Poets of John Company/The Late Mr. Simms

HENRY MEREDITH PARKER.

1796—1868.

The Late Mr. Simms.

Who did not know that Office Jaun of pale Pomona green.
With its drab and yellow lining, and picked out black between.
Which down the Esplanade did go at the ninth hour of the day?
We ne'er shall see it thus again,—Alas! and well-a-day!

With its bright brass patent axles, and its little hog-maned tatts.
And its ever jetty harness, which was always made by Watts,
The harness black and silver, and the ponies of dark grey,
And shall we never see it more,—Alas! and well-a-day!

With its very tidy coachman with a very old grey beard.
And its pair of neat clad sayces, on whom no spot appeared.
Not sitting lazily behind, but running all the way
By Mr. Simms' little coach—Alas! and well-a-day!

And when he reached the counting house he got out at the door.
And entering the office made just three bows and no more,
Then passing through the clerks he smiled, a sweet smile and a gay,
And kindly spoke the younger ones—Alas! and well-a-day!

And all did love to see him with his jacket rather long,
It was the way they wore them when good Mr. Simms was young,
With his Nankeen breeches buckled by two gold buckles alway.
And his China tight silk stockings, pink and shiny, well-a-day!


With his little frill like crisped snow, his waistcoat spotless white,
His cravat very narrow and a very little tight.
And a blue brooch, where, in diamond sparks, a ship at anchor lay,
The gift of Mr. Cruttenden—Alas! and well-a-day!

Then from the press where it abode, he took the ledger stout.
And looked upon it reverently, withinside and without.
Then placed his pencils, rubber, pens and knives in due array.
And Mr. Simms was ready for the business of the day.

And ever to the junior clerks his counsel it was wise,
That they shall loop their I's, and cross their t's, and dot their i's,
And honor Messrs. Sheringham, Leith, Badgery and Hay,
Whom he had served for forty years—Alas! and well-a-day!

And a very pleasant running hand good Mr. Simms did write,
His up-strokes were like gossamer, his down strokes black as night,
And his lines all clear and sparkling like a rivulet in May,
Meandered o'er the folios—Alas! and well-a-day!

And daily in a silver dish, as bright as bright could be,
At one o'clock his tiffin came, two sandwiches, or three,
It never came a minute soon, nor a minute did delay,
So punctual were good Mr. Simms' people—well-a-day!

And in the Mango season still a daily basket came.
With fruit as green as emeralds or ruddier than flame;
By Mr. Simms the sort had been imported from Bombay
And sown and grown beneath his eye—Alas! and well-a-day!

And when his tiffin it was done, he took a pint precise
Of well cooled soda water, but it was not cooled with ice,
And a little ginger essence (Oxley's) Mr. Simms did say
It comforted his rheumatiz'—Alas! and well-a-day!


Then on a Sunday after prayers, while waiting in the porch.
His talk was of the Bishop, and the vestry, and the church;
And two or three select young men would dine with him that day
To taste his old Madeira, and his curry called Malay.

For famous was the table that good Mr. Simms did keep
With his home fed ducks, his Madras fowls, and gram fed Patna sheep,
And the fruits from his own garden, and the dried fish from the Bay,
Sent up by bold Branch Pilot Stout—Alas! and well-a-day!

And he was full of anecdote, and spiced his prime Pale Ale
With many a cheerful bit of talk, and many a curious tale,
How Dexter ate his buttons off, and in a one horse chay
My Lord Cornwallis drove about—Alas! and well-a-day!

And every Doorga Poojah would good Mr. Simms explore,
The famous river Hoogly up as high as Barrackpore,
And visit the menagerie, and in his pleasant way,
Declare that all the bears were bores—Alas! and well-a-day!

Then, if the weather it was fine, to Chinsura he'd go,
With his nieces three in a Pinnace, and a smart young man or so,
In bright blue coats, and waistcoats, which were sparkling as the day.
And curly hair, and white kid gloves, a lover like array.

And at Chinsura, they walked about and then they went to tea,
With the ancient merchant Van der Zank, and the widow Van der Zee,
They were old friends of Mr. Simms, and parting he would say,
"Perchance we ne'er may meet again"—Alas, and well-a-day!


At length the hour did come for him, which surely comes for all,
From the beggar in his hovel to the monarch in his hall,
And when it came to Mr. Simms, he gently pass'd away,
As falling into pleasant sleep—Alas, and well-a-day!

And on his face there lingered still a sweet smile and a bland.
His Bible lying by his side, and some roses in his hand;
His spectacles still marked the place where he had read that day.
The words of faith and hope which cheered his spirit on its way.

And many were the weeping friends who followed him next night.
In many mourning coaches, found by Solitude and Kyte.
And many a circle still laments the good, the kind, the gay,
The hospitable Mr. Simms,—Alas! and well-a-day!