It snows and it blows,

And the eddying flows

Of downy waves chill fingers and toes;

And frozen meads and icy rills,

And sparkling glens and snow-clad hills,

Suggest and enforce

As a matter of course,

Coughs and colds, and Holloway’s Pills,

And Hostetter’s Bitters, and Radway’s Relief,

Which sooner or later will bring you to grief.

But I digress;—An hour ago

An innocent boy “trimmed out in woe”

—As Shakespeare said—from top to toe,

Slightly mixed with rags and tatters,

And dirt and grease, and divers matters

Pertaining to dire neglect,

Clattered along the wind-swept walk.

His body as meagre, frail, and lank,

As the Safety Fund of a Faro Bank,

—A beautiful simile, I expect:—

His pinched up face—like a piece of chalk

Well thumbed at school—shone cold and pale

Beneath its dirty coating.

His nose as sharp as a ten-penny nail,

Snuffed the incense-breathing gale

That came from the kitchen floating;

Moved by a feeling of abstract pity,

That’s cheap in town and scarce in the city,

I opened the door and let him in.

With a cheering grin

That spread from his chin

To the back of his head, he took a seat,

And babbled of meat,

And stared at his feet,

And in a wandering, listless way,

I very distinctly heard him say,

“Breathes there a man with soul so dead

Who never to himself hath said

This is my own great piece of bread?

Bread to me is one vast mystery,

And beef is only known in history,

And pork and beans

Are vapory dreams,

And mutton’s an unsubstantial fiction,

A base ante-diluvian infliction.”

I placed before him my entire larder,

And bade him “go it” with zeal and ardor—

Then left the room. An hour had flown,

I heard a crash—a dreadful groan,

And O! the horrid ghastly sight

That drove my life-blood’s crimson flight

Like lightning to my throbbing heart;

There lay the youth all torn apart,

Locks of hair, and arms and legs,

Scattered around and hung on pegs,

Dishes shattered,

Walls bespattered

With blood and dirt—and all because,

In strict accordance with nature’s laws,

The poor little wretch his stomach trusted,

And had eaten and eaten until he busted.