The Mother’s Lament by Helen Selina Sheridan Blackwood Hay


It is now nearly forty years, I guess,
Since I was a girl coming out,
And Spriggins proposed — and I said, yes.
At old Lady Mumble’s rout
My match was reckon’d by no means bad.
Take the marrying world as it goes —
But then I must own — Mr. Spriggins had
A remarkably ugly nose!

Now the length or shape of your husband’s nose
Is a thing that don’t signify —
As long as your mother and aunts suppose
There’s enough to lead him by!
But I own it often has made me sigh,
At the time of our honeymoon’s close —
To hear the folks who were passing by
Remark on my Spriggins’s nose

It wasn’t round — nor was it square —
Nor three-corner’d as some noses be!
But upon my conscience I do declare
‘Twas a mixture of all the three!
And oh! how painful it was to hear,
When our son was in swaddling clothes,
The nurses exclaim — ” Oh, sweet little dear,
He has got his papa’s own nose!”

Five daughters besides were born to me
To add to my woe and care —
Bell, Susan, Jemima, and Dorothee,
And Kate — who has sandy hair;
But it isn’t the number that makes me grieve,
Tho’ they cost me a mint in clothes,
— Five gawky girls ! — but you’d hardly believe —
They have all got their father’s nose!

They’ve been to Brighton for many years past.
And a season in London too.
And Bell nearly got a proposal at last —
But we found that it wouldn’t do!
And oh! ’tis a grievous thing, I declare.
To be told, wherever one goes,
“I should know the Miss Sprigginses — anywhere —
They’ve all got the family nose!”

No beau will be seen in our company.
Do all that we possibly can.
Except Mr. Green — who is fifty-three —
And Gubbins — the Doctor’s young man!
There’s Captain Hodson and Admiral Bluff,
I wonder they don’t propose —
For really the girls are well enough —
If they hadn’t their father’s nose!

From: Helen, Lady Dufferin and the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava (ed.), Songs, Poems, & Verses. Edited with a Memoir and some Account of the Sheridan Family, by her Son, 1895, John Murray: London, pp. 130-133.

Date: c1830

By: Helen Selina Sheridan Blackwood Hay (1807-1867)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: