Sally Simpkin's Lament
"Oh! What is that comes gliding in,And quite in middling haste?It is the picture of my Jones,And painted to the waist.It is not painted to the life,For where's the trousers blue?Oh Jones, my dear! Oh dear! my Jones,What is become of you?""Oh! Sally dear, it is too true,--The half that you remark,Is come to say my other halfIs bit off by a shark!Oh! Sally, sharks do things by halves,Yet most completely do!A bite in one places seems enough,But I've been bit in two.You know I once was all your own,But now a shark must share!But let that pass--for now to youI'm neither here nor there.Alas! Death has a strange divorceEffected in the sea.It has divided me from you,And even me from me.Don't fear my ghost will walk o' nightsTo haunt as people say;My ghost can't walk, for oh! my legsAre many leagues away!Lord! Think, when I am swimming roundAnd looking where the boat is,A shark just snaps away a halfWithout a quarter's notice!One half is here, the other halfIs near Columbia placed:Oh, Sally! I have got the wholeAtlantic for my waist.But now adieu--a long adieu!I've solved Death's awful riddle.I would say more, but I am doomedTo break off in the middle!"
I no longer have any clue where I first came across this poem--it doesn't seem to be in any book I have--but nevertheless it sticks in my head...
Thomas Hood lived from 1799 to 1845 and that's his portrait up there from the National Portrait Gallery. Is there just possibly a hint of a smile on his face?