A piteous plaint

Eugene Field 1850 (St. Louis) – 1895 (Chicago)

I cannot eat my porridge,
 I weary of my play;
No longer can I sleep at night,
 No longer romp by day!
Though forty pounds was once my weight,
 I'm shy of thirty now;
I pine, I wither and I fade
 Through love of Martha Clow.

As she rolled by this morning
 I heard the nurse girl say:
"She weighs just twenty-seven pounds
 And she's one year old to-day."
I threw a kiss that nestled
 In the curls upon her brow,
But she never turned to thank me--
 That bouncing Martha Clow!

She ought to know I love her,
 For I've told her that I do;
And I've brought her nuts and apples,
 And sometimes candy, too!
I'd drag her in my little cart
 If her mother would allow
That delicate attention
 To her daughter, Martha Clow.

O Martha! pretty Martha!
 Will you always be so cold?
Will you always be as cruel
 As you are at one-year-old?
Must your two-year-old admirer
 Pine as hopelessly as now
For a fond reciprocation
 Of his love for Martha Clow?

You smile on Bernard Rogers
 And on little Harry Knott;
You play with them at peek-a-boo
 All in the Waller Lot!
Wildly I gnash my new-cut teeth
 And beat my throbbing brow,
When I behold the coquetry
 Of heartless Martha Clow!

I cannot eat my porridge,
 Nor for my play care I;
Upon the floor and porch and lawn
 My toys neglected lie;
But on the air of Halsted street
 I breathe this solemn vow:
"Though she be false, I will be true
 To pretty Martha Clow!"

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Submitted on May 13, 2011


Eugene Field

Eugene Field, Sr. was an American writer, best known for his children's poetry and humorous essays. more…

All Eugene Field poems | Eugene Field Books

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