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Best Famous Thomas Hood Poems

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by Thomas Hood |

Gold!

 Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Bright and yellow, hard and cold
Molten, graven, hammered and rolled,
Heavy to get and light to hold,
Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold,
Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled,
Spurned by young, but hung by old
To the verge of a church yard mold;
Price of many a crime untold.
Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! Good or bad a thousand fold! How widely it agencies vary, To save - to ruin - to curse - to bless - As even its minted coins express : Now stamped with the image of Queen Bess, And now of a bloody Mary.


by Thomas Hood |

Flowers

 I will not have the mad Clytie,
Whose head is turned by the sun;
The tulip is a courtly queen,
Whom, therefore, I will shun;
The cowslip is a country wench,
The violet is a nun; -
But I will woo the dainty rose,
The queen of everyone.
The pea is but a wanton witch, In too much haste to wed, And clasps her rings on every hand The wolfsbane I should dread; - Nor will I dreary rosemary That always mourns the dead; - But I will woo the dainty rose, With her cheeks of tender red.
The lily is all in white, like a saint, And so is no mate for me - And the daisy's cheek is tipped with blush, She is of such low degree; Jasmine is sweet, and has many loves, And the broom's betrothed to the bee; - But I will plight with the dainty rose, For fairest of all is she.


by Thomas Hood |

Faithless Sally Brown

 Young Ben he was a nice young man,
A carpenter by trade;
And he fell in love with Sally Brown,
That was a lady's maid.
But as they fetch'd a walk one day, They met a press-gang crew; And Sally she did faint away, Whilst Ben he was brought to.
The Boatswain swore with wicked words, Enough to shock a saint, That though she did seem in a fit, 'Twas nothing but a feint.
"Come, girl," said he, "hold up your head, He'll be as good as me; For when your swain is in our boat, A boatswain he will be.
" So when they'd made their game of her, And taken off her elf, She roused, and found she only was A coming to herself.
"And is he gone, and is he gone?" She cried, and wept outright: "Then I will to the water side, And see him out of sight.
" A waterman came up to her,-- "Now, young woman," said he, "If you weep on so, you will make Eye-water in the sea.
" "Alas! they've taken my beau Ben To sail with old Benbow;" And her woe began to run afresh, As if she'd said Gee woe! Says he, "They've only taken him To the Tender ship, you see"; "The Tender-ship," cried Sally Brown "What a hard-ship that must be!" "O! would I were a mermaid now, For then I'd follow him; But Oh!--I'm not a fish-woman, And so I cannot swim.
"Alas! I was not born beneath The virgin and the scales, So I must curse my cruel stars, And walk about in Wales.
" Now Ben had sail'd to many a place That's underneath the world; But in two years the ship came home, And all her sails were furl'd.
But when he call'd on Sally Brown, To see how she went on, He found she'd got another Ben, Whose Christian-name was John.
"O Sally Brown, O Sally Brown, How could you serve me so? I've met with many a breeze before, But never such a blow": Then reading on his 'bacco box He heaved a bitter sigh, And then began to eye his pipe, And then to pipe his eye.
And then he tried to sing "All's Well," But could not though he tried; His head was turn'd, and so he chew'd His pigtail till he died.
His death, which happen'd in his berth, At forty-odd befell: They went and told the sexton, and The sexton toll'd the bell.


by Thomas Hood |

Faithless Nelly Gray

 A Pathetic Ballad

Ben Battle was a soldier bold,
And used to war's alarms;
But a cannon-ball took off his legs,
So he laid down his arms.
Now as they bore him off the field, Said he, 'Let others shoot; For here I leave my second leg, And the Forty-second Foot.
' The army-surgeons made him limbs: Said he, 'They're only pegs; But there's as wooden members quite, As represent my legs.
' Now Ben he loved a pretty maid, -- Her name was Nelly Gray; So he went to pay her his devours, When he devoured his pay.
But when he called on Nelly Gray, She made him quite a scoff; And when she saw his wooden legs, Began to take them off.
'O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray!' Is this your love so warm? The love that loves a scarlet coat Should be a little more uniform.
Said she, ' I loved a soldier once, For he was blithe and brave; But I will never have a man With both legs in the grave 'Before you had those timber toes Your love I did allow; But then, you know, you stand upon Another footing now.
' 'O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray! For all your jeering speeches, At duty's call I left my legs In Badajos's breaches.
' 'Why, then,' said she, 'you've lost the feet Of legs in war's alarms, And now you cannot wear your shoes Upon your feats of arms!' 'O false and fickle Nelly Gray! I know why you refuse: Though I've no feet, some other man Is standing in my shoes.
'I wish I ne'er had seen your face; But, now, a long farewell! For you will be my death' -- alas! You will not be my Nell!' Now when he went from Nelly Gray His heart so heavy got, And life was such a burden grown, It made him take a knot.
So round his melancholy neck A rope he did intwine, And, for his second time in life, Enlisted in the Line.
One end he tied around a beam, And then removed his pegs; And, as his legs were off -- of course He soon was off his legs.
And there he hung till he was dead As any nail in town; For, though distress had cut him up, It could not cut him down.
A dozen men sat on his corpse, To find out why he died, -- And they buried Ben in four cross-roads With a stake in his inside.


by Thomas Hood |

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.


by Thomas Hood |

Past and Present

 I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon
Nor bought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.
I remember, I remember The roses, red and white, The violets, and the lily-cups-- Those flowers made of light! The lilacs where the robin built, And where my brother set The laburnum on his birthday,-- The tree is living yet! I remember, I remember Where I was used to swing, And throught the air must rush as fresh To swallows on the wing; My spirit flew in feathers then That is so heavy now, And summer pools could hardly cool The fever on my brow.
I remember, I remember The fir frees dark and high; I used to think their slender tops Were close against the sky: It was a childish ignorance, But now 'tis little joy To know I'm farther off from Heaven Than when I was a boy.


by Thomas Hood |

Christmas Holidays

 Along the Woodford road there comes a noise 
Of wheels, and Mr.
Rounding's neat post-chaise Struggles along, drawn by a pair of bays, With Reverend Mr.
Crow and six small boys, Who ever and anon declare their joys With trumping horns and juvenile huzzas, At going home to spend their Christmas days, And changing learning's pains for pleasure's toys.
Six weeks elapse, and down the Woodford way A heavy coach drags six more heavy souls, But no glad urchins shout, no trumpets bray, The carriage makes a halt, the gate-bell tolls, And little boys walk in as dull and mum As six new scholars to the Deaf and Dumb!


by Thomas Hood |

Autumn

 I Saw old Autumn in the misty morn 
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening 
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing 
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn, 
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;— 
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright 
With tangled gossamer that fell by night, 
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.
Where are the songs of Summer?—With the sun, Oping the dusky eyelids of the south, Till shade and silence waken up as one, And Morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
Where are the merry birds?—Away, away, On panting wings through the inclement skies, Lest owls should prey Undazzled at noonday, And tear with horny beak their lustrous eyes.
Where are the blooms of Summer?—In the west, Blushing their last to the last sunny hours, When the mild Eve by sudden Night is prest Like tearful Proserpine, snatch'd from her flow'rs To a most gloomy breast.
Where is the pride of Summer,—the green prime,— The many, many leaves all twinkling?—Three On the moss'd elm; three on the naked lime Trembling,—and one upon the old oak-tree! Where is the Dryad's immortality?— Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew, Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through In the smooth holly's green eternity.
The squirrel gloats on his accomplish'd hoard, The ants have brimm'd their garners with ripe grain, And honey bees have stored The sweets of Summer in their luscious cells; The swallows all have wing'd across the main; But here the Autumn melancholy dwells, And sighs her tearful spells Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.
Alone, alone, Upon a mossy stone, She sits and reckons up the dead and gone With the last leaves for a love-rosary, Whilst all the wither'd world looks drearily, Like a dim picture of the drownèd past In the hush'd mind's mysterious far away, Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last Into that distance, gray upon the gray.
O go and sit with her, and be o'ershaded Under the languid downfall of her hair: She wears a coronal of flowers faded Upon her forehead, and a face of care;— There is enough of wither'd everywhere To make her bower,—and enough of gloom; There is enough of sadness to invite, If only for the rose that died, whose doom Is Beauty's,—she that with the living bloom Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light: There is enough of sorrowing, and quite Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear,— Enough of chilly droppings for her bowl; Enough of fear and shadowy despair, To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!


by Thomas Hood |

Allegory

 I had a gig-horse, and I called him Pleasure 
Because on Sundays for a little jaunt 
He was so fast and showy, quite a treasure; 
Although he sometimes kicked and shied aslant.
I had a chaise, and christened it Enjoyment, With yellow body and the wheels of red, Because it was only used for one employment, Namely, to go wherever Pleasure led.
I had a wife, her nickname was Delight: A son called Frolic, who was never still: Alas! how often dark succeeds to bright! Delight was thrown, and Frolic had a spill, Enjoyment was upset and shattered quite, And Pleasure fell a splitter on Paine's Hill.


by Thomas Hood |

A Lake And A Fairy Boat

 A lake and a fairy boat
To sail in the moonlight clear, -
And merrily we would float
From the dragons that watch us here! 

Thy gown should be snow-white silk
And strings of oriental pearls,
Like gossamers dipped in milk,
Should twine with thy raven curls! 

Red rubies should deck thy hands,
And diamonds should be thy dower -
But fairies have broke their wands,
And wishing has lost its power!