Of all our pains, since man was curst,
I mean of body, not the mental,
To name the worst, among the worst,
The dental sure is transcendental;
Some bit of masticating bone,
That ought to help to clear a shelf,
But lets its proper work alone,
And only seems to gnaw itself;
In fact, of any grave attack
On victual there is little danger,
‘Tis so like coming to the rack,
As well as going to the manger.
Old Hunks–it seemed a fit retort
Of justice on his grinding ways–
Possessed a grinder of the sort,
That troubled all his latter days.
The best of friends fall out, and so
His teeth had done some years ago,
Save some old stumps with ragged root,
And they took turn about to shoot;
If he drank any chilly liquor,
They made it quite a point to throb;
But if he warmed it on the hob,
Why then they only twitched the quicker.
One tooth–I wonder such a tooth
Had never killed him in his youth–
One tooth he had with many fangs,
That shot at once as many pangs,
It had a universal sting;
One touch of that ecstatic stump
Could jerk his limbs and make him jump,
Just like a puppet on a string;
And what was worse than all, it had
A way of making others bad.
There is, as many know, a knack,
With certain farming undertakers,
And this same tooth pursued their track,
By adding achers still to achers!
One way there is, that has been judged
A certain cure, but Hunks was loth
To pay the fee, and quite begrudged
To lose his tooth and money both;
In fact, a dentist and the wheel
Of Fortune are a kindred cast,
For after all is drawn, you feel
It’s paying for a blank at last;
So Hunks went on from week to week,
And kept his torment in his cheek;
Oh! how it sometimes set him rocking,
With that perpetual gnaw–gnaw–gnaw,
His moans and groans were truly shocking,
And loud,–altho’ he held his jaw.
Many a tug he gave his gum
And tooth, but still it would not come,
Tho’ tied to string by some firm thing,
He could not draw it, do his best,
By draw’rs, altho’ he tried a chest.
At last, but after much debating,
He joined a score of mouths in waiting,
Like his, to have their troubles out.
Sad sight it was to look about
At twenty faces making faces,
With many a rampant trick and antic,
For all were very horrid cases,
And made their owners nearly frantic.
A little wicket now and then
Took one of these unhappy men,
And out again the victim rushed,
While eyes and mouth together gushed;
At last arrived our hero’s turn,
Who plunged his hands in both his pockets,
And down he sat, prepared to learn
How teeth are charmed to quit their sockets.
Those who have felt such operations,
Alone can guess the sort of ache,
When his old tooth began to break
The thread of old associations;
It touched a string in every part,
It had so many tender ties;
One cord seemed wrenching at his heart,
And two were tugging at his eyes;
“Bone of his bone,” he felt, of course,
As husbands do in such divorce;
At last the fangs gave way a little,
Hunks gave his head a backward jerk,
And lo! the cause of all this work,
Went–where it used to send his victual!