, so dear

To fond congenial souls,

And thus she murmur’d at my ear,

“My love, we’re out of coals!”

“That Mister Bond has call’d again,

Insisting on his rent;

And all the Todds are coming up

To see us, out of Kent; —

I quite forgot to tell you John

Has had a tipsy fall; —

I’m sure there’s something going on

With that vile Mary Hall! —”

“Miss Bell has bought the sweetest silk,

And I have bought the rest —

Of course, if we go out of town,

Southend will be the best. —

I really think the Jones’s house

Would be the thing for us; —

I think I told you Mrs. Pope

Had parted with her nus

“Cook, by the way, came up to-day,

To bid me suit myself —

And what d’ye think? the rats have gnawed

The victuals on the shelf. —

And, lord! there’s such a letter come,

Inviting you to fight!

Of course you don’t intend to go —

God bless you, dear, good night!”

3. A Parental Ode to My Son, Aged Three Years and Five Months.

Thou happy, happy elf!

(But stop — first let me kiss away that tear)—

Thou tiny image of myself!

(My love, he’s poking peas into his ear!)

Thou merry, laughing sprite!

With spirits feather-light,

Untouch’d by sorrow, and unsoil’d by sin —

(Good heav’ns! the child is swallowing a pin!)

Thou little tricksy Puck!

With antic toys so funnily bestuck,

Light as the singing bird that wings the air —

(The door! the door! he’ll tumble down the stair!)

Thou darling of thy sire!

(Why, Jane, he’ll set his pinafore a-fire!)

Thou imp of mirth and joy!

In Love’s dear chain so strong and bright a link,

Thou idol of thy parents —(Drat the boy!

There goes my ink!)

Thou cherub — but of earth;

Fit playfellow for Fays, by moonlight pale,

In harmless sport and mirth,

(That dog will bite him if he pulls its tail!)

Thou human humming-bee, extracting honey

From ev’ry blossom in the world that blows,

Singing in Youth’s Elysium ever sunny,

(Another tumble! — that’s his precious nose!)

Thy father’s pride and hope!

(He’ll break the mirror with that skipping-rope!)

With pure heart newly stamp’d from Nature’s mint —

(Where did he learn that squint?)

Thou young domestic dove!

(He’ll have that jug off, with another shove!)

Dear nurseling of the hymeneal nest!

(Are those torn clothes his best?)

Little epitome of man!

(He’ll climb upon the table, that’s his plan!)

Touch’d with the beauteous tints of dawning life —

(He’s got a knife!)

Thou enviable being!

No storms, no clouds, in thy blue sky foreseeing,

Play on, play on,

My elfin John!

Toss the light ball — bestride the stick —

(I knew so many cakes would make him sick!)

With fancies, buoyant as the thistle-down,

Prompting the face grotesque, and antic brisk,

With many a lamb-like frisk,

(He’s got the scissors, snipping at your gown!)

Thou pretty opening rose!

(Go to your mother, child, and wipe your nose!)

Balmy and breathing music like the South,

(He really brings my heart into my mouth!)

Fresh as the morn, and brilliant as its star —

(I wish that window had an iron bar!)

Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove —

(I’ll tell you what, my love,

I cannot write, unless he’s sent above!)

4. A Serenade.

“Lullaby, oh, lullaby!”

Thus I heard a father cry,

“Lullaby, oh, lullaby!”

The brat will never shut an eye;

Hither come, some power divine!

Close his lids, or open mine!

“Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

What the devil makes him cry?

Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

Still he stares — I wonder why,

Why are not the sons of earth

Blind, like puppies, from the birth?”

“Lullaby, oh, lullaby!”

Thus I heard the father cry;

“Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

Mary, you must come and try! —

Hush, oh, hush, for mercy’s sake —

The more I sing, the more you wake!”

“Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

Fie, you little creature, fie!

Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

Is no poppy-syrup nigh?

Give him some, or give him all,

I am nodding to his fall!”

“Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

Two such nights, and I shall die!

Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

He’ll be bruised, and so shall I — ”

“How can I from bedposts keep,

When I’m walking in my sleep?”

“Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

Sleep his very looks deny —

Lullaby, oh, lullaby;

Nature soon will stupefy —

My nerves relax — my eyes grow dim —

Who’s that fallen — me or him?”

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hood/thomas/poetical-works/poem133.html

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