Learn More

Thomas Hood

(1789-1845 / London / England)

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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
2 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: soldier, ballad, war, farewell, lost, death

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Faithless Nelly Gray by Thomas Hood )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  3. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  4. The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus, Ogden Nash
  5. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  6. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Trees, Joyce Kilmer

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Jane Brontë

I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask no eye would mourn
I never caused a thought of gloom
A smile of joy since I was born

In secret pleasure - secret tears
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Pain, Pain Knows No Race, Hebert Logerie
  2. God's Hands Of Love, Tom Zart
  3. Alone, Samantha Gronn
  4. David, Casey Renee Kiser
  5. She Stuck Her Butt Out At Me..., wanderer sailor
  6. Nine Views of the Huangshan, Paul Hartal
  7. Trying to Say Goodbye, Bijay Kant Dubey
  8. Autumn, Leong Ming Loong
  9. Colors, Tom Squires
  10. वक्त का तकाजा है vakt ka takaaja hai, hasmukh amathalal
[Hata Bildir]