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This poem isn't dedicated to Mary Kelly.

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  • This poem isn't dedicated to Mary Kelly.

    Thomas Hood. 1798–1845



    ONE more unfortunate,
    Weary of breath,
    Rashly importunate,
    Gone to her death!


    Take her up tenderly,
    Lift her with care;
    Fashioned so slenderly,—
    Young, and so fair!


    Look at her garments
    Clinging like cerements,
    Whilst the wave constantly
    Drips from her clothing;
    Take her up instantly,
    Loving, not loathing!


    Touch her not scornfully!
    Think of her mournfully,
    Gently and humanly,—
    Not of the stains of her;
    All that remains of her
    Now is pure womanly.


    Make no deep scrutiny
    Into her mutiny,
    Rash and undutiful;
    Past all dishonor,
    Death has left on her
    Only the beautiful.


    Still, for all slips of hers—
    One of Eve’s family—
    Wipe those poor lips of hers,
    Oozing so clammily.


    Loop up her tresses
    Escaped from the comb,—
    Her fair auburn tresses,—
    Whilst wonderment guesses
    Where was her home?


    Who was her father?
    Who was her mother?
    Had she a sister?
    Had she a brother?
    Or was there a dearer one
    Still, and a nearer one
    Yet, than all other?


    Alas for the rarity
    Of Christian charity
    Under the sun!
    O, it was pitiful!
    Near a whole city full,
    Home she had none.


    Sisterly, brotherly,
    Fatherly, motherly
    Feelings had changed,—
    Love, by harsh evidence,
    Thrown from its eminence;
    Even God’s providence
    Seeming estranged.


    Where the lamps quiver
    So far in the river,
    With many a light
    From window and casement,
    From garret to basement,
    She stood, with amazement,
    Houseless by night.


    The bleak wind of March
    Made her tremble and shiver;
    But not the dark arch,
    Or the black flowing river;
    Mad from life’s history,
    Glad to death’s mystery
    Swift to be hurled,—
    Anywhere, anywhere
    Out of the world!


    In she plunged boldly—
    No matter how coldly
    The rough river ran—
    Over the brink of it!
    Picture it,—think of it!
    Dissolute man!
    Lave in it, drink of it,
    Then, if you can!


    Take her up tenderly,
    Lift her with care!
    Fashioned so slenderly,—
    Young, and so fair!


    Ere her limbs frigidly
    Stiffen too rigidly,
    Decently, kindly,
    Smooth and compose them;
    And her eyes, close them,
    Staring so blindly!
    Dreadfully staring
    Through muddy impurity,
    As when with the daring
    Last look of despairing
    Fixed on futurity.


    Perishing gloomily,
    Spurred by contumely,
    Cold inhumanity,
    Burning insanity,
    Into her rest!
    Cross her hands humbly,
    As if praying dumbly,
    Over her breast!


    Owning her weakness,
    Her evil behavior,
    And leaving, with meekness,
    Her sins to her Saviour!
    I cannot say that I do not disagree with you.
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