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A Tale Of A Trumpet
by [?]

“Old woman, old woman, will you go a-shearing?
Speak a little louder, for I’m very hard of hearing.”
Old Ballad.

Of all old women hard of hearing, The deafest, sure, was Dame Eleanor Spearing! On her head, it is true, Two flaps there grew, That served for a pair of gold rings to go through, But for any purpose of ears in a parley, They heard no more than ears of barley.

No hint was needed from D.E.F. You saw in her face that the woman was deaf; From her twisted mouth to her eyes so peery, Each queer feature asked a query; A look that said in a silent way, “Who? and What? and How? and Eh? I’d give my ears to know what you say!”

And well she might! for each auricular Was deaf as a post–and that post in particular That stands at the corner of Dyott Street now, And never hears a word of a row! Ears that might serve her now and then As extempore racks for an idle pen; Or to hang with hoops from jewellers’ shops With coral, ruby, or garnet drops; Or, provided the owner so inclined, Ears to stick a blister behind; But as for hearing wisdom, or wit, Falsehood, or folly, or tell-tale-tit, Or politics, whether of Fox or Pitt, Sermon, lecture, or musical bit, Harp, piano, fiddle, or kit, They might as well, for any such wish, Have been butter’d, done brown, and laid in a dish! She was deaf as a post,–as said before– And as deaf as twenty similes more, Including the adder, that deafest of snakes, Which never hears the coil it makes.

She was deaf as a house–which modern tricks Of language would call as deaf as bricks– For her all human kind were dumb, Her drum, indeed, was so muffled a drum, That none could get a sound to come, Unless the Devil who had Two Sticks! She was deaf as a stone–say, one of the stones Demosthenes suck’d to improve his tones; And surely deafness no further could reach Than to be in his mouth without hearing his speech!

She was deaf as a nut–for nuts, no doubt, Are deaf to the grub that’s hollowing out– As deaf, alas! as the dead and forgotten– (Gray has noticed the waste of breath, In addressing the “dull, cold ear of death”), Or the Felon’s ear that was stuff’d with Cotton– Or Charles the First in statue quo; Or the still-born figures of Madame Tussaud, With their eyes of glass, and their hair of flax, That only stare whatever you “ax,” For their ears, you know, are nothing but wax.

She was deaf as the ducks that swam in the pond, And wouldn’t listen to Mrs. Bond,– As deaf as any Frenchman appears, When he puts his shoulders into his ears: And–whatever the citizen tells his son– As deaf as Gog and Magog at one! Or, still to be a simile-seeker, As deaf as dogs’-ears to Enfield’s Speaker!

She was deaf as any tradesman’s dummy, Or as Pharaoh’s mother’s mother’s mummy; Whose organs, for fear of our modern sceptics, Were plugg’d with gums and antiseptics.

She was deaf as a nail–that you cannot hammer A meaning into for all your clamor– There never was such a deaf old Gammer! So formed to worry Both Lindley and Murray, By having no ear for Music or Grammar!

Deaf to sounds, as a ship out of soundings, Deaf to verbs, and all their compoundings, Adjective, noun, and adverb, and particle, Deaf to even the definite article– No verbal message was worth a pin, Though you hired an earwig to carry it in!

In short, she was twice as deaf as Deaf Burke, Or all the Deafness in Yearsley’s work, Who in spite of his skill in hardness of hearing, Boring, blasting, and pioneering, To give the dunny organ a clearing, Could never have cured Dame Eleanor Spearing.