My mother she had children five and four are dead and gone;
While I, least worthy to survive, persist in living on.
She looks at me, I must confess, sometimes with spite and bitterness.
My mother is three-score and ten, while I am forty-three,
You don’t know how it hurts me when we go somewhere to tea,
And people tell her on the sly we look like sisters, she and I.
It hurts to see her secret glee; but most, because it’s true.
Sometimes I think she thinks that she looks younger of the two.
Oh as I gently take her arm, how I would love to do her harm!
For ever since I cam from school she put it in my head
I was a weakling and a fool, a “born old maid” she said.
“You’ll always stay at home,” sighed she, “and keep your Mother company.”
Oh pity is a bitter brew; I’ve drunk it to the lees;
For there is little else to do but do my best to please:
My life has been so little worth I curse the hour she gave me birth.
I curse the hour she gave me breath, who never wished me wife;
My happiest day will be the death of her who gave me life;
I hate her for the life she gave: I hope to dance upon her grave.
She wearing roses in her hat; I wince to hear her say:
“Poor Alice this, poor Alice that,” she drains my joy away.
It seems to brace her up that she can pity, pity, pity me.
You’ll see us walking in the street, with careful step and slow;
And people often say: “How sweet!” as arm in arm we go.
Like chums we never are apart – yet oh the hatred in my heart!
My chest is weak, and I might be (O God!) the first to go.
For her what triumph that would be – she thinks of it, I know.
To outlive all her kith and kin – how she would glow beneath her skin!
She says she will not make her Will, until she takes to bed;
She little thinks if thoughts could kill, to-morrow she’d be dead. . . .
“Please come to breakfast, Mother dear; Your coffee will be cold I fear.”