THE SUPPER SUPERSTITION
by Thomas Hood
A Pathetic Ballad
"Oh flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified!"—Mercutio.
'Twas twelve o'clock by the Chelsea chimes,
When all in a hungry trim,
Good Mr. Jupp sat down to sup
With wife, and Kate and Jim.
Said he, "Upon this dainty cod
How bravely I shall sup"—
When, whiter than the tablecloth,
A ghost came rising up!
"O father dear, O mother dear,
Dear Kate, and brother Jim—
You know when some one went to sea—
Don't cry—but I am him!
"You hope some day with fond embrace
To greet your lonesome Jack,
But oh, I am come here to say
I'm never coming back!
"From Alexandria we set sail,
With corn, and oil, and figs,
But steering 'too much Sow,' we struck
Upon the Sow and Pigs!
"The ship we pumped till we could see
Old England from the tops;
When down she went with all our hands,
Right in the Channel's Chops.
"Just give a look in Norey's Chart,
The very place it tells:
I think it says twelve fathom deep,
Clay bottom, mixed with shells.
"Well, there we are till 'hands aloft,'
We have at last a call,
The pug I had for brother Jim,
Kate's parrot, too, and all."
"But oh, my spirit cannot rest
In Davy Jones's sod,
Till I've appeared to you and said,
'Don't sup on that there Cod!
"You live on land, and little think
What passes in the sea;
Last Sunday week, at 2 p. m.,
That Cod was picking me!
"Those oysters, too, that look so plump,
And seem so nicely done,
They put my corpse in many shells,
Instead of only one.
"Oh, do not eat those oysters, then,
And do not touch the shrimps;
When I was in my briny grave
They sucked my blood like imps!
"Don't eat what brutes would never eat,
The brutes I used to pat,
They'll know the smell they used to smell,
Just try the dog and cat!"
The spirit fled, they wept his fate,
And cried Alas, Alack!
At last up started brother Jim—
"Let's try if Jack, was Jack!"
They called the Dog, they called the Cat,
The little Kitten, too,
And down they put the Cod and sauce
To see what brutes would do.
Old Tray licked all the oysters up,
Puss never stood at crimps,
But munched the Cod—and little Kit
Quite feasted on the Shrimps!
The thing was odd, and minus Cod
And sauce, they stood like posts;
Oh, prudent folks, for fear of hoax,
Put no belief in Ghosts!