First Of May

By Nicholas Lester

The winter’s breath of snow and sleet
No longer on our faces beat,
And loungers have resumed the street;
To work the house-wife quick will go
House cleaning, that the world may know
She is to dirt a deadly foe.

The house she’ll rummage through through,
The bed-rooms and the closets too;
Mid-floor their contents she will pile,
And greet her lord with winning smile
While she demands a carpet new.

Each table, bedstead, stand and chair.
Of scrubbing gets an ample share,
And soon the spouse becomes aware
The carpets from the floors are ripped,
And he must put them out to air;
(Let him remonstrate if he dare,)
And see that they are whipp’d.

The bureaus, brackets, stands and cases,
Must occupy some new-found places
For the ensuing year;
The parlor stove removed must be,
The pipes from soot be shaken free;
The pictures from the walls be taken;
The blankets, rugs and bed-quilts shaken;
And every nook with suds be drenched,
The kitchen fire remaining quench’d,
For dinner he in vain may look,
And should he grumble at the cook,
A flea gets in his ear.

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