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A Friendly Address

Thomas Hood

I like you, Mrs. Fry! I like your name!
It speaks the very warmth you feel in pressing
In daily act round Charity’s great flame—
I like the crisp Browne way you have of dressing,
Good Mrs. Fry! I like the placid claim
You make to Christianity,—professing
Love, and good works—of course you buy of Barton,
Beside the young fry’s bookseller, Friend Darton!

I like, good Mrs. Fry, your brethren mute—
Those serious, solemn gentlemen that sport—
I should have said, that wear, the sober suit
Shap’d like a court dress—but for heaven’s court.
I like your sisters too,—sweet Rachel’s fruit—
Protestant nuns! I like their stiff support
Of virtue—and I like to see them clad
With such a difference—just like good from bad!

I like the sober colors—not the wet;
Those gaudy manufactures of the rainbow—
Green, orange, crimson, purple, violet—
In which the fair, the flirting, and the vain, go—
The others are a chaste, severer set,
In which the good, the pious, and the plain, go—
They’re moral standards, to know Christians by—
In short, they are your colours, Mrs. Fry!

As for the naughty tinges of the prism—
Crimson’s the cruel uniform of war—
Blue—hue of brimstone! minds no catechism;
And green is young and gay—not noted for
Goodness, or gravity, or quietism,
Till it is sadden’d down to tea-green, or
Olive—and purple’s giv’n to wine, I guess;
And yellow is a convict by its dress!

They’re all the devil’s liveries, that men
And women wear in servitude to sin—
But how will they come off, poor motleys, when
Sin’s wages are paid down, and they stand in
The Evil presence? You and I know, then,
How all the party colours will begin
To part—the Pittite hues will sadden there,
Whereas the Foxite shades will all show fair!

Witness their goodly labors one by one!
Russet makes garments for the needy poor—
Dove-colour preaches love to all—and dun
Calls every day at Charity’s street door—
Brown studies scripture, and bids woman shun
All gaudy furnishing—olive doth pour
Oil into wounds: and drab and slate supply
Scholar and book in Newgate, Mrs. Fry!

Well! Heaven forbid that I should discommend
The gratis, charitable, jail-endeavor!
When all persuasions in your praises blend—
The Methodist’s creed and cry are, Fry for ever!
No—I will be your friend—and, like a friend,
Point out your very worst defect—Nay, never
Start at that word!—But I must ask you why
You keep your school in Newgate, Mrs. Fry?

Too well I know the price our mother Eve
Paid for her schooling: but must all her daughters
Commit a petty larceny, and thieve—
Pay down a crime for “entrance” to your “quarters”?
Your classes may increase, but I must grieve
Over your pupils at their bread and waters!
Oh, tho’ it cost you rent—(and rooms run high)
Keep your school out of Newgate, Mrs. Fry!

O save the vulgar soul before it’s spoil’d!
Set up your mounted sign without the gate—
And there inform the mind before ’tis soil’d!
’Tis sorry writing on a greasy slate!
Nay, if you would not have your labors foil’d,
Take it inclining tow’rds a virtuous state,
Not prostrate and laid flat—else, woman meek!
The upright pencil will but hop and shriek!

Ah, who can tell how hard it is to drain
The evil spirit from the heart it preys in,—
To bring sobriety to life again,
Chok’d with the vile Anacreontic raisin,—
To wash Black Betty when her black’s ingrain,—
To stick a moral lacquer on Moll Brazen,
Of Suky Tawdry’s habits to deprive her;
To tame the wild-fowl-ways of Jenny Diver!

Ah, who can tell how hard it is to teach
Miss Nancy Dawson on her bed of straw—
To make Long Sal sew up the endless breach
She made in manners—to write heaven’s own law
On hearts of granite.—Nay, how hard to preach,
In cells, that are not memory’s—to draw
The moral thread, thro’ the immoral eye
Of blunt Whitechapel natures, Mrs. Fry!

In vain you teach them baby-work within:
’Tis but a clumsy botchery of crime;
’Tis but a tedious darning of old sin—
Come out yourself, and stitch up souls in time—
It is too late for scouring to begin
When virtue’s ravell’d out, when all the prime
Is worn away, and nothing sound remains;
You’ll fret the fabric out before the stains!

I like your chocolate, good Mistress Fry!
I like your cookery in every way;
I like your shrove-tide service and supply;
I like to hear your sweet Pandeans play;
I like the pity in your full-brimm’d eye;
I like your carriage, and your silken grey,
Your dove-like habits, and your silent preaching;
But I don’t like your Newgatory teaching.

Come out of Newgate, Mrs. Fry! Repair
Abroad, and find your pupils in the streets.
O, come abroad into the wholesome air,
And take your moral place, before Sin seats
Her wicked self in the Professor’s chair.
Suppose some morals raw! the true receipt’s
To dress them in the pan, but do not try
To cook them in the fire, good Mrs. Fry!

Put on your decent bonnet, and come out!
Good lack! the ancients did not set up schools
In jail—but at the Porch! hinting, no doubt,
That Vice should have a lesson in the rules
Before ’twas whipt by law.—O come about,
Good Mrs. Fry! and set up forms and stools
All down the Old Bailey, and thro’ Newgate-street,
But not in Mr. Wontner’s proper seat!

Teach Lady Barrymore, if, teaching, you
That peerless Peeress can absolve from dolour;
Teach her it is not virtue to pursue
Ruin of blue, or any other colour;
Teach her it is not Virtue’s crown to rue,
Month after month, the unpaid drunken dollar;
Teach her that “flooring Charleys” is a game
Unworthy one that bears a Christian name.

O come and teach our children—that ar’n’t ours—
That heaven’s straight pathway is a narrow way,
Not Broad St. Giles’s, where fierce Sin devours
Children, like Time—or rather they both prey
On youth together—meanwhile Newgate low’rs
Ev’n like a black cloud at the close of day,
To shut them out from any more blue sky:
Think of these hopeless wretches, Mrs. Fry!

You are not nice—go into their retreats,
And make them Quakers, if you will.—’Twere best
They wore straight collars, and their shirts sans pleats;
That they had hats with brims,—that they were drest
In garbs without lappels—than shame the streets
With so much raggedness.—You may invest
Much cash this way—but it will cost its price,
To give a good, round, real cheque to Vice!

In brief,—oh teach the child its moral rote,
Not in the way from which it won’t depart,—
But out—out—out! Oh, bid it walk remote!
And if the skies are clos’d against the smart,
Ev’n let him wear the single-breasted coat,
For that ensureth singleness of heart.—
Do what you will, his every want supply,
Keep him—but out of Newgate, Mrs. Fry!


Rose Terry Cooke

Ah! could I read Schemhammphorasch,
The wondrous keynote of the world,
What voices could I always hear
From tempests, with their black wings furled,
That on the sudden west winds steer,
And, muttering low their awful song,
Or pealing through the mountains strong,
Robe all the skies with sheeted fire;
That pour from heaven a rushing river,
That bid the hill-tops bow and quiver,
Mad with some fierce and wild desire.

The dreadful anthem of the wind,
That sweeps through forests as a plow,
That lays the greensward heaped below,
Would chant its meaning to my mind,
And I could tell the tale to man
In words that burn and glow with splendor;
Then should the whole wide sky surrender
Its hidden voice, its wondrous plan,
Asleep since earliest time began;
And all my soul, most like a blaze
That burns the branches whence it springeth,
Should flame to heaven in mightier lays
Than any mortal poet singeth,
If I could read Schemhammphorasch.

If I could read Schemhammphorasch,
When little birds are softly singing,
Or twitter from their greenwood nests,
Where safe and still the mother rests;
Or else, upon the glad wind springing,
Send up their tender morning song;
Then should I know their secret blisses,
The thrill of life and love they feel
When summer’s sun their bright heads kisses,
Or summer’s winds about them steal.
Or, listening to the early blossoms
That are so fleeting and so fair,
With perfume sighing from their bosoms
Its incense on the gracious air,
I think that I should hear a prayer
So sweet, so patient, and so lowly,
That mortal words most pure and rare
Would scarce unveil its meaning holy.
From forests whence the murmurous leaves
Breathe their content in rustling quiver,
Or droop when any rain-wind grieves,
Or where some broad and brimming river
O’erflowing to the mighty sea,
Sings the proud joy of destiny,
The glad acclaim of life and breath;
The courage of confronted death;
Ah! what a rapturous, glorious song
Should seize with bliss this earthly throng,
If I could read Schemhammphorasch!

If I could read Schemhammphorasch,
Then should I know the souls of men,
Too deep for any other ken;
I could translate the silent speech
Of glittering eye and knotted brow,
Though still the wily tongue might teach
A different script with voice and vow.
The blood that runs in traitorous veins;
The breath that gasps with hope or fear;
The stifled sigh, the hidden tear;
The death-pang of immortal pains,
That hide their mortal agony,
Would have their own low voice for me;
Their tale of hate and misery,
Their sob of passion and despair,
Their sacred love, their frantic prayer.
My soul would be the listening priest
To hear confession far and near,
And woe and want from first to least
Would shriek its utterance in my ear.
Ah, could I bear to live and hear
These cries that heaven itself might flee,
These terrors heaven alone may see,
If I could read Schemhammphorasch?

If I could read Schemhammphorasch,
My brain would burn with such a fire
As lights the awful cherubim;
My heart would burst with woe and ire,
My flesh would shrivel and expire;
Yea! God himself grow far and dim.
I cannot hold the boundless sea
In one small chalice lent to me;
I cannot grasp the starry sky
In one weak hand, and bid it lie
Where I would have a canopy;
I cannot hate and love together;
I cannot poise the heavy world,
Or hear its hiss through chaos hurled,
Or stay the falling of a feather.
No, not if Michael came once more,
Standing upon the sea and shore,
And held his right hand down to me,
That I that awful word might see,
And learn to read its lesson dread.
My soul in dust would bow her head,
Mine eyes would close, my lips would say,
‘Oh, Master! take thy gift away:
Leave me to live my little day
In peace and trust while yet I may.
For could I live, or love, or pray,
If I could read Schemhammphorasch?’

Why was this poem recommended?

Currently this poetry engine looks a set of features about the poems and chooses a poem with the most similar set of features. Below you can see the features of each poem. Right now "most similar" is a simple Euclidean distance. Further work includes adding more sophisticated features and determining similarity differently. I talk about the features and similarity metric more on the about page.

Feature A Friendly Address Schemhammphorasch
NumLines 170 109
NumWords 1162 686
WidthInChar 42.12 35.40
AvgWordSize 4.64 4.57
RepetitionScore 0.52 0.51
ObscurityScore 0.49 0.48
SentenceScore 0.08 0.09