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Best Famous Thomas Hood Poems

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Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

November

 No sun - no moon! 
No morn - no noon - 
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, No comfortable feel in any member - No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! - November!
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

The Bridge of Sighs

 One more Unfortunate, 
Weary of breath, 
Rashly importunate, 
Gone to her death! 

Take her up tenderly, 
Lift her with care; 
Fashion'd so slenderly 
Young, and so fair! 

Look at her garments 
Clinging like cerements; 
Whilst the wave constantly 
Drips from her clothing; 
Take her up instantly, 
Loving, not loathing.
Touch her not scornfully; Think of her mournfully, Gently and humanly; Not of the stains of her, All that remains of her Now is pure womanly.
Make no deep scrutiny Into her mutiny Rash and undutiful: Past all dishonour, Death has left on her Only the beautiful.
Still, for all slips of hers, One of Eve's family— Wipe those poor lips of hers Oozing so clammily.
Loop up her tresses Escaped from the comb, Her fair auburn tresses; Whilst wonderment guesses Where was her home? Who was her father? Who was her mother? Had she a sister? Had she a brother? Or was there a dearer one Still, and a nearer one Yet, than all other? Alas! for the rarity Of Christian charity Under the sun! O, it was pitiful! Near a whole city full, Home she had none.
Sisterly, brotherly, Fatherly, motherly Feelings had changed: Love, by harsh evidence, Thrown from its eminence; Even God's providence Seeming estranged.
Where the lamps quiver So far in the river, With many a light From window and casement, From garret to basement, She stood, with amazement, Houseless by night.
The bleak wind of March Made her tremble and shiver; But not the dark arch, Or the black flowing river: Mad from life's history, Glad to death's mystery, Swift to be hurl'd— Anywhere, anywhere Out of the world! In she plunged boldly— No matter how coldly The rough river ran— Over the brink of it, Picture it—think of it, Dissolute Man! Lave in it, drink of it, Then, if you can! Take her up tenderly, Lift her with care; Fashion'd so slenderly, Young, and so fair! Ere her limbs frigidly Stiffen too rigidly, Decently, kindly, Smooth and compose them; And her eyes, close them, Staring so blindly! Dreadfully staring Thro' muddy impurity, As when with the daring Last look of despairing Fix'd on futurity.
Perishing gloomily, Spurr'd by contumely, Cold inhumanity, Burning insanity, Into her rest.
— Cross her hands humbly As if praying dumbly, Over her breast! Owning her weakness, Her evil behaviour, And leaving, with meekness, Her sins to her Saviour!
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

I Remember I Remember

 I Remember, I Remember

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 brought 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 thought the air must rush as fresh To swallows on the wing; My spirit flew in feathers then That is so heavy now, The summer pools could hardly cool The fever on my brow.
I remember, I remember The fir-trees 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.
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

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!
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

The Haunted House

 Oh, very gloomy is the house of woe,
Where tears are falling while the bell is knelling,
With all the dark solemnities that show
That Death is in the dwelling!

Oh, very, very dreary is the room
Where Love, domestic Love, no longer nestles,
But smitten by the common stroke of doom,
The corpse lies on the trestles!

But house of woe, and hearse, and sable pall,
The narrow home of the departed mortal,
Ne’er looked so gloomy as that Ghostly Hall,
With its deserted portal!

The centipede along the threshold crept,
The cobweb hung across in mazy tangle,
And in its winding sheet the maggot slept
At every nook and angle.
The keyhole lodged the earwig and her brood, The emmets of the steps has old possession, And marched in search of their diurnal food In undisturbed procession.
As undisturbed as the prehensile cell Of moth or maggot, or the spider’s tissue, For never foot upon that threshold fell, To enter or to issue.
O’er all there hung the shadow of a fear, A sense of mystery the spirit daunted, And said, as plain as whisper in the ear, The place is haunted.
Howbeit, the door I pushed—or so I dreamed-- Which slowly, slowly gaped, the hinges creaking With such a rusty eloquence, it seemed That Time himself was speaking.
But Time was dumb within that mansion old, Or left his tale to the heraldic banners That hung from the corroded walls, and told Of former men and manners.
Those tattered flags, that with the opened door, Seemed the old wave of battle to remember, While fallen fragments danced upon the floor Like dead leaves in December.
The startled bats flew out, bird after bird, The screech-owl overhead began to flutter, And seemed to mock the cry that she had heard Some dying victim utter! A shriek that echoed from the joisted roof, And up the stair, and further still and further, Till in some ringing chamber far aloof In ceased its tale of murther! Meanwhile the rusty armor rattled round, The banner shuddered, and the ragged streamer; All things the horrid tenor of the sound Acknowledged with a tremor.
The antlers where the helmet hung, and belt, Stirred as the tempest stirs the forest branches, Or as the stag had trembled when he felt The bloodhound at his haunches.
The window jingled in its crumbled frame, And through its many gaps of destitution Dolorous moans and hollow sighings came, Like those of dissolution.
The wood-louse dropped, and rolled into a ball, Touched by some impulse occult or mechanic; And nameless beetles ran along the wall In universal panic.
The subtle spider, that, from overhead, Hung like a spy on human guilt and error, Suddenly turned, and up its slender thread Ran with a nimble terror.
The very stains and fractures on the wall, Assuming features solemn and terrific, Hinted some tragedy of that old hall, Locked up in hieroglyphic.
Some tale that might, perchance, have solved the doubt, Wherefore, among those flags so dull and livid, The banner of the bloody hand shone out So ominously vivid.
Some key to that inscrutable appeal Which made the very frame of Nature quiver, And every thrilling nerve and fiber feel So ague-like a shiver.
For over all there hung a cloud of fear, A sense of mystery the spirit daunted, And said, as plain as whisper in the ear, The place is haunted! Prophetic hints that filled the soul with dread, But through one gloomy entrance pointing mostly, The while some secret inspiration said, “That chamber is the ghostly!” Across the door no gossamer festoon Swung pendulous, --no web, no dusty fringes, No silky chrysalis or white cocoon, About its nooks and hinges.
The spider shunned the interdicted room, The moth, the beetle, and the fly were banished, And when the sunbeam fell athwart the gloom, The very midge had vanished.
One lonely ray that glanced upon a bed, As if with awful aim direct and certain, To show the Bloody Hand, in burning red, Embroidered on the curtain.
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

No!

 No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No sky--no earthly view--
No distance looking blue--
No road--no street--no "t'other side this way"--
No end to any Row--
No indications where the Crescents go--
No top to any steeple--
No recognitions of familiar people--
No courtesies for showing 'em--
No knowing 'em!
No traveling at all--no locomotion--
No inkling of the way--no notion--
"No go" by land or ocean--
No mail--no post--
No news from any foreign coast--
No Park, no Ring, no afternoon gentility--
No company--no nobility--
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds--
November!
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

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!
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

Silence

 There is a silence where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be,
In the cold grave—under the deep, deep sea,
Or in wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
No voice is hush’d—no life treads silently,
But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
That never spoke, over the idle ground:
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox or wild hyæna calls,
And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan—
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

The Song of the Shirt

 With fingers weary and worn, 
With eyelids heavy and red, 
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags, 
Plying her needle and thread-- 
Stitch! stitch! stitch! 
In poverty, hunger, and dirt, 
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch 
She sang the "Song of the Shirt.
" "Work! work! work! While the cock is crowing aloof! And work — work — work, Till the stars shine through the roof! It's Oh! to be a slave Along with the barbarous Turk, Where woman has never a soul to save, If this is Christian work! "Work — work — work Till the brain begins to swim; Work — work — work Till the eyes are heavy and dim! Seam, and gusset, and band, Band, and gusset, and seam, Till over the buttons I fall asleep, And sew them on in a dream! "Oh, Men, with Sisters dear! Oh, Men, with Mothers and Wives! It is not linen you're wearing out, But human creatures' lives! Stitch — stitch — stitch, In poverty, hunger, and dirt, Sewing at once with a double thread, A Shroud as well as a Shirt.
But why do I talk of Death? That Phantom of grisly bone, I hardly fear its terrible shape, It seems so like my own — It seems so like my own, Because of the fasts I keep; Oh, God! that bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap! "Work — work — work! My Labour never flags; And what are its wages? A bed of straw, A crust of bread — and rags.
That shatter'd roof — and this naked floor — A table — a broken chair — And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank For sometimes falling there! "Work — work — work! From weary chime to chime, Work — work — work! As prisoners work for crime! Band, and gusset, and seam, Seam, and gusset, and band, Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumb'd, As well as the weary hand.
"Work — work — work, In the dull December light, And work — work — work, When the weather is warm and bright — While underneath the eaves The brooding swallows cling As if to show me their sunny backs And twit me with the spring.
Oh! but to breathe the breath Of the cowslip and primrose sweet — With the sky above my head, And the grass beneath my feet For only one short hour To feel as I used to feel, Before I knew the woes of want And the walk that costs a meal! Oh! but for one short hour! A respite however brief! No blessed leisure for Love or Hope, But only time for Grief! A little weeping would ease my heart, But in their briny bed My tears must stop, for every drop Hinders needle and thread!" With fingers weary and worn, With eyelids heavy and red, A woman sat in unwomanly rags, Plying her needle and thread — Stitch! stitch! stitch! In poverty, hunger, and dirt, And still with a voice of dolorous pitch, — Would that its tone could reach the Rich! — She sang this "Song of the Shirt!"
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

Death

 It is not death, that sometime in a sigh 
This eloquent breath shall take its speechless flight; 
That sometime these bright stars, that now reply 
In sunlight to the sun, shall set in night; 
That this warm conscious flesh shall perish quite, 
And all life's ruddy springs forget to flow; 
That thoughts shall cease, and the immortal sprite 
Be lapped in alien clay and laid below; 
It is not death to know this,--but to know 
That pious thoughts, which visit at new graves 
In tender pilgrimage, will cease to go 
So duly and so oft,--and when grass waves 
Over the past-away, there may be then 
No resurrection in the minds of men.
Written by Thomas Hood | Create an image from this poem

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.