Eugene Field

(2 September 1850 - 4 November 1895 / St Louis / Missouri / United States)

A piteous plaint


I cannot eat my porridge,
I weary of my play;
No longer can I sleep at night,
No longer romp by day!
Though forty pounds was once my weight,
I'm shy of thirty now;
I pine, I wither and I fade
Through love of Martha Clow.

As she rolled by this morning
I heard the nurse girl say:
"She weighs just twenty-seven pounds
And she's one year old to-day."
I threw a kiss that nestled
In the curls upon her brow,
But she never turned to thank me--
That bouncing Martha Clow!

She ought to know I love her,
For I've told her that I do;
And I've brought her nuts and apples,
And sometimes candy, too!
I'd drag her in my little cart
If her mother would allow
That delicate attention
To her daughter, Martha Clow.

O Martha! pretty Martha!
Will you always be so cold?
Will you always be as cruel
As you are at one-year-old?
Must your two-year-old admirer
Pine as hopelessly as now
For a fond reciprocation
Of his love for Martha Clow?

You smile on Bernard Rogers
And on little Harry Knott;
You play with them at peek-a-boo
All in the Waller Lot!
Wildly I gnash my new-cut teeth
And beat my throbbing brow,
When I behold the coquetry
Of heartless Martha Clow!

I cannot eat my porridge,
Nor for my play care I;
Upon the floor and porch and lawn
My toys neglected lie;
But on the air of Halsted street
I breathe this solemn vow:
"Though she be false, I will be true
To pretty Martha Clow!"

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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