What’s life but full of care and doubt
With all its fine humanities,
With parasols we walk about,
Long pigtails, and such vanities.
We plant pomegranate trees and things,
And go in gardens sporting,
With toys and fans of peacocks’ wings,
To painted ladies courting.
We gather flowers of every hue,
And fish in boats for fishes,
Build summer-houses painted blue —
But life’s as frail as dishes!
Walking about their groves of trees,
Blue bridges and blue rivers,
How little thought them two Chinese,
They’d both be smashed to shivers!
Oh Peace, oh come with me and dwell —
But stop, for there’s the bell.
Oh Peace! for thee I go and sit in churches
On Wednesday, when there’s very few
In loft or pew —
Another ring, the tarts are come from Birch’s.
Oh Peace! for thee I have avoided marriage —
Hush! there’s a carriage.
Oh Peace! thou art the best of earthly goods —
The five Miss Woods!
Oh Peace! thou art the goddess I adore —
There come some more.
Oh Peace! thou child of solitude and quiet —
That’s Lord Dunn’s footman, for he loves a riot!
Knocks will not cease.
Oh Peace! thou wert for human comfort plann’d —
That’s Weippert’s band.
Oh Peace! how glad I welcome thy approaches —
I hear the sound of coaches.
Oh Peace! oh Peace! another carriage stops —
It’s early for the Blenkinsops.
Oh Peace! with thee I love to wander,
But wait till I have showed up Lady Squander,
And now I’ve seen her up the stair,
Oh Peace! — but here comes Captain Hare.
Oh Peace! thou art the slumber of the mind,
Untroubled, calm and quiet, and unbroken —
If that is Alderman Guzzle from Portsoken,
Alderman Gobble won’t be far behind.
Oh Peace! serene in worldly shyness —
Make way there for his Serene Highness!
Oh Peace! if you do not disdain
To dwell amongst the menial train,
I have a silent place and lone,
That you and I may call our own;
Where tumult never makes an entry —
Susan! what business have you in my pantry?
Oh Peace! but there is Major Monk,
At variance with his wife — Oh Peace!
And that great German, Vander Trunk,
And that great talker, Miss Apreece;
Oh Peace! so dear to poet’s quills —
Oh Peace! our greatest renovator;
I wonder where I put my waiter —
Oh Peace! but here my Ode I’ll cease,
I have no peace to write of Peace!
When I reflect with serious sense,
While years and years run on,
How soon I may be summoned hence —
There’s cook a-calling John.
Our lives are built so frail and poor,
On sand and not on rocks,
We’re hourly standing at Death’s door —
There’s some one double knocks.
All human days have settled terms,
Our fates we cannot force;
This flesh of mine will feed the worms —
They’re come to lunch of course!
And when my body’s turned to clay,
And dear friends hear my knell,
Oh let them give a sigh and say —
I hear the upstairs bell!
Mary, you know I’ve no love nonsense,
And though I pen on such a day,
I don’t mean flirting, on my conscience,
Or writing in the courting way.
Though Beauty hasn’t formed your feature,
It saves you p’rhaps from being vain,
And many a poor unhappy creature
May wish that she was half as plain.
Your virtues would not rise an inch,
Although your shape was two foot taller,
And wisely you let others pinch
Great waists and feet to make them smaller.
You never try to spare your hands
From getting red by household duty,
But doing all that it commands,
Their coarseness is a moral beauty.
Let Susan flourish her fair arms,
And at your old legs sneer and scoff,
But let her laugh, for you have charms
That nobody knows nothing of.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55