Stans Puer ad Mensam

Original Text: 
Laughter from a Cloud, foreword by Hilary Raleigh (London: Constable, 1923): 205-06. British Library 012273.bbb.7
2    And you shall learn from me
3How boys at dinner may behave
4    With due propriety.
5Guard well your hands: two things have been
6    Unfitly used by some;
7The trencher for a tambourine,
8    The table for a drum.
9We could not lead a pleasant life,
10    And 'twould be finished soon,
11If peas were eaten with the knife,
12    And gravy with the spoon.
13Eat slowly: only men in rags
14    And gluttons old in sin
15Mistake themselves for carpet bags
16    And tumble victuals in.
17The privy pinch, the whispered tease,
18    The wild, unseemly yell --
19When children do such things as these,
20    We say, "It is not well."
21Endure your mother's timely stare,
22    Your father's righteous ire,
23And do not wriggle on your chair
24    Like flannel in the fire.
25Be silent: you may chatter loud
26    When you are fully grown,
27Surrounded by a silent crowd
28    Of children of your own.
29If you should suddenly feel bored
30    And much inclined to yawning,
31Your little hand will best afford
32    A modest useful awning.
33Think highly of the Cat: and yet
34    You need not therefore think
35That portly strangers like your pet
36    To share their meat and drink.
37The end of dinner comes ere long
38    When, once more full and free,
39You cheerfully may bide the gong
40    That calls you to your tea.

Notes

1] Stans puer ad mensam: "the boy standing at the table," a verse work by John Lydgate on table manners. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1923
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001
Rhyme: