The Beadle's Annual Address

Original Text: 
The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hood, ed. Walter Jerrold (London: Henry Frowde, 1906): 532-33. Internet Archive
1The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
2    The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
3The ploughman homeward plods his weary way
4    And this is Christmas Eve, and here I be!
5Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
6    And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
7Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
8    Save Queen Victoria, who the sceptre holds!
9Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
10    The moping owl does to the moon complain--
11Save all the ministers that be in power,
12    Save all the Royal Sovereigns that reign!
13             * * * * *
14Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
15    Their homely joys and destiny obscure;
16Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
17    The Parish Beadle calling at the door!
18Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
19    Their sober wishes never learn 'd to stray;
20Along the cool sequester'd vale of life,
21    They kept the apple-woman's stalls away!
22             * * * * *
23Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect,
24    Some frail memorial still erected nigh;
25With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd
26    He never lets the children play thereby.
27             * * * * *
28Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
29    Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
30Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
31    To meet the Reverend Vicar all in lawn!
32One morn I miss'd him on the 'custom'd hill,
33    Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;
34Another came, nor yet beside the rill,
35    Nor at the Magpie and the Stump was he!
36The next with hat and staff, and new array,
37    Along all sorts of streets we saw him borne;
38Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
39    He always brings upon a Christmas morn!
40Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
41    Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
42He gave to misery (all he had) a tear,
43    And never failed on Sundays to attend!
44No further seek his merits to disclose,
45    Or draw his frailties from their dread abode;
46Where they alike in trembling hope repose,
47    John Bugsby, Number Thirteen, Tibbald's Road.
Publication Start Year: 
1839
Publication Notes: 
Comic Annual (Preface)
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
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