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Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
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Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 6 Feb 2007 09:43:14 -0800
TEXT/PLAIN (32 lines)
          A Birthday Surprise, 7/Feb/1812
     Who noticed the weather that wintertime?
     Not dirty enough to call off dances
     Or hinder fathers from proclaiming births
     In houses much like others in that place.

     Still, a thousand more were born along o' you,
     Queer-named: not Pickens or Rickens or Quickens
     But Smangle, Smauker, Pipchin and Pippen,
     A spy named Cly, a teacher called Peecher,

     All odd, unheralded like you, though one,
     A David born to share your natal day, 
     Had talky Micawber to match "My Father,"
     Gardens in mem'ry, kneeling attendants.

     But you, that day!  Who sensed your stunning gifts?
     The "Lady" proclaimed for producing an heir?
     The boastful John treating mates at the pub?
     Or, far-off, the keeper of the house at Crewe?

     You gave no hint, not knowing what you were,
     A routine child in a small sea town, but
     Quick, observant, readying to surprise
     Them all, your land, and--well, yes!--the world.  

     Patrick McCarthy
     UC Santa Barbara
     Editor, Dickens Forum (dickns-l)