How many sick ones wish they were healthy;
How many beggar men wish they were wealthy;
How many ugly men wish they were pretty;
How many stupid ones wish they were witty;
How many bachelors wish they were married;
How many benedicts wish they had tarried;
Single or double, life’s full of trouble;
Riches are stubble, pleasure’s a bubble.

Title:Life's Full of Trouble


Publication:Bury Guardian

Published in:Bury

Date:March 1 1862

Keywords:, class, poverty


This poem is both light in tone and pessimistic in outlook, suggesting that happiness is illusory, the grass is always greener. The comic use of anaphora and repetition build towards a finish which contains clever internal rhymes, but the poem’s message appears to be to accept one’s lot with equanimity. Perhaps only a comic poem could get away with this kind of mordant fatalism during the Cotton Famine. – SR