Daily Trials by a Sensitive Man

Original Text: 
The Complete Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, ed. H. E. S. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1895): 9. PS 1955 A1 1895 Robarts Library.
1  Oh, there are times
2When all this fret and tumult that we hear
4  His own dull chimes.
5  Ding dong! ding dong!
6The world is in a simmer like a sea
8  All the day long!
9  From crib to shroud!
10Nurse o'er our cradles screameth lullaby,
11And friends in boots tramp round us as we die,
12  Snuffling aloud.
13  At morning's call
14The small-voiced pug-dog welcomes in the sun,
15And flea-bit mongrels, wakening one by one,
16  Give answer all.
17  When evening dim
19Tart solo, sour duet, and general squall, --
20  These are our hymn.
21  Women, with tongues
23Men, plugless word-spouts, whose deep fountains are
24  Within their lungs.
25  Children, with drums
26Strapped round them by the fond paternal ass;
28  Between their thumbs.
29  Vagrants, whose arts
30Have caged some devil in their mad machine,
31Which grinding, squeaks, with husky groans between,
32  Come out by starts.
33  Cockneys that kill
34Thin horses of a Sunday, -- men, with clams,
35Hoarse as young bisons roaring for their dams
36  From hill to hill.
37  Soldiers, with guns,
38Making a nuisance of the blessed air,
40  Screeching for buns.
41  Storms, thunders, waves!
42Howl, crash, and bellow till ye get your fill;
43Ye sometimes rest; men never can be still
44  But in their graves.


3] sexton: church bell-ringer, grave-digger, and caretaker. Back to Line
7] pent: closed up. Back to Line
18] caterwaul: din, great noise. Back to Line
22] on the jar: like a door, ready to open and ajar. Back to Line
27] peripatetics: itinerants, idlers. Back to Line
39] bellman: town-crier, announcing the hours, often; "Child-crying" perhaps because he calls them to school. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.