We Must All be Very Kind to Auntie Jessie

I remember clearly when a tiny little child
My Auntie came to stay with us.
Maybe as a family we were a trifle wild,
Our spirits ran away with us.
Every single day
When we were at play
Mother used to creep into the nursery and say:
We must all be very kind to Auntie Jessie,
For she’s never been a Mother or a Wife,
You mustn’t throw your toys at her
Or make a vulgar noise at her,
She hasn’t led a very happy life.
You must never lock her playfully in the bathroom
Or play tunes on her enameled Spanish comb.
Though unpleasant to behold
She’s a heart of purest gold
And Charity you know begins at home.
Relatives who come to stay are generally inclined
To fray the children’s nerves a bit,
Something in a maiden aunt just stupefies the mind,
From Virtue’s path one swerves a bit,
Though our childish joys
May have made a noise
Mother used to murmur though I know
Boys will be Boys.
We must all be very kind to Auntie Jessie,
And do everything we can to keep her bright.
If when you’re in the Underground
You hear her make as funny sound
It’s very rude to laugh at her outright.
You must never fill her nightdress case with beetles
Or beat up her Horlick’s Malted Milk to foam,
Though her kiss is worse than death
It’s unkind to hold your breath
For Charity you know begins at home.
We must all be very kind to Auntie Jessie,
And encourage her to see the sunny side,
It isn’t kind to rush at her
And hurl the blacking brush at her,
It’s things like this that trample on her pride,
Don’t molest her with a pail of Icy water,
If when wandering at night she chanced to roam,
Though the attic stairs are steep
Death comes peacefully in sleep
And Charity we hope begins at home.
––Noël Coward