Home  »  The World’s Wit and Humor  »  A Lay of Real Life

The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Thomas Hood (1799–1845)

A Lay of Real Life

WHO ruined me ere I was born,

Sold every acre, grass or corn,

And left the next heir all forlorn?

My Grandfather.

Who said my mother was no nurse,

And physicked me and made me worse,

Till infancy became a curse?

My Grandmother.

Who left me in my seventh year,

A comfort to my mother dear

And Mr. Pope, the overseer?

My Father.

Who let me starve to buy her gin,

Till all my bones came through my skin,

Then called me “ugly little sin”?

My Mother.

Who said my mother was a Turk,

And took me home—and made me work,

But managed half my meals to shirk?

My Aunt.

Who “of all earthly things” would boast

He “hated others’ brats the most,”

And therefore made me feel my post?

My Uncle.

Who got in scrapes, an endless score,

And always laid them at my door,

Till many a bitter bang I bore?

My Cousin.

Who took me home when mother died,

Again with father to reside,

Black shoes, clean knives, run far and wide?

My Stepmother.

Who marred my stealthy urchin joys,

And when I played cried, “What a noise!”

Girls always hector over boys—

My Sister.

Who used to share in what was mine,

Or took it all, did I decline,

’Cause I was eight and he was nine?

My Brother.

Who stroked my head and said “Good lad,”

And gave me sixpence, “all he had”;

But at the stall the coin was bad?

My Godfather.

Who, gratis, shared my social glass,

But when misfortune came to pass,

Referred me to the pump? Alas!

My Friend.

Through all this weary world, in brief,

Who ever sympathised with grief,

Or shared my joy—my sole relief?