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Cover

p. iiTHE BOOK OF BALLADS

edited by
BON GAULTIER

WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES

illustrated by
DOYLE, LEECH, AND CROWQUILL

new edition

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
EDINBURGH AND LONDON
MCMIV

All Rights reserved

p. iii Frontispiece

p. iv Title Page

p. vPREFACE.

A further edition of this book—the sixteenth—having been called for, I have been asked by the publishers to furnish a preface to it.  For prefaces I have no love.  Books should speak for themselves.  Prefaces can scarcely be otherwise than egotistic, and one would not willingly add to the too numerous illustrations of this tendency with which the literature of the day abounds.  I would much rather leave the volume with the simple “Envoy” which I wrote for it when the Bon Gaultier Ballads were first gathered into a volume.  There the products of the dual authorship of Aytoun and myself were ascribed to the Bon Gaultier under whose editorial auspices they had for the most part seen the light.  But my publishers tell me p. vithat people want to know why, and how, and by which of us these poems were written,—curiosity, complimentary, no doubt, but which it is by no means easy for the surviving bard to satisfy.  It is sixty years since most of these verses were written with the light heart and fluent pen of youth, and with no thought of their surviving beyond the natural life of ephemeral magazine pieces of humour.  After a long and very crowded life, of which literature has occupied the smallest part, it is difficult for me to live back into the circumstances and conditions under which they were written, or to mark, except to a very limited extent, how far to Aytoun, and how far to myself, separately, the contents of the volume are to be assigned.  I found this difficult when I wrote Aytoun’s Life in 1867, and it is necessarily a matter of greater difficulty now in 1903.

I can but endeavour to show how Aytoun and I came together, and how for two or three years we worked together in literature.  Aytoun (born 21st June 1813) was three years older than myself, and he was known already as a writer in ‘Blackwood’s Magazine’ when I made his acquaintance in 1841.  For p. viisome years I had been writing in Tait’s and Fraser’s Magazines, and elsewhere, articles and verses, chiefly humorous, both in prose and verse, under the nom de guerre of Bon Gaultier.  This name, which seemed a good one for the author of playful and occasionally satirical papers, had caught my fancy in Rabelais, [vii] where he says of himself, “A moy n’est que honneur et gloire d’estre diet et reputé Bon Gaultier et bon Compaignon; en ce nom, suis bien venue en toutes bonnes compaignees de Pantagruelistes.”

It was to one of these papers that I owed my introduction to Aytoun.  What its nature was may be inferred from its title—“Flowers of Hemp; or, The Newgate Garland.  By One of the Family.”  Like most of the papers on which we subsequently worked together, the object was not merely to amuse, but also to strike at some prevailing literary craze or vitiation of taste.  I have lived to see many such crazes since.  Every decade seems to produce one.  But the particular craze against which this paper was directed was the popularity of novels and songs, of which the ruffians p. viiiof the Newgate Calendar were the accepted heroes.  If my memory does not deceive me, it began with Harrison Ainsworth’s ‘Rookwood,’ in which the gallantries of Dick Turpin, and the brilliant description of his famous Ride to York, caught the public fancy.  Encouraged by the success of this book, Ainsworth next wooed the sympathies of the public for Jack Sheppard and his associates in his novel of that name.  The novel was turned into a melodrama, in which Mrs Keeley’s clever embodiment of that “marvellous boy” made for months and months the fortunes of the Adelphi Theatre; while the sonorous musical voice of Paul Bedford as Blueskin in the same play brought into vogue a song with the refrain,

“Nix my dolly, pals, fake away!”

which travelled everywhere, and made the patter of thieves and burglars “familiar in our mouths as household words.”  It deafened us in the streets, where it was as popular with the organ-grinders and German bands as Sullivan’s brightest melodies ever were in a later day.  It clanged at midday from the p. ixsteeple of St Giles, the Edinburgh cathedral; [ix] it was whistled by every dirty “gutter-snipe,” and chanted in drawing-rooms by fair lips, that, little knowing the meaning of the words they sang, proclaimed to their admiring friends—

“In a box of the stone jug I was born,
Of a hempen widow the kid forlorn;
My noble father, as I’ve heard say,
Was a famous marchant of capers gay;”

ending with the inevitable and insufferable chorus,

“Nix my dolly, pals, fake away!”

Soon after the Newgate Calendar was appealed to for a hero by the author of ‘Pelham,’ who had already won no small distinction, and who in his ‘Paul Clifford’ did his best to throw a halo of romance around the highwayman’s career.  Not satisfied with this, Bulwer next claimed the sympathies of his readers for Eugene Aram, and exalted a very common type of murderer into a nobly minded and highly sentimental scholar.  Crime and criminals became the favourite theme of a p. xmultitude of novelists of a lower class.  They even formed the central interest of the ‘Oliver Twist’ of Charles Dickens, whose Fagin and his pupil “the Artful Dodger,” Bill Sykes and Nancy, were simultaneously presented to us in their habits as they lived by the genius of George Cruikshank, with a power that gave a double interest to Dickens’s masterly delineation of these worthies.

The time seemed—in 1841—to have come to open people’s eyes to the dangerous and degrading taste of the hour, and it struck me that this might be done by pushing to still further extravagance the praises which had been lavishly bestowed upon the gentlemen whose career generally terminated in Newgate or on the Tyburn Tree, and by giving “the accomplishment of verse” to the sentiments and the language which formed the staple of the popular thieves’ literature of the circulating libraries.  The medium chosen was the review of a manuscript, supposed to be sent to the writer by a man who had lived so fully up to his own convictions as to the noble vocation of those who set law at defiance, and lived by picking pockets, burglary, and highway robbery, p. xidiversified by an occasional murder, that, with the finisher of the law’s assistance, he had ended his exploits in what the slang of his class called “a breakfast of hartichoke with caper sauce.”  How hateful the phrase!  But it was one of many such popularly current in those days.

The author of my “Thieves’ Anthology” was described in my paper as a well-born man of good education, who, having ruined himself by his bad habits, had fallen into the criminal ranks, but had not forgotten the literæ humaniores which he had learned at the Heidelberg University.  Of the purpose with which he had written he spoke thus in what I described as the fragments of a preface to his Miscellany:—

“To rescue from oblivion the martyrs of independence, to throw around the mighty names that flash upon us from the squalor of the Chronicles of Newgate the radiance of a storied imagination, to clothe the gibbet and the hulks ‘in golden exhalations of the dawn,’ and secure for the boozing-ken and the gin-palace that hold upon the general sympathies which has too long been monopolised by the cottage and the drawing-room, has been the aim and the achievement of many recent authors of p. xiidistinction.  How they have succeeded, let the populous state of the public jails attest.  The office of ‘dubsman’ [hangman] has ceased to be a sinecure, and the public and Mr Joseph Hume have the satisfaction of knowing that these useful functionaries have now got something to do for their salaries.  The number of their pupils has increased, is increasing, and is not likely to be diminished.  But much remains to be done.  Many an untenanted cell still echoes only to the sighs of its own loneliness.  New jails are rising around us, which require to be filled.  The Penitentiary presently erecting at Perth is of the most commodious description.

“In this state of things I have bethought myself of throwing, in the words of Goethe, ‘my corn into the great seed-field of time,’ in the hope that it may blossom to purposes of great public utility.  The aid of poetry has hitherto been but partially employed in the spread of a taste for Conveyancing, especially in its higher branches.  Or where the Muse has shown herself, it has been but in the evanescent glimpses of a song.  She has plumed her wings for no sustained flight. . . .

“The power of poetry over the heart and impulses of man has been recognised by all writers from Aristotle down to Serjeant Talfourd.  In dexterous hands it has been known to subvert a severe chastity by the insinuations of a holy flame, to clothe impurity in vestments ‘bright with something p. xiiiof an angel light,’ to exalt spleen into elevation of soul, and selfishness into a noble scorn of the world, and, with the ringing cadences of an enthusiastic style, to ennoble the vulgar and to sanctify the low.  How much may be done, with an engine of such power, in increasing the numbers of ‘The Family’ may be conceived.  The Muse of Faking, fair daughter of the herald Mercury, claims her place among ‘The Mystic Nine.’  Her language, erewhile slumbering in the pages of the Flash Dictionary, now lives upon the lips of all, even in the most fashionable circles.  Ladies accost crossing-sweepers as ‘dubsmen’; whist-players are generally spoken of in gambling families as ‘dummy-hunters’; children in their nursery sports are accustomed to ‘nix their dolls’; and the all but universal summons to exertion of every description is ‘Fake away!’

“‘Words are things,’ says Apollonius of Tyana.  We cannot be long familiar with a symbol without becoming intimate with that which it expresses.  Let the public mind, then, be in the habit of associating these and similar expressions with passages of poetical power, let the ideas they import be imbedded in their hearts and glorified in their imaginations, and the fairest results may with confidence be anticipated.”

In song and sonnet and ballad these views were illustrated and enforced.  They served p. xivthe purpose of the ridicule which it was hoped might operate to cure people of the prevailing toleration for the romance of the slums and the thieves’ kitchen.  Naturally parody was freely used.  Wordsworth did not escape.  His

“Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour,”

found its echo in

“Turpin, thou shouldst be living at this hour,
England hath need of thee,” &c.

And his “Great men have been among us,” &c., was perverted into

“Great men have been among us,—Names that lend
  A lustre to our calling; better none;
  Maclaine, Duval, Dick Turpin, Barrington,
Blueskin and others, who called Sheppard friend.
.      .        .        .
. . . Now, ’tis strange,
We never see such souls as we had then;
  Perpetual larcenies and such small change!
No single cracksman paramount, no code,
No master spirit, that will take the road,
But equal dearth of pluck and highwaymen!”

Nor did even Shelley’s magnificent sonnet “Ozymandias” escape the profane hand of the burglar poet.  He wrote,—

p. xv“I met a cracksman coming down the Strand,
  Who said, ‘A huge Cathedral, piled of stone,
Stands in a churchyard, near St Martin’s Le Grand,
  Where keeps Saint Paul his sacerdotal throne.
A street runs by it to the northward.  There
For cab and bus is writ ‘No Thoroughfare,’
  The Mayor and Councilmen do so command.
And in that street a shop, with many a box,
  Upon whose sign these fateful words I scanned:
‘My name is Chubb, who makes the Patent Locks;
  Look on my works, ye burglars, and despair!’
Here made he pause, like one that sees a blight
  Mar all his hopes, and sighed with drooping air,
‘Our game is up, my covies, blow me tight!’”

The versatile genius of the poet was equally at home in the simpler lyric region of the Haynes Bayley school.  Taking for his model the favourite drawing-room ballad of the period, “She wore a wreath of roses the night that first we met,” he made a parody of its rhythmical cadence the medium for presenting some leading incidents in the career of a Circe of “the boozing ken,” as thus,—

“She wore a rouge like roses the night that first we met;
Her lovely mug was smiling o’er mugs of heavy wet;
Her red lips had the fulness, her voice the husky tone,
That told her drink was of a kind where water was unknown.”

p. xviThen after a few more glimpses of this charming creature in her downward progress, the bard wound up with this characteristic close to her public life,—

“I saw her but a moment, but methinks I see her now,
As she dropped the judge a curtsey, and he made her a bow.”

But it would be out of place to dwell longer upon those reckless imitations.  The only poem which ultimately found a place in the Bon Gaultier volume was “The Death of Duval.”

The paper was a success.  Aytoun was taken by it, and sought an introduction to me by our common friend Edward Forbes the eminent Naturalist, then a leading spirit among the students of the Edinburgh University, beloved and honoured by all who knew him.  Aytoun’s name was familiar to me from his contributions to ‘Blackwood’s Magazine,’ and I was well pleased to make his acquaintance, which rapidly grew into intimate friendship, as it could not fail to do with a man of a nature so manly and genial, and so full of spontaneous humour, as well as of marked literary ability.  p. xviiHis fancy had been caught by some of the things I had written in this and other papers under the name of Bon Gaultier, and when I proposed to go on with articles in a similar vein, he fell readily into the plan and agreed to assist in it.  Thus a kind of Beaumont and Fletcher partnership was formed, which commenced in a series of humorous papers that were published in Tait’s and Fraser’s Magazines during the years 1842, 1843, and 1844.  In these papers appeared, with a few exceptions, the verses which form the present volume.  They were only a portion, but no doubt the best portion, of a great number of poems and parodies which made the chief attraction of papers under such headings as “Puffs and Poetry,” “My Wife’s Album,” “The Poets of the Day,” and “Cracknels for Christmas.”

In the last of these the parody appeared under the name of “The Jilted Gent, by Theodore Smifzer,” which, as “The Lay of the Lovelorn,” has become perhaps the most popular of the series.  I remember well Aytoun bringing to me some ten or a dozen lines of admirable parody of “Locksley Hall.”  That poem had been published about two years before, and was p. xviiiat the time by no means widely known, but was enthusiastically admired by both Aytoun and myself.  What these lines were I cannot now be sure, but certainly they were some of the best in the poem.  They were too good to appear as a fragment in the paper I was engaged upon, and I set to work to mould them into the form of a complete poem, in which it is now known.  It was introduced in the paper thus:—

“There is a peculiar atrocity in the circumstances which gave rise to the following poem, that stirs even the Dead Sea of our sensibilities.  The lady appears to have carried on a furious flirtation with the bard—a cousin of her own—which she, naturally perhaps, but certainly cruelly, terminated by marrying an old East Indian nabob, with a complexion like curry powder, innumerable lacs of rupees, and a woful lack of liver.  A refusal by one’s cousin is a domestic treason of the most ruthless kind; and, assuming the author’s statement to be substantially correct, we must say that the lady’s conduct was disgraceful.  What her sensations must be on reading the following passionate appeal we cannot of course divine; but if one spark of feeling lingers in her bosom, she must, for four-and-twenty hours at least, have little appetite for mulligatawny.”

p. xixThe reviewer then quotes the poem down to the general commination, ending with

“Cursed be the clerk and parson,—cursed be the whole concern!”

He then resumes his commentary:—

“This sweeping system of anathema may be consonant to what the philosophers call a high and imaginative mood of passion, but it is surely as unjust as any fulminations that ever emanated from the Papal Chair.  No doubt Cousin Amy behaved shockingly; but why, on that account, should the Bank of England, incorporated by Royal Charter, or the most respectable practitioner who prepared the settlements, along with his innocent clerk, be handed over to the uncovenanted mercies of the foul fiend?  No, no, Smifzer, this will never do!  In a more manly strain is what follows.”

The remainder of the poem is then given, ending with,

“Rest thee with thy yellow nabob, spider-hearted Cousin Amy!”

and the critic resumes:—

“Bravo, Smifzer!  This is the right sort of thing—no wishy-washy snivelling about a wounded heart and all that kind of stuff, but savage sarcasm, the lava of a volcanic spirit.  In a fine prophetic strain is p. xxthat vision of Amy’s feelings as the inebriated nawab stumbles hazily into the drawing-room, steaming fulsomely of chilma!  And that picture of the African jungle, with Smifzer in puris mounted on a high-trotting giraffe, with his twelve dusky brides around him,—Cruikshank alone could do it justice.  But the triumph of the poem is in the high-toned sentiment of civilisation and moral duty, which, esteeming ‘the grey barbarian’ lower than the ‘Christian cad,’—and that is low enough in all conscience,—tears the captivating delusions of freedom and polygamy from the poet’s eyes, even when his pulse is throbbing at the wildest, and sends him from the shades of the palm and the orange tree to the advertising columns of the ‘Morning Post.’  This is indeed a great poem, and we need only add that the reader will find something like it in Mr Alfred Tennyson’s ‘Locksley Hall.’  There has been pilfering somewhere; but Messieurs Smifzer and Tennyson must settle it between them.”

How little did I dream, when writing this, that I should hear the parody quoted through the years up till now almost as often as the original poem!  Smifzer was wiser than Tennyson, for he never spoiled the effect of his poem by admitting, like Tennyson in his “Locksley Hall, Sixty Years After,” that it p. xxiwas a good thing that “spider-hearted” Amy threw him over as she did.

Luckily for us, not a few poets were then living whose style and manner of thought were sufficiently marked to make imitation easy, and sufficiently popular for a parody of their characteristics to be readily recognised.  Lockhart’s “Spanish Ballads” were as familiar in the drawing-room as in the study.  Macaulay’s “Lays of Ancient Rome,” and his two other fine ballads, were still in the freshness of their fame.  Tennyson and Mrs Browning were opening up new veins.  These, with Moore, Leigh Hunt, Uhland, and others of minor note, lay ready to our hands, as Scott, Byron, Crabbe, Coleridge, Moore, Wordsworth, and Southey had done to James and Horace Smith in 1812, when writing the “Rejected Addresses.”  Never, probably, were verses thrown off with a keener sense of enjoyment, and assuredly the poets parodied had no warmer admirers than ourselves.  Very pleasant were the hours when we met, and now Aytoun and now myself would suggest the subjects for each successive article, and the verses with which they were to be illustrated.  Most commonly this p. xxiiwas done in our rambles to favourite spots in the suburbs of “our own romantic town,” on Arthur Seat, or by the shores of the Forth, and at other times as we sat together of an evening, when the duties of the day were over, and joined in putting line after line together until the poem was completed.  In writing thus for our own amusement we never dreamed that these “nugæ literariæ” would live beyond the hour.  It was, therefore, a pleasant surprise when we found to what an extent they became popular, not only in England, but also in America, which had come in for no small share of severe though well-meant ridicule.  In those days who could say what fate might have awaited us had we visited the States, and Aytoun been known to be the author of “The Lay of Mr Colt” and “The Fight with the Snapping Turtle,” or myself as the chronicler of “The Death of Jabez Dollar” and “The Alabama Duel”?  As it was, our transatlantic friends took a liberal revenge by instantly pirating the volume, and selling it by thousands with a contemptuous disregard of author’s copyright.

For Aytoun the extravagances of melodrama p. xxiiiand the feats and eccentricities of the arena at Astley’s amphitheatre had always a peculiar charm.  “The terrible Fitzball,” the English Dumas, in quantity, not quality, of melodrama, Gomersal, one of the chief equestrians, and Widdicomb, the master of the ring at Astley’s, were three of his favourite heroes.  Ducrow, manager of Astley’s, the most daring and graceful of equestrians, and the fair Miss Woolford, the star of his troupe, had charms irresistible for all lovers of the circus.  In Aytoun’s enthusiasm I fully shared.  Mine found expression in “The Courtship of our Cid,” Aytoun’s in “Don Fernando Gomersalez,” in which I recognise many of my own lines, but of which the conception and the best part of the verses were his.  Years afterwards his delight in the glories of the ring broke out in the following passage in a too-good-to-be-forgotten article in ‘Blackwood,’ which, to those who may never hope to see in any circus anything so inspiring, so full of an imaginative glamour, may give some idea of the nightly scenes in the halcyon days of Astley’s:—

“We delight to see, at never-failing Astley’s, the revived glories of British prowess—Wellington in p. xxivthe midst of his staff, smiling benignantly on the facetious pleasantries of a Fitzroy Somerset—Sergeant M’Craw of the Forty-Second delighting the élite of Brussels by the performance of the reel of Tullochgorum at the Duchess of Richmond’s ball—the charge of the Scots Greys—the single-handed combat of Marshal Ney and the infuriated Life-Guardsman Shaw—and the final retreat of Napoleon amidst a volley of Roman candles and the flames of an arsenicated Hougomont.  Nor is our gratification less to discern, after the subsiding of the showers of sawdust so gracefully scattered by that groom in the doeskin integuments, the stately form of Widdicomb, cased in martial apparel, advancing towards the centre of the ring, and commanding—with imperious gesture, and some slight flagellation in return for dubious compliment—the double-jointed clown to assist the Signora Cavalcanti to her seat upon the celebrated Arabian.  How lovely looks the lady, as she vaults to her feet upon the breadth of the yielding saddle!  With what inimitable grace does she whirl these tiny banners around her head, as winningly as a Titania performing the sword exercise!  How coyly does she dispose her garments and floating drapery to hide the too-maddening symmetry of her limbs!  Gods!  She is transformed all at once into an Amazon—the fawn-like timidity of her first demeanour is gone.  Bold and beautiful flushes her cheek with animated crimson—her full voluptuous lip is more compressed and firm—the deep passion p. xxvof the huntress flashing in her lustrous eyes!  Widdicomb becomes excited—he moves with quicker step around the periphery of his central circle—incessant is the smacking of his whip—not this time directed against Mr Merriman, who at his ease is enjoying a swim upon the sawdust—and lo! the grooms rush in, six bars are elevated in a trice, and over them all bounds the volatile Signora like a panther, nor pauses until with airy somersets she has passed twice through the purgatory of the blazing hoop, and then, drooping and exhausted, sinks like a Sabine into the arms of the Herculean master, who—a second Romulus—bears away his lovely burden to the stables, amid such a whirlwind of applause as Kemble might have been proud to earn.”

Astley’s has long been levelled with the dust; it is many years since Widdicomb, Gomersal, Ducrow, and the Woolford passed into the Silent Land.  May their memory be preserved for yet a few years to come in the mirthful strains of two of their most ardent and grateful admirers!

Of the longer poems in this volume the following were exclusively Aytoun’s: “The Broken Pitcher,” “The Massacre of the Macpherson,” “The Rhyme of Sir Launcelot Bogle,” “Little John and the Red Friar,” “A Midnight Meditation,” and that admirable imitation p. xxviof the Scottish ballad, “The Queen in France.”  Some of the shorter poems were also his—“The Lay of the Levite,” “Tarquin and the Augur,” “La Mort d’Arthur,” “The Husband’s Petition,” and the “Sonnet to Britain.”  The rest were either wholly mine or produced by us jointly.

After 1844 the Bon Gaultier co-operation ceased.  My profession and removal from Edinburgh to London left no leisure or opportunity for work of that kind, and Aytoun became busy with the Professorship of Belles Lettres in the University and with his work at the Bar and on ‘Blackwood’s Magazine.’  We had also during the Bon Gaultier period worked together in a series of translations of Goethe’s Poems and Ballads for ‘Blackwood’s Magazine,’ which, like the Bon Gaultier Ballads, were collected, added to, and published in a volume a year or two afterwards.  In 1845 I left Edinburgh for London, and only met Aytoun at intervals there or at Homburg in the future years; but our friendship was kept alive by active correspondence.  Literature was naturally his vocation, and he wrote much and well, with exemplary industry, enlivening his papers in p. xxvii‘Blackwood,’ till his death in August 1865, with the same manly sense, the same playfulness of fancy and flow of spontaneous humour, which made his society and his letters always delightful to his friends.

“Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit,
Nulli flebilior quam mihi!”

The first edition of this book, now very rare, appeared in 1845.  It was illustrated by Alfred Henry Forrester (Alfred Crowquill).  In the subsequent editions drawings by Richard Doyle and John Leech, in a kindred spirit of fanciful extravagance, were added, and helped materially towards the attractions of the volume.  Its popularity surpassed the utmost expectations of the authors.  To them not the least pleasant feature of its success was that it was widely read both in the Navy and the Army, and was nowhere more in demand than in the trenches before Sebastopol in 1854.

THEODORE MARTIN.

31 Onslow Square,
    October 1903.

p. xxviiiLIST OF EDITIONS
of the
BON GAULTIER BALLADS.

Edition.

1

1845

16mo

Illustrated by Alfred Crowquill.

2

1849

sm. 4to

Illustrated by Alfred Crowquill and Richard Doyle. With Portrait of “Bon Gaultier,” Illuminated Title-page, and Ornamental Borders.

3

[1849]

  "

Illustrated by Alfred Crowquill, Richard Doyle, and John Leech.  First edition with Corner Cartoons.

4

[1855]

  "

Illustrated by the Same.  Second Edition with Corner Cartoons.

5

1857

  "

The editions 5 to 17 were illustrated by Doyle, Leech, and Crowquill.

6

1859

  "

7

1861

  "

8

1864

  "

9

1866

  "

The 16th and 17th Editions being the Third and Fourth with Corner Cartoons.

10

1868

  "

11

1870

  "

12

1874

  "

13

1877

  "

14

1884

crown 8vo

15

1889

  "

16

1903

sm. 4to

17

1904

  "

p. xxixCONTENTS.

Page

PREFACE,

v

L’ENVOY,

xxxiii

                  Spanish Ballads

THE BROKEN PITCHER,

3

DON FERNANDO GOMERSALEZ: from the spanish of astley’s,

7

THE COURTSHIP OF OUR CID,

24

                  American Ballads

THE FIGHT WITH THE SNAPPING TURTLE; OR, THE AMERICAN ST GEORGE:—

          fytte first,

35

          fytte second,

39

THE LAY OF MR COLT:

          streak the first,

45

          streak the second,

47

THE DEATH OF JABEZ DOLLAR,

53

THE ALABAMA DUEL,

59

THE AMERICAN’S APOSTROPHE TO “BOZ”,

66

                  p. xxxMiscellaneous Ballads

THE STUDENT OF JENA,

75

THE LAY OF THE LEVITE,

80

BURSCH GROGGENBURG,

82

NIGHT AND MORNING,

87

THE BITER BIT,

89

THE CONVICT AND THE AUSTRALIAN LADY,

92

THE DOLEFUL LAY OF THE HONOURABLE I. O. UWINS,

96

THE KNYGHTE AND THE TAYLZEOUR’S DAUGHTER,

103

THE MIDNIGHT VISIT,

110

THE LAY OF THE LOVELORN,

116

MY WIFE’S COUSIN,

130

THE QUEEN IN FRANCE: AN ANCIENT SCOTTISH BALLAD:

          Part I.,

135

          Part II.,

143

THE MASSACRE OF THE MACPHERSON: from the gaelic,

150

THE LAUREATES’ TOURNEY:—

          fytte the first,

156

          fytte the second,

161

THE ROYAL BANQUET,

166

THE BARD OF ERIN’S LAMENT,

171

THE LAUREATE,

173

A MIDNIGHT MEDITATION,

177

MONTGOMERY: A Poem,

182

LITTLE JOHN AND THE RED FRIAR: A Lay of Sherwood:—

          fytte the first,

186

          fytte the second,

192

THE RHYME OF SIR LAUNCELOT BOGLE : A Legend of Glasgow,

201

              p. xxxiIllustrations of the Puff Poetical

THE DEATH OF ISHMAEL,

221

PARR’S LIFE PILLS,

223

TARQUIN AND THE AUGUR,

226

LA MORT D’ARTHUR,

228

JUPITER AND THE INDIAN ALE,

229

THE LAY OF THE DOUDNEY BROTHERS,

232

PARIS AND HELEN,

235

A WARNING,

238

TO PERSONS ABOUT TO MARRY,

239

WANT PLACES,

241

                  Miscellaneous Poems

THE LAY OF THE LOVER’S FRIEND,

245

FRANCESCA DA RIMINI,

249

THE CADI’S DAUGHTER: A Legend of the Bosphorus,

253

THE DIRGE OF THE DRINKER,

258

THE DEATH OF DUVAL,

261

EASTERN SERENADE,

267

DAME FREDEGONDE,

271

SONG OF THE ENNUYÉ,

276

THE DEATH OF SPACE,

279

CAROLINE,

281

TO A FORGET-ME-NOT,

284

THE MEETING,

286

THE MISHAP,

288

COMFORT IN AFFLICTION,

291

THE INVOCATION,

293

THE HUSBAND’S PETITION,

297

SONNET TO BRITAIN,

301

p. xxxii Illustration

L’ENVOY.

Come, buy my lays, and read them if you list;
My pensive public, if you list not, buy.
Come, for you know me.  I am he who sang
Of Mister Colt, and I am he who framed
Of Widdicomb the wild and wondrous song.
Come, listen to my lays, and you shall hear
How Wordsworth, battling for the Laureate’s wreath,
Bore to the dust the terrible Fitzball;
How N. P. Willis for his country’s good,
In complete steel, all bowie-knived at point,
Took lodgings in the Snapping Turtle’s womb.
p. xxxivCome, listen to my lays, and you shall hear
The mingled music of all modern bards
Floating aloft in such peculiar strains,
As strike themselves with envy and amaze;
For you “bright-harpéd” Tennyson shall sing;
Macaulay chant a more than Roman lay;
And Bulwer Lytton, Lytton Bulwer erst,
Unseen amidst a metaphysic fog,
Howl melancholy homage to the moon;
For you once more Montgomery shall rave
In all his rapt rabidity of rhyme;
Nankeened Cockaigne shall pipe his puny note,
And our young England’s penny trumpet blow.

p. 3SPANISH BALLADS

Illustration

The Broken Pitcher.

It was a Moorish maiden was sitting by a well,
And what the maiden thought of, I cannot, cannot tell,
When by there rode a valiant knight from the town of Oviedo—
Alphonzo Guzman was he hight, the Count of Tololedo.

p. 4“Oh, maiden, Moorish maiden, why sit’st thou by the spring?
Say, dost thou seek a lover, or any other thing?
Why dost thou look upon me, with eyes so dark and wide,
And wherefore doth the pitcher lie broken by thy side?”

“I do not seek a lover, thou Christian knight so gay,
Because an article like that hath never come my way;
And why I gaze upon you, I cannot, cannot tell,
Except that in your iron hose you look uncommon swell.

“My pitcher it is broken, and this the reason is,—
A shepherd came behind me, and tried to snatch a kiss;
I would not stand his nonsense, so ne’er a word I spoke,
But scored him on the costard, and so the jug was broke.

p. 5“My uncle, the Alcaydè, he waits for me at home,
And will not take his tumbler until Zorayda come:
I cannot bring him water—the pitcher is in pieces—
And so I’m sure to catch it, ’cos he wallops all his nieces.”

“Oh, maiden, Moorish maiden! wilt thou be ruled by me?
Then wipe thine eyes and rosy lips, and give me kisses three;
And I’ll give thee my helmet, thou kind and courteous lady,
To carry home the water to thy uncle, the Alcaydè.”

He lighted down from off his steed—he tied him to a tree—
He bent him to the maiden, and he took his kisses three;
“To wrong thee, sweet Zorayda, I swear would be a sin!”
And he knelt him at the fountain, and he dipped his helmet in.

p. 6Up rose the Moorish maiden—behind the knight she steals,
And caught Alphonzo Guzman in a twinkling by the heels:
She tipped him in, and held him down beneath the bubbling water,—
“Now, take thou that for venturing to kiss Al Hamet’s daughter!”

A Christian maid is weeping in the town of Oviedo;
She waits the coming of her love, the Count of Tololedo.
I pray you all in charity, that you will never tell,
How he met the Moorish maiden beside the lonely well.

Illustration

p. 7Don Fernando Gomersalez.
From the Spanish of Astley’s.

Don Fernando Gomersalez! [7] basely have they borne thee down;
Paces ten behind thy charger is thy glorious body thrown;
Fetters have they bound upon thee—iron fetters, fast and sure;
Don Fernando Gomersalez, thou art captive to the Moor!

Illustration

p. 8Long within a dingy dungeon pined that brave and noble knight,
For the Saracenic warriors well they knew and feared his might;
Long he lay and long he languished on his dripping bed of stone,
Till the cankered iron fetters ate their way into his bone.

On the twentieth day of August—’twas the feast of false Mahound—
Came the Moorish population from the neighbouring cities round;
There to hold their foul carousal, there to dance and there to sing,
And to pay their yearly homage to Al-Widdicomb, [8] the King!

First they wheeled their supple coursers, wheeled them at their utmost speed,
Then they galloped by in squadrons, tossing far the light jereed;
p. 9Then around the circus racing, faster than the swallow flies,
Did they spurn the yellow sawdust in the rapt spectators’ eyes.

Illustration

Proudly did the Moorish monarch every passing warrior greet,
As he sate enthroned above them, with the lamps beneath his feet;
p. 10“Tell me, thou black-bearded Cadi! are there any in the land,
That against my janissaries dare one hour in combat stand?”

Then the bearded Cadi answered—“Be not wroth, my lord the King,
If thy faithful slave shall venture to observe one little thing;
Valiant, doubtless, are thy warriors, and their beards are long and hairy,
And a thunderbolt in battle is each bristly janissary:

“But I cannot, O my sovereign, quite forget that fearful day,
When I saw the Christian army in its terrible array;
When they charged across the footlights like a torrent down its bed,
With the red cross floating o’er them, and Fernando at their head!

p. 11“Don Fernando Gomersalez! matchless chieftain he in war,
Mightier than Don Sticknejo, [11] braver than the Cid Bivar!
Not a cheek within Grenada, O my king, but wan and pale is,
When they hear the dreaded name of Don Fernando Gomersalez!”

“Thou shalt see thy champion, Cadi! hither quick the captive bring!”
Thus in wrath and deadly anger spoke Al-Widdicomb, the King:
“Paler than a maiden’s forehead is the Christian’s hue, I ween,
Since a year within the dungeons of Grenada he hath been!”

Then they brought the Gomersalez, and they led the warrior in;
Weak and wasted seemed his body, and his face was pale and thin;
p. 12But the ancient fire was burning, unsubdued, within his eye,
And his step was proud and stately, and his look was stern and high.

Scarcely from tumultuous cheering could the galleried crowd refrain,
For they knew Don Gomersalez and his prowess in the plain;
But they feared the grizzly despot and his myrmidons in steel,
So their sympathy descended in the fruitage of Seville. [12]

“Wherefore, monarch, hast thou brought me from the dungeon dark and drear,
Where these limbs of mine have wasted in confinement for a year?
Dost thou lead me forth to torture?—Rack and pincers I defy!
Is it that thy base grotesquos may behold a hero die?”

p. 13“Hold thy peace, thou Christian caitiff, and attend to what I say!
Thou art called the starkest rider of the Spanish cur’s array
If thy courage be undaunted, as they say it was of yore,
Thou mayst yet achieve thy freedom,—yet regain thy native shore.

“Courses three within this circus ’gainst my warriors shalt thou run,
Ere yon weltering pasteboard ocean shall receive yon muslin sun;
Victor—thou shalt have thy freedom; but if stretched upon the plain,
To thy dark and dreary dungeon they shall hale thee back again.”

“Give me but the armour, monarch, I have worn in many a field,
Give me but my trusty helmet, give me but my dinted shield;
p. 14And my old steed, Bavieca, swiftest courser in the ring,
And I rather should imagine that I’ll do the business, King!”

Then they carried down the armour from the garret where it lay,
Oh! but it was red and rusty, and the plumes were shorn away:
And they led out Bavieca from a foul and filthy van,
For the conqueror had sold him to a Moorish dog’s-meat man.

When the steed beheld his master, loud he whinnied loud and free,
And, in token of subjection, knelt upon each broken knee;
And a tear of walnut largeness to the warrior’s eyelids rose,
As he fondly picked a bean-straw from his coughing courser’s nose.

p. 15“Many a time, O Bavieca, hast thou borne me through the fray!
Bear me but again as deftly through the listed ring this day;
Or if thou art worn and feeble, as may well have come to pass,
Time it is, my trusty charger, both of us were sent to grass!”

Then he seized his lance, and, vaulting, in the saddle sate upright;
Marble seemed the noble courser, iron seemed the mailèd knight;
And a cry of admiration burst from every Moorish lady.
“Five to four on Don Fernando!” cried the sable-bearded Cadi.

Warriors three from Alcantara burst into the listed space,
Warriors three, all bred in battle, of the proud Alhambra race:
p. 16Trumpets sounded, coursers bounded, and the foremost straight went down,
Tumbling, like a sack of turnips, right before the jeering Clown.

In the second chieftain galloped, and he bowed him to the King,
And his saddle-girths were tightened by the Master of the Ring;
Through three blazing hoops he bounded ere the desperate fight began—
Don Fernando! bear thee bravely!—’tis the Moor Abdorrhaman!

Like a double streak of lightning, clashing in the sulphurous sky,
Met the pair of hostile heroes, and they made the sawdust fly;
And the Moslem spear so stiffly smote on Don Fernando’s mail,
That he reeled, as if in liquor, back to Bavieca’s tail:

p. 17But he caught the mace beside him, and he gripped it hard and fast,
And he swung it starkly upwards as the foeman bounded past;
And the deadly stroke descended through the skull and through the brain,
As ye may have seen a poker cleave a cocoa-nut in twain.

Sore astonished was the monarch, and the Moorish warriors all,
Save the third bold chief, who tarried and beheld his brethren fall;
And the Clown, in haste arising from the footstool where he sat,
Notified the first appearance of the famous Acrobat;

Never on a single charger rides that stout and stalwart Moor,—
Five beneath his stride so stately bear him o’er the trembling floor;
p. 18Five Arabians, black as midnight—on their necks the rein he throws,
And the outer and the inner feel the pressure of his toes. [18]

Never wore that chieftain armour; in a knot himself he ties,
With his grizzly head appearing in the centre of his thighs,
Till the petrified spectator asks, in paralysed alarm,
Where may be the warrior’s body,—which is leg, and which is arm?

“Sound the charge!”  The coursers started; with a yell and furious vault,
High in air the Moorish champion cut a wondrous somersault;
O’er the head of Don Fernando like a tennis-ball he sprung,
Caught him tightly by the girdle, and behind the crupper hung.

p. 19 Illustration

Then his dagger Don Fernando plucked from out its jewelled sheath,
And he struck the Moor so fiercely, as he grappled him beneath,
That the good Damascus weapon sank within the folds of fat,
And as dead as Julius Cæsar dropped the Gordian Acrobat.

p. 20Meanwhile fast the sun was sinking—it had sunk beneath the sea,
Ere Fernando Gomersalez smote the latter of the three;
And Al-Widdicomb, the monarch, pointed, with a bitter smile,
To the deeply-darkening canvas;—blacker grew it all the while.

“Thou hast slain my warriors, Spaniard! but thou hast not kept thy time;
Only two had sunk before thee ere I heard the curfew chime;
Back thou goest to thy dungeon, and thou may’st be wondrous glad,
That thy head is on thy shoulders for thy work to-day, my lad!

“Therefore all thy boasted valour, Christian dog, of no avail is!”
Dark as midnight grew the brow of Don Fernando Gomersalez:—
p. 21Stiffly sate he in his saddle, grimly looked around the ring,
Laid his lance within the rest, and shook his gauntlet at the King.

“Oh, thou foul and faithless traitor! wouldst thou play me false again?
Welcome death and welcome torture, rather than the captive’s chain!
But I give thee warning, caitiff!  Look thou sharply to thine eye—
Unavenged, at least in harness, Gomersalez shall not die!”

Thus he spoke, and Bavieca like an arrow forward flew,
Right and left the Moorish squadron wheeled to let the hero through;
Brightly gleamed the lance of vengeance—fiercely sped the fatal thrust—
From his throne the Moorish monarch tumbled lifeless in the dust.

p. 22 Illustration

Speed thee, speed thee, Bavieca! speed thee faster than the wind!
Life and freedom are before thee, deadly foes give chase behind!
Speed thee up the sloping spring-board; o’er the bridge that spans the seas;
Yonder gauzy moon will light thee through the grove of canvas trees.

p. 23Close before thee Pampeluna spreads her painted pasteboard gate!
Speed thee onward, gallant courser, speed thee with thy knightly freight!
Victory!  The town receives them!—Gentle ladies, this the tale is,
Which I learned in Astley’s Circus, of Fernando Gomersalez.

Illustration

p. 24 Illustration

The Courtship of our Cid.

What a pang of sweet emotion
  Thrilled the Master of the Ring,
When he first beheld the lady
  Through the stable portal spring!
p. 25Midway in his wild grimacing
  Stopped the piebald-visaged Clown;
And the thunders of the audience
  Nearly brought the gallery down.

Donna Inez Woolfordinez!
  Saw ye ever such a maid,
With the feathers swaling o’er her,
  And her spangled rich brocade?
In her fairy hand a horsewhip,
  On her foot a buskin small,
So she stepped, the stately damsel,
  Through the scarlet grooms and all.

And she beckoned for her courser,
  And they brought a milk-white mare;
Proud, I ween, was that Arabian
  Such a gentle freight to bear:
And the master moved to greet her,
  With a proud and stately walk;
And, in reverential homage,
  Rubbed her soles with virgin chalk.

p. 26Round she flew, as Flora flying
  Spans the circle of the year;
And the youth of London, sighing,
  Half forgot the ginger-beer—
Quite forgot the maids beside them;
  As they surely well might do,
When she raised two Roman candles,
  Shooting fireballs red and blue!

Swifter than the Tartar’s arrow,
  Lighter than the lark in flight,
On the left foot now she bounded,
  Now she stood upon the right.
Like a beautiful Bacchante,
  Here she soars, and there she kneels,
While amid her floating tresses
  Flash two whirling Catherine wheels!

Hark! the blare of yonder trumpet!
  See, the gates are opened wide!
Room, there, room for Gomersalez,—
  Gomersalez in his pride!
p. 27Rose the shouts of exultation,
  Rose the cat’s triumphant call,
As he bounded, man and courser,
  Over Master, Clown, and all!

Donna Inez Woolfordinez!
  Why those blushes on thy cheek?
Doth thy trembling bosom tell thee,
  He hath come thy love to seek!
Fleet thy Arab, but behind thee
  He is rushing like a gale;
One foot on his coal-black’s shoulders,
  And the other on his tail!

Onward, onward, panting maiden!
  He is faint, and fails, for now
By the feet he hangs suspended
  From his glistening saddle-bow.
Down are gone both cap and feather,
  Lance and gonfalon are down!
Trunks, and cloak, and vest of velvet,
  He has flung them to the Clown.

p. 28Faint and failing!  Up he vaulteth,
  Fresh as when he first began;
All in coat of bright vermilion,
  ’Quipped as Shaw, the Lifeguardsman;
Right and left his whizzing broadsword,
  Like a sturdy flail, he throws;
Cutting out a path unto thee
  Through imaginary foes.

Woolfordinez! speed thee onward!
  He is hard upon thy track,—
Paralysed is Widdicombez,
  Nor his whip can longer crack;
He has flung away his broadsword,
  ’Tis to clasp thee to his breast.
Onward!—see, he bares his bosom,
  Tears away his scarlet vest;

Leaps from out his nether garments,
  And his leathern stock unties—
As the flower of London’s dustmen,
  Now in swift pursuit he flies.
p. 29Nimbly now he cuts and shuffles,
  O’er the buckle, heel and toe!
Flaps his hands in his side-pockets,
  Winks to all the throng below!

Onward, onward rush the coursers;
  Woolfordinez, peerless girl,
O’er the garters lightly bounding
  From her steed with airy whirl!
Gomersalez, wild with passion,
  Danger—all but her—forgets;
Wheresoe’er she flies, pursues her,
  Casting clouds of somersets!

Onward, onward rush the coursers;
  Bright is Gomersalez’ eye;
Saints protect thee, Woolfordinez,
  For his triumph sure is nigh!
Now his courser’s flanks he lashes,
  O’er his shoulder flings the rein,
And his feet aloft he tosses,
  Holding stoutly by the mane!

p. 30Then, his feet once more regaining,
  Doffs his jacket, doffs his smalls,
And in graceful folds around him
  A bespangled tunic falls.
Pinions from his heels are bursting,
  His bright locks have pinions o’er them;
And the public see with rapture
  Maia’s nimble son before them.

Speed thee, speed thee, Woolfordinez!
  For a panting god pursues;
And the chalk is very nearly
  Rubbed from thy white satin shoes;
Every bosom throbs with terror,
  You might hear a pin to drop;
All is hushed, save where a starting
  Cork gives out a casual pop.

One smart lash across his courser,
  One tremendous bound and stride,
And our noble Cid was standing
  By his Woolfordinez’ side!
p. 31With a god’s embrace he clasps her,
  Raised her in his manly arms;
And the stables’ closing barriers
  Hid his valour, and her charms!

p. 35AMERICAN BALLADS

Illustration

The Fight with the Snapping Turtle;
or,
The American St George.

FYTTE FIRST.

Have you heard of Philip Slingsby,
  Slingsby of the manly chest;
How he slew the Snapping Turtle
  In the regions of the West?

Every day the huge Cawana
  Lifted up its monstrous jaws;
And it swallowed Langton Bennett,
  And digested Rufus Dawes.

p. 36Riled, I ween, was Philip Slingsby,
  Their untimely deaths to hear;
For one author owed him money,
  And the other loved him dear.

“Listen now, sagacious Tyler,
  Whom the loafers all obey;
What reward will Congress give me,
  If I take this pest away?”

Then sagacious Tyler answered,
  “You’re the ring-tailed squealer!  Less
Than a hundred heavy dollars
  Won’t be offered you, I guess!

“And a lot of wooden nutmegs
  In the bargain, too, we’ll throw—
Only you just fix the critter.
  Won’t you liquor ere you go?”

Straightway leaped the valiant Slingsby
  Into armour of Seville,
With a strong Arkansas toothpick
  Screwed in every joint of steel.

p. 37“Come thou with me, Cullen Bryant,
  Come with me, as squire, I pray;
Be the Homer of the battle
  Which I go to wage to-day.”

So they went along careering
  With a loud and martial tramp,
Till they neared the Snapping Turtle
  In the dreary Swindle Swamp.

But when Slingsby saw the water,
  Somewhat pale, I ween, was he.
“If I come not back, dear Bryant,
  Tell the tale to Melanie!

“Tell her that I died devoted,
  Victim to a noble task!
Han’t you got a drop of brandy
  In the bottom of your flask?”

As he spoke, an alligator
  Swam across the sullen creek;
And the two Columbians started,
  When they heard the monster shriek;

p. 38For a snout of huge dimensions
  Rose above the waters high,
And took down the alligator,
  As a trout takes down a fly.

“’Tarnal death! the Snapping Turtle!”
  Thus the squire in terror cried;
But the noble Slingsby straightway
  Drew the toothpick from his side.

“Fare thee well!” he cried, and dashing
  Through the waters, strongly swam:
Meanwhile, Cullen Bryant, watching,
  Breathed a prayer and sucked a dram.

Sudden from the slimy bottom
  Was the snout again upreared,
With a snap as loud as thunder,—
  And the Slingsby disappeared.

Like a mighty steam-ship foundering,
  Down the monstrous vision sank;
And the ripple, slowly rolling,
  Plashed and played upon the bank.

p. 39Still and stiller grew the water,
  Hushed the canes within the brake;
There was but a kind of coughing
  At the bottom of the lake.

Bryant wept as loud and deeply
  As a father for a son—
“He’s a finished ’coon, is Slingsby,
  And the brandy’s nearly done!”

FYTTE SECOND.

In a trance of sickening anguish,
  Cold and stiff, and sore and damp,
For two days did Bryant linger
  By the dreary Swindle Swamp;

Always peering at the water,
  Always waiting for the hour
When those monstrous jaws should open
  As he saw them ope before.

p. 40Still in vain;—the alligators
  Scrambled through the marshy brake,
And the vampire leeches gaily
  Sucked the garfish in the lake.

But the Snapping Turtle never
  Rose for food or rose for rest,
Since he lodged the steel deposit
  In the bottom of his chest.

Only always from the bottom
  Sounds of frequent coughing rolled,
Just as if the huge Cawana
  Had a most confounded cold.

On the banks lay Cullen Bryant,
  As the second moon arose,
Gouging on the sloping greensward
  Some imaginary foes;

When the swamp began to tremble,
  And the canes to rustle fast,
As though some stupendous body
  Through their roots were crushing past.

p. 41And the waters boiled and bubbled,
  And, in groups of twos and threes,
Several alligators bounded,
  Smart as squirrels, up the trees.

Then a hideous head was lifted,
  With such huge distended jaws,
That they might have held Goliath
  Quite as well as Rufus Dawes.

Paws of elephantine thickness
  Dragged its body from the bay,
And it glared at Cullen Bryant
  In a most unpleasant way.

Then it writhed as if in torture,
  And it staggered to and fro;
And its very shell was shaken
  In the anguish of its throe:

And its cough grew loud and louder,
  And its sob more husky thick!
For, indeed, it was apparent
  That the beast was very sick.

p. 42 Illustration

Till, at last, a spasmy vomit
  Shook its carcass through and through,
And as if from out a cannon,
  All in armour Slingsby flew.

p. 43Bent and bloody was the bowie
  Which he held within his grasp;
And he seemed so much exhausted
  That he scarce had strength to gasp—

“Gouge him, Bryant! darn ye, gouge him!
  Gouge him while he’s on the shore!”
Bryant’s thumbs were straightway buried
  Where no thumbs had pierced before.

Right from out their bony sockets
  Did he scoop the monstrous balls;
And, with one convulsive shudder,
  Dead the Snapping Turtle falls!

* * * * *

“Post the tin, sagacious Tyler!”
  But the old experienced file,
Leering first at Clay and Webster,
  Answered, with a quiet smile—

p. 44“Since you dragged the ’tarnal crittur
  From the bottom of the ponds,
Here’s the hundred dollars due you,
  All in Pennsylvanian Bonds!” [44]

“The only Good American Securities.”

p. 45The Lay of Mr Colt.

[The story of Mr Colt, of which our Lay contains merely the sequel, is this: A New York printer, of the name of Adams, had the effrontery to call upon him one day for payment of an account, which the independent Colt settled by cutting his creditor’s head to fragments with an axe.  He then packed his body in a box, and sprinkling it with salt, despatched it to a packet bound for New Orleans.  Suspicions having been excited, he was seized and tried before Judge Kent.  The trial is, perhaps, the most disgraceful upon the records of any country.  The ruffian’s mistress was produced in court, and examined, in disgusting detail, as to her connection with Colt, and his movements during the days and nights succeeding the murder.  The head of the murdered man was bandied to and fro in the court, handed up to the jury, and commented on by witnesses and counsel; and to crown the horrors of the whole proceeding, the wretch’s own counsel, a Mr Emmet, commencing the defence with a cool admission that his client took the life of Adams, and following it up by a detail of the whole circumstances of this most brutal murder in the first person, as though he himself had been the murderer, ended by telling the jury, that his client was “entitled to the sympathy of a jury of his country,” as “a young man just entering into life, whose prospects, probably, have been permanently blasted.”  Colt was found guilty; but a variety of exceptions were taken to the charge by the judge, and after a long series of appeals, which occupied more than a year from the date of conviction, the sentence of death was ratified by Governor Seward.  The rest of Colt’s story is told in our ballad.]

STREAK THE FIRST.

*          *          *          *

And now the sacred rite was done, and the marriage-knot was tied,
And Colt withdrew his blushing wife a little way aside;
p. 46“Let’s go,” he said, “into my cell; let’s go alone, my dear;
I fain would shelter that sweet face from the sheriff’s odious leer.
The jailer and the hangman, they are waiting both for me,—
I cannot bear to see them wink so knowingly at thee!
Oh, how I loved thee, dearest!  They say that I am wild,
That a mother dares not trust me with the weasand of her child;
They say my bowie-knife is keen to sliver into halves
The carcass of my enemy, as butchers slay their calves.
They say that I am stern of mood, because, like salted beef,
I packed my quartered foeman up, and marked him ‘prime tariff;’
Because I thought to palm him on the simple-souled John Bull,
And clear a small percentage on the sale at Liverpool;
It may be so, I do not know—these things, perhaps, may be;
But surely I have always been a gentleman to thee!
p. 47Then come, my love, into my cell, short bridal space is ours,—
Nay, sheriff, never con thy watch—I guess there’s good two hours.
We’ll shut the prison doors and keep the gaping world at bay,
For love is long as ’tarnity, though I must die to-day!”

STREAK THE SECOND.

The clock is ticking onward,
  It nears the hour of doom,
And no one yet hath entered
  Into that ghastly room.
The jailer and the sheriff,
  They are walking to and fro:
And the hangman sits upon the steps,
  And smokes his pipe below.
In grisly expectation
  The prison all is bound,
And, save expectoration,
  You cannot hear a sound.

p. 48The turnkey stands and ponders;—
  His hand upon the bolt,—
“In twenty minutes more, I guess,
  ’Twill all be up with Colt!”
But see, the door is opened!
  Forth comes the weeping bride;
The courteous sheriff lifts his hat,
  And saunters to her side,—
“I beg your pardon, Mrs C.,
  But is your husband ready?”
“I guess you’d better ask himself,”
  Replied the woeful lady.

The clock is ticking onward,
  The minutes almost run,
The hangman’s pipe is nearly out,
  ’Tis on the stroke of one.
At every grated window,
  Unshaven faces glare;
There’s Puke, the judge of Tennessee,
  And Lynch, of Delaware;
And Batter, with the long black beard,
  Whom Hartford’s maids know well;

p. 49And Winkinson, from Fish Kill Reach,
  The pride of New Rochelle;
Elkanah Nutts, from Tarry Town,
  The gallant gouging boy;
And ’coon-faced Bushwhack, from the hills
  That frown o’er modern Troy;
Young Julep, whom our Willis loves,
  Because, ’tis said, that he
One morning from a bookstall filched
  The tale of “Melanie;”
And Skunk, who fought his country’s fight
  Beneath the stripes and stars,—
All thronging at the windows stood,
  And gazed between the bars.
The little boys that stood behind
  (Young thievish imps were they!)
Displayed considerable nous
  On that eventful day;
For bits of broken looking-glass
  They held aslant on high,
And there a mirrored gallows-tree
  Met their delighted eye. [49]
p. 50The clock is ticking onward;
  Hark! hark! it striketh one!
Each felon draws a whistling breath,
  “Time’s up with Colt! he’s done!”

The sheriff cons his watch again,
  Then puts it in his fob,
And turning to the hangman, says—
  “Get ready for the job.”
The jailer knocketh loudly,
  The turnkey draws the bolt,
And pleasantly the sheriff says,
  “We’re waiting, Mister Colt!”

No answer! no! no answer!
  All’s still as death within;
The sheriff eyes the jailer,
  The jailer strokes his chin.
“I shouldn’t wonder, Nahum, if
  It were as you suppose.”
The hangman looked unhappy, and
  The turnkey blew his nose.

p. 51They entered.  On his pallet
  The noble convict lay,—
The bridegroom on his marriage-bed
  But not in trim array.
His red right hand a razor held,
  Fresh sharpened from the hone,
And his ivory neck was severed,
  And gashed into the bone.

*        *          *          *

And when the lamp is lighted
  In the long November days,
And lads and lasses mingle
  At the shucking of the maize;
When pies of smoking pumpkin
  Upon the table stand,
And bowls of black molasses
  Go round from hand to hand;
When slap-jacks, maple-sugared,
  Are hissing in the pan,
And cider, with a dash of gin,
  Foams in the social can;

p. 52When the goodman wets his whistle,
  And the goodwife scolds the child;
And the girls exclaim convulsively,
  “Have done, or I’ll be riled!”
When the loafer sitting next them
  Attempts a sly caress,
And whispers, “Oh, you ’possum,
  You’ve fixed my heart, I guess!”
With laughter and with weeping,
  Then shall they tell the tale,
How Colt his foeman quartered,
  And died within the jail.

“The Unwilling Colt.”

p. 53The Death of Jabez Dollar.

[Before the following poem, which originally appeared in ‘Fraser’s Magazine,’ could have reached America, intelligence was received in this country of an affray in Congress, very nearly the counterpart of that which the Author has here imagined in jest.  It was very clear, to any one who observed the then state of public planners in America, that such occurrences must happen, sooner or later.  The Americans apparently felt the force of the satire, as the poem was widely reprinted throughout the States.  It subsequently returned to this country, embodied in an American work on American manners, where it characteristically appeared as the writer’s own production; and it afterwards went the round of British newspapers, as an amusing satire, by an American, of his countrymen’s foibles!]

The Congress met, the day was wet, Van Buren took the chair;
On either side, the statesman pride of far Kentuck was there.
With moody frown, there sat Calhoun, and slowly in his cheek
His quid he thrust, and slaked the dust, as Webster rose to speak.

Upon that day, near gifted Clay, a youthful member sat,
And like a free American upon the floor he spat;
p. 54Then turning round to Clay, he said, and wiped his manly chin,
“What kind of Locofoco’s that, as wears the painter’s skin?”

“Young man,” quoth Clay, “avoid the way of Slick of Tennessee;
Of gougers fierce, the eyes that pierce, the fiercest gouger he;
He chews and spits, as there he sits, and whittles at the chairs,
And in his hand, for deadly strife, a bowie-knife he bears.

“Avoid that knife.  In frequent strife its blade, so long and thin,
Has found itself a resting-place his rivals’ ribs within.”
But coward fear came never near young Jabez Dollar’s heart,—
“Were he an alligator, I would rile him pretty smart!”

p. 55Then up he rose, and cleared his nose, and looked toward the chair;
He saw the stately stripes and stars,—our country’s flag was there!
His heart beat high, with eldritch cry upon the floor he sprang,
Then raised his wrist, and shook his fist, and spoke his first harangue.

“Who sold the nutmegs made of wood—the clocks that wouldn’t figure?
Who grinned the bark off gum-trees dark—the everlasting nigger?
For twenty cents, ye Congress gents, through ’tarnity I’ll kick
That man, I guess, though nothing less than ’coonfaced Colonel Slick!”

The Colonel smiled—with frenzy wild,—his very beard waxed blue,—
His shirt it could not hold him, so wrathy riled he grew;
p. 56He foams and frets, his knife he whets upon his seat below—
He sharpens it on either side, and whittles at his toe.

“Oh! waken snakes, and walk your chalks!” he cried, with ire elate;
“Darn my old mother, but I will in wild cats whip my weight!
Oh! ’tarnal death, I’ll spoil your breath, young Dollar, and your chaffing,—
Look to your ribs, for here is that will tickle them without laughing!”

His knife he raised—with fury crazed, he sprang across the hall;
He cut a caper in the air—he stood before them all:
He never stopped to look or think if he the deed should do,
But spinning sent the President, and on young Dollar flew.

p. 57They met—they closed—they sank—they rose,—in vain young Dollar strove—
For, like a streak of lightning greased, the infuriate Colonel drove
His bowie-blade deep in his side, and to the ground they rolled,
And, drenched in gore, wheeled o’er and o’er, locked in each other’s hold.

With fury dumb—with nail and thumb—they struggled and they thrust,
The blood ran red from Dollar’s side, like rain, upon the dust;
He nerved his might for one last spring, and as he sank and died,
Reft of an eye, his enemy fell groaning by his side.

Thus did he fall within the hall of Congress, that brave youth;
The bowie-knife has quenched his life of valour and of truth;
p. 58And still among the statesmen throng at Washington they tell
How nobly Dollar gouged his man—how gallantly he fell.

Illustration

p. 59 Illustration

The Alabama Duel.

“Young chaps, give ear, the case is clear.  You, Silas Fixings, you
Pay Mister Nehemiah Dodge them dollars as you’re due.
p. 60You are a bloody cheat,—you are.  But spite of all your tricks, it
Is not in you Judge Lynch to do.  No! nohow you can fix it!”

Thus spake Judge Lynch, as there he sat in Alabama’s forum,
Around he gazed, with legs upraised upon the bench before him;
And, as he gave this sentence stern to him who stood beneath,
Still with his gleaming bowie-knife he slowly picked his teeth.

It was high noon, the month was June, and sultry was the air,
A cool gin-sling stood by his hand, his coat hung o’er his chair;
All naked were his manly arms, and shaded by his hat,
Like an old senator of Rome that simple Archon sat.

p. 61“A bloody cheat?—Oh, legs and feet!” in wrath young Silas cried;
And springing high into the air, he jerked his quid aside.
“No man shall put my dander up, or with my feelings trifle,
As long as Silas Fixings wears a bowie-knife and rifle.”

“If your shoes pinch,” replied Judge Lynch, “you’ll very soon have ease;
I’ll give you satisfaction, squire, in any way you please;
What are your weapons?—knife or gun?—at both I’m pretty spry!”;
“Oh! ’tarnal death, you’re spry, you are?” quoth Silas; “so am I!”

Hard by the town a forest stands, dark with the shades of time,
And they have sought that forest dark at morning’s early prime;
p. 62Lynch, backed by Nehemiah Dodge, and Silas with a friend,
And half the town in glee came down to see that contest’s end.

They led their men two miles apart, they measured out the ground;
A belt of that vast wood it was, they notched the trees around;
Into the tangled brake they turned them off, and neither knew
Where he should seek his wagered foe, how get him into view.

With stealthy tread, and stooping head, from tree to tree they passed,
They crept beneath the crackling furze, they held their rifles fast:
Hour passed on hour, the noonday sun smote fiercely down, but yet
No sound to the expectant crowd proclaimed that they had met.

p. 63 Illustration

And now the sun was going down, when, hark! a rifle’s crack!
Hush—hush! another strikes the air, and all their breath draw back,—
Then crashing on through bush and briar, the crowd from either side
Rush in to see whose rifle sure with blood the moss has dyed.

Weary with watching up and down, brave Lynch conceived a plan,
An artful dodge whereby to take at unawares his man;
p. 64He hung his hat upon a bush, and hid himself hard by;
Young Silas thought he had him fast, and at the hat let fly.

It fell; up sprang young Silas,—he hurled his gun away;
Lynch fixed him with his rifle, from the ambush where he lay.
The bullet pierced his manly breast—yet, valiant to the last,
Young Fixings drew his bowie-knife, and up his foxtail [64] cast.

With tottering step and glazing eye he cleared the space between,
And stabbed the air as stabs in grim Macbeth the younger Kean:
Brave Lynch received him with a bang that stretched him on the ground,
Then sat himself serenely down till all the crowd drew round.

p. 65They hailed him with triumphant cheers—in him each loafer saw
The bearing bold that could uphold the majesty of law;
And, raising him aloft, they bore him homewards at his ease,—
That noble judge, whose daring hand enforced his own decrees.

They buried Silas Fixings in the hollow where he fell,
And gum-trees wave above his grave—that tree he loved so well;
And the ’coons sit chattering o’er him when the nights are long and damp;
But he sleeps well in that lonely dell, the Dreary ’Possum Swamp.

p. 66The American’s Apostrophe to Boz.

[So rapidly does oblivion do its work nowadays that the burst of amiable indignation with which America received the issue of his American Notes and Martin Chuzzlewit is now almost wholly forgotten.  Not content with waging a universal rivalry in the piracy of the Notes, Columbia showered upon its author the riches of its own choice vocabulary of abuse; while some of her more fiery spirits threw out playful hints as to the propriety of gouging the “stranger,” and furnishing him with a permanent suit of tar and feathers, in the then very improbable event of his paying them a second visit.  The perusal of these animated expressions of free opinion suggested the following lines, which those who remember Boz’s book, and the festivities with which he was all but hunted to death, will at once understand.  The object aimed at was to do justice to the bitterness and “immortal hate” of these thin-skinned sons of freedom.  Happily the storm passed over: Dickens paid, in 1867-68, a second visit to the States, was well received, made a not inconsiderable fortune by his Readings there, and confessed that he had judged his American hosts harshly on his former visit.]

Sneak across the wide Atlantic, worthless London’s puling child,
Better that its waves should bear thee, than the land thou hast reviled;
Better in the stifling cabin, on the sofa thou shouldst lie,
Sickening as the fetid nigger bears the greens and bacon by;
p. 67Better, when the midnight horrors haunt the strained and creaking ship,
Thou shouldst yell in vain for brandy with a fever-sodden lip;
When amid the deepening darkness and the lamp’s expiring shade,
From the bagman’s berth above thee comes the bountiful cascade,
Better than upon the Broadway thou shouldst be at noonday seen,
Smirking like a Tracy Tupman with a Mantalini mien,
With a rivulet of satin falling o’er thy puny chest,
Worse than even N. P. Willis for an evening party drest!

We received thee warmly—kindly—though we knew thou wert a quiz,
Partly for thyself it may be, chiefly for the sake of Phiz!
Much we bore, and much we suffered, listening to remorseless spells
Of that Smike’s unceasing drivellings, and these everlasting Nells.
p. 68When you talked of babes and sunshine, fields, and all that sort of thing,
Each Columbian inly chuckled, as he slowly sucked his sling;
And though all our sleeves were bursting, from the many hundreds near
Not one single scornful titter rose on thy complacent ear.
Then to show thee to the ladies, with our usual want of sense
We engaged the place in Park Street at a ruinous expense;
Even our own three-volumed Cooper waived his old prescriptive right,
And deluded Dickens figured first on that eventful night.
Clusters of uncoated Yorkers, vainly striving to be cool,
Saw thee desperately plunging through the perils of la Poule:
And their muttered exclamation drowned the tenor of the tune,—
”Don’t he beat all natur hollow?  Don’t he foot it like a ’coon?”

p. 69Did we spare our brandy-cocktails, stint thee of our whisky-grogs?
Half the juleps that we gave thee would have floored a Newman Noggs;
And thou took’st them in so kindly, little was there then to blame,
To thy parched and panting palate sweet as mother’s milk they came.
Did the hams of old Virginny find no favour in thine eyes?
Came no soft compunction o’er thee at the thought of pumpkin pies?
Could not all our chicken fixings into silence fix thy scorn?
Did not all our cakes rebuke thee,—Johnny, waffle, dander, corn?
Could not all our care and coddling teach thee how to draw it mild?
Well, no matter, we deserve it.  Serves us right!  We spoilt the child!
You, forsooth, must come crusading, boring us with broadest hints
Of your own peculiar losses by American reprints.

p. 70Such an impudent remonstrance never in our face was flung;
Lever stands it, so does Ainsworth; you, I guess, may hold your tongue.
Down our throats you’d cram your projects, thick and hard as pickled salmon,
That, I s’pose, you call free trading,—I pronounce it utter gammon.
No, my lad, a ’cuter vision than your own might soon have seen,
That a true Columbian ogle carries little that is green;
That we never will surrender useful privateering rights,
Stoutly won at glorious Bunker’s Hill, and other famous fights;
That we keep our native dollars for our native scribbling gents,
And on British manufacture only waste our straggling cents;
Quite enough we pay, I reckon, when we stump of these a few
For the voyages and travels of a freshman such as you.

p. 71I have been at Niagara, I have stood beneath the Falls,
I have marked the water twisting over its rampagious walls;
But “a holy calm sensation,” one, in fact, of perfect peace,
Was as much my first idea as the thought of Christmas geese.
As for “old familiar faces,” looking through the misty air,
Surely you were strongly liquored when you saw your Chuckster there.
One familiar face, however, you will very likely see,
If you’ll only treat the natives to a call in Tennessee,
Of a certain individual, true Columbian every inch,
In a high judicial station, called by ’mancipators Lynch.
Half an hour of conversation with his worship in a wood,
Would, I strongly notion, do you an infernal deal of good.
Then you’d understand more clearly than you ever did before,
p. 72Why an independent patriot freely spits upon the floor,
Why he gouges when he pleases, why he whittles at the chairs,
Why for swift and deadly combat still the bowie-knife he bears,—
Why he sneers at the old country with republican disdain,
And, unheedful of the negro’s cry, still tighter draws his chain.
All these things the judge shall teach thee of the land thou hast reviled;
Get thee o’er the wide Atlantic, worthless London’s puling child!

p. 75MISCELLANEOUS BALLADS

Illustration

The Student of Jena.

Once—’twas when I lived at Jena—
  At a Wirthshaus’ door I sat;
And in pensive contemplation
  Ate the sausage thick and fat;
Ate the kraut that never sourer
  Tasted to my lips than here;
Smoked my pipe of strong canaster,
  Sipped my fifteenth jug of beer;
Gazed upon the glancing river,
  Gazed upon the tranquil pool,
p. 76Whence the silver-voiced Undine,
  When the nights were calm and cool,
As the Baron Fouqué tells us,
  Rose from out her shelly grot,
Casting glamour o’er the waters,
  Witching that enchanted spot.
From the shadow which the coppice
  Flings across the rippling stream,
Did I hear a sound of music—
  Was it thought or was it dream?
There, beside a pile of linen,
  Stretched along the daisied sward,
Stood a young and blooming maiden—
  ’Twas her thrush-like song I heard.
Evermore within the eddy
  Did she plunge the white chemise;
And her robes were loosely gathered
  Rather far above her knees;
Then my breath at once forsook me,
  For too surely did I deem
That I saw the fair Undine
  Standing in the glancing stream—
And I felt the charm of knighthood;
  p. 77And from that remembered day,
Every evening to the Wirthshaus
  Took I my enchanted way.

Shortly to relate my story,
  Many a week of summer long
Came I there, when beer-o’ertaken,
  With my lute and with my song;
Sang in mellow-toned soprano
  All my love and all my woe,
Till the river-maiden answered,
  Lilting in the stream below:—
“Fair Undine! sweet Undine!
  Dost thou love as I love thee?”
“Love is free as running water,”
  Was the answer made to me.

Thus, in interchange seraphic,
  Did I woo my phantom fay,
Till the nights grew long and chilly,
  Short and shorter grew the day;
Till at last—’twas dark and gloomy,
  Dull and starless was the sky,
p. 78And my steps were all unsteady
  For a little flushed was I,—
To the well-accustomed signal
  No response the maiden gave;
But I heard the waters washing
  And the moaning of the wave.
Vanished was my own Undine,
  All her linen, too, was gone;
And I walked about lamenting
  On the river bank alone.
Idiot that I was, for never
  Had I asked the maiden’s name.
Was it Lieschen—was it Gretchen?
  Had she tin, or whence she came?
So I took my trusty meerschaum,
  And I took my lute likewise;
Wandered forth in minstrel fashion,
  Underneath the louring skies:
Sang before each comely Wirthshaus,
  Sang beside each purling stream,
That same ditty which I chanted
  When Undine was my theme,
Singing, as I sang at Jena,
  p. 79When the shifts were hung to dry,
“Fair Undine! young Undine!
  Dost thou love as well as I?”

But, alas! in field or village,
  Or beside the pebbly shore,
Did I see those glancing ankles,
  And the white robe never more;
And no answer came to greet me,
  No sweet voice to mine replied;
But I heard the waters rippling,
  And the moaning of the tide.

“The moaning of the TIED.”

p. 80 Illustration

The Lay of the Levite.

There is a sound that’s dear to me,
  It haunts me in my sleep;
I wake, and, if I hear it not,
  I cannot choose but weep.
Above the roaring of the wind,
  Above the river’s flow,
Methinks I hear the mystic cry
  Of “Clo!—Old Clo!”

The exile’s song, it thrills among
  The dwellings of the free,
p. 81Its sound is strange to English ears,
  But ’tis not strange to me;
For it hath shook the tented field
  In ages long ago,
And hosts have quailed before the cry
  Of “Clo!—Old Clo!”

Oh, lose it not! forsake it not!
  And let no time efface
The memory of that solemn sound,
  The watchword of our race;
For not by dark and eagle eye
  The Hebrew shall you know,
So well as by the plaintive cry
  Of “Clo!—Old Clo!”

Even now, perchance, by Jordan’s banks,
  Or Sidon’s sunny walls,
Where, dial-like, to portion time,
  The palm-tree’s shadow falls,
The pilgrims, wending on their way,
  Will linger as they go,
And listen to the distant cry
  Of “Clo!—Old Clo!”

p. 82 Illustration

Bursch Groggenburg.

[after the manner of schiller.]

“Bursch! if foaming beer content ye,
  Come and drink your fill;
In our cellars there is plenty;
  Himmel! how you swill!
That the liquor hath allurance,
  Well I understand:
But ’tis really past endurance,
  When you squeeze my hand!”

p. 83And he heard her as if dreaming,
  Heard her half in awe;
And the meerschaum’s smoke came streaming
  From his open jaw:
And his pulse beat somewhat quicker
  Than it did before,
And he finished off his liquor,
  Staggered through the door;

Bolted off direct to Munich,
  And within the year
Underneath his German tunic
  Stowed whole butts of beer.
And he drank like fifty fishes,
  Drank till all was blue;
For he felt extremely vicious—
  Somewhat thirsty too.

But at length this dire deboshing
  Drew towards an end;
Few of all his silver groschen
  Had he left to spend.
p. 84And he knew it was not prudent
  Longer to remain;
So, with weary feet, the student
  Wended home again.

At the tavern’s well-known portal
  Knocks he as before,
And a waiter, rather mortal,
  Hiccups through the door—
“Master’s sleeping in the kitchen;
  You’ll alarm the house;
Yesterday the Jungfrau Fritchen
  Married baker Kraus!”

Like a fiery comet bristling,
  Rose the young man’s hair,
And, poor soul! he fell a-whistling
  Out of sheer despair.
Down the gloomy street in silence,
  Savage-calm he goes;
But he did no deed of vi’lence—
  Only blew his nose.

p. 85Then he hired an airy garret
  Near her dwelling-place;
Grew a beard of fiercest carrot,
  Never washed his face;
Sate all day beside the casement,
  Sate a dreary man;
Found in smoking such an easement
  As the wretched can;

Stared for hours and hours together,
  Stared yet more and more;
Till in fine and sunny weather,
  At the baker’s door,
Stood, in apron white and mealy,
  That belovèd dame,
Counting out the loaves so freely,
  Selling of the same.

Then like a volcano puffing,
  Smoked he out his pipe;
Sighed and supped on ducks and stuffing,
  Ham and kraut and tripe;
p. 86Went to bed, and, in the morning,
  Waited as before,
Still his eyes in anguish turning
  To the baker’s door;

Till, with apron white and mealy,
  Came the lovely dame,
Counting out the loaves so freely,
  Selling of the same.
So one day—the fact’s amazing!—
  On his post he died!
And they found the body gazing
  At the baker’s bride.

p. 87Night and Morning.

[not by sir e. bulwer lytton.]

“Thy coffee, Tom, ’s untasted,
  And thy egg is very cold;
Thy cheeks are wan and wasted,
  Not rosy as of old.
My boy, what has come o’er ye?
  You surely are not well!
Try some of that ham before ye,
  And then, Tom, ring the bell!”

“I cannot eat, my mother,
  My tongue is parched and bound,
And my head, somehow or other,
  Is swimming round and round.
p. 88In my eyes there is a fulness,
  And my pulse is beating quick;
On my brain is a weight of dulness:
  Oh, mother, I am sick!”

“These long, long nights of watching
  Are killing you outright;
The evening dews are catching,
  And you’re out every night.
Why does that horrid grumbler,
  Old Inkpen, work you so?”

(TOM—lene susurrans)

“My head!  Oh, that tenth tumbler!
  ’Twas that which wrought my woe!”

p. 89The Biter Bit.

The sun is in the sky, mother, the flowers are springing fair,
And the melody of woodland birds is stirring in the air;
The river, smiling to the sky, glides onward to the sea,
And happiness is everywhere, oh mother, but with me!

They are going to the church, mother,—I hear the marriage-bell;
It booms along the upland,—oh! it haunts me like a knell;
He leads her on his arm, mother, he cheers her faltering step,
And closely to his side she clings,—she does, the demirep!

They are crossing by the stile, mother, where we so oft have stood,
The stile beside the shady thorn, at the corner of the wood;
p. 90And the boughs, that wont to murmur back the words that won my ear,
Wave their silver blossoms o’er him, as he leads his bridal fere.

He will pass beside the stream, mother, where first my hand he pressed,
By the meadow where, with quivering lip, his passion he confessed;
And down the hedgerows where we’ve strayed again and yet again;
But he will not think of me, mother, his broken-hearted Jane!

He said that I was proud, mother,—that I looked for rank and gold;
He said I did not love him,—he said my words were cold;
He said I kept him off and on, in hopes of higher game,—
And it may be that I did, mother; but who hasn’t done the same?

I did not know my heart, mother,—I know it now too late;
p. 91I thought that I without a pang could wed some nobler mate;
But no nobler suitor sought me,—and he has taken wing,
And my heart is gone, and I am left a lone and blighted thing.

You may lay me in my bed, mother,—my head is throbbing sore;
And, mother, prithee, let the sheets be duly aired before;
And, if you’d do a kindness to your poor desponding child,
Draw me a pot of beer, mother—and, mother, draw it mild!

“Love gone to pot.”

p. 92 Illustration

The Convict and the Australian Lady.

Thy skin is dark as jet, ladye,
  Thy cheek is sharp and high,
And there’s a cruel leer, love,
  Within thy rolling eye:
p. 93These tangled ebon tresses
  No comb hath e’er gone through;
And thy forehead, it is furrowed by
  The elegant tattoo!

I love thee,—oh, I love thee,
  Thou strangely-feeding maid!
Nay, lift not thus thy boomerang,
  I meant not to upbraid!
Come, let me taste those yellow lips
  That ne’er were tasted yet,
Save when the shipwrecked mariner
  Passed through them for a whet.

Nay, squeeze me not so tightly!
  For I am gaunt and thin;
There’s little flesh to tempt thee
  Beneath a convict’s skin.
I came not to be eaten;
  I sought thee, love, to woo;
Besides, bethink thee, dearest,
  Thou’st dined on cockatoo.

p. 94Thy father is a chieftain!
  Why, that’s the very thing!
Within my native country
  I too have been a king.
Behold this branded letter,
  Which nothing can efface!
It is the royal emblem,
  The token of my race!

But rebels rose against me,
  And dared my power disown—
You’ve heard, love, of the judges?
  They drove me from my throne.
And I have wandered hither,
  Across the stormy sea,
In search of glorious freedom,—
  In search, my sweet, of thee!

The bush is now my empire,
  The knife my sceptre keen;
Come with me to the desert wild,
  And be my dusky queen.
p. 95I cannot give thee jewels,
  I have nor sheep nor cow,
Yet there are kangaroos, love,
  And colonists enow.

We’ll meet the unwary settler,
  As whistling home he goes,
And I’ll take tribute from him,
  His money and his clothes.
Then on his bleeding carcass
  Thou’lt lay thy pretty paw,
And lunch upon him roasted,
  Or, if you like it, raw!

Then come with me, my princess,
  My own Australian dear,
Within this grove of gum-trees
  We’ll hold our bridal cheer!
Thy heart with love is beating,
  I feel it through my side:—
Hurrah, then, for the noble pair,
  The Convict and his Bride!

p. 96The Doleful Lay of the Honourable I. O. Uwins.

Come and listen, lords and ladies,
  To a woeful lay of mine;
He whose tailor’s bill unpaid is,
  Let him now his ear incline!
Let him hearken to my story,
  How the noblest of the land
Pined in piteous purgatory,
  ’Neath a sponging Bailiff’s hand.

I. O. Uwins!  I. O. Uwins!
  Baron’s son although thou be,
Thou must pay for thy misdoings
  In the country of the free!
None of all thy sire’s retainers
  To thy rescue now may come;
And there lie some score detainers
  With Abednego, the bum.

p. 97Little recked he of his prison
  Whilst the sun was in the sky:
Only when the moon was risen
  Did you hear the captive’s cry.
For till then, cigars and claret
  Lulled him in oblivion sweet;
And he much preferred a garret,
  For his drinking, to the street.

But the moonlight, pale and broken,
  Pained at soul the baron’s son;
For he knew, by that soft token,
  That the larking had begun;—
That the stout and valiant Marquis [97]
  Then was leading forth his swells,
Milling some policeman’s carcass,
  Or purloining private bells.

So he sat in grief and sorrow,
  Rather drunk than otherwise,
Till the golden gush of morrow
  Dawned once more upon his eyes:
p. 98Till the sponging Bailiff’s daughter,
  Lightly tapping at the door,
Brought his draught of soda-water,
  Brandy-bottomed as before.

“Sweet Rebecca! has your father,
  Think you, made a deal of brass?”
And she answered—“Sir, I rather
  Should imagine that he has.”
Uwins then, his whiskers scratching,
  Leered upon the maiden’s face,
And, her hand with ardour catching,
  Folded her in close embrace.

“La, Sir! let alone—you fright me!”
  Said the daughter of the Jew:
“Dearest, how those eyes delight me!
  Let me love thee, darling, do!”
“Vat is dish?” the Bailiff muttered,
  Rushing in with fury wild;
“Ish your muffins so vell buttered,
  Dat you darsh insult ma shild?”

p. 99“Honourable my intentions,
  Good Abednego, I swear!
And I have some small pretensions,
  For I am a Baron’s heir.
If you’ll only clear my credit,
  And advance a thou [99] or so,
She’s a peeress—I have said it:
  Don’t you twig, Abednego?”

“Datsh a very different matter,”
  Said the Bailiff, with a leer;
“But you musht not cut it fatter
  Than ta slish will shtand, ma tear!
If you seeksh ma approbation,
  You musht quite give up your rigsh,
Alsho you musht join our nashun,
  And renounsh ta flesh of pigsh.”

Fast as one of Fagin’s pupils,
  I. O. Uwins did agree!
Little plagued with holy scruples
  From the starting-post was he.
p. 100But at times a baleful vision
  Rose before his shuddering view,
For he knew that circumcision
  Was expected from a Jew.

At a meeting of the Rabbis,
  Held about the Whitsuntide,
Was this thorough-paced Barabbas
  Wedded to his Hebrew bride:
All his previous debts compounded,
  From the sponging-house he came,
And his father’s feelings wounded
  With reflections on the same.

But the sire his son accosted—
  “Split my wig! if any more
Such a double-dyed apostate
  Shall presume to cross my door!
Not a penny-piece to save ye
  From the kennel or the spout;—
Dinner, John! the pig and gravy!—
  Kick this dirty scoundrel out!”

Forth rushed I. O. Uwins, faster
  Than all winking—much afraid
p. 101That the orders of the master
  Would be punctually obeyed:
Sought his club, and then the sentence
  Of expulsion first he saw;
No one dared to own acquaintance
  With a Bailiff’s son-in-law.

Uselessly, down Bond Street strutting,
  Did he greet his friends of yore:
Such a universal cutting
  Never man received before:
Till at last his pride revolted—
  Pale, and lean, and stern he grew;
And his wife Rebecca bolted
  With a missionary Jew.

Ye who read this doleful ditty,
  Ask ye where is Uwins now?
Wend your way through London city,
  Climb to Holborn’s lofty brow;
Near the sign-post of the “Nigger,”
  Near the baked-potato shed,
You may see a ghastly figure
  With three hats upon his head.

p. 102When the evening shades are dusky,
  Then the phantom form draws near,
And, with accents low and husky,
  Pours effluvium in your ear;
Craving an immediate barter
  Of your trousers or surtout;
And you know the Hebrew martyr,
  Once the peerless I. O. U.

Illustration

p. 103 Illustration

The Knyghte and the Taylzeour’s Daughter.

Did you ever hear the story—
  Old the legend is, and true—
How a knyghte of fame and glory
  All aside his armour threw;
p. 104Spouted spear and pawned habergeon,
  Pledged his sword and surcoat gay,
Sate down cross-legged on the shop-board,
  Sate and stitched the livelong day?

“Taylzeour! not one single shilling
  Does my breeches-pocket hold:
I to pay am really willing,
  If I only had the gold.
Farmers none can I encounter,
  Graziers there are none to kill;
Therefore, prithee, gentle taylzeour,
  Bother not about thy bill.”

“Good Sir Knyghte, just once too often
  Have you tried that slippery trick;
Hearts like mine you cannot soften,
  Vainly do you ask for tick.
Christmas and its bills are coming,
  Soon will they be showering in;
Therefore, once for all, my rum un,
  I expect you’ll post the tin.

p. 105“Mark, Sir Knyghte, that gloomy bayliffe
  In the palmer’s amice brown;
He shall lead you unto jail, if
  Instantly you stump not down.”
Deeply swore the young crusader,
  But the taylzeour would not hear;
And the gloomy, bearded bayliffe
  Evermore kept sneaking near.

“Neither groat nor maravedi
  Have I got my soul to bless;
And I’d feel extremely seedy,
  Languishing in vile duresse.
Therefore listen, ruthless taylzeour,
  Take my steed and armour free,
Pawn them at thy Hebrew uncle’s,
  And I’ll work the rest for thee.”

Lightly leaped he on the shop-board,
  Lightly crooked his manly limb,
Lightly drove the glancing needle
  Through the growing doublet’s rim
p. 106Gaberdines in countless number
  Did the taylzeour knyghte repair,
And entirely on cucumber
  And on cabbage lived he there.

Once his weary task beguiling
  With a low and plaintive song,
That good knyghte o’er miles of broadcloth
  Drove the hissing goose along;
From her lofty latticed window
  Looked the taylzeour’s daughter down,
And she instantly discovered
  That her heart was not her own.

“Canst thou love me, gentle stranger?”
  Picking at a pink she stood—
And the knyghte at once admitted
  That he rather thought he could.
“He who weds me shall have riches,
  Gold, and lands, and houses free.”
“For a single pair of—small-clothes,
  I would roam the world with thee!”

p. 107 Illustration

Then she flung him down the tickets
  Well the knyghte their import knew—
“Take this gold, and win thy armour
  From the unbelieving Jew.
Though in garments mean and lowly
  Thou wouldst roam the world with me,
Only as a belted warrior,
  Stranger, will I wed with thee!”

p. 108At the feast of good Saint Stitchem,
  In the middle of the spring,
There was some superior jousting,
  By the order of the King.
“Valiant knyghtes!” proclaimed the monarch,
  “You will please to understand,
He who bears himself most bravely
  Shall obtain my daughter’s hand.”

Well and bravely did they bear them,
  Bravely battled, one and all;
But the bravest in the tourney
  Was a warrior stout and tall.
None could tell his name or lineage,
  None could meet him in the field,
And a goose regardant proper
  Hissed along his azure shield.

“Warrior, thou hast won my daughter!”
  But the champion bowed his knee,
“Royal blood may not be wasted
  On a simple knyghte like me.
p. 109She I love is meek and lowly;
  But her heart is kind and free;
Also, there is tin forthcoming,
  Though she is of low degree.”

Slowly rose that nameless warrior,
  Slowly turned his steps aside,
Passed the lattice where the princess
  Sate in beauty, sate in pride.
Passed the row of noble ladies,
  Hied him to an humbler seat,
And in silence laid the chaplet
  At the taylzeour’s daughter’s feet.

Illustration

p. 110 Illustration

The Midnight Visit.

It was the Lord of Castlereagh, he sat within his room,
His arms were crossed upon his breast, his face was marked with gloom;
They said that St Helena’s Isle had rendered up its charge,
That France was bristling high in arms—the Emperor at large.

p. 111’Twas midnight! all the lamps were dim, and dull as death the street,
It might be that the watchman slept that night upon his beat,
When lo! a heavy foot was heard to creak upon the stair,
The door revolved upon its hinge—Great Heaven!—What enters there?

A little man, of stately mien, with slow and solemn stride;
His hands are crossed upon his back, his coat is opened wide;
And on his vest of green he wears an eagle and a star,—
Saint George! protect us! ’tis The Man,—the thunder-bolt of war!

Is that the famous hat that waved along Marengo’s ridge?
Are these the spurs of Austerlitz—the boots of Lodi’s bridge?
p. 112Leads he the conscript swarm again from France’s hornet hive?
What seeks the fell usurper here, in Britain, and alive?

Pale grew the Lord of Castlereagh, his tongue was parched and dry,
As in his brain he felt the glare of that tremendous eye;
What wonder if he shrank in fear, for who could meet the glance
Of him who rear’d, ’mid Russian snows, the gonfalon of France?

From the side-pocket of his vest a pinch the despot took,
Yet not a whit did he relax the sternness of his look:
“Thou thoughtst the lion was afar, but he hath burst the chain—
The watchword for to-night is France—the answer St Heléne.

p. 113“And didst thou deem the barren isle, or ocean waves, could bind
The master of the universe—the monarch of mankind?
I tell thee, fool! the world itself is all too small for me;
I laugh to scorn thy bolts and bars—I burst them, and am free.

“Thou thinkst that England hates me!  Mark!—This very night my name
Was thundered in its capital with tumult and acclaim!
They saw me, knew me, owned my power—Proud lord! I say, beware!
There be men within the Surrey side, who know to do and dare!

“To-morrow in thy very teeth my standard will I rear—
Ay, well that ashen cheek of thine may blanch and shrink with fear!
p. 114To-morrow night another town shall sink in ghastly flames;
And as I crossed the Borodin, so shall I cross the Thames!

“Thou’lt seize me, wilt thou, ere the dawn?  Weak lordling, do thy worst!
These hands ere now have broke thy chains, thy fetters they have burst.
Yet, wouldst thou know my resting-place?  Behold, ’tis written there!
And let thy coward myrmidons approach me if they dare!”

Another pinch, another stride—he passes through the door—
“Was it a phantom or a man was standing on the floor?
And could that be the Emperor that moved before my eyes?
Ah, yes! too sure it was himself, for here the paper lies!”

p. 115With trembling hands Lord Castlereagh undid the mystic scroll,
With glassy eye essayed to read, for fear was on his soul—
“What’s here?—‘At Astley’s, every night, the play of Moscow’s Fall!
Napoleon, for the thousandth time, by Mr Gomersal!’”

Illustration

p. 116 Illustration

The Lay of The Lovelorn.

Comrades, you may pass the rosy.  With permission of the chair,
I shall leave you for a little, for I’d like to take the air.

Whether ’twas the sauce at dinner, or that glass of ginger-beer,
Or these strong cheroots, I know not, but I feel a little queer.

p. 117Let me go.  Nay, Chuckster, blow me, ’pon my soul, this is too bad!
When you want me, ask the waiter; he knows where I’m to be had.

Whew!  This is a great relief now!  Let me but undo my stock;
Resting here beneath the porch, my nerves will steady like a rock.

In my ears I hear the singing of a lot of favourite tunes—
Bless my heart, how very odd!  Why, surely there’s a brace of moons!

See! the stars! how bright they twinkle, winking with a frosty glare,
Like my faithless cousin Amy when she drove me to despair.

Oh, my cousin, spider-hearted!  Oh, my Amy!  No, confound it!
I must wear the mournful willow,—all around my heart I’ve bound it. [117]

p. 118Falser than the bank of fancy, frailer than a shilling glove,
Puppet to a father’s anger, minion to a nabob’s love!

Is it well to wish thee happy?  Having known me, could you ever
Stoop to marry half a heart, and little more than half a liver?

Happy!  Damme!  Thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
Changing from the best of china to the commonest of clay.

As the husband is, the wife is,—he is stomach-plagued and old;
And his curry soups will make thy cheek the colour of his gold.

When his feeble love is sated, he will hold thee surely then
Something lower than his hookah,—something less than his cayenne.

p. 119What is this?  His eyes are pinky.  Was’t the claret?  Oh, no, no,—
Bless your soul! it was the salmon,—salmon always makes him so.

Take him to thy dainty chamber—soothe him with thy lightest fancies;
He will understand thee, won’t he?—pay thee with a lover’s glances?

Louder than the loudest trumpet, harsh as harshest ophicleide,
Nasal respirations answer the endearments of his bride.

Sweet response, delightful music!  Gaze upon thy noble charge,
Till the spirit fill thy bosom that inspired the meek Laffarge. [119a]

Better thou wert dead before me,—better, better that I stood,
Looking on thy murdered body, like the injured Daniel Good! [119b]

p. 120Better thou and I were lying, cold and timber-stiff and dead,
With a pan of burning charcoal underneath our nuptial bed!

Cursed be the Bank of England’s notes, that tempt the soul to sin!
Cursed be the want of acres,—doubly cursed the want of tin!

Cursed be the marriage-contract, that enslaved thy soul to greed!
Cursed be the sallow lawyer, that prepared and drew the deed!

Cursed be his foul apprentice, who the loathsome fees did earn!
Cursed be the clerk and parson,—cursed be the whole concern!

*          *          *          *

p. 121Oh, ’tis well that I should bluster,—much I’m like to make of that;
Better comfort have I found in singing “All Around my Hat.”

But that song, so wildly plaintive, palls upon my British ears.
’Twill not do to pine for ever,—I am getting up in years.

Can’t I turn the honest penny, scribbling for the weekly press,
And in writing Sunday libels drown my private wretchedness! [121]

Oh, to feel the wild pulsation that in manhood’s dawn I knew,
When my days were all before me, and my years were twenty-two!

p. 122When I smoked my independent pipe along the Quadrant wide, [122a]
With the many larks of London flaring up on every side;

When I went the pace so wildly, caring little what might come;
Coffee-milling care and sorrow, with a nose-adapted thumb; [122b]

Felt the exquisite enjoyment, tossing nightly off, oh heavens!
Brandies at the Cider Cellars, kidneys smoking-hot at Evans’! [122c]

Or in the Adelphi sitting, half in rapture, half in tears,
Saw the glorious melodrama conjure up the shades of years!

Saw Jack Sheppard, noble stripling, act his wondrous feats again,
Snapping Newgate’s bars of iron, like an infant’s daisy chain.

p. 123Might was right, and all the terrors, which had held the world in awe,
Were despised, and prigging prospered, spite of Laurie, [123] spite of law.

In such scenes as these I triumphed, ere my passion’s edge was rusted,
And my cousin’s cold refusal left me very much disgusted!

Since, my heart is sere and withered, and I do not care a curse,
Whether worse shall be the better, or the better be the worse.

Hark! my merry comrades call me, bawling for another jorum;
They would mock me in derision, should I thus appear before ’em.

Womankind no more shall vex me, such at least as go arrayed
In the most expensive satins and the newest silk brocade.

p. 124I’ll to Afric, lion-haunted, where the giant forest yields
Rarer robes and finer tissue than are sold at Spital fields.

Or to burst all chains of habit, flinging habit’s self aside,
I shall walk the tangled jungle in mankind’s primeval pride;

Feeding on the luscious berries and the rich cassava root,
Lots of dates and lots of guavas, clusters of forbidden fruit.

Never comes the trader thither, never o’er the purple main
Sounds the oath of British commerce, or the accent of Cockaigne.

There, methinks, would be enjoyment, where no envious rule prevents;
Sink the steamboats! cuss the railways! rot, O rot the Three per Cents!

p. 125There the passions, cramped no longer, shall have space to breathe, my cousin!
I will wed some savage woman—nay, I’ll wed at least a dozen.

There I’ll rear my young mulattoes, as no Bond Street brats are reared:
They shall dive for alligators, catch the wild goats by the beard—

Whistle to the cockatoos, and mock the hairy-faced baboon,
Worship mighty Mumbo Jumbo in the Mountains of the Moon.

I myself, in far Timbuctoo, leopard’s blood will daily quaff,
Ride a tiger-hunting, mounted on a thorough-bred giraffe.

Fiercely shall I shout the war-whoop, as some sullen stream he crosses,
Startling from their noonday slumbers iron-bound rhinoceroses.

p. 126Fool! again the dream, the fancy!  But I know my words are mad,
For I hold the grey barbarian lower than the Christian cad.

I the swell—the city dandy!  I to seek such horrid places,—
I to haunt with squalid negroes, blubber-lips, and monkey-faces!

I to wed with Coromantees!  I, who managed—very near—
To secure the heart and fortune of the widow Shillibeer!

Stuff and nonsense! let me never fling a single chance away;
Maids ere now, I know, have loved me, and another maiden may.

‘Morning Post’ (‘The Times’ won’t trust me) help me, as I know you can;
I will pen an advertisement,—that’s a never-failing plan.

p. 127Wanted—By a bard, in wedlock, some young interesting woman:
Looks are not so much an object, if the shiners be forthcoming!

“Hymen’s chains the advertiser vows shall be but silken fetters;
Please address to A. T., Chelsea.  N.B.—You must pay the letters.”

That’s the sort of thing to do it.  Now I’ll go and taste the balmy,—
Rest thee with thy yellow nabob, spider-hearted Cousin Amy!

Illustration

p. 130 Illustration

My Wife’s Cousin.

Decked with shoes of blackest polish,
  And with shirt as white as snow,
After early morning breakfast
  To my daily desk I go;
First a fond salute bestowing
  On my Mary’s ruby lips,
Which, perchance, may be rewarded
  With a pair of playful nips.

All day long across the ledger
  Still my patient pen I drive,
Thinking what a feast awaits me
  In my happy home at five;
p. 131In my small one-storeyed Eden,
  Where my wife awaits my coming,
And our solitary handmaid
  Mutton-chops with care is crumbing.

When the clock proclaims my freedom,
  Then my hat I seize and vanish;
Every trouble from my bosom,
  Every anxious care I banish.
Swiftly brushing o’er the pavement,
  At a furious pace I go,
Till I reach my darling dwelling
  In the wilds of Pimlico.

“Mary, wife, where art thou, dearest?”
  Thus I cry, while yet afar;
Ah! what scent invades my nostrils?—
  ’Tis the smoke of a cigar!
Instantly into the parlour
  Like a maniac, I haste,
And I find a young Life-Guardsman,
  With his arm round Mary’s waist.

p. 132And his other hand is playing
  Most familiarly with hers;
And I think my Brussels carpet
  Somewhat damaged by his spurs.
“Fire and furies! what the blazes?”
  Thus in frenzied wrath I call;
When my spouse her arms upraises,
  With a most astounding squall.

“Was there ever such a monster,
  Ever such a wretched wife?
Ah! how long must I endure it,
  How protract this hateful life?
All day long, quite unprotected,
  Does he leave his wife at home;
And she cannot see her cousins,
  Even when they kindly come!”

Then the young Life-Guardsman, rising,
  Scarce vouchsafes a single word,
But, with look of deadly menace,
  Claps his hand upon his sword;
p. 133And in fear I faintly falter—
  “This your cousin, then he’s mine!
Very glad, indeed, to see you,—
  Won’t you stop with us, and dine?”

Won’t a ferret suck a rabbit?—
  As a thing of course he stops;
And with most voracious swallow
  Walks into my mutton-chops.
In the twinkling of a bed-post
  Is each savoury platter clear,
And he shows uncommon science
  In his estimate of beer.

Half-and-half goes down before him,
  Gurgling from the pewter pot;
And he moves a counter motion
  For a glass of something hot.
Neither chops nor beer I grudge him,
  Nor a moderate share of goes;
But I know not why he’s always
  Treading upon Mary’s toes.

p. 134Evermore, when, home returning,
  From the counting-house I come,
Do I find the young Life-Guardsman
  Smoking pipes and drinking rum.
Evermore he stays to dinner,
  Evermore devours my meal;
For I have a wholesome horror
  Both of powder and of steel.

Yet I know he’s Mary’s cousin,
  For my only son and heir
Much resembles that young Guardsman,
  With the self-same curly hair;
But I wish he would not always
  Spoil my carpet with his spurs;
And I’d rather see his fingers
  In the fire, than touching hers.

p. 135 Illustration

The Queen in France.

an ancient scottish ballad.

PART I.

It fell upon the August month,
  When landsmen bide at hame,
That our gude Queen went out to sail
  Upon the saut-sea faem.

p. 136And she has ta’en the silk and gowd,
  The like was never seen;
And she has ta’en the Prince Albert,
  And the bauld Lord Aberdeen.

“Ye’se bide at hame, Lord Wellington:
  Ye daurna gang wi’ me:
For ye hae been ance in the land o’ France,
  And that’s eneuch for ye.

“Ye’se bide at hame, Sir Robert Peel,
  To gather the red and the white monie;
And see that my men dinna eat me up
  At Windsor wi’ their gluttonie.”

They hadna sailed a league, a league,—
  A league, but barely twa,
When the lift grew dark, and the waves grew wan,
  And the wind began to blaw.

“O weel weel may the waters rise,
  In welcome o’ their Queen;
What gars ye look sae white, Albert?
  What makes yer ee sae green?”

p. 137“My heart is sick, my heid is sair:
  Gie me a glass o’ the gude brandie:
To set my foot on the braid green sward,
  I’d gie the half o’ my yearly fee.

“It’s sweet to hunt the sprightly hare
  On the bonny slopes o’ Windsor lea,
But oh, it’s ill to bear the thud
  And pitching o’ the saut saut sea!”

And aye they sailed, and aye they sailed,
  Till England sank behind,
And over to the coast of France
  They drave before the wind.

Then up and spak the King o’ France,
  Was birling at the wine;
“O wha may be the gay ladye,
  That owns that ship sae fine?

“And wha may be that bonny lad,
  That looks sae pale and wan
I’ll wad my lands o’ Picardie,
  That he’s nae Englishman.”

p. 138Then up and spak an auld French lord,
  Was sitting beneath his knee,
“It is the Queen o’ braid England
  That’s come across the sea.”

“And oh an it be England’s Queen,
  She’s welcome here the day;
I’d rather hae her for a friend
  Than for a deadly fae.

“Gae, kill the eerock in the yard,
  The auld sow in the sty,
And bake for her the brockit calf,
  But and the puddock-pie!”

And he has gane until the ship,
  As soon as it drew near,
And he has ta’en her by the hand—
  “Ye’re kindly welcome here!”

And syne he kissed her on ae cheek,
  And syne upon the ither;
And he ca’d her his sister dear,
  And she ca’d him her brither.

p. 139“Light doun, light doun now, ladye mine,
  Light doun upon the shore;
Nae English king has trodden here
  This thousand years and more.”

“And gin I lighted on your land,
  As light fu’ weel I may,
O am I free to feast wi’ you,
  And free to come and gae?”

And he has sworn by the Haly Rood,
  And the black stane o’ Dumblane,
That she is free to come and gae
  Till twenty days are gane.

“I’ve lippened to a Frenchman’s aith,”
  Said gude Lord Aberdeen;
“But I’ll never lippen to it again,
  Sae lang’s the grass is green.

“Yet gae your ways, my sovereign liege,
  Sin’ better mayna be;
The wee bit bairns are safe at hame,
  By the blessing o’ Marie!”

p. 140Then doun she lighted frae the ship,
  She lighted safe and sound;
And glad was our good Prince Albert
  To step upon the ground.

“Is that your Queen, my Lord,” she said,
  “That auld and buirdly dame?
I see the crown upon her head;
  But I dinna ken her name.”

And she has kissed the Frenchman’s Queen,
  And eke her daughters three,
And gien her hand to the young Princess,
  That louted upon the knee.

And she has gane to the proud castel,
  That’s biggit beside the sea:
But aye, when she thought o’ the bairns at hame,
  The tear was in her ee.

She gied the King the Cheshire cheese,
  But and the porter fine;
And he gied her the puddock-pies,
  But and the blude-red wine.

p. 141Then up and spak the dourest Prince,
  An admiral was he;
“Let’s keep the Queen o’ England here,
  Sin’ better mayna be!

“O mony is the dainty king
  That we hae trappit here;
And mony is the English yerl
  That’s in our dungeons drear!”

“You lee, you lee, ye graceless loon,
  Sae loud’s I hear ye lee!
There never yet was Englishman
  That came to skaith by me.

“Gae oot, gae oot, ye fause traitour!
  Gae oot until the street;
It’s shame that Kings and Queens should sit
  Wi’ sic a knave at meat!”

Then up and raise the young French lord,
  In wrath and hie disdain—
“O ye may sit, and ye may eat
  Your puddock-pies alane!

p. 142“But were I in my ain gude ship,
  And sailing wi’ the wind,
And did I meet wi’ auld Napier,
  I’d tell him o’ my mind.”

O then the Queen leuch loud and lang,
  And her colour went and came;
“Gin ye meet wi’ Charlie on the sea,
  Ye’ll wish yersel at hame!”

And aye they birlit at the wine,
  And drank richt merrilie,
Till the auld cock crawed in the castle-yard,
  And the abbey bell struck three.

The Queen she gaed until her bed,
  And Prince Albert likewise;
And the last word that gay ladye said
  Was—“O thae puddock-pies!”

p. 143PART II.

The sun was high within the lift
  Afore the French King raise;
And syne he louped intil his sark,
  And warslit on his claes.

“Gae up, gae up, my little foot-page,
  Gae up until the toun;
And gin ye meet wi’ the auld harper,
  Be sure ye bring him doun.”

And he has met wi’ the auld harper;
  O but his een were reid;
And the bizzing o’ a swarm o’ bees
  Was singing in his heid.

“Alack! alack!” the harper said,
  “That this should e’er hae been!
I daurna gang before my liege,
  For I was fou yestreen.”

p. 144“It’s ye maun come, ye auld harper:
  Ye daurna tarry lang;
The King is just dementit-like
  For wanting o’ a sang.”

And when he came to the King’s chamber,
  He loutit on his knee,
“O what may be your gracious will
  Wi’ an auld frail man like me?”

“I want a sang, harper,” he said,
  “I want a sang richt speedilie;
And gin ye dinna make a sang,
  I’ll hang ye up on the gallows tree.”

“I canna do’t, my liege,” he said,
  “Hae mercy on my auld grey hair!
But gin that I had got the words,
  I think that I might mak the air.”

“And wha’s to mak the words, fause loon,
  When minstrels we have barely twa;
And Lamartine is in Paris toun,
  And Victor Hugo far awa?”

p. 145“The diel may gang for Lamartine,
  And flee away wi’ auld Hugo,
For a better minstrel than them baith
  Within this very toun I know.

“O kens my liege the gude Walter,
  At hame they ca’ him Bon Gaultier?
He’ll rhyme ony day wi’ True Thomas,
  And he is in the castle here.”

The French King first he lauchit loud,
  And syne did he begin to sing;
“My een are auld, and my heart is cauld,
  Or I suld hae known the minstrels’ King.

“Gae take to him this ring o’ gowd,
  And this mantle o’ the silk sae fine,
And bid him mak a maister sang
  For his sovereign ladye’s sake and mine.”

“I winna take the gowden ring,
  Nor yet the mantle fine:
But I’ll mak the sang for my ladye’s sake,
  And for a cup of wine.”

p. 146The Queen was sitting at the cards,
  The King ahint her back;
And aye she dealed the red honours,
  And aye she dealed the black;

And syne unto the dourest Prince
  She spak richt courteouslie;—
“Now will ye play, Lord Admiral,
  Now will ye play wi’ me?”

The dourest Prince he bit his lip,
  And his brow was black as glaur;
“The only game that e’er I play
  Is the bluidy game o’ war!”

“And gin ye play at that, young man,
  It weel may cost ye sair;
Ye’d better stick to the game at cards,
  For you’ll win nae honours there!”

The King he leuch, and the Queen she leuch,
  Till the tears ran blithely doon;
But the Admiral he raved and swore,
  Till they kicked him frae the room.

p. 147The harper came, and the harper sang,
  And oh but they were fain;
For when he had sung the gude sang twice,
  They called for it again.

It was the sang o’ the Field o’ Gowd,
  In the days of auld langsyne;
When bauld King Henry crossed the seas,
  Wi’ his brither King to dine.

And aye he harped, and aye he carped,
  Till up the Queen she sprang—
“I’ll wad a County Palatine,
  Gude Walter made that sang.”

Three days had come, three days had gane,
  The fourth began to fa’,
When our gude Queen to the Frenchman said,
  “It’s time I was awa!

“O, bonny are the fields o’ France,
  And saftly draps the rain;
But my bairnies are in Windsor Tower,
  And greeting a’ their lane.

p. 148“Now ye maun come to me, Sir King,
  As I have come to ye;
And a benison upon your heid
  For a’ your courtesie!

“Ye maun come, and bring your ladye fere;
  Ye sall na say me no;
And ye’se mind, we have aye a bed to spare
  For that gawsy chield Guizot.”

Now he has ta’en her lily-white hand,
  And put it to his lip,
And he has ta’en her to the strand,
  And left her in her ship.

“Will ye come back, sweet bird?” he cried,
  “Will ye come kindly here,
When the lift is blue, and the lavrocks sing,
  In the spring-time o’ the year?”

“It’s I would blithely come, my Lord,
  To see ye in the spring;
It’s I would blithely venture back
  But for ae little thing.

p. 149“It isna that the winds are rude,
  Or that the waters rise,
But I loe the roasted beef at hame,
  And no thae puddock-pies!”

p. 150 Illustration

The Massacre of the Macpherson.

[from the gaelic.]

I.

Fhairshon swore a feud
  Against the clan M’Tavish;
Marched into their land
  To murder and to rafish;
p. 151For he did resolve
  To extirpate the vipers,
With four-and-twenty men
  And five-and-thirty pipers.

II.

But when he had gone
  Half-way down Strath Canaan,
Of his fighting tail
  Just three were remainin’.
They were all he had,
  To back him in ta battle;
All the rest had gone
  Off, to drive ta cattle.

III.

“Fery coot!” cried Fhairshon,
  “So my clan disgraced is;
Lads, we’ll need to fight,
  Pefore we touch the peasties.
p. 152Here’s Mhic-Mac-Methusaleh
  Coming wi’ his fassals,
Gillies seventy-three,
  And sixty Dhuinéwassails!”

IV.

“Coot tay to you, sir;
  Are you not ta Fhairshon?
Was you coming here
  To fisit any person?
You are a plackguard, sir!
  It is now six hundred
Coot long years, and more,
  Since my glen was plundered.”

V.

“Fat is tat you say?
  Dare you cock your peaver?
I will teach you, sir,
  Fat is coot pehaviour!
p. 153You shall not exist
  For another day more;
I will shoot you, sir,
  Or stap you with my claymore!”

VI.

“I am fery glad,
  To learn what you mention,
Since I can prevent
  Any such intention.”
So Mhic-Mac-Methusaleh
  Gave some warlike howls,
Trew his skhian-dhu,
  An’ stuck it in his powels.

VII.

In this fery way
  Tied ta faliant Fhairshon,
Who was always thought
  A superior person.
p. 154Fhairshon had a son,
  Who married Noah’s daughter,
And nearly spoiled ta Flood,
  By trinking up ta water:

VIII.

Which he would have done,
  I at least pelieve it,
Had ta mixture peen
  Only half Glenlivet.
This is all my tale:
  Sirs, I hope ’tis new t’ye!
Here’s your fery good healths,
  And tamn ta whusky duty!

p. 155[The six following Poems were among those forwarded to the Home Secretary, by the unsuccessful competitors for the Laureateship, on its becoming vacant by the death of Southey.  How they came into our possession is a matter between Sir James Graham and ourselves.  The result of the contest could never have been doubtful, least of all to the great poet who then succeeded to the bays.  His own sonnet on the subject is full of the serene consciousness of superiority, which does not even admit the idea of rivalry, far less of defeat.

Bays! which in former days have graced the brow
  Of some, who lived and loved, and sang and died;
  Leaves that were gathered on the pleasant side
Of old Parnassus from Apollo’s bough;
With palpitating hand I take thee now,
  Since worthier minstrel there is none beside,
  And with a thrill of song half deified,
I bind them proudly on my locks of snow.
There shall they bide, till he who follows next,
  Of whom I cannot even guess the name,
Shall by Court favour, or some vain pretext
  Of fancied merit, desecrate the same,—
And think, perchance, he wears them quite as well
As the sole bard who sang of Peter Bell!]

The above note, which appeared in the first and subsequent editions of this volume, is characteristic of the audacious spirit of fun in which Bon Gaultier revelled.  The sonnet here ascribed to Wordsworth must have been believed by some matter-of-fact people to be really by him.  On his death in 1857, in an article on the subject of the vacant Laureate-ship, it was quoted in a leading journal as proof of Wordsworth’s complacent estimate of his own supremacy over all contemporary poets.  In writing the sonnet I was well aware that there was some foundation for his not unjust high appreciation of his own prowess, as the phrase “sole bard” pretty clearly indicates, but I never dreamt that any one would fail to see the joke.

p. 156The Laureates’ Tourney.

by the hon. t--- b--- m---.

FYTTE THE FIRST.

“What news, what news, thou pilgrim grey, what news from southern land?
How fare the bold Conservatives, how is it with Ferrand?
How does the little Prince of Wales—how looks our lady Queen?
And tell me, is the monthly nurse once more at Windsor seen?”

“I bring no tidings from the Court, nor from St Stephen’s hall;
I’ve heard the thundering tramp of horse, and the trumpet’s battle-call;
p. 157And these old eyes have seen a fight, which England ne’er hath seen,
Since fell King Richard sobbed his soul through blood on Bosworth Green.

‘He’s dead, he’s dead, the Laureate’s dead!’  ’Twas thus the cry began,
And straightway every garret-roof gave up its minstrel man;
From Grub Street, and from Houndsditch, and from Farringdon Within,
The poets all towards Whitehall poured on with eldritch din.

Loud yelled they for Sir James the Graham: [157] but sore afraid was he;
A hardy knight were he that might face such a minstrelsie.
‘Now by St Giles of Netherby, my patron Saint, I swear,
I’d rather by a thousand crowns Lord Palmerston were here!—

p. 158‘What is’t ye seek, ye rebel knaves—what make you there beneath?’
‘The bays, the bays! we want the bays! we seek the laureate wreath!
We seek the butt of generous wine that cheers the sons of song;
Choose thou among us all, Sir Knight—we may not tarry long!’

Loud laughed the good Sir James in scorn—‘Rare jest it were, I think,
But one poor butt of Xeres, and a thousand rogues to drink!
An’ if it flowed with wine or beer, ’tis easy to be seen,
That dry within the hour would be the well of Hippocrene.

‘Tell me, if on Parnassus’ heights there grow a thousand sheaves:
Or has Apollo’s laurel bush yet borne ten hundred leaves?
p. 159Or if so many leaves were there, how long would they sustain
The ravage and the glutton bite of such a locust train?

‘No! get ye back into your dens, take counsel for the night,
And choose me out two champions to meet in deadly fight;
To-morrow’s dawn shall see the lists marked out in Spitalfields,
And he who wins shall have the bays, and he shall die who yields!’

Down went the window with a crash,—in silence and in fear
Each raggèd bard looked anxiously upon his neighbour near;
Then up and spake young Tennyson—‘Who’s here that fears for death?
’Twere better one of us should die, than England lose the wreath!

p. 160‘Let’s cast the lot among us now, which two shall fight to-morrow;—
For armour bright we’ll club our mite, and horses we can borrow;
’Twere shame that bards of France should sneer, and German Dichters too,
If none of British song might dare a deed of derring-do!’

‘The lists of Love are mine,’ said Moore, ‘and not the lists of Mars;’
Said Hunt, ‘I seek the jars of wine, but shun the combat’s jars!’
‘I’m old,’ quoth Samuel Rogers.—‘Faith,’ says Campbell, ‘so am I!’
‘And I’m in holy orders, sir!’ quoth Tom of Ingoldsby.

‘Now out upon ye, craven loons!’ cried Moxon, [160] good at need,—
‘Bide, if ye will, secure at home, and sleep while others bleed.
p. 161I second Alfred’s motion, boys,—let’s try the chance of lot;
And monks shall sing, and bells shall ring, for him that goes to pot.’

Eight hundred minstrels slunk away—two hundred stayed to draw,—
Now Heaven protect the daring wight that pulls the longest straw!
’Tis done! ’tis done!  And who hath won?  Keep silence one and all,—
The first is William Wordsworth hight, the second Ned Fitzball!

FYTTE THE SECOND.

Oh, bright and gay hath dawned the day on lordly Spitalfields,—
How flash the rays with ardent blaze from polished helms and shields!
On either side the chivalry of England throng the green,
And in the middle balcony appears our gracious Queen.

p. 162With iron fists, to keep the lists, two valiant knights appear,
The Marquis Hal of Waterford, and stout Sir Aubrey Vere.
‘What ho! there, herald, blow the trump!  Let’s see who comes to claim
The butt of golden Xeres, and the Laureate’s honoured name!’

That instant dashed into the lists, all armed from head to heel,
On courser brown, with vizor down, a warrior sheathed in steel;
Then said our Queen—‘Was ever seen so stout a knight and tall?
His name—his race?’—‘An’t please your grace, it is the brave Fitzball. [162]

‘Oft in the Melodrama line his prowess hath been shown,
And well throughout the Surrey side his thirst for blood is known.
p. 163But see, the other champion comes!’—Then rang the startled air
With shouts of ‘Wordsworth, Wordsworth, ho! the bard of Rydal’s there.’

And lo! upon a little steed, unmeet for such a course,
Appeared the honoured veteran; but weak seemed man and horse.
Then shook their ears the sapient peers,—‘That joust will soon be done:
My Lord of Brougham, I’ll back Fitzball, and give you two to one!’

‘Done,’ quoth the Brougham,—‘And done with you!’  ‘Now, Minstrels, are you ready?’
Exclaimed the Lord of Waterford,—‘You’d better both sit steady.
Blow, trumpets, blow the note of charge! and forward to the fight!’
‘Amen!’ said good Sir Aubrey Vere; ‘Saint Schism defend the right!’

p. 164As sweeps the blast against the mast when blows the furious squall,
So started at the trumpet’s sound the terrible Fitzball;
His lance he bore his breast before,—Saint George protect the just!
Or Wordsworth’s hoary head must roll along the shameful dust!

‘Who threw that calthrop?  Seize the knave!’  Alas! the deed is done;
Down went the steed, and o’er his head flew bright Apollo’s son.
‘Undo his helmet! cut the lace! pour water on his head!’
‘It ain’t no use at all, my lord; ’cos vy? the covey’s dead!’

Above him stood the Rydal bard—his face was full of woe.
‘Now there thou liest, stiff and stark, who never feared a foe:
p. 165A braver knight, or more renowned in tourney and in hall,
Ne’er brought the upper gallery down than terrible Fitzball!’

They led our Wordsworth to the Queen—she crowned him with the bays,
And wished him many happy years, and many quarter-days;
And if you’d have the story told by abler lips than mine,
You’ve but to call at Rydal Mount, and taste the Laureate’s wine!”

p. 166 Illustration

The Royal Banquet.

by the hon. g--- b--- s---.

The Queen she kept high festival in Windsor’s lordly hall,
And round her sat the gartered knights, and ermined nobles all;
There drank the valiant Wellington, there fed the wary Peel,
And at the bottom of the board Prince Albert carved the veal.

p. 167“What, pantler, ho! remove the cloth!  Ho! cellarer, the wine,
And bid the royal nurse bring in the hope of Brunswick’s line!”
Then rose with one tumultuous shout the band of British peers,
“God bless her sacred Majesty!  Let’s see the little dears!”

Now by Saint George, our patron saint, ’twas a touching sight to see
That iron warrior gently place the Princess on his knee;
To hear him hush her infant fears, and teach her how to gape
With rosy mouth expectant for the raisin and the grape!

They passed the wine, the sparkling wine—they filled the goblets up;
Even Brougham, the cynic anchorite, smiled blandly on the cup;
p. 168And Lyndhurst, with a noble thirst, that nothing could appease,
Proposed the immortal memory of King William on his knees.

“What want we here, my gracious liege,” cried gay Lord Aberdeen,
“Save gladsome song and minstrelsy to flow our cups between?
I ask not now for Goulburn’s voice or Knatchbull’s warbling lay, [168]
But where’s the Poet Laureate to grace our board to-day?”

Loud laughed the Knight of Netherby, and scornfully he cried,
“Or art thou mad with wine, Lord Earl, or art thyself beside?
Eight hundred Bedlam bards have claimed the Laureate’s vacant crown,
And now like frantic Bacchanals run wild through London town!”

p. 169“Now glory to our gracious Queen!” a voice was heard to cry,
And dark Macaulay stood before them all with frenzied eye;
“Now glory to our gracious Queen, and all her glorious race,
A boon, a boon, my sovran liege!  Give me the Laureate’s place!

“’Twas I that sang the might of Rome, the glories of Navarre;
And who could swell the fame so well of Britain’s Isles afar?
The hero of a hundred fights—”  Then Wellington up sprung,
“Ho, silence in the ranks, I say!  Sit down and hold your tongue!

“By heaven, thou shalt not twist my name into a jingling lay,
Or mimic in thy puny song the thunders of Assaye!
’Tis hard that for thy lust of place in peace we cannot dine.
Nurse, take her Royal Highness, here!  Sir Robert, pass the wine!”

p. 170“No Laureate need we at our board!” then spoke the Lord of Vaux;
“Here’s many a voice to charm the ear with minstrel song, I know.
Even I myself—”  Then rose the cry—“A song, a song from Brougham!”
He sang,—and straightway found himself alone within the room.

Illustration

p. 171The Bard of Erin’s Lament.

by t--- m---re, esq.

Oh, weep for the hours, when the little blind boy
  Wove round me the spells of his Paphian bower;
When I dipped my light wings in the nectar of joy,
  And soared in the sunshine, the moth of the hour!
From beauty to beauty I passed, like the wind;
  Now fondled the lily, now toyed with the Rose;
And the fair, that at morn had enchanted my mind,
  Was forsook for another ere evening’s close.

I sighed not for honour, I cared not for fame,
  While Pleasure sat by me, and Love was my guest;
They twined a fresh wreath for each day as it came,
  And the bosom of Beauty still pillowed my rest:
p. 172And the harp of my country—neglected it slept—
  In hall or by greenwood unheard were its songs;
From Love’s Sybarite dreams I aroused me, and swept
  Its chords to the tale of her glories and wrongs.

But weep for the hour!—Life’s summer is past,
  And the snow of its winter lies cold on my brow;
And my soul, as it shrinks from each stroke of the blast,
  Cannot turn to a fire that glows inwardly now.
No, its ashes are dead—and, alas! Love or Song
  No charm to Life’s lengthening shadows can lend,
Like a cup of old wine, rich, mellow, and strong,
  And a seat by the fire tête-à-tête with a friend.

p. 173 Illustration

The Laureate.

by a--- t---.

          Who would not be
            The Laureate bold,
          With his butt of sherry
          To keep him merry,
And nothing to do but to pocket his gold?
p. 174’Tis I would be the Laureate bold!
When the days are hot, and the sun is strong,
I’d lounge in the gateway all the day long,
With her Majesty’s footmen in crimson and gold.
I’d care not a pin for the waiting-lord;
But I’d lie on my back on the smooth greensward
With a straw in my mouth, and an open vest,
And the cool wind blowing upon my breast,
And I’d vacantly stare at the clear blue sky,
And watch the clouds that are listless as I,
          Lazily, lazily!
And I’d pick the moss and the daisies white,
And chew their stalks with a nibbling bite;
And I’d let my fancies roam abroad
In search of a hint for a birthday ode,
          Crazily, crazily!

Oh, that would be the life for me,
With plenty to get and nothing to do,
But to deck a pet poodle with ribbons of blue,
And whistle all day to the Queen’s cockatoo,
          Trance-somely, trance-somely!
p. 175Then the chambermaids, that clean the rooms,
Would come to the windows and rest on their brooms,
With their saucy caps and their crispèd hair,
And they’d toss their heads in the fragrant air,
And say to each other—“Just look down there,
At the nice young man, so tidy and small,
Who is paid for writing on nothing at all,
          Handsomely, handsomely!”

They would pelt me with matches and sweet pastilles,
And crumpled-up balls of the royal bills,
Giggling and laughing, and screaming with fun,
As they’d see me start, with a leap and a run,
From the broad of my back to the points of my toes,
When a pellet of paper hit my nose,
          Teasingly, sneezingly.
Then I’d fling them bunches of garden flowers,
And hyacinths plucked from the Castle bowers;
And I’d challenge them all to come down to me,
And I’d kiss them all till they kissèd me,
          Laughingly, laughingly.

p. 176Oh, would not that be a merry life,
Apart from care and apart from strife,
With the Laureate’s wine, and the Laureate’s pay,
And no deductions at quarter-day?
Oh, that would be the post for me!
With plenty to get and nothing to do,
But to deck a pet poodle with ribbons of blue,
And whistle a tune to the Queen’s cockatoo,
And scribble of verses remarkably few,
And empty at evening a bottle or two,
          Quaffingly, quaffingly!

          ’Tis I would be
            The Laureate bold,
          With my butt of sherry
          To keep me merry,
And nothing to do but to pocket my gold!

p. 177A Midnight Meditation.

by sir e--- b--- l---.

Fill me once more the foaming pewter up!
  Another board of oysters, ladye mine!
To-night Lucullus with himself shall sup.
  These mute inglorious Miltons [177] are divine
  And as I here in slippered ease recline,
Quaffing of Perkin’s Entire my fill,
I sigh not for the lymph of Aganippe’s rill.

A nobler inspiration fires my brain,
  Caught from Old England’s fine time-hallowed drink;
I snatch the pot again and yet again,
  And as the foaming fluids shrink and shrink,
  Fill me once more, I say, up to the brink!
p. 178This makes strong hearts—strong heads attest its charm—
This nerves the might that sleeps in Britain’s brawny arm!

But these remarks are neither here nor there.
  Where was I?  Oh, I see—old Southey’s dead!
They’ll want some bard to fill the vacant chair,
  And drain the annual butt—and oh, what head
  More fit with laurel to be garlanded
Than this, which, curled in many a fragrant coil,
Breathes of Castalia’s streams, and best Macassar oil?

I know a grace is seated on my brow,
  Like young Apollo’s with his golden beams—
There should Apollo’s bays be budding now:—
  And in my flashing eyes the radiance beams,
  That marks the poet in his waking dreams,
When, as his fancies cluster thick and thicker,
He feels the trance divine of poesy and liquor.

They throng around me now, those things of air
  That from my fancy took their being’s stamp:
p. 179There Pelham sits and twirls his glossy hair,
  There Clifford leads his pals upon the tramp;
  There pale Zanoni, bending o’er his lamp,
Roams through the starry wilderness of thought,
Where all is everything, and everything is nought.

Yes, I am he who sang how Aram won
  The gentle ear of pensive Madeline!
How love and murder hand in hand may run,
  Cemented by philosophy serene,
  And kisses bless the spot where gore has been!
Who breathed the melting sentiment of crime,
And for the assassin waked a sympathy sublime!

Yes, I am he, who on the novel shed
  Obscure philosophy’s enchanting light!
Until the public, ‘wildered as they read,
  Believed they saw that which was not in sight—
  Of course ’twas not for me to set them right;
For in my nether heart convinced I am,
Philosophy’s as good as any other flam.

p. 180Novels three-volumed I shall write no more—
  Somehow or other now they will not sell;
And to invent new passions is a bore—
  I find the Magazines pay quite as well.
  Translating’s simple, too, as I can tell,
Who’ve hawked at Schiller on his lyric throne,
And given the astonished bard a meaning all my own.

Moore, Campbell, Wordsworth, their best days are grassed:
  Battered and broken are their early lyres,
Rogers, a pleasant memory of the past,
  Warmed his young hands at Smithfield’s martyr fires,
  And, worth a plum, nor bays nor butt desires.
But these are things would suit me to the letter,
For though this Stout is good, old Sherry’s greatly better.

A fico for your small poetic ravers,
  Your Hunts, your Tennysons, your Milnes, and these!
Shall they compete with him who wrote ‘Maltravers,’
  p. 181Prologue to ‘Alice or the Mysteries’?
  No!  Even now my glance prophetic sees
My own high brow girt with the bays about.
What ho! within there, ho! another pint of Stout!

Stout!  More Stout!!

p. 182Montgomery.

a poem.

Like one who, waking from a troublous dream,
Pursues with force his meditative theme;
Calm as the ocean in its halcyon still,
Calm as the sunlight sleeping on the hill;
Calm as at Ephesus great Paul was seen
To rend his robes in agonies serene;
Calm as the love that radiant Luther bore
To all that lived behind him and before;
Calm as meek Calvin, when, with holy smile,
He sang the mass around Servetus’ pile,—
So once again I snatch this harp of mine,
To breathe rich incense from a mystic shrine.
Not now to whisper to the ambient air
The sounds of Satan’s Universal Prayer;
p. 183Not now to sing, in sweet domestic strife
That woman reigns the Angel of our life;
But to proclaim the wish, with pious art,
Which thrills through Britain’s universal heart,—
That on this brow, with native honours graced,
The Laureate’s chaplet should at length be placed!

  Fear not, ye maids, who love to hear me speak;
Let no desponding tears bedim your cheek!
No gust of envy, no malicious scorn,
Hath this poor heart of mine with frenzy torn.
There are who move so far above the great,
Their very look disarms the glance of hate;
Their thoughts, more rich than emerald or gold,
Enwrap them like the prophet’s mantle’s fold.
Fear not for me, nor think that this our age,
Blind though it be, hath yet no Archimage.
I, who have bathed, in bright Castalia’s tide
By classic Isis and more classic Clyde;
I, who have handled, in my lofty strain,
All things divine, and many things profane;
I, who have trod where seraphs fear to tread;
I, who on mount—no, “honey-dew” have fed;
p. 184I, who undaunted broke the mystic seal,
And left no page for prophets to reveal;
I, who in shade portentous Dante threw;
I, who have done what Milton dared not do,—
I fear no rival for the vacant throne;
No mortal thunder shall eclipse my own!

  Let dark Macaulay chant his Roman lays,
Let Monckton Milnes go maunder for the bays,
Let Simmons call on great Napoleon’s shade,
Let Lytton Bulwer seek his Aram’s aid,
Let Wordsworth ask for help from Peter Bell,
Let Campbell carol Copenhagen’s knell,
Let Delta warble through his Delphic groves,
Let Elliott shout for pork and penny loaves,—
I care not, I! resolved to stand or fall;
One down, another on, I’ll smash them all!

  Back, ye profane! this hand alone hath power
To pluck the laurel from its sacred bower;
This brow alone is privileged to wear
The ancient wreath o’er hyacinthine hair;
These lips alone may quaff the sparkling wine,
p. 185And make its mortal juice once more divine.
Back, ye profane!  And thou, fair Queen, rejoice:
A nation’s praise shall consecrate thy choice.
Thus, then, I kneel where Spenser knelt before,
On the same spot, perchance, of Windsor’s floor;
And take, while awe-struck millions round me stand,
The hallowed wreath from great Victoria’s hand.

p. 186 Illustration

Little John and the Red Friar.

a lay of sherwood.

FYTTE THE FIRST.

The deer may leap within the glade;
  The fawns may follow free—
For Robin is dead, and his bones are laid
  Beneath the greenwood tree.

p. 187And broken are his merry, merry men,
  That goodly companie:
There’s some have ta’en the northern road
  With Jem of Netherbee.

The best and bravest of the band
  With Derby Ned are gone;
But Earlie Grey and Charlie Wood,
  They stayed with Little John.

Now Little John was an outlaw proud,
  A prouder ye never saw;
Through Nottingham and Leicester shires
  He thought his word was law,
And he strutted through the greenwood wide,
  Like a pestilent jackdaw.

He swore that none, but with leave of him,
  Should set foot on the turf so free:
And he thought to spread his cutter’s rule,
  All over the south countrie.
“There’s never a knave in the land,” he said,
  “But shall pay his toll to me!”

p. 188And Charlie Wood was a taxman good
  As ever stepped the ground,
He levied mail, like a sturdy thief,
  From all the yeomen round.
“Nay, stand!” quoth he, “thou shalt pay to me
  Seven pence from every pound!”

Now word has come to Little John,
  As he lay upon the grass,
That a Friar red was in merry Sherwood
  Without his leave to pass.

“Come hither, come hither, my little foot-page!
  Ben Hawes, come tell to me,
What manner of man is this burly frere
  Who walks the wood so free?”

“My master good!” the little page said,
  “His name I wot not well,
But he wears on his head a hat so red,
  With a monstrous scallop-shell.

p. 189“He says he is Prior of Copmanshurst,
  And Bishop of London town,
And he comes with a rope from our father the Pope,
  To put the outlaws down.

“I saw him ride but yester-tide,
  With his jolly chaplains three;
And he swears that he has an open pass
  From Jem of Netherbee!”

Little John has ta’en an arrow so broad,
  And broken it o’er his knee;
“Now may I never strike doe again,
  But this wrong avenged shall be!

“And has he dared, this greasy frere,
  To trespass in my bound,
Nor asked for leave from Little John
  To range with hawk and hound?

“And has he dared to take a pass
  From Jem of Netherbee,
Forgetting that the Sherwood shaws
  Pertain of right to me?

p. 190“O were he but a simple man,
  And not a slip-shod frere!
I’d hang him up by his own waist-rope
  Above yon tangled brere.

“O did he come alone from Jem,
  And not from our father the Pope,
I’d bring him into Copmanshurst,
  With the noose of a hempen rope!

“But since he has come from our father the Pope,
  And sailed across the sea,
And since he has power to bind and lose,
  His life is safe for me;
But a heavy penance he shall do
  Beneath the greenwood tree!”

“O tarry yet!” quoth Charlie Wood,
  “O tarry, master mine!
It’s ill to shear a yearling hog,
  Or twist the wool of swine!

p. 191“It’s ill to make a bonny silk purse
  From the ear of a bristly boar;
It’s ill to provoke a shaveling’s curse,
  When the way lies him before.

“I’ve walked the forest for twenty years,
  In wet weather and dry,
And never stopped a good fellowe,
  Who had no coin to buy.

“What boots it to search a beggarman’s bags,
  When no silver groat he has?
So, master mine, I rede you well,
  E’en let the friar pass!”

“Now cease thy prate,” quoth Little John,
  “Thou japest but in vain;
An he have not a groat within his pouch,
  We may find a silver chain.

“But were he as bare as a new-flayed buck,
  As truly he may be,
He shall not tread the Sherwood shaws
  Without the leave of me!”

p. 192Little John has taken his arrows and bow,
  His sword and buckler strong,
And lifted up his quarter-staff,
  Was full three cloth yards long.

And he has left his merry men
  At the trysting-tree behind,
And gone into the gay greenwood,
  This burly frere to find.

O’er holt and hill, through brake and brere,
  He took his way alone—
Now, Lordlings, list and you shall hear
  This geste of Little John.

FYTTE THE SECOND.

’Tis merry, ’tis merry in gay greenwood,
  When the little birds are singing,
When the buck is belling in the fern,
  And the hare from the thicket springing!

p. 193’Tis merry to hear the waters clear,
  As they splash in the pebbly fall;
And the ouzel whistling to his mate,
  As he lights on the stones so small.

But small pleasaunce took Little John
  In all he heard and saw;
Till he reached the cave of a hermit old
  Who wonned within the shaw.

Ora pro nobis!” quoth Little John—
  His Latin was somewhat rude—
“Now, holy father, hast thou seen
  A frere within the wood?

“By his scarlet hose, and his ruddy nose,
  I guess you may know him well;
And he wears on his head a hat so red,
  And a monstrous scallop-shell.”

“I have served Saint Pancras,” the hermit said,
  “In this cell for thirty year,
Yet never saw I, in the forest bounds,
  The face of such a frere!

p. 194“An’ if ye find him, master mine,
  E’en take an old man’s advice,
An’ raddle him well, till he roar again,
  Lest ye fail to meet him twice!”

“Trust me for that!” quoth Little John—
  “Trust me for that!” quoth he, with a laugh;
“There never was man of woman born,
  That asked twice for the taste of my quarter-staff!”

Then Little John, he strutted on,
  Till he came to an open bound,
And he was aware of a Red Friar,
  Was sitting upon the ground.

His shoulders they were broad and strong,
  And large was he of limb;
Few yeomen in the north countrie
  Would care to mell with him.

He heard the rustling of the boughs,
  As Little John drew near;
But never a single word he spoke,
  Of welcome or of cheer:
p. 195Less stir he made than a pedlar would
  For a small gnat in his ear!

I like not his looks! thought Little John,
  Nor his staff of the oaken tree.
Now may our Lady be my help,
  Else beaten I well may be!

“What dost thou here, thou strong Friar,
  In Sherwood’s merry round,
Without the leave of Little John,
  To range with hawk and hound?”

“Small thought have I,” quoth the Red Friar,
  “Of any leave, I trow;
That Little John is an outlawed thief,
  And so, I ween, art thou!

“Know, I am Prior of Copmanshurst,
  And Bishop of London town,
And I bring a rope from our father the Pope,
  To put the outlaws down.”

p. 196Then out spoke Little John in wrath,
  “I tell thee, burly frere,
The Pope may do as he likes at home,
  But he sends no Bishops here!

“Up, and away, Red Friar!” he said,
  “Up, and away, right speedilie;
An it were not for that cowl of thine,
  Avenged on thy body I would be!”

“Nay, heed not that,” said the Red Friar,
  “And let my cowl no hindrance be;
I warrant that I can give as good
  As ever I think to take from thee!”

Little John he raised his quarter-staff,
  And so did the burly priest,
And they fought beneath the greenwood tree
  A stricken hour at least.

But Little John was weak of fence,
  And his strength began to fail;
Whilst the Friar’s blows came thundering down,
  Like the strokes of a threshing-flail.

p. 197“Now hold thy hand, thou stalwart Friar,
  Now rest beneath the thorn,
Until I gather breath enow,
  For a blast at my bugle-horn!”

“I’ll hold my hand,” the Friar said,
  “Since that is your propine,
But, an you sound your bugle-horn,
  I’ll even blow on mine!”

Little John he wound a blast so shrill,
  That it rang o’er rock and linn,
And Charlie Wood, and his merry men all,
  Came lightly bounding in.

The Friar he wound a blast so strong
  That it shook both bush and tree,
And to his side came witless Will,
  And Jem of Netherbee;
With all the worst of Robin’s band,
  And many a Rapparee!

p. 198Little John he wist not what to do,
  When he saw the others come;
So he twisted his quarter-staff between
  His fingers and his thumb.

“There’s some mistake, good Friar!” he said,
  “There’s some mistake ’twixt thee and me;
I know thou art Prior of Copmanshurst,
  But not beneath the greenwood tree.

“And if you will take some other name,
  You shall have ample leave to bide;
With pasture also for your Bulls,
  And power to range the forest wide.”

“There’s no mistake!” the Friar said;
  “I’ll call myself just what I please.
My doctrine is that chalk is chalk,
  And cheese is nothing else than cheese.”

“So be it, then!” quoth Little John;
  “But surely you will not object,
If I and all my merry men
  Should treat you with reserved respect?

p. 199 Illustration

“We can’t call you Prior of Copmanshurst,
  Nor Bishop of London town,
Nor on the grass, as you chance to pass,
  Can we very well kneel down.

p. 200“But you’ll send the Pope my compliments,
  And say, as a further hint,
That, within the Sherwood bounds, you saw
Little John, who is the son-in-law
  Of his friend, old Mat-o’-the-Mint!”

So ends this geste of Little John—
  God save our noble Queen!
But, Lordlings, say—Is Sherwood now
  What Sherwood once hath been? [200]

p. 201 Illustration

The Rhyme of Sir Launcelot Bogle.

a legend of glasgow.

by mrs e--- b--- b---.

There’s a pleasant place of rest, near a City of the West,
  Where its bravest and its best find their grave.
p. 202Below the willows weep, and their hoary branches steep
  In the waters still and deep,
                        Not a wave!

And the old Cathedral Wall, so scathed and grey and tall,
  Like a priest surveying all, stands beyond;
And the ringing of its bell, when the ringers ring it well,
  Makes a kind of tidal swell
                        On the pond!

And there it was I lay, on a beauteous summer’s day,
  With the odour of the hay floating by;
And I heard the blackbirds sing, and the bells demurely ring,
  Chime by chime, ting by ting,
                        Droppingly.

Then my thoughts went wandering back, on a very beaten track,
  To the confine deep and black of the tomb;
p. 203And I wondered who he was, that is laid beneath the grass,
  Where the dandelion has
                        Such a bloom.

Then I straightway did espy, with my slantly-sloping eye,
  A carvèd stone hard by, somewhat worn;
And I read in letters cold—Here.lyes.Launcelot.ye.bolde,
  Off.ye.race.off.Bogile.old,
                        Glasgow.borne.

He.wals.ane.valyaunt.knychte.maist.terrible.in.fychte.
  Here the letters failed outright, but I knew
That a stout crusading lord, who had crossed the Jordan’s ford,
  Lay there beneath the sward,
                        Wet with dew.

Time and tide they passed away, on that pleasant summer’s day,
  And around me, as I lay, all grew old:
p. 204Sank the chimneys from the town, and the clouds of vapour brown
  No longer, like a crown,
                        O’er it rolled.

Sank the great Saint Rollox stalk, like a pile of dingy chalk;
  Disappeared the cypress walk, and the flowers;
And a donjon-keep arose, that might baffle any foes,
  With its men-at-arms in rows,
                        On the towers.

And the flag that flaunted there showed the grim and grizzly bear,
  Which the Bogles always wear for their crest.
And I heard the warder call, as he stood upon the wall,
  “Wake ye up! my comrades all,
                        From your rest!

“For, by the blessed rood, there’s a glimpse of armour good
  In the deep Cowcaddens wood, o’er the stream;
p. 205And I hear the stifled hum of a multitude that come,
  Though they have not beat the drum,
                        It would seem!

“Go tell it to my Lord, lest he wish to man the ford
  With partisan and sword, just beneath;
Ho, Gilkison and Nares!  Ho, Provan of Cowlairs!
  We’ll back the bonny bears
                        To the death!”

To the tower above the moat, like one who heedeth not,
  Came the bold Sir Launcelot, half undressed;
On the outer rim he stood, and peered into the wood,
  With his arms across him glued
                        On his breast.

And he muttered, “Foe accurst! hast thou dared to seek me first?
  George of Gorbals, do thy worst—for I swear,
O’er thy gory corpse to ride, ere thy sister and my bride,
  From my undissevered side
                        Thou shalt tear!

p. 206“Ho, herald mine, Brownlee! ride forth, I pray, and see,
  Who, what, and whence is he, foe or friend!
Sir Roderick Dalgleish, and my foster-brother Neish,
  With his bloodhounds in the leash,
                        Shall attend.”

Forth went the herald stout, o’er the drawbridge and without,
  Then a wild and savage shout rose amain,
Six arrows sped their force, and, a pale and bleeding corse,
  He sank from off his horse
                        On the plain!

Back drew the bold Dalgleish, back started stalwart Neish,
  With his bloodhounds in the leash, from Brownlee.
“Now shame be to the sword that made thee knight and lord,
  Thou caitiff thrice abhorred,
                        Shame on thee!

p. 207“Ho, bowmen, bend your bows!  Discharge upon the foes
  Forthwith no end of those heavy bolts.
Three angels to the brave who finds the foe a grave,
  And a gallows for the slave
                        Who revolts!”

Ten days the combat lasted; but the bold defenders fasted,
  While the foemen, better pastied, fed their host;
You might hear the savage cheers of the hungry Gorbaliers,
  As at night they dressed the steers
                        For the roast.

And Sir Launcelot grew thin, and Provan’s double chin
  Showed sundry folds of skin down beneath;
In silence and in grief found Gilkison relief,
  Nor did Neish the spell-word, beef,
                        Dare to breathe.

p. 208To the ramparts Edith came, that fair and youthful dame,
  With the rosy evening flame on her face.
She sighed, and looked around on the soldiers on the ground,
  Who but little penance found,
                        Saying grace!

And she said unto her lord, as he leaned upon his sword,
  “One short and little word may I speak?
I cannot bear to view those eyes so ghastly blue,
  Or mark the sallow hue
                        Of thy cheek!

“I know the rage and wrath that my furious brother hath
  Is less against us both than at me.
Then, dearest, let me go, to find among the foe
  An arrow from the bow,
                        Like Brownlee!”

p. 209“I would soil my father’s name, I would lose my treasured fame,
  Ladye mine, should such a shame on me light:
While I wear a belted brand, together still we stand,
  Heart to heart, hand in hand!”
                        Said the knight.

“All our chances are not lost, as your brother and his host
  Shall discover to their cost rather hard!
Ho, Provan! take this key—hoist up the Malvoisie,
  And heap it, d’ye see,
                        In the yard.

“Of usquebaugh and rum, you will find, I reckon, some,
  Besides the beer and mum, extra stout;
Go straightway to your tasks, and roll me all the casks,
  As also range the flasks,
                        Just without.

p. 210“If I know the Gorbaliers, they are sure to dip their ears
  In the very inmost tiers of the drink.
Let them win the outer court, and hold it for their sport,
  Since their time is rather short,
                        I should think!”

With a loud triumphant yell, as the heavy drawbridge fell,
  Rushed the Gorbaliers pell-mell, wild as Druids;
Mad with thirst for human gore, how they threatened and they swore,
  Till they stumbled on the floor,
                        O’er the fluids.

Down their weapons then they threw, and each savage soldier drew
  From his belt an iron screw, in his fist;
George of Gorbals found it vain their excitement to restrain,
  And indeed was rather fain
                        To assist.

p. 211With a beaker in his hand, in the midst he took his stand,
  And silence did command, all below—
“Ho! Launcelot the bold, ere thy lips are icy cold,
  In the centre of thy hold,
                        Pledge me now!

“Art surly, brother mine?  In this cup of rosy wine,
  I drink to the decline of thy race!
Thy proud career is done, thy sand is nearly run,
  Never more shall setting sun
                        Gild thy face!

“The pilgrim, in amaze, shall see a goodly blaze,
  Ere the pallid morning rays flicker up;
And perchance he may espy certain corpses swinging high!
  What, brother! art thou dry?
                        Fill my cup!”

Dumb as death stood Launcelot, as though he heard him not,
  But his bosom Provan smote, and he swore;
p. 212And Sir Roderick Dalgleish remarked aside to Neish,
  “Never sure did thirsty fish
                        Swallow more!

“Thirty casks are nearly done, yet the revel’s scarce begun;
  It were knightly sport and fun to strike in!”
“Nay, tarry till they come,” quoth Neish, “unto the rum—
  They are working at the mum,
                        And the gin!”

Then straight there did appear to each gallant Gorbalier
  Twenty castles dancing near, all around;
The solid earth did shake, and the stones beneath them quake,
  And sinuous as a snake
                        Moved the ground.

Why and wherefore they had come, seemed intricate to some,
  But all agreed the rum was divine.
p. 213And they looked with bitter scorn on their leader highly born,
  Who preferred to fill his horn
                        Up with wine!

Then said Launcelot the tall, “Bring the chargers from their stall;
  Lead them straight unto the hall, down below:
Draw your weapons from your side, fling the gates asunder wide,
  And together we shall ride
                        On the foe!”

Then Provan knew full well, as he leaped into his selle,
  That few would ’scape to tell how they fared;
And Gilkison and Nares, both mounted on their mares,
  Looked terrible as bears,
                        All prepared.

With his bloodhounds in the leash, stood the iron-sinewed Neish,
  And the falchion of Dalgleish glittered bright—
p. 214“Now, wake the trumpet’s blast; and, comrades, follow fast;
  Smite them down unto the last!”
                        Cried the knight.

In the cumbered yard without, there was shriek, and yell, and shout,
  As the warriors wheeled about, all in mail.
On the miserable kerne fell the death-strokes stiff and stern,
  As the deer treads down the fern,
                        In the vale!

Saint Mungo be my guide!  It was goodly in that tide
  To see the Bogle ride in his haste;
He accompanied each blow with a cry of “Ha!” or “Ho!”
  And always cleft the foe
                        To the waist.

“George of Gorbals—craven lord! thou didst threat me with the cord;
  Come forth and brave my sword, if you dare!”
p. 215But he met with no reply, and never could descry
  The glitter of his eye
                        Anywhere.

Ere the dawn of morning shone, all the Gorbaliers were down,
  Like a field of barley mown in the ear:
It had done a soldier good to see how Provan stood,
  With Neish all bathed in blood,
                        Panting near.

“Now bend ye to your tasks—go trundle down those casks,
  And place the empty flasks on the floor;
George of Gorbals scarce will come, with trumpet and with drum,
  To taste our beer and rum
                        Any more!”

So they bent them to their tasks, and they trundled down the casks,
  And replaced the empty flasks on the floor;
p. 216But pallid for a week was the cellar-master’s cheek,
  For he swore he heard a shriek
                        Through the door.

When the merry Christmas came, and the Yule-log lent its flame
  To the face of squire and dame in the hall,
The cellarer went down to tap October brown,
  Which was rather of renown
                        ’Mongst them all.

He placed the spigot low, and gave the cask a blow,
  But his liquor would not flow through the pin.
“Sure, ’tis sweet as honeysuckles!” so he rapped it with his knuckles,
  But a sound, as if of buckles,
                        Clashed within.

“Bring a hatchet, varlets, here!” and they cleft the cask of beer:
  What a spectacle of fear met their sight!
p. 217There George of Gorbals lay, skull and bones all blanched and grey,
  In the arms he bore the day
                        Of the fight!

I have sung this ancient tale, not, I trust, without avail,
  Though the moral ye may fail to perceive;
Sir Launcelot is dust, and his gallant sword is rust,
  And now, I think, I must
                        Take my leave!

Illustration

p. 219ILLUSTRATIONS
OF
THE PUFF POETICAL

p. 220[The following eleven pieces of verse appeared originally with many others in an article called “Puffs and Poetry,” from which the following passage is taken:—

“Some people are fond of excursions into the realms of old romance, with their Lancelots and Gueneveres, their enchanted castles, their bearded wizards, ‘and such odd branches of learning.’  There needs a winged griffin, at the very least, to carry them out of the everyday six-and-eightpenny world, or the whizz of an Excalibur to startle their drowsy imaginations into life.  The beauties and the wonders of the universe died for them some centuries ago; they went out with Friar Bacon and the invention of gunpowder.  Praised be Apollo! this is not our case.  There is a snatch of poetry, to our apprehension, in almost everything.  We have detected it pushing its petals forth from the curls of a barrister’s wig, and scented its fragrance even in the columns of the ‘London Gazette.’

“‘The deep poetic voice that hourly speaks within us’ is never silent.  Like Signor Benedick, it ‘will still be talking.’  We can scarcely let our eyes dwell upon an object—nay, not even upon a gridiron or a toothpick—but it seems to be transmuted as by the touch of Midas into gold.  Our facts accordingly adopt upon occasions a very singular shape.  We are not nice to a shade.  A trifle here or there never stands in our way.  We regard a free play of fancy as the privilege of every genuine Briton, and exclaim with Pistol, ‘A fico for all yea and nay rogues.’

“We have often thought of entering the lists against Robins [famous for his imaginative advertisements of properties for sale].  It may be vanity, but we think we could trump him.  Robins amplifies well, but we think we could trump him.  There is an obvious effort in his best works.  The result is a want of unity of effect.  Hesiod and Tennyson, the Caverns of Ellora, and the magic caves of the Regent’s Park Colosseum, are jumbled confusedly one upon another.  He never achieves the triumph of art—repose.  Besides, he wants variety.  A country box, consisting of twenty feet square of tottering brickwork, a plateau of dirt, with a few diseased shrubs and an open drain, is as elaborately be-metaphored as an island of the Hebrides, with a wilderness of red-deer, Celts, ptarmigan, and other wild animals upon it.  Now, this is out of all rule.  An elephant’s trunk can raise a pin as well as uproot an oak, but it would be ridiculous to employ the same effort for one as for the other.  Robins—with reverence to so great a name, be it spoken—does not attend to this.  He has yet to acquire the light and graceful touch of the finished artist.”  Thereupon Bon Gaultier proceeds to illustrate his views by the following, and many other rhyming advertisements.]

p. 221The Death of Ishmael.

Died the Jew?  “The Hebrew died.
  On the pavement cold he lay,
Around him closed the living tide;
  The butcher’s cad set down his tray;
The pot-boy from the Dragon Green
  No longer for his pewter calls;
The Nereid rushes in between,
  Nor more her ‘Fine live mackerel!’ bawls.”

Died the Jew?  “The Hebrew died.
  They raised him gently from the stone,
They flung his coat and neckcloth wide—
  But linen had that Hebrew none.
They raised the pile of hats that pressed
  His noble head, his locks of snow;
But, ah, that head, upon his breast,
  Sank down with an expiring ‘Clo!’”

p. 222Died the Jew?  “The Hebrew died,
  Struck with overwhelming qualms
From the flavour spreading wide
  Of some fine Virginia hams.
Would you know the fatal spot,
  Fatal to that child of sin?
These fine-flavoured hams are bought
  At 50 Bishopsgate Within!”

Illustration

p. 223Parr’s Life Pills.

’Twas in the town of Lubeck,
  A hundred years ago,
An old man walked into the church,
  With beard as white as snow;
Yet were his cheeks not wrinkled,
  Nor dim his eagle eye:
There’s many a knight that steps the street,
Might wonder, should he chance to meet
  That man erect and high!

When silenced was the organ,
  And hushed the vespers loud,
The Sacristan approached the sire,
  And drew him from the crowd—
“There’s something in thy visage,
  p. 224On which I dare not look;
And when I rang the passing bell,
A tremor that I may not tell,
  My very vitals shook.

“Who art thou, awful stranger?
  Our ancient annals say,
That twice two hundred years ago
  Another passed this way,
Like thee in face and feature;
  And, if the tale be true,
’Tis writ, that in this very year
Again the stranger shall appear.
  Art thou the Wandering Jew?”

“The Wandering Jew, thou dotard!”
  The wondrous phantom cried—
“’Tis several centuries ago
  Since that poor stripling died.
He would not use my nostrums—
  p. 225See, shaveling, here they are!
These put to flight all human ills,
These conquer death—unfailing pills,
  And I’m the inventor, Parr!”

Illustration

p. 226Tarquin and the Augur.

Gingerly is good King Tarquin shaving.
  Gently glides the razor o’er his chin,
Near him stands a grim Haruspex raving,
  And with nasal whine he pitches in
          Church extension hints,
          Till the monarch squints,
Snicks his chin, and swears—a deadly sin!

“Jove confound thee, thou bare-legged impostor!
  From my dressing-table get thee gone!
Dost thou think my flesh is double Glo’ster?
  There again!  That cut was to the bone!
          Get ye from my sight;
          I’ll believe you’re right,
When my razor cuts the sharpening hone!”

p. 227Thus spoke Tarquin with a deal of dryness;
  But the Augur, eager for his fees,
Answered—“Try it, your Imperial Highness;
  Press a little harder, if you please.
          There! the deed is done!”
          Through the solid stone
Went the steel as glibly as through cheese.

So the Augur touched the tin of Tarquin,
  Who suspected some celestial aid;
But he wronged the blameless gods; for hearken!
  Ere the monarch’s bet was rashly laid,
          With his searching eye
          Did the priest espy
Rogers’ name engraved upon the blade.

p. 228La Mort d’Arthur,

not by alfred tennyson.

Slowly, as one who bears a mortal hurt,
Through which the fountain of his life runs dry,
Crept good King Arthur down unto the lake.
A roughening wind was bringing in the waves
With cold dull plash and plunging to the shore,
And a great bank of clouds came sailing up
Athwart the aspect of the gibbous moon,
Leaving no glimpse save starlight, as he sank,
With a short stagger, senseless on the stones.

  No man yet knows how long he lay in swound;
But long enough it was to let the rust
Lick half the surface of his polished shield;
For it was made by far inferior hands,
Than forged his helm, his breastplate, and his greaves,
Whereon no canker lighted, for they bore
The magic stamp of Mechi’s Silver Steel.

p. 229 Illustration

Jupiter and the Indian Ale.

“Take away this clammy nectar!”
  Said the king of gods and men;
“Never at Olympus’ table
  Let that trash be served again.
p. 230Ho, Lyæus, thou the beery!
  Quick—invent some other drink;
Or, in a brace of shakes, thou standest
  On Cocytus’ sulphury brink!”

Terror shook the limbs of Bacchus,
  Paly grew his pimpled nose,
And already in his rearward
  Felt he Jove’s tremendous toes;
When a bright idea struck him—
  “Dash my thyrsus!  I’ll be bail—
For you never were in India—
  That you know not Hodgson’s Ale!”

“Bring it!” quoth the Cloud-compeller;
  And the wine-god brought the beer—
“Port and claret are like water
  To the noble stuff that’s here!”
p. 231And Saturnius drank and nodded,
  Winking with his lightning eyes,
And amidst the constellations
  Did the star of Hodgson rise!

Illustration

p. 232The Lay of the Doudney Brothers.

Coats at five-and-forty shillings! trousers ten-and-six a pair!
Summer waistcoats, three a sov’reign, light and comfortable wear!
Taglionis, black or coloured, Chesterfield and velveteen!
The old English shooting-jacket—doeskins such as ne’er were seen!
Army cloaks and riding-habits, Alberts at a trifling cost!
Do you want an annual contract?  Write to Doudneys’ by the post.
Doudney BrothersDoudney Brothers!  Not the men that drive the van,
Plastered o’er with advertisements, heralding some paltry plan,
p. 233How, by base mechanic stinting, and by pinching of their backs,
Lean attorneys’ clerks may manage to retrieve their Income-tax:
But the old established business—where the best of clothes are given
At the very lowest prices—Fleet Street, Number Ninety-seven.
Wouldst thou know the works of Doudney?  Hie thee to the thronged Arcade,
To the Park upon a Sunday, to the terrible Parade.
There, amid the bayonets bristling, and the flashing of the steel,
When the household troops in squadrons round the bold field-marshals wheel,
Shouldst thou see an aged warrior in a plain blue morning frock,
Peering at the proud battalions o’er the margin of his stock,—
Should thy throbbing heart then tell thee, that the veteran worn and grey
Curbed the course of Bonaparte, rolled the thunders of Assaye—
p. 234Let it tell thee, stranger, likewise, that the goodly garb he wears
Started into shape and being from the Doudney Brothers’ shears!
Seek thou next the rooms of Willis—mark, where D’Orsay’s Count is bending,
See the trouser’s undulation from his graceful hip descending;
Hath the earth another trouser so compact and love-compelling?
Thou canst find it, stranger, only, if thou seek’st the Doudneys’ dwelling!
Hark, from Windsor’s royal palace, what sweet voice enchants the ear?
“Goodness, what a lovely waistcoat!  Oh, who made it, Albert dear?
’Tis the very prettiest pattern!  You must get a dozen others!”
And the Prince, in rapture, answers—“’Tis the work of Doudney Brothers!”

p. 235Paris and Helen.

As the youthful Paris presses
  Helen to his ivory breast.
Sporting with her golden tresses,
  Close and ever closer pressed,

“Let me,” said he, “quaff the nectar,
  Which thy lips of ruby yield;
Glory I can leave to Hector,
  Gathered in the tented field.

“Let me ever gaze upon thee,
  Look into thine eyes so deep;
With a daring hand I won thee,
  With a faithful heart I’ll keep.

“Oh, my Helen, thou bright wonder,
  Who was ever like to thee?
Jove would lay aside his thunder,
  So he might be blest like me.

p. 236“How mine eyes so fondly linger
  On thy smooth and pearly skin;
Scan each round and rosy finger,
  Drinking draughts of beauty in!

“Tell me, whence thy beauty, fairest?
  Whence thy cheek’s enchanting bloom?
Whence the rosy hue thou wearest;
  Breathing round thee rich perfume?”

Thus he spoke, with heart that panted,
  Clasped her fondly to his side,
Gazed on her with look enchanted,
  While his Helen thus replied:

“Be no discord, love, between us,
  If I not the secret tell!
’Twas a gift I had of Venus,—
  Venus, who hath loved me well;

“And she told me as she gave it,
  ‘Let not e’er the charm be known;
O’er thy person freely lave it,
  Only when thou art alone.’

p. 237“’Tis enclosed in yonder casket—
  Here behold its golden key;
But its name—love, do not ask it,
  Tell’t I may not, even to thee!”

Long with vow and kiss he plied her;
  Still the secret did she keep,
Till at length he sank beside her,
  Seemed as he had dropped to sleep.

Soon was Helen laid in slumber,
  When her Paris, rising slow,
Did his fair neck disencumber
  From her rounded arms of snow.

Then, her heedless fingers oping,
  Takes the key and steals away,
To the ebon table groping,
  Where the wondrous casket lay;

Eagerly the lid uncloses,
  Sees within it, laid aslope,
Pears’ Liquid Bloom of Roses,
  Cakes of his Transparent Soap!

p. 238A Warning.

Lose thou no time!  A grave and solemn warning,
  Yet seldom ta’en, to man’s eternal cost.
Night wanes, day lessens, evening, noon, and morning
  Flit by unseen, and yet much time is lost.

And why?  Are moments useless as the vapour
  That rises from the lamp’s extinguish’d flame!
Why do we, like the moth around the taper,
  Sport with the fire that must consume our frame?

Be wise in time!  Arouse thee, oh thou sleeper,
  Account thy moments dearer than thy gold;
While time thou hast, appoint a good time-keeper
  To treasure up thine hours till thou art old.

Lose but this chance, and thou art lost for ever,—
  Seek him who keeps a watch for sinking souls—
Ask for Cox Savory’s Horizontal Lever,
  With double case, and jewell’d in four holes!

p. 239To Persons About to Marry.

Gentle pair, ere Hymen binds you
  In his fetters, soft but sure,
Pray, bethink you, have you ever
  Had substantial furniture?

Love’s a fickle god, they tell us,
  Giddy-pated, lightly led,
Therefore it were well you found him
  In a comfortable bed.

Olive branches soon will blossom
  Round your table, two or three;
And that table should be made of
  Good and strong mahogany.

If the cares of life should gather,
  And we all must look for cares,—
Sorrow falls extremely lightly
  In the midst of rosewood chairs.

p. 240Few that walk can ’scape a stumble,
  Thus hath said The Prophet-King;
But your fall will be a light one
  On Axminster carpeting.

We can keep your little children
  From collision with the grate—
We have wardrobes, we have presses
  At a reasonable rate;

Mirrors for the queen of beauty
  Basins of the purest stone,
Ottomans which Cleopatra
  Might have envied on her throne.

Seek us ere you taste with rapture
  Love’s sweet draught of filter’d honey,
And you’ll find the safest plan is,
  No Discount, and Ready Money!

p. 241Want Places.

Wants a place a lad, who’s seen
  Pious life at brother Teazle’s,
Used to cleaning boots, and been
  Touch’d with grace, and had the measles.

* * * * *

Wants a place as housemaid, or
Companion to a bachelor,
Up in years, and who’d prefer
A person with no character,
A female, who in this respect,
Would leave him nothing to object.

p. 243MISCELLANEOUS POEMS

p. 245 Illustration

The Lay of the Lover’s Friend.

[Air—“The days we went a-gypsying.”]

I would all womankind were dead,
  Or banished o’er the sea;
For they have been a bitter plague
  These last six weeks to me:
It is not that I’m touched myself,
  For that I do not fear;
p. 246No female face has shown me grace
  For many a bygone year.
    But ’tis the most infernal bore,
      Of all the bores I know,
    To have a friend who’s lost his heart
      A short time ago.

Whene’er we steam it to Blackwall,
  Or down to Greenwich run,
To quaff the pleasant cider-cup,
  And feed on fish and fun;
Or climb the slopes of Richmond Hill,
  To catch a breath of air:
Then, for my sins, he straight begins
  To rave about his fair.
    Oh, ’tis the most tremendous bore,
      Of all the bores I know,
    To have a friend who’s lost his heart
      A short time ago.

In vain you pour into his ear
  Your own confiding grief;
p. 247In vain you claim his sympathy,
  In vain you ask relief;
In vain you try to rouse him by
  Joke, repartee, or quiz;
His sole reply’s a burning sigh,
  And “What a mind it is!”
    O Lord! it is the greatest bore,
      Of all the bores I know,
    To have a friend who’s lost his heart
      A short time ago.

I’ve heard her thoroughly described
  A hundred times, I’m sure;
And all the while I’ve tried to smile,
  And patiently endure;
He waxes strong upon his pangs,
  And potters o’er his grog;
And still I say, in a playful way—
  “Why, you’re a lucky dog!”
    But oh! it is the heaviest bore,
      Of all the bores I know,
    To have a friend who’s lost his heart
      A short time ago.

p. 248I really wish he’d do like me,
  When I was young and strong;
I formed a passion every week,
  But never kept it long.
But he has not the sportive mood
  That always rescued me,
And so I would all women could
  Be banished o’er the sea.
    For ’tis the most egregious bore,
      Of all the bores I know,
    To have a friend who’s lost his heart
      A short time ago.

p. 249 Illustration

Francesca Da Rimini.

to bon gaultier.

[Argument.—An impassioned pupil of Leigh Hunt, having met Bon Gaultier at a Fancy Ball, declares the destructive consequences thus.]

Didst thou not praise me, Gaultier, at the ball,
Ripe lips, trim boddice, and a waist so small,
With clipsome lightness, dwindling ever less,
Beneath the robe of pea-y greeniness?
Dost thou remember, when, with stately prance,
Our heads went crosswise in the country-dance;
How soft, warm fingers, tipped like buds of balm,
Trembled within the squeezing of thy palm;
p. 250And how a cheek grew flushed and peachy-wise
At the frank lifting of thy cordial eyes?
Ah, me! that night there was one gentle thing,
Who, like a dove, with its scarce feathered wing,
Fluttered at the approach of thy quaint swaggering!

There’s wont to be, at conscious times like these,
An affectation of a bright-eyed ease,—
A crispy cheekiness, if so I dare
Describe the swaling of a jaunty air;
And thus, when swirling from the waltz’s wheel,
You craved my hand to grace the next quadrille,
That smiling voice, although it made me start,
Boiled in the meek o’erlifting of my heart;
And, picking at my flowers, I said, with free
And usual tone, “O yes, sir, certainly!”

Like one that swoons, ’twixt sweet amaze and fear,
I heard the music burning in my ear,
And felt I cared not, so thou wert with me,
If Gurth or Wamba were our vis-à-vis.
So, when a tall Knight Templar ringing came,
And took his place amongst us with his dame,
I neither turned away, nor bashful shrunk
From the stern survey of the soldier-monk,
p. 251Though rather more than three full quarters drunk;
But, threading through the figure, first in rule,
I paused to see thee plunge into La Poule.

Ah, what a sight was that!  Not prurient Mars,
Pointing his toe through ten celestial bars—
Not young Apollo, beamily arrayed
In tripsome guise for Juno’s masquerade—
Not smartest Hermes, with his pinion girth,
Jerking with freaks and snatches down to earth,
Looked half so bold, so beautiful, and strong,
As thou, when pranking through the glittering throng!
How the calmed ladies looked with eyes of love
On thy trim velvet doublet laced above;
The hem of gold, that, like a wavy river,
Flowed down into thy back with glancing shiver!
So bare was thy fine throat, and curls of black,
So lightsomely dropped in thy lordly back,
So crisply swaled the feather in thy bonnet,
So glanced thy thigh, and spanning palm upon it,
That my weak soul took instant flight to thee,
Lost in the fondest gush of that sweet witchery!

But when the dance was o’er, and arm in arm
(The full heart beating ’gainst the elbow warm)
p. 252We passed into the great refreshment-hall,
Where the heaped cheese-cakes and the comfits small
Lay, like a hive of sunbeams, brought to burn
Around the margin of the negus urn;
When my poor quivering hand you fingered twice,
And, with inquiring accents, whispered “Ice,
Water, or cream?” I could no more dissemble,
But dropped upon the couch all in a tremble.
A swimming faintness misted o’er my brain,
The corks seemed starting from the brisk champagne,
The custards fell untouched upon the floor,
Thine eyes met mine.  That night we danced no more!

Illustration

p. 253 Illustration

The Cadi’s Daughter.

a legend of the bosphorus.

[from any of the annuals.]

How beauteous is the star of night
  Within the eastern skies,
Like the twinkling glance of the Toorkman’s lance,
  Or the antelope’s azure eyes!
p. 254A lamp of love in the heaven above,
  That star is fondly streaming;
And the gay kiosk and the shadowy mosque
  In the Golden Horn are gleaming.

Young Leila sits in her jasmine bower,
  And she hears the bulbul sing,
As it thrills its throat to the first full note,
  That anthems the flowery spring.
She gazes still, as a maiden will,
  On that beauteous eastern star:
You might see the throb of her bosom’s sob
  Beneath the white cymar!

She thinks of him who is far away,—
  Her own brave Galiongee,—
Where the billows foam and the breezes roam,
  On the wild Carpathian sea.
She thinks of the oath that bound them both
  Beside the stormy water;
And the words of love, that in Athens’ grove
  He spake to the Cadi’s daughter.

p. 255“My Selim!” thus the maiden said,
  “Though severed thus we be
By the raging deep and the mountain steep,
  My soul still yearns to thee.
Thy form so dear is mirrored here
  In my heart’s pellucid well,
As the rose looks up to Phingari’s orb,
  Or the moth to the gay gazelle.

“I think of the time when the Kaftan’s crime
  Our love’s young joys o’ertook,
And thy name still floats in the plaintive notes
  Of my silver-toned chibouque.
Thy hand is red with the blood it has shed,
  Thy soul it is heavy laden;
Yet come, my Giaour, to thy Leila’s bower;
  Oh, come to thy Turkish maiden!”

A light step trod on the dewy sod,
  And a voice was in her ear,
And an arm embraced young Leila’s waist—
  “Belovèd!  I am here!”
p. 256Like the phantom form that rules the storm,
  Appeared the pirate lover,
And his fiery eye was like Zatanai,
  As he fondly bent above her.

“Speak, Leila, speak; for my light caïque
  Rides proudly in yonder bay;
I have come from my rest to her I love best,
  To carry thee, love, away.
The breast of thy lover shall shield thee, and cover
  My own jemscheed from harm;
Think’st thou I fear the dark vizier,
  Or the mufti’s vengeful arm?

“Then droop not, love, nor turn away
  From this rude hand of mine!”
And Leila looked in her lover’s eyes,
  And murmured—“I am thine!”
But a gloomy man with a yataghan.
  Stole through the acacia-blossoms,
And the thrust he made with his gleaming blade
  Hath pierced through both their bosoms.

p. 257“There! there! thou cursèd caitiff Giaour!
  There, there, thou false one, lie!”
Remorseless Hassan stands above,
  And he smiles to see them die.
They sleep beneath the fresh green turf,
  The lover and the lady—
And the maidens wail to hear the tale
  Of the daughter of the Cadi!

Illustration

p. 258The Dirge of the Drinker.

Brothers, spare awhile your liquor, lay your final tumbler down;
He has dropped—that star of honour—on the field of his renown!
Raise the wail, but raise it softly, lowly bending on your knees,
If you find it more convenient, you may hiccup if you please.
Sons of Pantagruel, gently let your hip-hurrahing sink,
Be your manly accents clouded, half with sorrow, half with drink!
Lightly to the sofa pillow lift his head from off the floor;
See, how calm he sleeps, unconscious as the deadest nail in door!
Widely o’er the earth I’ve wandered; where the drink most freely flowed,
I have ever reeled the foremost, foremost to the beaker strode.
p. 259Deep in shady Cider Cellars I have dreamed o’er heavy wet,
By the fountains of Damascus I have quaffed the rich sherbet,
Regal Montepulciano drained beneath its native rock,
On Johannis’ sunny mountain frequent hiccuped o’er my hock;
I have bathed in butts of Xeres deeper than did e’er Monsoon,
Sangaree’d with bearded Tartars in the Mountains of the Moon;
In beer-swilling Copenhagen I have drunk your Danesman blind,
I have kept my feet in Jena, when each bursch to earth declined;
Glass for glass, in fierce Jamaica, I have shared the planter’s rum.
Drunk with Highland dhuiné-wassails, till each gibbering Gael grew dumb;
But a stouter, bolder drinker—one that loved his liquor more—
Never yet did I encounter than our friend upon the floor!
p. 260Yet the best of us are mortal, we to weakness all are heir,
He has fallen who rarely staggered—let the rest of us beware!
We shall leave him as we found him,—lying where his manhood fell,
’Mong the trophies of the revel, for he took his tipple well.
Better ’twere we loosed his neckcloth, laid his throat and bosom bare,
Pulled his Hobies off, and turned his toes to taste the breezy air.
Throw the sofa cover o’er him, dim the flaring of the gas,
Calmly, calmly let him slumber, and, as by the bar we pass,
We shall bid that thoughtful waiter place beside him, near and handy,
Large supplies of soda-water, tumblers bottomed well with brandy,
So, when waking, he shall drain them, with that deathless thirst of his,—
Clinging to the hand that smote him, like a good ’un as he is!

p. 261The Death of Duval.

by w--- h--- a---th, esq.

[“Methinks I see him already in the cart, sweeter and more lovely than the nosegay in his hand!  I hear the crowd extolling his resolution and intrepidity!  What volleys of sighs are sent from the windows of Holborn, that so comely a youth should be brought to disgrace!  I see him at the tree! the whole circle are in tears! even butchers weep!”—Beggars Opera.]

A living sea of eager human faces,
  A thousand bosoms throbbing all as one,
Walls, windows, balconies, all sorts of places,
  Holding their crowds of gazers to the sun:
  Through the hushed groups low-buzzing murmurs run;
And on the air, with slow reluctant swell,
Comes the dull funeral-boom of old Sepulchre’s bell.

Oh, joy in London now! in festal measure
  Be spent the evening of this festive day!
p. 262For thee is opening now a high-strung pleasure;
  Now, even now, in yonder press-yard they
  Strike from his limbs the fetters loose away!
A little while, and he, the brave Duval,
Will issue forth, serene, to glad and greet you all.

“Why comes he not?  Say, wherefore doth he tarry?”
  Starts the inquiry loud from every tongue.
“Surely,” they cry, “that tedious Ordinary
  His tedious psalms must long ere this have sung,—
  Tedious to him that’s waiting to be hung!”
But hark! old Newgate’s doors fly wide apart.
“He comes, he comes!”  A thrill shoots through each gazer’s heart.

Joined in the stunning cry ten thousand voices,
  All Smithfield answered to the loud acclaim.
“He comes, he comes!” and every breast rejoices,
  As down Snow Hill the shout tumultuous came,
  Bearing to Holborn’s crowd the welcome fame.
“He comes, he comes!” and each holds back his breath—
Some ribs are broke, and some few scores are crushed to death.

p. 263With step majestic to the cart advances
  The dauntless Claude, and springs into his seat.
He feels that on him now are fixed the glances
  Of many a Briton bold and maiden sweet,
  Whose hearts responsive to his glories beat.
In him the honour of “The Road” is centred,
And all the hero’s fire into his bosom entered.

His was the transport—his the exultation
  Of Rome’s great generals, when from afar,
Up to the Capitol, in the ovation,
  They bore with them, in the triumphal car,
  Rich gold and gems, the spoils of foreign war.
Io Triumphe!  They forgot their clay.
E’en so Duval, who rode in glory on his way.

His laced cravat, his kids of purest yellow,
  The many-tinted nosegay in his hand,
His large black eyes, so fiery, yet so mellow,
  Like the old vintages of Spanish land,
  Locks clustering o’er a brow of high command,
Subdue all hearts; and, as up Holborn’s steep
Toils the slow car of death, e’en cruel butchers weep.

p. 264He saw it, but he heeded not.  His story,
  He knew, was graven on the page of Time.
Tyburn to him was as a field of glory,
  Where he must stoop to death his head sublime,
  Hymned in full many an elegiac rhyme.
He left his deeds behind him, and his name—
For he, like Cæsar, had lived long enough for fame.

He quailed not, save when, as he raised the chalice,—
  St Giles’s bowl,—filled with the mildest ale,
To pledge the crowd, on her—his beauteous Alice—
  His eye alighted, and his cheek grew pale.
  She, whose sweet breath was like the spicy gale,
She, whom he fondly deemed his own dear girl,
Stood with a tall dragoon, drinking long draughts of purl.

He bit his lip—it quivered but a moment—
  Then passed his hand across his flushing brows:
He could have spared so forcible a comment
  Upon the constancy of woman’s vows.
  One short sharp pang his hero-soul allows;
But in the bowl he drowned the stinging pain,
And on his pilgrim course went calmly forth again.

p. 265A princely group of England’s noble daughters
  Stood in a balcony suffused with grief,
Diffusing fragrance round them, of strong waters,
  And waving many a snowy handkerchief;
  Then glowed the prince of highwayman and thief!
His soul was touched with a seraphic gleam—
That woman could be false was but a mocking dream.

And now, his bright career of triumph ended,
  His chariot stood beneath the triple tree.
The law’s grim finisher to its boughs ascended,
  And fixed the hempen bandages, while he
  Bowed to the throng, then bade the cart go free.
The car rolled on, and left him dangling there,
Like famed Mohammed’s tomb, uphung midway in air.

As droops the cup of the surchargèd lily
  Beneath the buffets of the surly storm,
Or the soft petals of the daffodilly,
  When Sirius is uncomfortably warm,
  So drooped his head upon his manly form,
While floated in the breeze his tresses brown.
He hung the stated time, and then they cut him down.

p. 266With soft and tender care the trainbands bore him,
  Just as they found him, nightcap, robe, and all,
And placed this neat though plain inscription o’er him,
  Among the atomies in Surgeons’ Hall:
  “These are the Bones of the Renowned Duval!”
There still they tell us, from their glassy case,
He was the last, the best of all that noble race!

p. 267 Illustration

Eastern Serenade.

by the honourable sinjin muff.

The minarets wave on the plain of Stamboul,
And the breeze of the evening blows freshly and cool;
The voice of the musnud is heard from the west,
And kaftan and kalpac have gone to their rest.
The notes of the kislar re-echo no more,
And the waves of Al Sirat fall light on the shore.

p. 268Where art thou, my beauty; where art thou, my bride?
Oh, come and repose by thy dragoman’s side!
I wait for thee still by the flowery tophaik—
I have broken my Eblis for Zuleima’s sake.
But the heart that adores thee is faithful and true,
Though it beats ’neath the folds of a Greek Allah-hu!

Oh, wake thee, my dearest! the muftis are still,
And the tschocadars sleep on the Franguestan hill;
No sullen aleikoum—no derveesh is here,
And the mosques are all watching by lonely Kashmere!
Oh, come in the gush of thy beauty so full,
I have waited for thee, my adored attar-gul!

I see thee—I hear thee—thy antelope foot
Treads lightly and soft on the velvet cheroot;
The jewelled amaun of thy zemzem is bare,
And the folds of thy palampore wave in the air.
Come, rest on the bosom that loves thee so well,
My dove! my phingari! my gentle gazelle!

Nay, tremble not, dearest! I feel thy heart throb,
’Neath the sheltering shroud of thy snowy kiebaub;
p. 269Lo, there shines Muezzin, the beautiful star!
Thy lover is with thee, and danger afar:
Say, is it the glance of the haughty vizier,
Or the bark of the distant effendi, you fear?

Oh, swift fly the hours in the garden of bliss!
And sweeter than balm of Gehenna thy kiss!
Wherever I wander—wherever I roam,
My spirit flies back to its beautiful home;
It dwells by the lake of the limpid Stamboul,
With thee, my adored one! my own attar-gul! [269]

p. 270 Illustration

p. 271Dame Fredegonde.

When folks, with headstrong passion blind,
To play the fool make up their mind,
They’re sure to come with phrases nice
And modest air, for your advice.
But as a truth unfailing make it,
They ask, but never mean to take it.
’Tis not advice they want, in fact,
But confirmation in their act.
Now mark what did, in such a case,
A worthy priest who knew the race.

  A dame more buxom, blithe, and free,
Than Fredegonde you scarce would see.
So smart her dress, so trim her shape,
Ne’er hostess offered juice of grape,
Could for her trade wish better sign;
Her looks gave flavour to her wine,
p. 272And each guest feels it, as he sips,
Smack of the ruby of her lips.
A smile for all, a welcome glad,—
A jovial coaxing way she had;
And,—what was more her fate than blame,—
A nine months’ widow was our dame.
But toil was hard, for trade was good,
And gallants sometimes will be rude.
“And what can a lone woman do?
The nights are long and eerie too.
Now, Guillot there’s a likely man,
None better draws or taps a can;
He’s just the man, I think, to suit,
If I could bring my courage to’t.”
With thoughts like these her mind is crossed:
The dame, they say, who doubts, is lost.
“But then the risk?  I’ll beg a slice
Of Father Haulin’s good advice.”

  Prankt in her best, with looks demure,
She seeks the priest; and, to be sure,
Asks if he thinks she ought to wed:
p. 273“With such a business on my head,
I’m worried off my legs with care,
And need some help to keep things square.
I’ve thought of Guillot, truth to tell!
He’s steady, knows his business well.
What do you think?”  When thus he met her:
“Oh, take him, dear, you can’t do better!”
“But then the danger, my good pastor,
If of the man I make the master.
There is no trusting to these men.”
“Well, well, my dear, don’t have him, then!”
“But help I must have; there’s the curse.
I may go farther and fare worse.”
“Why, take him, then!”  “But if he should
Turn out a thankless ne’er-do-good—
In drink and riot waste my all,
And rout me out of house and hall?”
“Don’t have him, then!  But I’ve a plan
To clear your doubts, if any can.
The bells a peal are ringing,—hark!
Go straight, and what they tell you mark.
If they say ‘Yes!’ wed, and be blest—
If ‘No,’ why—do as you think best.”

  p. 274The bells rang out a triple bob:
Oh, how our widow’s heart did throb,
As thus she heard their burden go,
“Marry, mar-marry, mar-Guillot!”
Bells were not then left to hang idle:
A week,—and they rang for her bridal.
But, woe the while, they might as well
Have rung the poor dame’s parting knell.
The rosy dimples left her cheek,
She lost her beauties plump and sleek;
For Guillot oftener kicked than kissed,
And backed his orders with his fist,
Proving by deeds as well as words
That servants make the worst of lords.

  She seeks the priest, her ire to wreak,
And speaks as angry women speak,
With tiger looks and bosom swelling,
Cursing the hour she took his telling.
To all, his calm reply was this,—
“I fear you’ve read the bells amiss:
If they have lead you wrong in aught,
Your wish, not they, inspired the thought.
p. 275Just go, and mark well what they say.”
Off trudged the dame upon her way,
And sure enough their chime went so,—
“Don’t have that knave, that knave Guillot!”

  “Too true,” she cried, “there’s not a doubt:
What could my ears have been about?”
She had forgot, that, as fools think,
The bell is ever sure to clink.

Illustration

p. 276Song of the Ennuyé.

I’m weary, and sick, and disgusted
  With Britain’s mechanical din;
Where I’m much too well known to be trusted,
  And plaguily pestered for tin;
Where love has two eyes for your banker,
  And one chilly glance for yourself;
Where souls can afford to be franker,
  But when they’re well garnished with pelf.

I’m sick of the whole race of poets,
  Emasculate, misty, and fine;
They brew their small-beer, and don’t know its
  Distinction from full-bodied wine.
I’m sick of the prosers, that house up
  At drowsy St Stephen’s,—ain’t you?
I want some strong spirits to rouse up
  A good revolution or two!

p. 277I’m sick of a land, where each morrow
  Repeats the dull tale of to-day,
Where you can’t even find a new sorrow
  To chase your stale pleasures away.
I’m sick of blue-stockings horrific,
  Steam, railroads, gas, scrip, and consols;
So I’ll off where the golden Pacific
  Round Islands of Paradise rolls.

There the passions shall revel unfettered,
  And the heart never speak but in truth,
And the intellect, wholly unlettered,
  Be bright with the freedom of youth!
There the earth can rejoice in her blossoms,
  Unsullied by vapour or soot,
And there chimpanzees and opossums
  Shall playfully pelt me with fruit.

There I’ll sit with my dark Orianas,
  In groves by the murmuring sea,
And they’ll give, as I suck the bananas,
  Their kisses, nor ask them from me.
p. 278They’ll never torment me for sonnets,
  Nor bore me to death with their own;
They’ll ask not for shawls nor for bonnets,
  For milliners there are unknown.

There my couch shall be earth’s freshest flowers,
  My curtains the night and the stars,
And my spirit shall gather new powers,
  Uncramped by conventional bars.
Love for love, truth for truth ever giving,
  My days shall be manfully sped;
I shall know that I’m loved while I’m living,
  And be wept by fond eyes when I’m dead!

p. 279The Death of Space.

[Why has Satan’s own Laureate never given to the world his marvellous threnody on the “Death of Space”?  Who knows where the bays might have fallen, had he forwarded that mystic manuscript to the Home Office?  If unwonted modesty withholds it from the public eye, the public will pardon the boldness that tears from blushing obscurity the following fragments of this unique poem.]

Eternity shall raise her funeral-pile
  In the vast dungeon of the extinguished sky,
And, clothed in dim barbaric splendour, smile,
  And murmur shouts of elegiac joy.

While those that dwell beyond the realms of space,
  And those that people all that dreary void,
When old Time’s endless heir hath run his race,
  Shall live for aye, enjoying and enjoyed.

And ’mid the agony of unsullied bliss,
  Her Demogorgon’s doom shall Sin bewail,
The undying serpent at the spheres shall hiss,
  And lash the empyrean with his tail.

p. 280And Hell, inflated with supernal wrath,
  Shall open wide her thunder-bolted jaws,
And shout into the dull cold ear of Death,
  That he must pay his debt to Nature’s laws.

And when the King of Terrors breathes his last,
  Infinity shall creep into her shell,
Cause and effect shall from their thrones be cast,
  And end their strife with suicidal yell:

While from their ashes, burnt with pomp of kings,
  ’Mid incense floating to the evanished skies,
Nonenity, on circumambient wings,
  An everlasting Phœnix shall arise.

p. 281Caroline.

Lightsome, brightsome, cousin mine,
  Easy, breezy Caroline!
With thy locks all raven-shaded,
From thy merry brow up-braided,
And thine eyes of laughter full,
  Brightsome cousin mine!
Thou in chains of love hast bound me—
Wherefore dost thou flit around me,
  Laughter-loving Caroline?

When I fain would go to sleep
  In my easy-chair,
Wherefore on my slumbers creep—
Wherefore start me from repose,
Tickling of my hookèd nose,
  Pulling of my hair?
p. 282Wherefore, then, if thou dost love me,
So to words of anger move me,
  Corking of this face of mine,
  Tricksy cousin Caroline?

When a sudden sound I hear,
Much my nervous system suffers,
  Shaking through and through.
Cousin Caroline, I fear,
  ’Twas no other, now, but you,
Put gunpowder in the snuffers,
  Springing such a mine!
Yes, it was your tricksy self,
Wicked-trickèd little elf,
  Naughty Caroline!

Pins she sticks into my shoulder,
  Places needles in my chair,
And, when I begin to scold her,
  Tosses back her combèd hair,
  With so saucy-vexed an air,
That the pitying beholder
Cannot brook that I should scold her:
p. 283Then again she comes, and bolder,
  Blacks anew this face of mine,
  Artful cousin Caroline!

Would she only say she’d love me,
  Winsome, tinsome Caroline,
Unto such excess ’twould move me,
  Teazing, pleasing, cousin mine!
That she might the live-long day
Undermine the snuffer-tray,
Tickle still my hookèd nose,
Startle me from calm repose
  With her pretty persecution;
Throw the tongs against my shins,
Run me through and through with pins,
  Like a piercèd cushion;
Would she only say she’d love me,
Darning-needles should not move me;
But, reclining back, I’d say,
“Dearest! there’s the snuffer-tray;
Pinch, O pinch those legs of mine!
Cork me, cousin Caroline!”

p. 284To a Forget-Me-Not,

found in my emporium of love-tokens.

Sweet flower, that with thy soft blue eye
  Didst once look up in shady spot,
To whisper to the passer-by
  Those tender words—Forget-me-not!

Though withered now, thou art to me
  The minister of gentle thought,—
And I could weep to gaze on thee,
  Love’s faded pledge—Forget-me-not!

Thou speak’st of hours when I was young,
  And happiness arose unsought;
When she, the whispering woods among,
  Gave me thy bloom—Forget-me-not!

p. 285That rapturous hour with that dear maid
  From memory’s page no time shall blot,
When, yielding to my kiss, she said,
  “Oh, Theodore—Forget me not!”

Alas for love! alas for truth!
  Alas for man’s uncertain lot!
Alas for all the hopes of youth
  That fade like thee—Forget-me-not!

Alas for that one image fair,
  With all my brightest dreams inwrought!
That walks beside me everywhere,
  Still whispering—Forget-me-not!

Oh, Memory! thou art but a sigh
  For friendships dead and loves forgot,
And many a cold and altered eye
  That once did say—Forget-me-not!

And I must bow me to thy laws,
  For—odd although it may be thought—
I can’t tell who the deuce it was
  That gave me this Forget-me-not!

p. 286The Meeting.

Once I lay beside a fountain,
  Lulled me with its gentle song,
And my thoughts o’er dale and mountain
  With the clouds were borne along.

There I saw old castles flinging
  Shadowy gleams on moveless seas,
Saw gigantic forests swinging
  To and fro without a breeze;

And in dusky alleys straying,
  Many a giant shape of power,
Troops of nymphs in sunshine playing,
  Singing, dancing, hour on hour.

I, too, trod these plains Elysian,
  Heard their ringing tones of mirth,
But a brighter, fairer vision
  Called me back again to earth.

p. 287From the forest shade advancing,
  See, where comes a lovely May;
The dew, like gems, before her glancing,
  As she brushes it away!

Straight I rose, and ran to meet her,
  Seized her hand—the heavenly blue
Of her eyes smiled brighter, sweeter,
  As she asked me—“Who are you?”

To that question came another—
  What its aim I still must doubt—
And she asked me, “How’s your mother?
  Does she know that you are out?”

“No! my mother does not know it,
  Beauteous, heaven-descended muse!”
“Then be off, my handsome poet,
  And say I sent you with the news!”

p. 288 Illustration

The Mishap.

“Why art thou weeping, sister?
  Why is thy cheek so pale?
Look up, dear Jane, and tell me
  What is it thou dost ail?

“I know thy will is froward,
  Thy feelings warm and keen,
And that that Augustus Howard
  For weeks has not been seen.

p. 289“I know how much you loved him;
  But I know thou dost not weep
For him;—for though his passion be,
  His purse is noways deep.

“Then tell me why those tear-drops?
  What means this woeful mood
Say, has the tax-collector
  Been calling, and been rude?

“Or has that hateful grocer,
  The slave! been here to-day?
Of course he had, by morrow’s noon,
  A heavy bill to pay!

“Come, on thy brother’s bosom
  Unburden all thy woes;
Look up, look up, sweet sister;
  Nay, sob not through thy nose.”

“Oh, John, ’tis not the grocer
  Or his account, although
How ever he is to be paid
  I really do not know.

p. 290“’Tis not the tax-collector;
  Though by his fell command
They’ve seized our old paternal clock,
  And new umbrella-stand!

“Nor that Augustus Howard,
  Whom I despise almost,—
But the soot’s come down the chimney, John,
  And fairly spoilt the roast!”

p. 291Comfort in Affliction.

“Wherefore starts my bosom’s lord?
  Why this anguish in thine eye?
Oh, it seems as thy heart’s chord
  Had broken with that sigh!

“Rest thee, my dear lord, I pray,
  Rest thee on my bosom now!
And let me wipe the dews away,
  Are gathering on thy brow.

“There, again! that fevered start!
  What, love! husband! is thy pain?
There is a sorrow on thy heart,
  A weight upon thy brain!

“Nay, nay, that sickly smile can ne’er
  Deceive affection’s searching eye;
’Tis a wife’s duty, love, to share
  Her husband’s agony.

p. 292“Since the dawn began to peep,
  Have I lain with stifled breath;
Heard thee moaning in thy sleep,
  As thou wert at grips with death.

“Oh, what joy it was to see
  My gentle lord once more awake!
Tell me, what is amiss with thee?
  Speak, or my heart will break!”

“Mary, thou angel of my life,
  Thou ever good and kind;
’Tis not, believe me, my dear wife,
  The anguish of the mind!

“It is not in my bosom, dear,
  No, nor my brain, in sooth;
But Mary, oh, I feel it here,
  Here in my wisdom tooth!

“Then give,—oh, first best antidote,—
  Sweet partner of my bed!
Give me thy flannel petticoat
  To wrap around my head!”

p. 293The Invocation.

“Brother, thou art very weary,
  And thine eye is sunk and dim,
And thy neckcloth’s tie is crumpled,
  And thy collar out of trim;
There is dust upon thy visage,—
  Think not, Charles, I would hurt ye,
When I say, that altogether
  You appear extremely dirty.

“Frown not, brother, now, but hie thee
  To thy chamber’s distant room;
Drown the odours of the ledger
  With the lavender’s perfume.
Brush the mud from off thy trousers,
  O’er the china basin kneel,
Lave thy brows in water softened
  With the soap of Old Castile.

p. 294“Smooth the locks that o’er thy forehead
  Now in loose disorder stray;
Pare thy nails, and from thy whiskers
  Cut those ragged points away;
Let no more thy calculations
  Thy bewildered brain beset;
Life has other hopes than Cocker’s,
  Other joys than tare and tret.

“Haste thee, for I ordered dinner,
  Waiting to the very last,
Twenty minutes after seven,
  And ’tis now the quarter past.
’Tis a dinner which Lucullus
  Would have wept with joy to see,
One, might wake the soul of Curtis
  From death’s drowsy atrophy.

“There is soup of real turtle,
  Turbot, and the dainty sole;
And the mottled roe of lobsters
  Blushes through the butter-bowl.
p. 295There the lordly haunch of mutton,
  Tender as the mountain grass,
Waits to mix its ruddy juices
  With the girdling caper-sauce.

“There a stag, whose branching forehead
  Spoke him monarch of the herds,
He whose flight was o’er the heather
  Swift as through the air the bird’s,
Yields for thee a dish of cutlets;
  And the haunch that wont to dash
O’er the roaring mountain-torrent,
  Smokes in most delicious hash.

“There, besides, are amber jellies
  Floating like a golden dream;
Ginger from the far Bermudas,
  Dishes of Italian cream;
And a princely apple-dumpling,
  Which my own fair fingers wrought,
Shall unfold its nectared treasures
  To thy lips all smoking hot.

p. 296“Ha! I see thy brow is clearing,
  Lustre flashes from thine eyes;
To thy lips I see the moisture
  Of anticipation rise.
Hark! the dinner-bell is sounding!”
  “Only wait one moment, Jane:
I’ll be dressed, and down, before you
  Can get up the iced champagne!”

p. 297 Illustration

The Husband’s Petition.

Come hither, my heart’s darling,
  Come, sit upon my knee,
And listen, while I whisper
  A boon I ask of thee.
You need not pull my whiskers
  So amorously, my dove;
’Tis something quite apart from
  The gentle cares of love.

p. 298I feel a bitter craving—
  A dark and deep desire,
That glows beneath my bosom
  Like coals of kindled fire.
The passion of the nightingale,
  When singing to the rose,
Is feebler than the agony
  That murders my repose!

Nay, dearest! do not doubt me,
  Though madly thus I speak—
I feel thy arms about me,
  Thy tresses on my cheek:
I know the sweet devotion
  That links thy heart with mine,—
I know my soul’s emotion
  Is doubly felt by thine:

And deem not that a shadow
  Hath fallen across my love:
No, sweet, my love is shadowless,
  As yonder heaven above:
p. 299These little taper fingers—
  Ah, Jane! how white they be!—
Can well supply the cruel want
  That almost maddens me.

Thou wilt not sure deny me
  My first and fond request;
I pray thee, by the memory
  Of all we cherish best—
By all the dear remembrance
  Of those delicious days,
When, hand in hand, we wandered
  Along the summer braes;

By all we felt, unspoken,
  When ’neath the early moon,
We sat beside the rivulet,
  In the leafy month of June;
And by the broken whisper
  That fell upon my ear,
More sweet than angel music,
  When first I wooed thee, dear!

p. 300By thy great vow which bound thee
  For ever to my side,
And by the ring that made thee
  My darling and my bride!
Thou wilt not fail nor falter,
  But bend thee to the task—
A Boiled sheep’s-head on Sunday
  Is all the boon I ask!

Illustration

p. 301 Illustration

Sonnet to Britain.

by the d--- of w---

Halt!  Shoulder arms!  Recover!  As you were!
Right wheel!  Eyes left!  Attention!  Stand at ease!
O Britain!  O my country!  Words like these
  Have made thy name a terror and a fear
To all the nations.  Witness Ebro’s banks,
  p. 302Assaye, Toulouse, Nivelle, and Waterloo,
  Where the grim despot muttered—Sauve qui peut!
And Ney fled darkling.—Silence in the ranks!
Inspired by these, amidst the iron crash
  Of armies, in the centre of his troop
The soldier stands—unmoveable, not rash—
  Until the forces of the foeman droop;
Then knocks the Frenchmen to eternal smash,
  Pounding them into mummy.  Shoulder, hoop!

the end.

printed by william blackwood and sons.

NOTES.

[vii]  Prologue de premiere livre.

[ix]  A fact.  That such a subject for cathedral chimes, and in Scotland, too, could ever have been chosen, will scarcely be believed.  But my astonished ears often heard it.

[7]  W. Gomersal, for many years a leading actor and rider at Astley’s Amphitheatre.

[8]  John Esdaile Widdicomb, from 1819 to 1852 riding-master and conductor of the ring at Astley’s Amphitheatre.

[11]  Stickney, a very dashing and graceful rider at Astley’s.

[12]  A not uncommon tribute from the gallery at Astley’s to the dash and daring of the heroes of the ring was half-eaten oranges or fragments of orange-peel.  Either oranges are less in vogue, or manners are better in the galleries of theatres and circuses in the present day.

[18]  The allusion here is to one of Ducrow’s remarkable feats.  Entering the ring with the reins in his hands of five horses abreast, and standing on the back of the centre horse, he worked them round the ring at high speed, changing now and then with marvellous dexterity their relative positions, and with his feet always on more than one of them, ending with a foot on each of the extreme two, so that, as described, “the outer and the inner felt the pressure of his toes.”

[44]  The value of these Bonds at the time this poem was written was precisely nil.

[49]  A fact.

[64]  The Yankee substitute for the chapeau de soie.

[97]  The Marquis of Waterford,

[99]  The fashionable abbreviation for a thousand pounds.

[117]  The reference here and in a subsequent verse is to a song very popular at the time:—

“All round my hat I vears a green villow,
All round my hat for a twelvemonth and a day,
And if any van should arsk you the reason vy I vears it,
Say, all for my true love that’s far, far away.
’Twas agoin of my rounds on the streets I first did meet her,
’Twas agoin of my rounds that first she met my heye,
And I never heard a voice more louder nor more sweeter,
As she cried, ‘Who’ll buy my cabbages, my cabbages who’ll buy?’”

There were several more verses, and being set to a very taking air, it was a reigning favourite with the “Social Chucksters” of the day.  Even scholars thought it worth turning into Latin verse.  I remember reading in some short-lived journal a very clever version of it, the first verse of which ran thus—

“Omne circa petusum sertum gero viridem
Per annum circa petasum et unum diem plus.
Si quis te rogaret, cur tale sertum gererem,
Dic, ‘Omne propter corculum qui est inpartibus.’”

Allusions to the willow, as an emblem of grief, are of a very old date.  “Sing all, a green willow must be my garland,” is the refrain of the song which haunted Desdemona on the eve of her death (Othello, act iv. sc. 3).  That exquisite scene, and the beautiful air to which some contemporary of Shakespeare wedded it, will make “The Willow Song” immortal.

[119a] [119b]  Madame Laffarge and Daniel Good were the two most talked about criminals of the time when these lines were written.  Madame Laffarge was convicted of poisoning her husband under extenuating circumstances, and was imprisoned for life, but many believed in her protestations of innocence—this, of course, she being a woman and unhappily married.  Daniel Good died on the scaffold on the 23rd of May 1842, protesting his innocence to the last, and asserting that his victim, Jane Sparks, had killed herself, an assertion which a judge and jury naturally could not reconcile with the fact that her head, arms, and legs had been cut off and hidden with her body in a stable.  He, too, found people to maintain that his sentence was unjust.

[121]  The two papers here glanced at were ‘The Age’ and ‘The Satirist,’ long since dead.

[122a]  The colonnaded portion of Regent Street, immediately above the Regent Circus, was then called the Quadrant.  Being sheltered from the weather, it was a favourite promenade, but became so favourite a resort of the “larking” population—male and female—that the Colonnade was removed in the interests of social order and decorum.

[122b]  The expression of contemptuous defiance, signified by the application of the thumb of one hand to the nose, spreading out the fingers, and attaching to the little finger the stretched-out fingers of the other hand, and working them in a circle.  Among the graffiti in Pompeii are examples of the same subtle symbolism.

[122c]  Well known to readers of Thackeray’s ‘Newcomes’ as “The Cave of Harmony.”

[123]  Sir Peter Laurie, Lord Mayor; afterwards Alderman, and notable for his sagacity and severity as a magistrate in dealing with evil-doers.

[157]  Sir James Graham was then, and had been for some years, Secretary Of State under Sir Robert Peel.

[160]  Moxon was Tennyson’s publisher.

[162]  Edward Fitzball, besides being the prolific author of the most sulphurous and sanguinary melodramas, flirted also with the Muses.  His triumph in this line was the ballad, “My Jane, my Jane, my pretty Jane,” who was for many long years implored in the delightful tenor notes of Sims Reeves “never to look so shy, and to meet him, meet him in the evening when the bloom was on the rye.”  Fitzball, I have heard, was the meekest and least bellicose of men, and this was probably the reason why he was dubbed by Bon Gaultier “the terrible Fitzball.”

[168]  Two less poetically-disposed men than Goulburn and Knatchbull could not well be imagined.

[177]  The most highly reputed oysters of the day.

[200]  Lord John Russell’s vehement letter on Papal Aggression in November 1850 to the Bishop of Durham, provoked by the Papal Bull creating Catholic bishops in England, and the angry controversy to which it led, were followed by the passing of the Ecclesiastic Titles Bill in 1857.  Aytoun was not alone in thinking that Cardinal Wiseman, the first to act upon the mandate from Rome, was more than a match for Lord John, and that the Bill would become a dead letter, as it did.  The controversy was at its hottest when Aytoun expressed his view of the probable result of the conflict in the preceding ballad.

[269]  This poem appeared in a review by Bon Gaultier of an imaginary volume, ‘The Poets of the Day,’ and was in ridicule of the numerous verses of the time, to which the use of Turkish words was supposed to impart a poetical flavour.  His reviewer’s comment upon it was as follows:—

“Had Byron been alive, or Moore not ceased to write, we should have bidden them look to their laurels.  ‘Nonsense,’ says Dryden, ‘shall be eloquent in love,’ and here we find the axiom aptly illustrated, for in this Eastern Serenade are comprised nonsense and eloquence in perfection.  But, apart from its erotic and poetical merits, it is a great curiosity, as exhibiting in a very marked manner the singular changes which the stride of civilisation and the bow-string of the Sultan Mahmoud have made in the Turkish language and customs within a very few years.  Thus we learn from the writer that a ‘musnud,’ which in Byron’s day was a sofa, now signifies a nightingale.  A ‘tophaik,’ which once fired away in Moore’s octosyllabics as a musket, is metamorphosed into a bank of flowers.  ‘Zemzem,’ the sacred well, now makes shift as a chemise; while the rallying-cry of ‘Allah-hu’ closes in a stanza as a military cloak.  Even ‘Gehenna,’ the place of torment, is mitigated into a valley, rich in unctuous spices.  But the most singular of all these transmutations of the Turkish vocabulary is that of the word ‘Effendi,’ which used to be a respectful epithet applied to a Christian gentleman, but is now the denomination of a dog.  Most of these changes are certainly highly poetical, and, while we admire their ingenuity, we do not impugn their correctness.  But with all respect for the author, the Honourable Sinjin Muff, we think that, in one or two instances, he has sacrificed propriety at the shrine of imagination.  We do not allude to such little incongruities as the waving of a minaret, or the watching of a mosque.  These may be accounted for; but who—who, we ask with some earnestness, ever heard of cheroots growing ready-made among the grass, or of a young lady keeping an appointment in a scarf trimmed with mutton cutlets?  We say nothing to the bold idea of a dragoman, who snaps Eblis in twain, as a gardener might snap a frosted carrot; but we will not give up our own interpretation of ‘kiebaubs,’ seeing that we dined upon them not two months ago at the best chop-house in Constantinople.”