The Project Gutenberg eBook of Mirth and metre

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Title: Mirth and metre

Author: Frank E. Smedley

Edmund Yates

Illustrator: William McConnell

Release date: October 18, 2022 [eBook #69177]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: George Routledge & Co, 1855

Credits: Mark C. Orton and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)









Frank E. Smedley,
Edmund H. Yates.


With Illustrations by M’Connell.



If any one of those mysterious autocrats who “do” the reviews “on” some newspaper or serial shall, in his condescension, deign to inform public opinion what he may think about Mirth and Metre, that autocrat, unless he be in an unhoped-for state of benignity, will, doubtless, commence with the agreeable remark that “the work before us consists of certain Lays and Legends, written in paltry imitation of the productions of the inimitable Thomas Ingoldsby.”

Admitting the imputation without cavil, (except at the word “paltry,” which really is too bad, don’t you think so, dear reader?) the authors would inquire whether such an admission legitimately exposes them to hostile criticism? When the late Mr. Barham produced the “Ingoldsby Legends,” he, as it were, founded a new school of comic versification. That this is not a mere ipse dixit of our own is evinced by the fact that, in common parlance, a man who adopts this style of composition is said to have written an “Ingoldsby,” as he might be said to have written an Epic, had he chosen that form instead.

To assert that only a very small shred of Mr. Barham’s mantle has fallen upon any of his imitators (a fact to which none will more readily assent than the present writers), is simply to state that the standard we have proposed to ourselves is a high one, and proportionately difficult to attain.

Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona

is a fact which does not appear to have checked the energies or paralysed the ambition of the “king of men;” nor was Waterloo the less a great victory because Julius Cæsar had a few centuries before successfully invaded Gaul.

To our thinking, however, the common sense of the matter lies (after the usual fashion of that inestimable quality) in a nutshell. A servile copy of any particular style—a hash of old ideas, or want of ideas, served up after the manner of some popular writer—is a bad thing, against which all true lovers of literature are bound to raise their voices whenever they meet with it; but if a young author, imbued with admiration of, and respect for, some man of genius who has lived before him, sees fit to embody his own thoughts and feelings in a form which experience has approved, rather than confuse himself and his readers, in his frantic strivings after originality, by torturing words out of their natural meaning, and marshalling them in a metre against which the ear rebels, we conceive no just canon of criticism can forbid his doing so. To which of these categories the Lays and Legends in this Volume are to be assigned, we leave it to our readers to determine.

Frank E. Smedley.
Edmund H. Yates.






Part the First.

There is weeping and wailing in Allinghame Hall,
From many an eye does the tear-drop fall,
Swollen with sorrow is many a lip,
Many a nose is red at the tip;
All the shutters are shut very tight,
To keep out the wind and to keep out the light;
While a couple of mutes,
With very black suits,
And extremely long faces,
Have taken their places
With an air of professional esprit de corps,
One on each side of the great hall door.
On the gravel beyond, in a wonderful state
Of black velvet and feathers, a grand hearse, and eight
Magnificent horses, the orders await
Of a spruce undertaker,
Who’s come from Long Acre,
To furnish a coffin, and do the polite
To the corpse of Sir Reginald Allinghame, Knight.
The lamented deceased whose funeral arrangement
I’ve just been describing, resembled that strange gent
Who ventured to falsely imprison a great man,
Viz. the Ottoman captor of noble Lord Bateman;
For we’re told in that ballad, which makes our eyes water,
That this terrible Turk had got one only daughter;
And although our good knight had twice seen twins arrive, a
Young lady named Maude was the only survivor.
So there being no entail
On some horrid heir-male,
And no far-away cousin or distant relation
To lay claim to the lands and commence litigation,
’Tis well known through the county, by each one and all,
That fair Maude is the heiress of Allinghame Hall.
Yes! she was very fair to view;
Mark well that forehead’s ivory hue,
That speaking eye, whose glance of pride
The silken lashes scarce can hide,
E’en when, as now, its wonted fire
Is paled with weeping o’er her sire;
Those scornful lips that part to show
The pearl-like teeth in even row,
That dimpled chin, so round and fair,
The clusters of her raven hair,
Whose glossy curls their shadow throw
O’er her smooth brow and neck of snow;
The faultless hand, the ankle small,
The figure more than woman tall,
And yet so graceful, sculptor’s art
Such symmetry could ne’er impart.
Observe her well, and then confess
The power of female loveliness,
And say, “Except a touch of vice
One may descry
About the eye,
Rousing a Caudle-ish recollection,
Which might perchance upon reflection
Turn out a serious objection,
That gal would make “a heavenly splice.”
From far and wide
On every side
The county did many a suitor ride,
Who, wishing to marry, determined to call
And propose for the heiress of Allinghame Hall.
Knights who’d gathered great fame in
Stabbing, cutting, and maiming
The French and their families
At Blenheim and Ramilies,
In promiscuous manslaughter
T’other side of the water,
Very eagerly sought her;
Yet, though presents they brought her,
And fain would have taught her
To fancy they loved her, not one of them caught her.
Maude received them all civilly, asked them to dine,
Gave them capital venison, and excellent wine,
But declared, when they popp’d, that she’d really no notion
They’d had serious intentions—she owned their devotion
Was excessively flattering—quite touching—in fact
She was grieved at the part duty forced her to act;
Still her recent bereavement—her excellent father—
(Here she took out her handkerchief) yes, she had rather—
Rather not (here she sobbed) say a thing so unpleasant,
But she’d made up her mind not to marry at present.
Might she venture to hope that she still should retain
Their friendship?—to lose that would cause her such pain.
Would they like to take supper?—she feared etiquette,
A thing not to be set
At defiance by one in her sad situation,
Having no “Maiden Aunt,” or old moral relation
Of orthodox station,
Whose high reputation,
And prim notoriety,
Should inspire society
With a very deep sense of the strictest propriety;
Such a relative wanting, she feared, so she said,
Etiquette must prevent her from offering a bed;
But the night was so fine—just the thing for a ride—
Must they go? Well, good-bye,—and here once more she sighed;
Then a last parting smile on the suitor she threw,
And thus, having “let him down easy,” withdrew,
While the lover rode home with an indistinct notion
That somehow he’d not taken much by his motion.
Young Lord Dandelion,
An illustrious scion,
A green sprig of nobility,
Whose excessive gentility
I fain would describe if I had but ability,—
This amiable lordling, being much in the state
I’ve described, i. e. going home at night rather late,
Having got his congé
(As a Frenchman would say)
From the heiress, with whom he’d been anxious to mate,
Is jogging along, in a low state of mind,
When a horseman comes rapidly up from behind,
And a voice in his ear
Shouts in tones round and clear,
“Ho, there! stand and deliver! your money or life!”
While some murderous weapon, a pistol or knife,
Held close to his head,
As these words are being said,
Glitters cold in the moonlight, and fills him with dread.
Now I think you will own,
That when riding alone
On the back of a horse, be it black, white, or roan,
Or chestnut, or bay,
Or piebald, or grey,
Or dun-brown (though a notion my memory crosses
That ’tis asses are usually done brown, not horses),
When on horseback, I say, in the dead of the night,
Nearly dark, if not quite,
In despite of the light
Of the moon shining bright-
ish—yes, not more than -ish, for the planet’s cold rays I
’ve been told on this night were unusually hazy—
With no one in sight,
To the left or the right,
Save a well-mounted highwayman fully intent
On obtaining your money, as Dan did his rent,
By bullying, an odd sort of annual pleasantry
That “Repaler” played off on the finest of peasantry;
In so awkward a fix I should certainly say,
By far the best way
Is to take matters easy, and quietly pay;
The alternative being that the robber may treat us
To a couple of bullets by way of quietus;
Thus applying our brains, if perchance we have got any,
In this summary mode to the study of botany,
By besprinkling the leaves, and the grass, and the flowers,
With the source of our best intellectual powers,
And, regardless of habeas corpus, creating
A feast for the worms, which are greedily waiting
Till such time as any gent
Quits this frail tenement,
And adopting a shroud as his sole outer garment,
Becomes food for worms, slugs, and all such-like varmint.
My Lord Dandelion,
That illustrious scion,
Not possessing the pluck of the bold hero Brian,
(Of whom Irishmen rave till one murmurs “how true
Is the brute’s patronymic of Brian Bore you”),
Neither feeling inclined,
Nor having a mind
To be shot by a highwayman, merely said “Eh?
Aw—extwemely unpleasant—aw—take it, sir, pway;”
And without further parley his money resigned.
Away! away!
With a joyous neigh,
Bounds the highwayman’s steed, like a colt at play;
And a merry laugh rings loud and clear,
On the terrified drum of his trembling ear,
While the following words doth his lordship hear:—
“Unlucky, my lord; unlucky, I know,
For the money to go
And the heiress say ‘No,’
On the self-same day, is a terrible blow.
When next you visit her, good my lord,
Give the highwayman’s love to fair Mistress Maude!”
Away! away!
On his gallant grey
My Lord Dandelion,
That unfortunate scion,
Gallops as best he may;
And as he rides he mutters low,
“Insolent fellar, how did he know?”
In the stable department of Allinghame Hall
There’s the devil to pay,
As a body may say,
And no assets forthcoming to answer the call;
For the head groom, Roger,
A knowing old codger,
In a thundering rage,
Which nought can assuage,
Most excessively cross is
With the whole stud of horses,
While he viciously swears
At the fillies and mares;
He bullies the helpers, he kicks all the boys,
Upsets innocent pails with superfluous noise;
Very loudly doth fret and incessantly fume,
And behaves, in a word,
In a way most absurd,
More befitting a madman, by far, than a groom,
Till at length he finds vent
For his deep discontent
In the following soliloquy:—“I’m blest if this is
To be stood any longer; I’ll go and tell Missis;
If she don’t know some dodge as’ll stop this here rig,
Vy then, dash my vig,
This here werry morning
I jest gives her warning,
If I don’t I’m a Dutchman, or summut as worse is.”
Then, after a short obligato of curses,
Just to let off the steam, Roger dons his best clothes,
And seeks his young mistress his griefs to disclose.
“Please your Ladyship’s Honour,
I’ve come here upon a
Purtiklar rum business going on in the stable,
Vich, avake as I am, I ain’t no how been able
To get at the truth on:—the last thing each night
I goes round all the ’orses to see as they’re right,—
And they alvays is right too, as far as I see,
Cool, k’viet, and clean, just as ’orses should be,—
Then, furst thing ev’ry morning agen I goes round,
To see as the cattle is all safe and sound.
’Twas nigh three veeks ago, or perhaps rather more,
Ven vun morning, as usual, I unlocks the door,—
(Tho’ I ought to ha’ mentioned I alvays does lock it,
And buttons the key in my right breeches pocket)—
I opens the door, Marm, and there vas Brown Bess,
Your ladyship’s mare, in a horribul mess;
Reg’lar kivered all over vith sveat, foam, and lather,
Laying down in her stall—sich a sight for a father!
Vhile a saddle and bridle, as hung there kvite clean
Over night, was all mud and not fit to be seen;
And, to dock a long tale, since that day thrice a-week,
Or four times, perhaps, more or less, so to speak,
I’ve diskivered that thare,
Identical mare,
Or else the black Barb, vich, perhaps you’ll remember
Vas brought here from over the seas last September,
In the state I describes, as if fairies or vitches
Had rode ’em all night over hedges and ditches;
If this here’s to go on (and I’m sure I don’t know
How to stop it), I tells you at vunce, I must go;
Yes, although I’ve lived here
A good twenty-five year,
I am sorry to say (for I knows what your loss is)
You must get some vun else to look arter your ’orses.”
Roger’s wonderful tale
Seemed of little avail,
For Maude neither fainted, nor screamed, nor turned pale,
But she signed with her finger to bid him draw near;
And cried, “Roger, come here,
I’ve a word for your ear;”
Then she whispered so low
That I really don’t know
What it was that she said, but it seemed apropos
And germane to the matter;
For though Roger stared at her,
With mouth wide asunder,
Extended by wonder,
Ere she ended, his rage appeared wholly brought under,
Insomuch that the groom,
When he quitted the room,
Louted low, and exclaimed, with a grin of delight,
“Your Ladyship’s Honour’s a gentleman quite!”
’Tis reported, that night, at the sign of “The Goat,”
Roger the groom changed a £20 note.

Part the Second.

There’s a stir and confusion in Redburn town,
And all the way up and all the way down
The principal street,
When the neighbours meet,
They do nothing but chafe, and grumble, and frown,
And sputter and mutter,
And sentences utter,
Such as these—“Have you heard,
The thing that’s occurred?
His worship the Mayor?
Shocking affair!
Much too bad, I declare!
Fifty pounds, I’ve been told!
And as much more in gold.
Well, the villain is bold!
Two horse pistols!—No more?
I thought they said four.
And so close to the town!
I say, Gaffer Brown,
Do tell us about it.”
“Thus the matter fell out—it
Was only last night that his worship the Mayor,
Master Zachary Blair,
Having been at St. Alban’s and sold in the fair
Some fifteen head of cattle, a horse and a mare,
Jogging home on his nag
With the cash in a bag,
Was met by a highwayman armed to the teeth,
With a belt full of pistols and sword in its sheath,
A murderous villain, six feet high,
With spur on heel and boot on thigh,
And a great black beard and a wicked eye;
And he said to his Worship, ‘My fat little friend,
I will thank you to lend
Me that nice bag of gold, which no doubt you intend
Before long to expend
In some awfully slow way,
Or possibly low way,
Which I should not approve. Come, old fellow, be quick!’
And then Master Blair heard an ominous click,
Betokening the cocking
Of a pistol, a shocking
Sound, which caused him to quake,
And shiver and shake,
From the crown of his head to the sole of his stocking.
So yielding himself with a touching submission
To what he considered a vile imposition,
He handed the bag with the tin to the highwayman,
who took it, and saying, in rather a dry way,
‘Many thanks, gallant sir,’ galloped off down a bye way.”
The town council has met, and his worship the Mayor,
Master Zachary Blair,
Having taken the chair,
And sat in it too, which was nothing but fair,
Did at once, then and there,
Relate and declare,
With a dignified air,
And a presence most rare,
The tale we’ve just heard, which made all men to stare,
And indignantly swear,
It was too bad to bear.
Then after they’d fully discussed the affair,
To find out the best method of setting things square,
They agreed one and all the next night to repair,
Upon horseback, or mare,
To the highwayman’s lair,
And, if he appeared, hunt him down like a hare.
Over No-Man’s-Land[2] the moon shines bright,
And the furze and the fern in its liquid light
Glitter and gleam of a silvery white;
The lengthened track which the cart-wheels make,
Winds o’er the heath like a mighty snake,
And silence o’er that lonely wold
Doth undisputed empire hold,
Save where the night-breeze fitfully
Mourns like some troubled spirit’s cry;
At the cross roads the old sign-post
Shows dimly forth, like sheeted ghost,
As with weird arm, extended still,
It points the road to Leamsford Mill;
In fact it is not
At all a sweet spot,
A nice situation,
Or charming location;
The late Robins himself, in despite his vocation,
Would have deemed this a station
Unworthy laudation,
And have probably termed it “a blot on the nation.”
In a lane hard by,
Where the hedge-rows high,
Veil with their leafy boughs the sky,
Biding their time, sits his worship the Mayor,
Master Zachary Blair,
And my Lord Dandelion,
That illustrious scion,
And Oxley the butcher, and Doughy the baker,
And Chisel the joiner and cabinet-maker,
And good farmer Dacre,
Who holds many an acre,
And, insuper omnes, bold Jonathan Blaker,
The famous thief-taker,
Who’s been sent for from town as being more wide awaker,
(Excuse that comparative, sure ’tis no crime
To sacrifice grammar to such a nice rhyme,)
And up to the dodges of fellows who take a
Delight in being born in “stone jugs,” and then fake a-
way all their lives long in a manner would make a
Live Archbishop to swear, let alone any Quaker,
Wet or dry, you can name, or a Jumper or Shaker;
And, to add to this list, Hobbs was there, so was Dobbs,
With several others, all more or less snobs,
Low partys, quite willing to peril their nobs
In highwayman catching, and such-like odd jobs,
To obtain a few shillings, which they would term bobs.
’Tisn’t pleasant to wait
In a fidgety state
Of mind, at an hour we deem very late,
When our fancies have fled
Home to supper and bed,
And we feel we are catching a cold in the head;
(By the way, if this ailment should ever make you ill,
Drop some neat sal-volatile into your gruel,
You’ll be all right next day,
And will probably say,
This, by way of receipt, is a regular jewel;)
To wait, I repeat,
For a robber or cheat,
On a spot he’s supposed to select for his beat,
When said robber wont come’s the reverse of a treat.
So thought the butcher, and so thought the baker,
And so thought the joiner and cabinet-maker,
And so thought all the rest except Jonathan Blaker;
To him catching a thief in the dead of the night
Presented a source of unfailing delight;
And now as he sat
Peering under his hat,
He looked much like a terrier watching a rat.
Hark! he hears a muffled sound;
He slips from the saddle, his ear’s to the ground.
Louder and clearer,
Nearer and nearer,
’Tis a horse’s tramp on the soft green sward!
He is mounted again: “Now, good my Lord,
Now, master Mayor, mark well, if you can,
A rider approaches, is this your man?”
Ay, mark that coal-black barb that skims,
With flowing mane and graceful limbs,
As lightly onward o’er the lea
As greyhound from the leash set free;
Observe the rider’s flashing eye,
His gallant front and bearing high;
His slender form, which scarce appears
Fitted to manhood’s riper years;
The easy grace with which at need
He checks or urges on his steed;
Can this be one whose fame is spread
For deeds of rapine and of dread?
My Lord Dandelion
Placed his spy-glass his eye on,
Stared hard at the rider, and then exclaimed, “Well—ar—
’Tis weally so dark! but I think ’tis the fellar.”
While his worship the Mayor
Whispered, “O, look ye there!
That purse in his girdle, d’ye see it?—I twigged it;
’Tis my purse as was prigged, and the willin what prigged it!”
Hurrah! hurrah!
He’s off and away,
Follow who can, follow who may.
There’s hunting and chasing
And going the pace in
Despite of the light, which is not good for racing.
“Hold hard! hold hard! there’s somebody spilt,
And entirely kilt!”
“Well, never mind,
Leave him behind,”—
The pace is a great deal too good to be kind.
Follow, follow,
O’er hill and hollow,—
Faster, faster,
Another disaster!
His worship the Mayor has got stuck in a bog.
And there let us leave him to spur and to flog,
He’ll know better the next time,—a stupid old dog!
“Where’s Hobbs?”
“I don’t know.”
“And Dobbs and the snobs?”
“All used-up long ago.”
“My nag’s almost blown!”
“And mine’s got a stone
In his shoe—I’m afraid it’s no go. Why, I say!
That rascally highwayman’s getting away!”
’Tis true. Swift as the trackless wind,
The gallant barb leaves all behind;
Hackney and hunter still in vain
Exert each nerve, each sinew strain;
And all in vain that motley-crew
Of horsemen still the chase pursue.
Two by two, and one by one,
They lag behind—’tis nearly done,
That desperate game, that eager strife,
That fearful race for death or life.
Those dark trees gained that skirt the moor,
All danger of pursuit is o’er;
Screened by their shade from every eye,
Escape becomes a certainty.
Haste! for with stern, relentless will
One rider’s on thy traces still!
’Tis bold Jonathan Blaker who sticks to his prey
In this somewhat unfeeling, though business-like way.
But even he, too, is beginning to find
That the pace is so good he’ll be soon left behind.
He presses his horse on with hand and with heel,
He rams in the persuaders too hard a great deal;
’Tis but labour in vain,
Though he starts from the pain,
Nought can give that stout roadster his wind back again.
Now Jonathan Blaker had formerly been
A soldier, and fought for his country and queen,
Over seas, the Low Countries to wit, and while there, in
Despite of good teaching,
And praying and preaching,
Had acquired a shocking bad habit of swearing;
Thus, whenever, as now,
The red spot on his brow
Proved him “wrathy and riled,”
He would not draw it mild,
But would, sans apology, let out on such
Occasions a torrent of very low Dutch.
One can scarce feel surprise, then, considering the urgency
Of the case, that he cried in the present emergency,
Ach donner und blitzen” (a taste of his lingo),
“He’ll escape, by—” (I don’t know the German for “jingo”).
Tausend teufel! sturmwetter!
To think I should let a
Scamp like that get away; don’t I wish now that I’d ha’
Drove a brace of lead pills through the horse or the rider;
Pr’aps there’s time for it still—Mein auge (my eye),
’Tis the only chance left, so here goes for a try.”
Oh, faster spur thy flagging steed,
Still faster,—fearful is thy need.
Oh, heed not now his failing breath,
Life lies before, behind thee death!
Warning all vainly given! too late
To shield thee from the stroke of fate.
One glance the fierce pursuer threw,
A pistol from his holster drew,
Levelled and fired, the echoes still
Prolong the sound from wood to hill;
But ere the last vibrations die,
A WOMAN’S shriek of agony
Rings out beneath that midnight sky!
The household sleep soundly in Allinghame Hall,
Groom, butler, and coachman, cook, footboy, and all;
The fat old housekeeper
(Never was such a sleeper),
After giving a snore,
Which was almost a roar,
Has just turned in her bed and begun a fresh score;
The butler (a shocking old wine-bibbing sinner),
Having made some mistake after yesterday’s dinner,
As to where he should put a decanter of sherry,
Went to bed rather merry,
But perplexed in his mind,
Not being able to find
A legitimate reason
Why at that time and season
His eight-post bed chooses, whichever way he stirs,
To present to his vision a couple of testers!
Since which, still more completely his spirits to damp,
He’s been roused twice by nightmare and three times by cramp!
And now he dreams some old church-bell
Is mournfully tolling a dead man’s knell,
And he starts in his sleep, and mutters, “Alas!
Man’s life’s brittle as glass!
There’s another cork flown, and the spirit escaped;
Heigh ho!” (here he gaped),
Then, scratching his head,
He sat up in bed,
For that bell goes on ringing more loud than before,
And he knows ’tis the bell of the great hall door.
Footman tall,
Footboy small,
Housekeeper, butler, coachman, and all,
In a singular state of extreme dishabille,
Which they each of them feel
Disinclined to reveal,
And yet know not very well how to conceal,
With one accord rush to the old oak hall;
To unfasten the door
Takes a minute or more;
It opens at length and discloses a sight
Which fills them with wonder, and sorrow, and fright.
The ruddy light of early dawn
Gilds with its rays that velvet lawn;
From every shrub and painted flower
Dew-drops distill in silvery shower;
Sweet perfumes load the air; the song
Of waking birds is borne along
Upon the bosom of the breeze
That murmurs through the waving trees;
The crystal brook that dances by
Gleams in the sunlight merrily;
All tells of joy, and love, and life—
All?—Said I everything was rife
With happiness?—Behold that form,
Like lily broken by the storm,
Fall’n prostrate on the steps before
The marble threshold of the door!
The well-turned limbs, the noble mien,
The riding-coat of Lincoln green;
The hat, whose plume of sable hue
Its shadow o’er his features threw;
Yon coal-black barb, too, panting near,
All show some youthful cavalier;
While, fatal evidence of strife,
From a deep hurt the flood of life
Proves, as its current stains the sod,
How man defiles the work of God.
With eager haste the servants raise
The head, and on the features gaze,
Then backward start in sad surprise
As that pale face they recognise.
Good reason theirs, although, in sooth,
They knew but half the fatal truth;
For, strange as doth the tale appear,
One startling fact is all too clear,
The robber, who on No-Man’s-Land
Was shot by Blaker’s ruthless hand,—
That highwayman of evil fame
Is beauteous Maude of Allinghame!


“Well, but that’s not the end?”
“Yes it is, my good friend.”
“Oh, I say!
That wont pay;
’Tis a shocking bad way
To leave off so abruptly. I wanted to hear
A great many particulars: first, I’m not clear,
Is the young woman killed?” “Be at rest on that head,
She’s completely defunct, most excessively dead.
Blaker’s shot did the business; she’d just strength to fly,
Reached her home, rang the bell, and then sank down to die.”
“Poor girl! really it’s horrid! However I knew it
Could come to no good—I felt certain she’d rue it—
But pray, why in the world did the jade go to do it?”
“’Tis not easy to say; but at first, I suppose,
Just by way of a freak she rode out in man’s clothes.”
“Then her taking the money?” “A mere idiosyncrasy,
As when, some years since, a young gent, being with drink crazy,
Set off straight on end to the British Museum,
And, having arrived there, transgressed all the laws
Of good breeding, by smashing the famed Portland Vase;
Or the shop-lifting ladies, by dozens you see ’em,
For despising the diff’rence ’twixt tuum and meum,
Brought before the Lord Mayor every week, in the papers.
Why, the chief linen-drapers
Have a man in their shops solely paid for revealing
When they can’t keep their fair hands from picking and stealing.
’Twas a mere woman’s fancy, a female caprice,
And you know at that time they’d no rural police.”
“Hum! it may have been so. Well, is that all about it?”
“No; there’s more to be told, though I dare say you’ll doubt it-
s being true; but the story goes on to relate,
That, after Maude’s death, the old Hall and estate
Were put up to auction, and Master Blair thought it
Seemed a famous investment, bid for it and bought it,
And fitted it up in extremely bad taste;
But scarce had he placed
His foot o’er the threshold,—the very first night,
He woke up in a fright,
Being roused from his sleep by a terrible cry
Of ‘Fire!’—had only a minute to fly
In his shirt, Mrs. Blair in her⸺Well, never mind,
In the dress she had on at the time; while behind
Followed ten little blessings, who looked very winning
In ten little nightgowns of Irish linen;
They’d just time to escape, when the flames, with a roar
Like thunder, burst forth from each window and door;
And there, with affright,
They perceive by the light
Maude Allinghame’s sprite—
Her real positive ghost—no fantastic illusion
Conceived by their brains from the smoke and confusion—
With a hot flaming brand
In each shadowy hand,
Flaring up, like a fiend, in the midst of the fire,
And exciting the flames to burn fiercer and higher.
From what follows we learn that ghosts, spirits, and elves,
Are the creatures of habit as well as ourselves;
For Maude (that is, ghost Maude), when once she had done
The trick, seemed to think it was capital fun;
And whenever the house is rebuilt, and prepared
For a tenant, the rooms being all well scrubbed and aired,
The very first night the new owner arrives
Maude’s implacable spirit still ever contrives
Many various ways in
To set it a blazing;
In this way she’s done
Both the Phœnix and Sun
So especially brown by the fires she’s lighted,
That now, being invited
To grant an insurance, they always say when a nice
Offer is made them,
’Tis no use to persuade them,
If a ghost’s in the case, they wont do it at any price.”


And now for the moral! Imprimis, young heiresses,
Don’t go riding o’ nights, and don’t rob mayors or mayoresses;
As to robbing your suitors, allow me to say,
On the face of the thing ’tis a scheme that won’t pay;
Though they sigh and protest, and are dabs at love-making,
You’ll not find one in ten
Of these charming young men
Can produce on occasion a purse worth your taking.
Don’t refuse a good offer, but think ere you let a
Chance like that slip away, that you mayn’t get a better.
One more hint and I’ve done—
If by pistol or gun
It should e’er be your lot
(Which I hope it may not),
In a row to get shot,
And the doctor’s assistance should all prove in vain,
“When you give up the ghost, don’t resume it again.”
If you do choose to “walk” and revisit this earth
To play tricks, let some method be mixed with your mirth.
As to burning down houses and ruining folks,
And flaring about like a Fire-king’s daughter,—
Allow me to say there’s no fun in such jokes,
’Twould far better have been
To have copied Undine,—
There’s no harm in a mixture of spirits and water!

Frank E. S.


[1] The following legend is founded on a story current in the part of Herts where the scene is laid; the house was actually burnt down about ten years ago, having just been rendered habitable.

[2] The name of a lonely common near Harpenden, formerly a favourite site for prize-fights.



Ye Peroration.

Hey for the march of intellect,
The schoolmaster’s abroad,
And still the cry is raised on high,
Obey his mighty word!
Where’er we go, both high and low,
Bow down before his nod;
And the sceptre may hide its jewelled pride,
For our sceptre’s the birchen rod.
And all “enlightened citizens” and “learned brothers” say,
That the world was never
One half so clever
As it is in the present day.
Now I deny
This general cry;
And will proceed to tell you why
I’ve long since come to the conclusion,
’Tis all a popular delusion.
I have seen many a wild-beast show,
From the day when Messrs. Pidcock and Co.
Were what vulgar people call all-the-go,
To the time when society mourned for the loss
(All felt it, but no one like poor Mr. Cross)
Of the elephant “Chuney,” who went mad, ’tis said,
With the pressure and pain
He felt in his brain
From constantly bearing a trunk on his head.
And I have set eye on
That magnanimous lion,
Brave Wallace—oh, fye on
The brutes who could hie on
Fierce bull-dogs to fly on
His monarchical mane! I declare I could cry on
The bare thought, as one weeps when one goes to see “Ion.”
And lately I’ve been
Down to Astley’s, and seen
His wonderful elephants act; what they mean
By their actions, I’ve not the most distant idea,
Why they stand on their heads, why they wag their fat tails,
Are to me hidden mysteries, “very like whales,”
As Hamlet remarks of some cloud he is certain
He perceives up aloft, whence they let down the curtain,
And whither they draw up the fairies and goddesses,
With their pretty pink legs and inadequate bodices.
But of all the beasts I ever did see,
Whether of low or of high degree,
Despite the “schoolmaster,”
And “going a-head faster,”
The arts and the sciences,
And all their appliances,
Never an animal, chained or loose,
As yet have I heard
Utter one single word,
Or so much as attempt to say “Bo!” to a goose.
But you’ll see, if you read the next two or three pages,
That in what people now-a-days term the dark ages,
When the world was some thousand years younger or so,
Beasts could talk very well; and it wasn’t thought low
For a real live monarch his prowess to brag on,
And bandy high words with an insolent dragon.

Ye Right Ancient Ballad.

The good King Tidrich rode from Bern[3]
(And a funny name had he),
His charger was bay, and he took his way
Under the greenwood-tree;
And ever he sang, as he rode along,
“’Tis a very fine thing
To be a crowned king,
And to feel one’s right arm strong.”
King Tidrich was clad in armour of proof
(Whatever that may be)
And his helmet shone with many a stone,
Inserted cunningly;
While on his shield one might behold
A lion trying
To set off flying,
Emblazoned in burnished gold.
King Tidrich was counting his money o’er,
As he rode the greenwood through,
When he was aware of a “shocking affair,”
And a terrible “to-do;”
Then loudly he shouted with pure delight,
“A glorious row,
I make mine avow;
I’ll on, and view the fight.”
And a fearful sight it was, I ween,
As ever a king did see,
For a dragon old, and a lion bold,
Were striving wrathfully;
But the monarch perceived from the very first—
And it made him sad,
For “a reason he had,”—
That the lion would get the worst.
When the lion saw the royal Knight,
These were the words he said:
“O mighty King, assistance bring,
Or I am fairly sped;
For the battle has been both fierce and long;
Two days and a night
Have I urged the fight,
But the dragon’s unpleasantly strong.”
In a kind of Low Dutch did the lion speak,
Nor his stops did he neglect,
But e’en in his hurry, for Lindley Murray
Preserved a marked respect;
And he managed his H’s according to rule:
Full well I ween
Must the beast have been
Taught at some Public School.
Long paused the royal hero then,
Grave thoughts passed through his brain;
Of his queen thought he, and his fair countrie[4]
He never might see again;
He thought of his warriors, that princely band,
Of Eckhart true,
And Helmschrot too,
And Wolfort’s red right hand.[5]
But he thought of the lion he bore on his shield,
And he manned his noble breast,—
“’Twixt the lion and me there is sympathy,
And a dragon I detest;
I must not see the lion slain;
Both kings are we,
In our degree,
I of the city and he of the plain.”
The first stroke that the monarch made,
His weapon tasted blood;
From many a scale of the dragon’s mail
Poured forth the crimson flood.
But when the hero struck again,
The treacherous sword
Forsook its lord,
And brake in pieces twain.
The dragon laid him on her back
With a triumphant air,
And flung the horse her jaws across,
As a greyhound would seize a hare.
At a fearful pace to her rocky den,
To serve as food
For her young brood
Away she bore them then.
They were a charming family,
Eleven little frights,
With deep surprise in their light-green eyes,
And fearful appetites;
And they wagged their tails with extreme delight,
For to dine on King
Is a dainty thing
When one usually dines on Knight.
Before them then the steed she threw,
Saddle, and bridle, and crupper,
And bade them crunch its bones for lunch,
While they saved the king for supper;
Saying, she must sleep ere she could sup,
For after the fight
With the lion and knight,
She was thoroughly used up.
A lucky chance for Tidrich:
He sought the dark cave over,
And soon the King did Adelring,[6]
That famous sword, discover:
“And was it here that Siegfried died?[7]
That champion brave,
Was this his grave?”
In grief the monarch cried.
“I have ridden with him in princely hosts,
I have feasted with him in hall;
Sword, you and I will do or die,
But we’ll avenge his fall.”
Against the cavern’s rocky side
The king essayed
The trusty blade,
Till the flames gleamed far and wide.
Up rose a youthful dragon then,
Right pallid was his hue;
For with fear and ire he viewed the fire
From out the rock that flew.
These words he to the king did say:
“If the noise thou dost make
Should our mother awake,
It is thou wilt rue the day.”
“Be silent, thou young viper,”
’Twas thus the king replied,
“Thy mother slew Siegfried the true,
A hero brave and tried;
And vengeance have I vowed to take
Upon ye all,
Both great and small,
For that dear warrior’s sake.”
Then he aroused the dragon old,
Attacked her with his sword,
And a fearful fight, with strength and might
Fought he, that noble lord.
The dragon’s fiery breath, I ween,
Made his cuirass stout
Red hot throughout:
Such a sight was never seen.
Despair lent strength to the monarch then;
A mighty stroke he made,
Through the dragon’s neck, without a check,
He passed his trenchant blade.
At their mother’s fall, each little fright
Began to yell
Like an imp of hell,
And nearly stunned the knight.
He struck right and left with Adelring,
That trusty sword and good,
And in pieces small chopped each and all
Of the dragon’s hateful brood.
King Tidrich thus at honour’s call,
On German land,
With his strong right hand,
Avenged bold Siegfried’s fall.
Now ye whose spirits thrill to hear
The trumpet-voice of fame,
Or love to read of warrior deed,
Remember Tidrich’s name;
And mourn that the days of chivalry
Are past and o’er,
And live no more,
Save in their glorious memory.
Yet when Prince Albert rides abroad,
Our gracious Queen may feel
As well content, as if he went,
Encased in plates of steel;
Relying on the new Police,
Those bulwarks of the State,
That on their beat, no dragons eat
The Prince off his own plate!

Frank E. S.

[Should any reader wish to learn more of the various personages here mentioned, we refer him to the “Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, from the earlier Teutonic and Scandinavian Romances,” to which we are indebted for our information on the subject.]


[3] King Tidrich, Dietrich, or Theoderic, the son of Thietmar, king of Bern, and the fair Odilia, daughter of Essung Jarl, was, as it were, the central hero of that well-known, popular, and interesting work the “Book of Heroes,” which relates the deeds of the champions who attached themselves to him, and the manner in which they joined his fellowship.

[4] Tidrich of Bern was also king of Aumlungaland (Italy); he espoused Herraud, daughter of King Drusiad, a relation of Attila.

[5] These three champions were among the eleven heroes who accompanied Tidrich in his memorable expedition to contend against the twelve guardians of the Garden of Roses at Worms.

[6] They had a weakness for naming swords in those days, just as in the nineteenth century we delight in bestowing euphonious titles on “villa residences,” puppy dogs, and men-of-war!

[7] Sigurd, or Siegfried, son of Sigmond, king of Netherland, is the chief hero of the Nibelungen Lay. There are various accounts of his death, one of the least improbable supposes him to have been destroyed by a dragon.



I will tell to you a story, for in winter time we bore ye
With many an ancient legend and tale of by-gone time;
And methinks that there is in it enough to pass a minute,
So, to add to my vain-glory, I have put it into rhyme.
As I heard it you shall hear it,—by one whom I revere, it
Was told me, as in childhood upon his knee I sat.
It treats of days long vanished,—of the times of James the Banished,
Of periwig and rapier, and quaint three-cornered hat.
Sir Walter Ralph de Guyon, of a noble house the scion,
Though his monarch was defeated, still held bravely to his cause,
And foremost in the slaughter by the Boyne’s ill-fated water
Was seen his knightly cognizance,—a bear with bloody paws.
But when the fight was over, escaping under cover
Of the darkness and confusion, to England he returned,
As well might be expected, dispirited, dejected,
But his rage within him smouldered, nor ever brightly burned.
Save when his daughter Alice would say in playful malice,
That she loved the gallant Orange much better than the Green;
And that as a maid she’d tarry, till she found a chance to marry
With one true to William, her bold king, and Mary, her good queen.
Then Sir Walter’s brow would darken, and he’d mutter, “Alice, hearken!
By my child no such treason shall be spoken e’en in jest;
And bethink you, oh, my daughter! there is one across the water
Who shall one day have his own again, though now he’s sore distressed.”
Little knew he that each even, ’twixt the hours of six and seven,
Just below his daughter’s casement a whistle low was blown;
And that soon as e’er it sounded through the wicket-gate she bounded,
And was clasped in the embrace of one of bold “King William’s Own.”
Ay! De Ruyter was a gentleman, and high-bred were his people;
No chapel-going folks were they, but loved a church and steeple!
His blood, of every good Dutch race contained a little sprinkle—
A Knickerbocker was his sire, his aunt a Rip van Winkle;
And so well he danced and sang, and kissed and talked so wondrous clever,
He gave this maiden’s heart a twist, and conquered it for ever!
And being thus a captain gay, “condemned to country quarters,”
A favourite of his royal lord, adorned with stars and garters,
He saw this young maid,
As one day on parade
He was gaily attired, all jackboots and braid.
He stared, she but glanced,
Her charms it enhanced;
She passed by him quickly, he rested entranced!
No orders he utters,
But vacantly mutters
(Though clamouring round him his underlings gabble hard),
“She’s to me Eloisa; to her I’ll be Abelard!”
And ever since that hour, whene’er he had the power,
Across to bold Sir Walter’s the captain bent his path;
At the garden-gate he met her—upon his knee he set her—
And, vanquished by the daughter’s love, forgot the father’s wrath:
Till when on the day in question, with a view to aid digestion,
Some retainers of Sir Walter, who with their lord had dined,
Bethought of promenading, what by Gamp is called the “garding,”
And, during their researches, what think ye they should find?
But a gallant captain kneeling, and apparently appealing,
To a dame who to all seeming, was encouraging his suit;
All dishevelled were her tresses by the warmth of his caresses,
And her eye with love was liquid, although her voice was mute!
“A prize! a prize!” quoth these Papist spies,—
“A prize for our gallant lord!”
And before poor De Ruyter awoke from surprise
They had pinioned his arms, they had bandaged his eyes;
And when he recovered, his first surmise
Was “At length I am thoroughly floored!”
For assistance he calls, but they gag him,
And off to Sir Walter they drag him;
While Abraham Cooper,
A stalwart old trooper,
Expresses a hope that they’ll “scrag” him.
He conceives it “a pretty idea, as
To think that these Dutch furrineerers
Should come here a-courtin’,
On our manors sportin’;
A set of young winkers and leerers!”
Sir Walter’s brow grew black as night,
He doubted if he heard aright;
“What, to my daughter kneeling here!
Methinks thou’rt daring, cavalier,
To venture ’neath the gripe of one
Whose ancient race, from sire to son,
Has ever, e’en in face of death,
Upheld that pure and holy faith
By thee and thine denied!
Or think’st thou that, to bow the knee
And whisper words of gallantry
To one of English blood and birth
Were pastime meet for hour of mirth?
God’s life! before to-morrow’s sun
Gilds yonder wood, thy race is run;
Nought care I for thy foreign king,
From yon tall oak thy corpse shall swing,
Let good or ill betide!”
Away he is hurried,
All worried and flurried,
And locked in a chamber, dark, dirty, and small,—
Huge barriers of iron
The windows environ,
And the door leads but into the banqueting-hall.
The banqueting-hall is soon gaily lit up,
For Sir Walter loved dearly a well-filled cup,
And sent to invite
Each guest that night,
With “where you have dined, boys, why there you shall sup.”
In the banqueting-hall,
Both great and small,
The cavalier knights, the retainers tall,
Together are gathered—one and all.
The red wine has flowed and taken effect
On all, save poor Alice, who, distraite, deject,
Has refused to take part in this riotous revel,
And wished those who did with the—Father of Evil.
The mirth was at its loudest, the humblest and the proudest
Were hobnobbing together, as though the dearest friends;
While some for wine were bawling, there were others loudly calling
For a song,—that ancient fiction which e’er to misery tends;
When Sir Walter grasped the table—rose, as well as he was able—
And entreated for a moment that his guests would give him heed:
“’Tis St. Michael’s Eve,—a time accursèd by a crime
Committed by my ancestor—a ruthless, bloody deed!
“For during times of danger, a sable-armoured stranger
One night had roused the castle, and shelter had implored;
Much gold, he said, he carried, and now too late had tarried,
To risk the chance of robbers, or to cross the neighbouring ford.
“He was shown into a bedroom, since that period called the Red Room,
(You can see it,” said Sir Walter, “for yonder is the door;
And there, in our safe keeping, the Dutchman now is sleeping);
And from that room the stranger never, never issued more.
“But throughout this ancient castle, each terror-stricken vassal
Heard shriek on shriek resounding in the middle of the night;
And with the dawn of morning would each have ‘given warning,’
But for one little obstacle yclept the ‘feudal right.’
“So no murm’ring e’er was uttered, and old Sir Brandreth muttered
That his visitor had left him as soon as break of day;
But one thing worth attention Sir Brandreth didn’t mention,—
He didn’t take his armour; there in the room it lay,
“And there it lies at present; but each credulous old peasant
Will tell you that upon this night the spectre walks abroad;
’Tis just about his hour, if he really have the power,
We now shall see him. Heavens! he enters, by the Lord!”
Bang! clash!
With a terrible crash,
Flies open the bedroom door,
And out stalks a figure,
To their eyes much bigger
Than great Gog or Magog, more black than a nigger,
In armour accoutred from head to heel,—
Black rusty old armour, not polished steel.
His vizor is down, but he takes a sight,
Though he moves not his eyes to the left or right;
He says not a word, but he walks straight on,
The hall door opes at his step! he’s gone!
He clanks ’cross the court-yard, and enters the stable;
His footsteps are heard by the guests ’neath the table,
For there they have hidden them every one.
There, shivering and shaking, they waited till the breaking
Of the daylight showed the power of all ghosts was at an end;
Then one by one uprising, declared it was surprising
That, overcome by liquor, each had dropped down by his friend;
Till the heart of each was lightened by finding that as frightened
As he himself were all by the spiritual sight;
But their courage and their strength coming back to them at length,
They hasten to the prisoner’s room, and find it—vacant quite!
Yes! De Ruyter had departed! for while lying all downhearted,
And thinking of poor Alice, he remembered just in time
The spectre-walking legend—he had heard it from a “peagant”
(Excuse the Gampism, reader, but I use it for the rhyme);
And on the instant bright’ning, he proceeded, quick as lightning,
To dress him in the armour which the sable knight had left;
And he listened to the host, till, at mention of the ghost,
He burst upon the drinkers, of their senses nigh bereft.
He called Alice to the stable; then, as fast as he was able,
Galloped off towards his quarters; thence to London hastened on;
There was married to his charmer, thence sent back the sable armour,
And asked Sir Walter’s sanction to the good deed he had done.
My tale is nearly ended. Sir Walter, much offended
At the hoax played off upon him, would not listen for awhile;
But regretting much his daughter, came at length to town and sought her,
For he missed her childish prattle and her fond endearing smile.
And then on this occasion a grand reconciliation
He had with young De Ruyter—ever after they were friends.
So having now related the tale to me as stated,
I take my humble leave of you, and here my story ends.

E. H. Y.




Time, midnight; scene, Rheinland; a castle of course,
A castle of bloodshed and slaughter,
Such a castle as barons oppressed with remorse
Inhabit, and nightly are seen in such force
With boots so brickdusted and voices so hoarse
On the Surrey side o’ the water.
Adolf von Lebenwurst sits in his chair,
The firelight flickers o’er him,
It lights up the curls of his chesnut hair,
It plays o’er his beard and mustachios rare,
For the sake of which latter the sex called “fair”
Is reported to adore him.
And close by his side sits his great Tom cat,
So indolent, lazy, so sleek and fat,
That marauding mouse and rebellious rat
In safety keep up their revels,
’Neath tapestry, arras, and wainscot board,
Till the servants declare their departed lord
From his warm berth below must have wandered abroad
To play hide-and-seek with the devils.
And bitter blows the wind without, and fiercely drifts the rain,
And beats, as though it entrance sought, against the window pane;
’Twas such a night as witches love, when on the blasted heath,
Beneath the tree where swings the corpse, they lead the dance of death;
’Twas such a night as women dread, and kneeling ere they sleep,
Implore God’s grace for husbands, sons, and brothers on the deep;
’Twas such a night as trav’llers hate, and seek the nearest roof,
Distrusting Cording’s overcoats and capes of waterproof.
And one of this last-mentioned class now gains the castle door,
And rings the bell more loudly than it e’er was rung before,
And passing by the warder grim, the wond’ring vassals all,
Pursues his course with staggering step across the noble hall;
He climbs the winding turret-stair, he reaches Adolf’s room,
And pale as any ghost or ghoule that ever left the tomb,
He sinks into a chair,
With a vacant stare,
Examines by turns all the furniture there;
He gasps and he groans,
And he bellows and moans,
And he mutters of devils, Old Nick, Davey Jones,
Till his host, who of flying begins to think,
Is relieved by his asking for “something to drink.”
“The glasses sparkle on the board,
The wine is ruby bright,”
The guest to sense at length restored,
Declares himself “all right.”
The red blood paints his cheek again, his breast no longer heaves,
And he and Adolf o’er their wine are soon as thick as thieves.
Together they’re laughing,
And talking, and chaffing,
And after each shout comes a fresh bout of quaffing,
Till Adolf asks Kraus, so the stranger is hight,
To give an account of the terrible fright
From which he with him had sought refuge that night.
Oh, Mr. Tennyson!
Grant me your benison,
You, who are fed on sack, turtle, and venison!
Pity a rhymer,
Child of a mimer,
Who, of Parnassus, can scarce be called any son!
Help me! inspire me!
With fine thoughts fire me!
Let me please those who so graciously hire me!
As I try to describe the funeral rite
Which was witnessed by Kraus on that stormy night,
And mainly occasioned his terrible fright!
Thus spake he, in metre sometimes used by you,
Which is always successful, let me try it, too!
“Many a morning have I wandered, strolling o’er the barren plain
Which surrounds this noble castle, and is part of your domain;
Many an evening have I staggered homeward o’er the blasted heath,
Singing, ‘wont go home till morning,’ with a spirit-tainted breath;
Many a time I’ve passed the ruined abbey hidden in the trees,
Covered with a mouldy mantle like an ancient Schweitzer cheese,
Joyous thoughts I always nourished! now what misery lurks beneath!
Oh, the horrid, horrid abbey, oh, the blasted, blasted heath!
Listen, comrade, and believe me, as I passed the spot this night,
Suddenly the ruined abbey shone revealed one blaze of light;
And before each sep’rate entrance stood, in either hand a torch,
Two huge cats in mourning garments, placed as sentries in the porch!
As I halted, half entrancéd, senses going, eye-balls dim,
Sudden o’er my ear came wafted echoes of a mournful hymn!
Nearer pressed I, to a window, climbed, and looking down below,
Saw a funeral procession, marching solemnly and slow.
Eight great cats a bier supported, on the which a dead cat lay,
Scores of others followed after, tabbies, brindles, black, and grey;
On the breast of the departed was there placed a regal crown,
And his features were all placid, undisturbed by smile or frown.
Thrice around the aisle they bore him, thrice arose a caterwaul,
Then they covered o’er the body with a gilt-edged ratskin pall;
Thrice arose the mournful requiem, by the echoes borne afar,
Ci-git notre roi Grimalkin, brave et noble roi des châts.
From the abbey then I hastened, flying off in dread and fear,
Not an instant stopped or stayed I, till I found a refuge here,
Ne’er again to cross that heather after nightfall have I vowed—
Heavens! look! with superhuman sense another cat endowed!”
’Twas so, for scarcely had he spoke
Than a cry of grief from the Tom cat broke,
He wept and shrieked aloud—
“Oh, Grimalkin, my father! my own loved sire!
To think I should leave thee alone to expire,
Surrounded by a hireling crowd,
While I was slumb’ring here!
From strangers I learn thy lamented death,
To strangers thou yieldedst thy latest breath,
And strangers watched thy bier!
If repentance yet serves, behold me now
In grief and affliction—mol row! mol row!”
Thus mourned Tom his sire, when nearer and nigher
A tramp on the stairs resounded,
And into the room through the deep’ning gloom
A mourning-clad tabby bounded.
And after him there comes a train of pussies black and grey,
From Lady Tab who acts the prude to Misses Kit at play,
And down before great Tom they kneel,
With many a caterwaul and squeal
They greet him Lord and King,
They hail him King of Tabby Land,
They deck him with a ratskin grand,
And a golden crown they bring—
At once a procession is started,
Through the great castle gate it departed,
Not so much as a tail
Was e’er seen, I’ll go bail,
By Adolf, who after it darted—
Such was the tale that last winter I heard
From a beery old German, who stoutly averred
Each word of it was veracious;
For myself, I believe it strictly true,
The blame of discredit I leave to you,
If your faith be less capacious.

E. H. D.



“Far from her nest the lapwing cries away.”—Shakespeare.
“Come, write me some lines,” said my own darling Annie,
“You say that you love me, my beauty you praise;
And you make them by dozens for Laura or Fanny,
While I’m deemed unworthy to shine in your lays.
“From the land of the grape, to the hill of the heather,
Each troubadour poured forth his verses of yore,
While you, with the power to string rhyme together,
Have ne’er penned a stanza to her you adore.”
So spoke mine own Annie, and hurriedly hiding
Her head in my bosom, the tears ’gan to flow:
So I hastened to soothe her, her anger deriding,
And pressed with my lips her fair forehead of snow.
But no peace could be made, e’en by dint of embraces,
Till I owned my sad error again and again;
And when I’d dispelled sorrow’s lingering traces,
I made my defence in the following strain:—
“The lapwing, my love, is a sweet little bird,
Well known for the care that it takes of its young;
And if where the voice of this lapwing is heard
You seek for its nest, you are sure to be wrong.
“For by twitt’ring and screaming it seeks to beguile
The pursuer from where its heart’s treasure is laid;
And, were you a sage, you would see with a smile
How the smallest of creatures call guile to their aid!
“So I, full courageously, pour forth the praises
Of Laura or Fanny, those moths of an hour,
But you, my heart’s darling, I hide amidst mazes
More subtle than those of Fair Rosamond’s bower.
“For I own that I fear lest, by praising your charms,
I should e’er to the smallest suspicion give rise,
And some daring pursuer should tear from my arms
My own darling Annie, the light of my eyes!”

E. H. D.



Could we only give credit to half we are told,
There were sundry strange monsters existing of old;
As evinced (on the ex pede Herculean plan,
Which from merely a footstep presumes the whole man)
By our Savans disturbing those very large bones,
Which have turned (for the rhyme’s sake, perhaps) into stones,
And have chosen to wait a
Long while hid in strata,
While old Time has been dining on empires and thrones.
Old bones and dry bones,
Leg-bones and thigh-bones,
Bones of the vertebræ, bones of the tail,—
Very like, only more so, the bones of a whale;
Bones that were very long, bones that were very short
(They have never as yet found a real fossil merry-thought;
Perchance because mastodons, burly and big,
Considered all funny-bones quite infra dig.)
Skulls have they found in strange places imbedded,
Which, at least, prove their owners were very long-headed;
And other queer things,—which ’tis not my intention,
Lest I weary your patience, at present to mention,—
As I think I can prove, without further apology,
What I said to be true, sans appeal to geology,
That there lived in the good old days gone by
Things unknown to our modern philosophy,
And a giant was then no more out of the way
Than a dwarf is now in the present day.
Sir Eppo of Epstein was young, brave, and fair;
Dark were the curls of his clustering hair,
Dark the moustache that o’ershadowed his lip,
And his glance was as keen as the sword at his hip;
Though the enemy’s charge was like lightning’s fierce shock,
His seat was as firm as the wave-beaten rock;
And woe to the foeman, whom pride or mischance
Opposed to the stroke of his conquering lance.
He carved at the board, and he danced in the hall,
And the ladies admired him, each one and all.
In a word, I should say, he appears to have been
As nice a young “ritter” as ever was seen.
He could not read nor write,
He could not spell his name,
Towards being a clerk, Sir Eppo, his (†) mark,
Was as near as he ever came.
He had felt no vexation
From multiplication;
Never puzzled was he
By the rule of three;
The practice he’d had
Did not drive him mad,
Because it all lay
Quite a different way.
The Asses’ Bridge, that Bridge of Sighs,
Had (lucky dog!) ne’er met his eyes.
In a very few words he expressed his intention
Once for all to decline every Latin declension,
When persuaded to add, by the good Father Herman,
That most classical tongue to his own native German.
And no doubt he was right in
Point of fact, for a knight in
Those days was supposed to like nothing but fighting;
And one who had learned any language that is hard
Would have stood a good chance of being burned for a wizard.
Education being then never pushed to the verge ye
Now see it, was chiefly confined to the clergy.
’Twas a southerly wind and a cloudy sky,
For aught that I know to the contrary;
If it wasn’t, it ought to have been properly,
As it’s certain Sir Eppo, his feather bed scorning,
Thought that something proclaimed it a fine hunting morning;
So, pronouncing his benison
O’er a cold haunch of venison,
He floored the best half, drank a gallon of beer,
And set out on the Taurus to chase the wild deer.
Sir Eppo he rode through the good greenwood,
And his bolts flew fast and free;
He knocked over a hare, and he passed the lair
(The tenant was out) of a grisly bear;
He started a wolf, and he got a snap shot
At a bounding roe, but he touched it not,
Which caused him to mutter a naughty word
In German, which luckily nobody heard,
For he said it right viciously;
And he struck his steed with his armèd heel,
As though horse-flesh were tougher than iron or steel,
Or anything else that’s unable to feel.
What is the sound that meets his ear?
Is it the plaint of some wounded deer?
Is it the wild-fowl’s mournful cry,
Or the scream of yon eagle soaring high?
Or is it only the southern breeze
As it sighs through the boughs of the dark pine trees?
No Sir Eppo, be sure ’tis not any of these:
And hark, again!
It comes more plain—
’Tis a woman’s voice in grief or pain.
Like an arrow from the string,
Like a stone that leaves the sling,
Like a railroad-train with a queen inside,
With directors to poke and directors to guide,
Like the rush upon deck when a vessel is sinking,
Like (I vow I’m hard up for a simile) winking!
In less time than by name you Jack Robinson can call,
Sir Eppo dashed forward o’er hedge, ditch, and hollow,
In a steeple-chase style I’d be sorry to follow,
And found a young lady chained up by the ankle—
Yes, chained up in a cool and business-like way,
As if she’d been only the little dog Tray;
While, the more to secure any knight-errant’s pity,
She was really and truly excessively pretty.
Here was a terrible state of things!
Down from his saddle Sir Eppo springs,
As lightly as if he were furnished with wings,
While every plate in his armour rings.
The words that he uttered were short and few,
But pretty much to the purpose too,
As sternly he asked, with lowering brow,
“Who’s been and done it, and where is he now?”
’Twere long to tell
Each word that fell
From the coral lips of that demoiselle;
However, as far as I’m able to see,
The pith of the matter appeared to be
That a horrible giant, twelve feet high,
Having gazed on her charms with a covetous eye,
Had stormed their castle, murdered papa,
Behaved very rudely to poor dear mamma,
Walked off with the family jewels and plate,
And the tin and herself at a terrible rate;
Then by way of conclusion
To all this confusion,
Tied her up like a dog
To a nasty great log,
To induce her (the brute) to become Mrs. Gog;
That ’twas not the least use for Sir Eppo to try
To chop off his head, or to poke out his eye,
As he’d early in life done a bit of Achilles
(Which, far better than taking an “Old Parr’s life-pill” is,)
Had been dipped in the Styx, or some equally old stream,
And might now face unharmed a battalion of Coldstream.
But she’d thought of a scheme
Which did certainly seem
Very likely to pay—no mere vision or dream:—
It appears that the giant each day took a nap
For an hour (the wretch!) with his head in her lap:
Oh, she hated it so! but then what could she do?
Here she paused, and Sir Eppo remarked, “Very true;”
And that during this time one might pinch, punch, or shake him,
Or do just what one pleased, but that nothing could wake him,
While each horse and each man in the emperor’s pay
Would not be sufficient to move him away,
Without magical aid, from the spot where he lay.
In an old oak chest, in an up-stairs room
Of poor papa’s castle, was kept an heir-loom,
An enchanted net, made of iron links,
Which was brought from Palestine, she thinks,
By her great grandpapa, who had been a Crusader;
If she had but got that, she was sure it would aid her.
Sir Eppo, kind man,
Approves of the plan;
Says he’ll do all she wishes as quick as he can;
Begs she wont fret if the time should seem long;
Snatches a kiss, which was “pleasant but wrong;”
Mounts, and taking a fence in good fox-hunting style,
Sets off for her family-seat on the Weil.
The sun went down,
The bright stars burned,
The morning came,
And the knight returned;
The net he spread
O’er the giant’s bed,
While Eglantine, and Hare-bell blue,
And some nice green moss on the spot he threw;
Lest perchance the monster alarm should take,
And not choose to sleep from being too wide awake.
Hark to that sound!
The rocks around
Tremble—it shakes the very ground;
While Irmengard cries,
As tears stream from her eyes,—
A lady-like weakness we must not despise
(And here, let me add, I have been much to blame,
As I long ago ought to have mentioned her name):
“Here he comes! now do hide yourself, dear Eppo, pray;
For my sake, I entreat you, keep out of his way.”
Scarce had the knight
Time to get out of sight
Among some thick bushes, which covered him quite,
Ere the giant appeared. Oh! he was such a fright!
He was very square built, a good twelve feet in height,
And his waistcoat (three yards round the waist) seemed too tight;
While, to add even yet to all this singularity,
He had but one eye, and his whiskers were carroty.
What an anxious moment! Will he lie down?
Ah, how their hearts beat! he seems to frown,—
No, ’tis only an impudent fly that’s been teasing
His snublime proboscis, and set him a sneezing.
Attish hu! attish hu!
You brute, how I wish you
Were but as genteel as the Irish lady,
Dear Mrs. O’Grady,
Who, chancing to sneeze in a noble duke’s face,
Hoped she hadn’t been guilty of splashing his Grace.
Now, look out. Yes, he will! No, he wont! By the powers!
I thought he was taking alarm at the flowers;
But it luckily seems, his gigantic invention
Has at once set them down as a little attention
On Irmengard’s part,—done by way of suggestion
That she means to say “Yes,” when he next pops the question.
There! he’s down! now he yawns, and in one minute more—
I thought so, he’s safe—he’s beginning to snore;
He is wrapped in that sleep he shall wake from no more.
From his girdle the knight take a ponderous key;
It fits—and once more is fair Irmengard free.
From heel to head, and from head to heel,
They wrap their prey in that net of steel,
And they croché the edges together with care,
As you finish a purse for a fancy-fair,
Till the last knot is tied by the diligent pair.
At length they have ended their business laborious,
And Eppo shouts “Bagged him, by all that is glorious!”
No billing and cooing,
You must up and be doing.
Depend on’t, Sir Knight, this is no time for wooing;
You’ll discover, unless you progress rather smarter,
That catching a giant’s like catching a Tartar:
He still has some thirty-five minutes to sleep.
Close to this spot hangs a precipice steep,
Like Shakspeare’s tall cliff which they show one at Dover;
Drag him down to the brink, and then let him roll over;
As they scarce make a capital crime of infanticide,
There can’t be any harm in a little giganticide.
“Pull him, and haul him! take care of his head!
Oh, how my arms ache—he’s as heavy as lead!
That’ll do, love—I’m sure I can move him alone,
Though I’m certain the brute weighs a good forty stone.
Yo! heave ho! roll him along
(It’s exceedingly lucky the net’s pretty strong);
Once more—that’s it—there, now, I think
He’s done to a turn, he rests on the brink;
At it again, and over he goes
To furnish a feast for the hooded crows;
Each vulture that makes the Taurus his home
May dine upon giant for months to come.”
Lives there a man so thick of head
To whom it must in words be said,
How Eppo did the lady wed,
And built upon the giant’s bed
A castle, walled and turreted?
We will hope not; or, if there be,
Defend us from his company!

Frank E. S.




(Air—“The Old English Gentleman.”)

Of Woman’s rights and Woman’s wrongs we’ve heard much talk of late,
The first seem most extensive, and the latter very great;
And Mrs. Ellis warns men, not themselves to agitate,
For ’neath petticoats and pinafores is hid the future fate
Of this wondrous nineteenth century, the youngest child of Time!
The Turks they had a notion, fit alone for Turks and fools,
That womankind has no more mind than horses or than mules;
But this idea’s exploded quite, as to your cost you’ll find
If you intend to change or bend some stalwart female mind,
In this Amazonian century, precocious child of Time.
If by external signs you seek this strength of mind to trace,
You’ll observe a very “powerful” expression in her face;
The lady’s stockings will be blue, and inky be her hand,
And her head quite full of something hard she doesn’t understand,
Like a puzzle-pated Bluestocking, one of the modern time.
And her dress will be peculiar, both in fabric and in make,
An artistic classic tragic highly-talented mistake;
Which is what she calls “effective,” though I’d rather not express
The effect produced on thoughtless minds by such a style of dress,
When worn by some awful Bluestocking, one of the modern time.
She’ll talk about statistics, and ask if you’re inclined
To join the progress movement for development of mind.
If you inquire what that means, she’ll frown and say ’tis best
Such matter should be understood, but never be expressed,
By a stern suggestive Bluestocking, in this mystic modern time.
She’ll converse upon æsthetics, and then refer to figures,
And turn from Angels bright and fair, to sympathise with Niggers,
Whom she’ll style “our sable brethren,” and pretend are martyrs quite;
And, with Mrs. H—t B—r St—e, she’ll swear that black is white,
Like a trans-Atlantic Bluestocking, one of the modern time.
She never makes a pudding, and she never makes a shirt,
And if she’s got some little Blues, they’re black and blue with dirt;
When the wretched man her husband comes, though tired he may be,
She’ll regenerate society, instead of making tea,
Like a real strong-minded Bluestocking, the plague of the modern time.


The moral of my song is this, just leave all “ics” and “ologies”
For men to exercise their brains, on platforms and in colleges;
Let woman’s proud and honoured place be still the fireside,
And still man’s household deities, his mother and his bride,
In this our nineteenth century, the favoured child of Time.

Frank E. S.



Fytte ye First.

Geraldus the Abbot sat bolt upright,
Bolt upright, in his great arm-chair,
He ground his teeth, and his beard beneath
Seemed crêpé with anger every hair;
And every hair, whether grizzled or white,
On his head stood erect (as so often the case is,
Whene’er fury or fear better feeling effaces).
Thus encircling his tonsure, which same a smooth space is,
In the desert of scalp a monastic oasis!
Geraldus the Abbot his temper had lost,
Insult had fall’n on the Prelate proud—
Heretic hands in a blanket had tost
Lay Brother Ludwig, one of the crowd
Of the Abbot’s dependents, a useful and able man,
Neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, half a friar, half stable-man.
But this shaking his brain so completely had addled,
That the next time Geraldus’s palfrey he saddled,
He forgot both the girths, an important omission,
Which occasioned a sudden and rude imposition
On our general Mamma: (we allude to the Earth,
Who most kindly supports us, who gave our race birth,
And will give, when breath fails, and we cannot replace it,
Furnished lodgings, a stone, and the motto, “Hic jacet.”)
Hic” did “jacet” Geraldus, when rashly he tried,
Foot in stirrup, to climb to his saddle and ride;
For the saddle turned round,
And he came to the ground,
With a hollow and pectoral “woughf” kind of sound.
(Printing cannot express it,
But ’twill help you to guess it,
If you’ve ever remarked the peculiar behaviour,
When he rams a large stone, of an Irish pavier.)
Well, he wasn’t much hurt,
But appeared from the dirt,
Which adhered to his mitre and robes, to be rather
A ghastly and horrible sight for a Father
Confessor, who ere he thus rudely was tost
In the mire, was got up regardless of cost.
For this fall he vowed vengeance, and straightway on that theme a
Writ was prepared which wound up with “Anathema!”
Yolenta of Corteryke sat in her bower,
Which was not an arbour
Where earwigs might harbour,
And availing themselves of some al fresco tea-table,
Lie and kick on their backs amidst everything eatable,
But the very best room in the very best tower.
Yolenta was young and Yolenta was fair,
She’d extremely pink cheeks and extremely smooth hair,
And a pair of bright eyes with so roguish a glance in ’em,
That the spirit of mischief and fun seemed to dance in ’em;
And a sweet little foot and a dear little hand,
And a thorough-bred air, and a look of command,
As noble a lady as one in the land.
Yet Yolenta had “suffered;”—her little affairs
Of the heart had gone roughly, a custom of theirs
From time immemorial, since Helen lost Troy,
And pious Æneas made Dido a toy
Of the moment, then left her, a striking variety,
In the uniform course of his orthodox piety.
A young gent was her first love, of birth and condition,
Whose very name, Loridon, seemed an admission
He was formed to adore, but then what’s in a name?
Had they christened him Jack, she’d have “loved him the same,”
Because—mark the reason—her Pa had been rude
To his Guv’nor, which led to a family feud.
So the Lord Lettelhausen called up his son Loridon,
And exclaimed, “Of all girls, to have fixed on that horrid one!
The daughter, you scamp, of the man I detest!
But I’ll never consent! if I do, I’ll be—blest!
Miss Yolenta, indeed! why, my garters and stars!
This is worse than your tricks with latch-keys and cigars!
Now, be off to the wars, nor on any pretences,
Show your face here again till you’ve come to your senses.”
So Malbrook se va-t-en guerre,
In a state of deep despair.
Then Yolenta’s papa thought he’d best take a part in it,
By performing the rôle of the tyrant and Martinet,
And proposed as a suitor,
An old co-adjutor
In many a dark deed, which no one but a brute or
Barbarian would perpetrate, one Baron Corteryke,
Whom he coolly informed her she certainly ought to like,
But, whether or no, in a week’s time must marry—
And his will being the law,
This medieval Bashaw
Pooh-pooh’d Ma’mselle’s suggestion of wishing to tarry,
And so, sending to Gunter, got up, like John Parry,
A first-rate entertainment, and vast charivari;
But yet, after all, was unable to carry
Out his cruel intentions, for ’twixt cup and lip
There occurred in this case a most notable slip;
To describe it, our metre we’ve stol’n, ’twill be seen,
From the song of one “Jock,” who’s sirnamed Hazeldean.
“The kirk was deckt at even-tide,
The tapers glimmered fair,
The Baron Cort’ryke sought his bride,
And this time she was there!
She said, ‘I will,’ as if a pill
Had stuck within her throat,
But fortune kind was still inclined
To grant an antidote;
“For scarce beside the altar stone,
The nuptial knot was tied,
When some vile party, name unknown,
Stabbed Cort’ryke in the side!
His anguish sore, not long he bore,
Physicians wor in vain,
Death did consider, him and his widder,
And eased him of his pain.”
So the lovely Yolenta was “quit for the fright”
Took the name, tin, and castle (a rare widow’s mite)
And wondered how Loridon fared in the fight.
“It was Geraldus’ serving man,
Ludwigus he was hight,
For fair Bettye, that damsel free,
He sighed both day and night;
Fair Bettye at the tapestry wrought,
In Dame Yolenta’s bower;
To ease the pain of this her swain,
She lacked both will and power.
“Dan Cupid, that mischievous boy,
Ludwig to sorrow brought;
For ogling of the fair Bettye,
Him, Dame Yolenta caught;
And as in true love men are still
(As well as oysters) crossed,
Ludwig, to cure his fantasy,
Was in a blanket tossed.”
Hinc illæ lachrymæ,” thence all these woes!
From this pitching and tossing the shindy arose!
’Tis the voice of a Herald! I heard him proclaim,
That he carries a summons for Corteryke’s dame,
Which sets forth how that same
Fair lady’s to blame,
For the high misdemeanour, the sin, and the shame,
Of tossing a lay brother, Ludwig by name,
In a blanket, whereby she did cut, wound, and maim,
And maliciously injure, and wilfully lame,
And despitefully maltreat, deride, and make game,
And confuse, and abuse, and misuse, and defame!
A monk of Saint Benedict,
Which by a then edict
Was a legal offence; so Yolenta was cited
To appear, and show cause
Why she’d broken the laws,
At the next petty sessions, where she was invited
To plead in her own proper person, and wait a
Decree from my Lord Lettelhausen, the pater
Of poor banished Loridon, likewise the frater
Of the plaintiff Geraldus, an excellent hater
Of all who opposed him, a reg’lar first-rater,
Full of envy and malice, a real aggravator,
Who’d have charmed Doctor Johnson, that learn’d commentator,
Had he chanced but to live a few centuries later.
The Herald he stood in the castle hall,
Seneschal, warder, and page, were there;
And he read his citation fair and free,
In a baritone voice that went up to G,
As loudly as he could bawl.
And he cleared his throat, and he pushed back his hair
With a negligent, nonchalant, jaunty air;
As though he would ask of the bystanding “parties,”—
“Pri’thee what do ye think of me, my hearties?”
Yolenta she smiled, and Yolenta she frowned,
And her delicate foot in a pet tapped the ground;
And when she turned to the herald to greet him,
The flash of her eye seemed to say she could eat him;
Though their points curled up to the knees of his trews,
I’d have been sorry to stand in his shoes.
Then she answered him shortly and sweetly,—
“Ye’re a bold man, Sir Herald, I trow—
A bold and an insolent man, I ween;
A scurrilous knave, I make mine avow;
But perhaps you may find that I’m not quite so green
As your masters imagine. You’ve done it most featly
This time I’ll allow;
But it struck me just now,
When you entered my castle to kick up this row,
You’d have fared quite as well if you’d journey’d on farther;
I’m afraid you’ve, young man, put your foot in it—rather!
Then she signed with her hand, and six mutes in black armour,
As by magic appeared, laid their lances in rest,
And directed their points to the herald’s bare breast,—
A sight which it must be confessed might alarm a
Brave man in those very unscrupulous days,
When a life more or less, was a mere bagatelle;
And when sticking a porker, or stabbing a swell,
Were alike household duties—a singular phase
In those “sweet” Middle Ages, on which such dependence is
Placed by young ladies with “Puseyite” tendencies.
Howe’er this may be,
Our herald felt he
Had no “call” to assist in this felo de se;
So straight fell on his knee,
And exclaimed, “Don’t you see,
Noble Countess Yolenta, this good jest at present
Is a great deal too pointed and sharp to be pleasant?
I humbly beg pardon,
So pray don’t be hard on
A penitent cove, whose name’s printed this card on.”
Then he handed his pasteboard, gilt type, and a border,

Heraldic work furnished to order.

Yolenta she smiled, and Yolenta she frowned,
Then light rang her laugh with its silvery sound.
“Rise, valiant De Rodon,” she mockingly cried,
“And behold by what foemen your mettle’s been tried.”
Then each sable spearsman his vizor unclasps,
And six laughing girls with bright mischievous eyes,
Poke their fun at De Rodon, who’s mute with surprise
And disgust, while Yolenta her riding wand grasps,
Sharply switches the recreant kneeling before her,
And turns to depart,—
When up with a start
Springs De Rodon, and pallid with anger leans o’er her.
Then hisses these words in her ear,—“Ere you smile
Or rejoice in your stratagem, listen awhile,
And learn that a herald discharging his duty
Is sacred; despite of your wealth, rank, and beauty,
For the stroke you have dealt me your fair hand is forfeit;
By the axe of the headsman, ere many days, off it
Shall be hewn, and when next men to fury you goad on,
Bear in mind the revenge of the herald De Rodon!”

Fytte ye Second

When the weather is hazy, and not the least sign in
The clouds of their showing a silvery lining;
When a bill’s coming due, and you’ve no chance of meeting it;
When old Harry’s to pay, and the pitch has no heat in it;
When you’re thinking of popping, and suddenly find
That your inamorata’s not that way inclined;
When you’ve published a novel, and find it don’t sell;
When you rise from the wine cup, and don’t feel quite well;
When some six-feet-six monster, by jealousy led,
Suggests “satisfaction” or “punching your head;”
When your wife’s taken cross, or the “olive-branch” sick;
When your wardrobe’s worn out, and your tailor wont “tick;”
When your money’s all gone, and your creditors dun for it;
I think you’ll agree,
That the best plan will be
To (I speak in the language of slang) “cut and run for it.”
Thus, then, reason’d Yolenta of Corteryke, but
With this difference, she “ran” to avoid the “cut”
Of all cuts “most unkindest” (bad grammar, you know,
When it’s written by Shakespeare no longer is so),
Which De Rodon had promised her, axe-ing her hand,
In a manner no woman of feeling could stand
With composure; so straightway Yolenta resolved
To make herself scarce, which manœuvre involved
Much domestic confusion; each man and each maid
Requiring their wages, and board-wages, paid
For a month in advance; while the butler grew crusty
As his oldest port wine; and fair Bettye cried “Must I
Be the cause of this woe—from my dear mistress sever—
Lose my place and my perquisites! which my endeavour
Has still been to draw mild. Well, I never did—never!”
(Then addressing the public at large) “Did you ever?”
These arrangements concluded, Yolenta began
Packing up—the last duty of travelling man—
But the business of life
To maid, widow, or wife,
Except Ida Pfeiffer, that wonder, who can
With umbrella and tooth-brush, reach far Yucatan,
And, like Ariel, span
The earth with a girdle, which some commentator
On Shakespeare imagines must mean the Equator.
Well, she packed up her traps in a leathern valise,
Which contained sundry stockings, a nice new ⸺, but he’s
No gentleman, clearly, who’d Hobbs-like, the locks
Endeavour to pick of so private a box.
Then, by way of disguise, Dame Yolenta decided
(Don’t be horrified, dear lady-readers, though I did
Myself think it strange that my heroine chose
To set out on her rambles attired in such clothes),
For convenience of trav’lling, perhaps, to assume a
Man’s dress—not the epicene compromise, Bloomer,
But the regular masculine propria quæ maribus,
A male coat, a male waistcoat, et ceteris paribus,
A gay cap and feather,
Unfit for bad weather,—
A sword by her side, and a fine prancing horse,
Which she sat, I’m afraid, not “aside” but “across;”
With one groom to attend her—
Nought else to defend her—
Like a “Young Lochinvar” of the feminine gender,
The ill-fated Yolenta rode off at a canter,
And became what the stockbrokers term “a levanter.”
Now you’ll please to suppose,
That she follow’d her nose,
A fine aquiline organ that proudly arose,
Filling just the right space
On her bright sparkling face,
Excelling, as butterfly’s better than grub,
Those unlucky “retroussés” in plain English, “snub,”
Which men always pretend to, and often desire,
But never can really and truly admire;
She followed her nose
To (I blush to disclose
For it does seem so forward; but then no one knows
The whys and the wherefores, the cons and the pros,
Which decide other folks; in the fair sex our trust is
Extreme; so we’ll strive not to do her injustice.)
For some reason unknown, then, she followed her nose
To the camp of King Charles, in which Loridon chose
To wear out his exile, and solace his woes,
By assisting that monarch to conquer his foes.
It were long to relate
All the evils that Fate
Seemed resolved to pour down on our heroine’s pate;
How, on reaching the camp,
She was told that a scamp
Of a Douanier, at the last town she quitted,
Had, as usual, omitted
To see that her passport was legally visé’d;
Although, when she handed his fees to him, he said
It was all right and proper,
And no one would stop her;
Which was false, for it quickly appeared by the law
Of the strong, she was somebody’s prisoner of war;
Next, for fear in her wrath she a breach of the peace
Should commit, or attempt to assault the police,
They disarmed her—laid hands on her watch, chain, and seal
(All the very best gold, and the watch not much thicker
Than a mod’rate sized turnip—no end of a ticker,)
And hurried her off to the then Pentonville
Model Prison, to wait, all forlorn and alone,
And to “carve her name on the Newgate stone,”
Till this terrible somebody’s pleasure was known.
The unpleasant unknown was one Giles de Laval,
A marshal of France, and a very great “pal”
(Or paladin rather), of King Charles le Beau,
(Or “le Gros,” or “le Sot,”
Which, I really don’t know;
But ’twas one of the three, for there’s no nation showers
Such peculiar nicknames on its “governing powers”
As our trusty ally Monsieur Johnny Crapaud,)
This same Giles de Laval, then, who ruled the French host,
And the roast, and the coast, made the most of his post;
Dealt just as he chose
With his friends and his foes,
And was as autocratic, and nearly as fickle as,
That bugbear of Europe, a certain Czar Nicholas—
This identical Giles, for some reason he had,
Seemed resolved that Yolenta should “go to the bad:”
(He possessed such sharp eyes
They pierced through her disguise
At first sight, to her terror, and shame, and surprise),
So he scolded her well, wouldn’t hear her confessions,
But returned her, to answer for all her transgressions,
To Geraldus, in time for the next quarter sessions.
Unhappy Yolenta! Geraldus confined her
In a dungeon, deep, damp, and unpleasant; behind her
Was a ring in the wall, and some rusty old chains,
And there lay in one corner a skull void of brains,
And a horrid leg-bone stood upright in another,
Which must once have belonged to “a man and a brother;”
Then a sturdy support, now a most “unreal mockery,”
A relic suggestively placed there to shock her eye,
And bid her prepare for the doom that awaited her,—
For her dinner they brought her,
Dry bread and cold water,
Wretched food, and by no means enlivening drink,
(Whatever hydraulic George Cruikshank may think
To the contrary,) then, lest they’d not aggravated her
By this treatment, enough, the brutes next dissipated her
Last agreeable illusion, a letter was given her,
Signed and sealed by some friendly (?) anonymous scrivener,
Short, not sweet, for the missive consisted of one
Line, “The Lord Lettelhausen’s no longer a son,”—
From which pleasant allusion,
She reached the conclusion,
That, by some vicious dodge, which she could not discover,
De Laval had “used up” and expended her lover.
Unhappy Yolenta! forsaken, heart-broken,
She drew from her bosom a cherished love-token;
A dark curling lock of her Loridon’s hair,
Fix’d her eyes on it, shed o’er it tears of despair,
Then devoured it with kisses, and dropp’d on her knees,
To implore with deep fervour that Heaven would please
Pardon Loridon’s sins, forgive hers, and so let her
Rejoin, and remain with, one whom she loved better
Far than life; then o’ercome by conflicting emotions,
A fainting fit ended her tears and devotions.
Alas! it is a cruel thing to die,
To leave these hopes and fears, these loves and hates,
For other, though it may be happier, fates;
To go we know not where, we know not why!
To cease to be the thing that we have been,
To be perchance a higher, but a new,
To leave the few we love, the chosen few,
To quit for ever each familiar scene.
To be perchance a lower, to be curst,
For God, who’s great and merciful, is just,
And we, alas! what are we, that we must
By right partake the best, escape the worst?
It is a very bitter thing to die!
To some it is a bitter thing to live!
Patience and faith alone can comfort give,
Patience and faith—the rainbows in the sky.

Ye Last Scene of All.

Gaping and yawning,
Their feather-beds scorning,
All the burghers of Ghent rose betimes in the morning,
For a “shocking event”
Was to take place in Ghent,
And the public delighted in hangings and quarterings,
Mutilations and tortures, and such kind of slaughterings,
Just as much as an Anglican crowd in the present day,
Think attending the “Manning” finale a pleasant day;
So extremely they bustled,
Pushed, jostled, and hustled,
Climbed up lamp-posts, (there were none!) on each rising ground
Stood to view the procession, as slowly it wound
Its way to the cathedral, where, at the high altar
The condemned was “pro se
To appear, or else be
Declared recusant, most contumacious, defaulter,
Et cetera, et cetera, in fact, all the “bosh”
That the law could devise, horrid stuff which wont wash,
And yet seems to last pretty well through all ages,
Keeps solicitors going, and provides their clerks wages.
’Twas a splendid and beautiful pageant, that same;
First a body of archers and shield-bearers came;
Then some dear little choristers, dressed all in white,
Who each carried a chandelle bénie, or “child’s light,”
Which, being blessed by the Pope, it appears to my thick head,
Must, in spite of its wick, have no longer been wicked;
Next came Abbot Geraldus, profusely ornate
With mitre, and crosier, and garments of state;
Then the Herald de Rodon, in great exultation,
Highly pleased with himself, and the whole “situation;”
Then a servitor, bearing
A big candle, flaring
Up like mad, and creating a vast cloud of vapour,
Or smoke, (which affair was a “penitent taper,”)
On a silver “Lavabo,” a word which they say,
In middle-age Latin, means simply a tray;
And after this penitent candle there came
Our penitent heroine, looking the same,
And feeling—however, I’ll leave you to guess
How the poor thing would feel in so cruel a mess.
Then came something of which the description we’d best give
Is, like Tennyson’s rhymes, it was “sweetly suggestive”—
A large shield, in the centre whereof was depicted
A hand lately severed,—the artist, addicted
(’Twas De Rodon himself) to pre-Raphaelite rules,
Had made the wrist “sanglant” with drops from it “gules.”
Then directly behind this agreeable affair
Came the city “Jack Ketch” with his horrid axe bare!
Then more spearmen; and then rushed the crowd out of breath,
With their eagerness all to be in at the death.
Her eyes dim with despair,
All dishevelled her hair,
And the fair “forfeit hand” with its rounded arm bare,
With brow madly throbbing, and footsteps that falter,—
The wretched Yolenta is led to the altar;
While De Rodon proclaims,
By his titles and names,
That the Lord Lettelhausen, Grand Seigneur, and Knight
Of some half-dozen orders, demands as his right
The forfeited hand of the culprit Yolenta.
Then Geraldus replies, “By the general consent, a
Demand thus in accordance with justice and law
Is granted. Let Lord Lettelhausen now draw
Near the altar, and take, by the Church’s command,
As his right and possession, the forfeited hand!”
A stalwart arm is round her thrown,
Fondly the forfeit hand is pressed;
No more forsaken and alone,
She sinks upon a manly breast.
At length the evil days are past—
Her griefs, her trials, all are over,
Long wept, long sought, regained at last,
’Tis Loridon, her own true lover.
Whose Papa having very obligingly done
The genteel thing, in dying exactly when one
Would have wished him, by that means enabled his son
To step into his shoes, just in time to diskiver a
Mode of enacting the gallant deliverer;
As we’ve tried to rehearse
For your pleasure in verse,
If we’ve happened to fail,—and too clearly you know it,—
Bear in mind that we never set up for a Poet.

Frank E. S.


[8] The facts (?) of this Legend are taken, by poetical licence, from “Legends of the Rhine,” by the author of “Highways and Byways.”




Sir Rupert the Red was as gallant a knight
As ever did battle for wrong or for right,
As ever resented the slightest slight,
Or broke an antagonist’s head.
Full tall was his stature, full stalwart his frame,
Full red was his hair, his beard was the same,
Mustachios and whiskers—whence his name,
His name of Sir Rupert the Red.
Sir Rupert he lived in a castle old,
Residence meet for a baron bold:
Thick were its walls, and dark and cold
The swift Rhine ran below them.
Full handy to Rupert the Red was the Rhine:
Rich travellers passing were asked to dine,
And when he’d sufficiently hocussed their wine,
Why—into its waters he’d throw them!
But stories will spread, howe’er you may try
To stifle Dame Rumour—and so, by-and-bye,
He found himself shunned by all far and nigh;
And when asked to dinner, each neighbour fought shy.
The bell ne’er was rung, and no stranger implored
The porter to run up, and question his lord
If he kindly would grant a night’s shelter and board?
No priest on Sir Rupert’s head called down a benison,
No acquaintance sent presents of black-cock and venison.
While his former bad temper began to grow worse,
He would mutter and fidget—nay, stamp, foam, and curse;
But his feelings I’ll try to describe in the verse
Most used by our Alfred—not Bunn though, but Tennyson.
Very early in the morning would he, tumbling out of bed,
Mow his chin with wretched razor, mow and hack it till it bled;
Then he’d curse the harmless cutler, heap upon him curses deep—
Curse him in his hour of waking, doubly curse him in his sleep—
Saying, “Mechi! O my Mechi! O my Mechi, mine no more,
Whither’s fled that brilliant sharpness which thy razors had of yore,
Ere thou quittedst Leadenhall-street, quittedst it with many a qualm—
Ere thou soughtest rustic Tiptree, Tiptree and its model farm?
Many a morning, by the mirror, did I pass thee o’er my beard,
And my chin grew smooth beneath thee, of its hairy harvest cleared;
Many an evening have I drawn thee ’cross the throats of wretched Jews,
When they, trembling, showed their purses, stuffed for safety in their shoes.
But, like mine, thy day is over—thou art blunt and I’m disgraced!
Curses on thy maker’s projects, curses on his ‘magic paste.’”
Thus he grumbled all day, from morning till night—
No person could please him, no conduct was right—
Till his very retainers grew furious quite,
And determined to quit his service.
For much afflicted was Seneschal Hans;
While the groom from York told the cook from France
“He warn’t going to be led such a precious dance
In a house turned topsy-turvies.”
Oh, “the castled crag of Drachenfels,”
With its slippery sides and flowery dells,
Is a very romantic sight for “swells”
Who leave the squares of Belgravia,
And during the autumn visit the Rhine,
With courier hirsute and footman fine,
Who are both eternally drinking wine,
Though the last “don’t like the flaviour.”
But Drachenfels was a different sight
On a dark, tempestuous winter’s night;
Then below it the river was foaming white,
And above it the storm-fiend strode:
On such a night, from his own red room,
Sir Rupert looked out athwart the gloom
To see what might “in the future loom,”
Or be coming up the road.
He strained his weary eye-balls, but well was he repaid
To see a troop of travellers advancing up the glade.
Flanked round with equerries and guards, a wealthy host they seemed,
And Sir Rupert’s heart grew lighter, and his eye more brightly beamed;
For many a day had passed away since he a prize had won,
And no hand had touched his bell save that of poursuivant or dun.
“Now haste ye,” he cried, “throw open the gate,
And let the drawbridge fall;”
Then three little pages, with hair combed straight,
Who ever upon Sir Rupert wait,
Ran off to the warden tall.
The drawbridge falls, and the company cross,
In number say fifty, i. e., man and horse.
First comes a gay herald, all silver and blue,
And then men in armour, who ride two and two;
Not such Guys as are seen on the ninth of November,
But your regular middle-age troopers, remember.
By the way, this last rhyme
Appertains to a time
Much thought of in childhood, by schoolboys called “prime,”
When young Hopeful’s small pockets
Are emptied for rockets,
And eyebrows are burnt, and arms torn out of sockets—
When you’re begged (and the tyrants take care you do not)
Ne’er to cease to remember the Gunpowder-plot.
The herald stept forth, and he made a low bow—
If you’ve seen Mr. Payne
At old Drury Lane,
In the opening part of a grand Christmas pantomime,
Do tricks, to describe which my Muse fails for want o’ rhyme—
Please to fancy my herald does just the same now;
And his trumpet he blows, and his throat well he clears,
And he twists his mustachios right up to his ears,
Looks, as usual with speakers, in dreadful distress,
And thus to Sir Rupert begins his address.
“Sir Rupert the Red,
To you I have sped
From a dame with whose brother you’ve conquered and bled,
Who, benighted by chance in this dismal locality,
Has ventured to ask for a night’s hospitality.
No refusal I fear
When her name you once hear;
Therefore learn that the dame for whom shelter I crave,
Is Margaret, the sister of Blutwurst the Brave!”
Thus spake the gay herald. Sir Rupert replied,
“’Tis well known that my castle is never denied
To pilgrims of all countries, nations, and hues,
From swaggering English to gold-lending Jews;
How great, then, my joy ’neath my roof to receive
The sister of one
Whom I loved as a son,
For whose tragical end I have ne’er ceased to grieve.”
Thus much to the herald. Then, turning, he said,
“Off, Wilhelm, at once, let the banquet be spread;
Bring up some Moselles and some red Assmanshausers.
Fritz, lay out my doublet and new Paris trousers,
Tell Gretchen to hasten and clear out the bedroom
The lady will sleep in—let’s see—not the red room.
To put her in there
Is more than I dare;
So where shall she go, in the purple or blue?
Oh, give her the next room to mine, number two—
Tell Eugéne to serve his best sauces and stews,
And take care that, as soon as the cloth is removed,
Old Max, of whose singing I oft have approved,
Comes up with his harp—he will serve to amuse.”
The banquet is spread—
At his table’s head,
Decked out in gay garments, sits Rupert the Red;
And close on his right
Is the queen of the night,
Fair Marg’ret, whose beauty’s completely a sight
For a father,—aye, even for “Pater-familias,”—
“Who of all slow papas is the veriest silly ass;
Blue are her eyes as the clear vault of heaven,
Pale her smooth brow, though some rose-bud has given
Its loveliest tint to that soft cheek and lip,
Which ’twere worth a king’s ransom once only to sip;
While the net-work of curls in her bonny brown hair
Has entangled a sun-beam and prisoned it there.
And Sir Rupert admired her, and flattered, and laughed,
And his ardour grew warmer the deeper he quaffed;
He touched her fair fingers whene’er he was able,
And in error pressed warmly the leg of the table;
Till Rudolf von Gansen, a merry young spark
(Who was given to hoaxing and “having a lark,”
Addicted to laughing,
And humour called “chaffing,”
And dining, and wine-ing, and e’en half-and-half-ing,
And gambling, and vices called “having your fling”),
Exclaimed to Hans König (in English, Jack King),
“By Jove, Hans, the gov’nor’s hit under the wing!”
“Now come hither, old Max,” Sir Rupert cried,
“And sing us a merry song,
Or tell us of Siegfried’s blooming bride,
Or the priest who was plunged in the Rhine’s cold tide
For indulging his wishes wrong.”
The old man sung a sentimental strain,
A song of love, its wishes, hopes, and fears;
And while he sung his colour came again,
His eye blazed brightly as in former years,
When it was quickly kindled by disdain,
Nor dimmed, as often now, by bitter tears.
These very words, with true poetic fire,
He once for glory sung, but now for hire!
And, while he sings, they vanish from his sight,
The knights, the ladies gay, the very room!
Once more a youth, with eyes and prospects bright,
He sings to her, now mould’ring in the tomb,
Ere Age and Poverty’s overwhelming blight
From Life’s first blushing flowers had robbed the bloom.
Sweet season, long expected, quickly past,
In youth Love’s fire too fiercely burns to last!
The minstrel’s song was no sooner done,
Than ’twas plain that his lay had extinguished the fun,
And yawning fearfully, one by one,
They vanished knights and ladies.
The lights were put out, not a single “glim”
Shed its ray o’er the walls of that castle grim;
And the banqueting hall was soon as dim
As ’tis said to be in Hades.
My story thus forward, I now must relate
Some previous details concerning the fate
Of that famous young hero, Sir Blutwurst the Great,
Of whom I’ve just made mention—
And so, to prevent the smallest mystery,
Or the thread of my story from getting a twist awry,
To his death, which took place ere the date of my history,
I must call my readers’ attention.
Blutwurst and Rupert were two pretty men
As ever were sketched by pencil or pen—
Together they’d hunt, shoot, fish, frolic, and gamble,
In short, to dispense with a longer preamble,
They so loved each other,
That Corsican Brother,
Or Damon, or Pythias, or Siamese twin,
Ne’er cared for his friend, or his kith or his kin,
As did Blutwurst for Rupert: they ne’er knew division,
But were like Box and Cox in a German edition.
Mr. Coleridge says, “Truth, that exists in the young,
Too often is killed by a whispering tongue;”
And this proved the case between Blutwurst and Rupert.
The former, perhaps, in his language was too pert;
For having committed some irregularities,
Which he called “peccadilloes,” but others “barbarities,”
Sir Rupert declined to subscribe to some charities
Which Blutwurst advised as a species of “hedge.”
Then the latter blazed out;—the “thin end of the wedge”
Being thus once inserted, the matter grew serious.
Each spake words of high disdain
And insult to his heart’s best brother—
“Just repeat those words again!”
“You’re a scoundrel!” “You’re another!”
With curses and oaths, to repeat which would weary us,
Till from furious words they proceeded to blows.
Who first drew his rapier nobody knows;
But Hans, the old seneschal, sitting down stairs,
Heard a shriek, then a plunge in the river, he swears;
And going up found Rupert, all haggard and wan,
Who stated that Blutwurst had started for Bonn,
And requested that thither his bag be sent on.
This story gained ground,
Till the body was found
A great distance off—in fact, down at Dusseldorf,
Whence the horrified finder all hurriedly bustled off
To tell Blutwurst’s parents the terrible news.
A coroner’s inquest was held on the body,
Where, after much talking and more Hollands toddy,
Much anger, much squabbling, and dreadful abuse,
They found that, “returning home, muddled with wine,
The deceased had been murdered and flung in the Rhine,
By some persons unknown, with malicious design!”
To Rupert no blame e’er attached in the matter;
Poor Blutwurst was called mad, “as mad as a hatter,”
For drinking so much as to fall from his perch.
And now, if you please, we’ll return to the castle,
Where I think we shall find that, fatigued by the wassail,
With two small exceptions, each master and vassal
May safely be reckoned as “fast as a church.”
Fair Margaret sits at her toilette-glass,
And rests her head on her snow-white hand;
Through her throbbing brain what visions pass,
As over her shoulders there falls a mass
Of curls, ne’er touched by the crimping brand;
She thinks of Sir Rupert’s attentions that night,
And of them, too, she thinks less with pleasure than fright;
For his great leering eyes
Seem before her to rise,
And she looks o’er her shoulder, and shivers and sighs,
For the room is so large, and the pictures so grim,
And the wind howls so loud, and her light burns so dim,
And she sees in the mirror, not herself, but him.
Yes! he kneels at her side;
Says he wont be denied;
And calls her “his dear little duck of a bride!”
His utt’rance is thick, his cravat is untied,
And his face is as red as a new Murray’s Guide;
His gait is unsteady, his manner so rude,
It’s plain to perceive that Sir Rupert is “screwed.”
But he touches his heart, and he turns up his eyes,
And by language and gesture most earnestly tries
To convince her that ne’er from his knees will he rise,
Till to wed on the morrow she freely complies.
If you’ve seen Mrs. Kean
In that excellent scene
Which she with Mr. Wigan so forcibly plays,
In Bourcicault’s comedy, “Love in a Maze,”
When her scorn for her tempter, her love for her spouse,
In language theatrical, “bring down the house,”
You can fancy how Margaret, deeply enraged,
And backed up by the feeling that she was engaged
To Otto Von Rosen, the dearest of men,
Rejected Sir Rupert at once, there and then.
In vain he implored,
Declared himself “floored.”
Wept by turns and entreated, then ranted and roared;
She still was disdainful,
And said “it was painful
To witness the friend of her brother so lowered.”
Till, maddened with fury, he seized her, and said—
“Be mine, or thou’rt numbered this night with the dead.
No maiden has yet refused Rupert the Red!”
That instant there rang through the castle a shriek—
Compared with which e’en Madame Celeste’s are weak—
The chamber-doors fell with a terrible crash,
And with, under his left arm, a yet gory gash—
Come forth from his grave,
Stood Blutwurst the brave,
Who’d arrived just in time his poor sister to save.
Sir Rupert gazed at him a second or more,
Made one strong exclamation, then sunk on the floor.
From every side a swarming tide of vassals pour amain,
And, struggling with each other, the fatal room they gain,
And quickly entering, they find fair Margaret in a swoon,
They cut the lace that holds her ⸺, base must be the man who’d own
That such a garment now exists; with water from Cologne
They sprinkle her, and she revives, and sweetly smiles once more,
And points to what appears a heap of ashes on the floor!
Alas! ’twas so; the gallant knight, the former “man of mark,”
Is fitted now for nought but dust for Stapleton or Darke;
All shrivelled into nothingness, a horrid mass he lay,
His projects vanished into smoke, himself a yard of clay!
And never from that hour has anything been seen,
Except the ruin pointed out to Robinson or Green,
That e’er pertained to him of all the Rhenish clans the head,
To him, the hero of my song, Sir Rupert called the Red.

E. H. Y.




When Henri Quatre ruled in France there was a gay young knight,
The loudest in the banquet-hall, the foremost in the fight.
No dame, howe’er fatigued, to tread a measure could refuse
When she heard the silver accents of Count Louis of Toulouse.
But not only to a dance would these gentle tones invite,
But to “measures” of more dangerous kind, confounding wrong with right.
Won over by his sophistry, what conscience could accuse?
But the dread of every husband was Count Louis of Toulouse.
The man above all others who the direst hate did feel
Was the husband of fair Eleanor, the Marquis de St. Lille;
And he vowed the deepest vengeance when he heard the dreadful news
That his wife had found a lover in Count Louis of Toulouse.
He called his spies around him, caused her movements to be tracked,
And, listening, heard sufficient to convince him of the fact.
Then he quietly retired, and determined to infuse
Some poison in the claret of Count Louis of Toulouse.
Next evening, as the Marchioness was waiting in her bower,
The clocks of all the churches round pealed forth the usual hour.
She began to grow impatient, murmur, and at length abuse
The extreme unpunctuality of Louis of Toulouse.
But when two servants entered, who between them bore a box,
She was half afraid that something else had struck besides the clocks;
And when the men retired, she still thinking it a ruse,
Raised up the lid and found the corpse of Louis of Toulouse.
Without a word, without a shriek, she fell upon the ground,
The maidens hast’ning to her aid, a lifeless body found.
So, young gentlemen, take warning, and ne’er yourselves amuse
By attempting fascinations like Count Louis of Toulouse.

E. H. Y.



Annie Lyle, Annie Lyle,
No longer you smile
At my jokes, which a month since enjoyed such prosperity;
Howe’er I behave,
Your face is quite grave,
And your darling red lips speak unwonted severity.
Annie Lyle, Annie Lyle,
It may do for a while,
This on-ing and off-ing, repulsing and wooing:
But beware of the hour
When, escaped from your power,
No longer I seek you, beseeching and suing.
With your glance espiègle,
You quickly inveigle
A freshman from Oxford, a youth in the Guards;
But enough of Love’s strife
I have seen in my life
To furnish good subjects for hundreds of bards.
You take a great pride
To see at your side
A lord, and upon him how sweetly you smile;
Now I set forth no riddle,
I will play “first fiddle,”
So take warning at once, Annie Lyle, Annie Lyle.
How stately and grand
You parade by the band
Which each Friday in Kensington Gardens entrances!
Dressed in mousseline-de-laine,
What transports you feign,
And how skilfully use you your battery of glances!
Then how pleased are the “swells,”
How jealous the belles,
At least, so your vanity prompts you to reckon;
And ogling and smiling,
Poor victims beguiling,
You whisper and conquer, flirt, flatter, and beckon.
Annie Lyle, Annie Lyle,
It rouses my bile
To see one so lovely descend to such tricks:
Such flirting’s below you—
To people who know you
All feeling it beats, or what Yankees call “licks.”
What! tears in those eyes!
Are those genuine sighs?
Then once more I’m your slave—change that sob to a smile;
My lecture is o’er,
I’m your own, as before,
So come to my arms, Annie Lyle, Annie Lyle.

E. H. Y.




If I have dared again to wake the lyre
Of him whose hand shall sweep no more the strings—
That great enchanter, at whose funeral pyre
Laughter and Grief stood each with drooping wings
And head dejected (him, whose “Bridge of Sighs”
And “Number One” drew teardrops from the eyes
Of Mirth and Sadness), I trust you’ll have mercy,
And that, kind Reader, you will not ejaculate
“Oh, ah!” or “Pooh!”
“This never will do!”
Je trouve que ces vers soient bien ennuyeux!
“Dull, flat, quite a failure!” “Contemptible stuff!”
“What’s the name of the author? I pity the muff!”
And such-like expressions upon my poor versicles,
which even I don’t consider immaculate!
No! like any poor cousin who lives with a rich one
As companion or governess, awful condition!
I think I may say that, “I know my position.”
And since I can’t hope to be first in the race
I must e’en be content to put up with the place
Which Report to the “little boat” says was assigned,
In some nameless aquatics, i. e. “far behind.”


Ye Storye.

Mr. and Mrs. Theophilus Browne
Had a house in a newly-built suburb of town,
“Twelve good rooms and an attic.”
Mr. Browne had a share in a City bank,
But when at home “the shop” he sank,
And assuming the airs of a person of rank,
Was quite aristocratic.
Invitations to dinner he oft obtained,
Showers of cards upon him rained,
For party and picnic pleasant;
Indeed, ’twas his constant pride and boast
That his name once appeared in the “Morning Post,”
(Which he took each day with his tea and toast,)
As “amongst the company present.”
But as never was rose without a thorn,
So surely was mortal never born
To a life without vexation;
And some bachelor chums of our friend Mr. B.
Had a habit of “dropping in to tea,”
And merely saying, “We’ve made so free,”
Would create quite a consternation.
For they reeked of tobacco, that dreadful herb,
Which will ever a lady’s nerves disturb,
E’en the mildest of mild Havannah;
And when with their cabman they came to arrange,
They never appeared to have any change
To settle his fare, but in language strange
They borrowed “two bob and a tanner.”
We need not say that poor Mrs. Browne
Had a hate of these rollicking men about town,
Of which she made no mystery;
But surely her bitterness and spite
Were never wrought up to such a height
As upon the very eventful night
When we commence our history.
The servants had all retired to rest,
The worthy couple, in deshabille dressed,
Had just finished their nightly refection,
When a thundering double knock at the door,
Caused Mrs. Browne to exclaim, “Oh Lor!”
While her husband added to “what a bore”
An ungodly interjection.
Then, seizing a light, he ran down stairs,
Growling like one of the grisly bears
In the Gardens Zoological
(That lately were cured with such skill and tact,
Of an overflowing cataract,
Under chloroform, an astonishing fact,
Which a very artful dodge-I-call).
He opened the door in a furious rage,
Nor did it his passion at all assuage
To see his old friend, Jack Rasper,—
Jack Rasper, the fastest man in town,
Who never would go when he once sat down,
Who mimicked all actors of renown,
And could row with Coombes or Clasper.
His intimates called him “an out-and-out brick,
A fellow who at nothing would stick,
And a first-rate judge of malt, sir.”
Nay, the ladies themselves, who are clearly the best
To decide on such matters, had often confessed.—
“Mr. Rasper, besides being very well dressed,
Was an excellent deux-temps waltzer.”
Darting past the unhappy Browne,
At the foot of the stairs he sat himself down,
And laughed like the clown in a pantomime;
Then jumping up, he made a grimace
Might have rivalled e’en Mr. Grimaldi’s face,
To describe the which with sufficient grace
Quite baffles my Muse for want-o’-rhyme.
“Browne,” he began, “I’m come to sup.
I suppose I may. Walk up, walk up,
And observe the living lions;
The thickly-coated armadillo,
Brought from furrin’ parts beyond the billow
By Don Alphonso de Padrillo,
That ornament of science!
“But, joking apart, Browne, how’s your wife?
Not annoyed, I hope; to cause any strife
Would give me infinite sorrow.”
Then springing up stairs with a loud “Ha! ha!”
He thrust his head through the door ajar,
And greeted the lady with “Here we are,”
And “How d’ye do to-morrow.”
Mrs. Browne received him with looks so black
That he felt himself quite taken aback,
And received what he called “a staggerer.”
Indeed, as he told his friends next night,
“He soon saw that fowl would never fight,
So he instantly came the dodge polite,
And entirely dropped the swaggerer!”
Then changing his tone, “Mrs. Browne, to you
I am sure,” said he, “I ought to sue
In terms most apologetic.”
But not a whit the angry dame
Was soothed, her expression remained the same,
And Jack thought he’d best go, the way he came,
Like a well-bred dog, prophetic.
He tried again, “If you remember,
We went together, last September,
To see the Hippopotamus,
And how, in the crowd, when you dropped those loves
Of delicate tinted primrose gloves,
As I hunted about with kicks and shoves,
Do you recollect who brought ’em us?
“Lord Augustus Aype, that cheválièr preûx,
Who was evidently struck with you,
For he said, in a whisper audible,
‘Rasper, who is that splendid creature?’”
Mrs. Browne relaxed in every feature,
For she thought—alas! poor human nature!—
Each act of a Lord was laud-able.
Jack continued, “’Twas only yesterday,
At dinner, I heard his lordship say
He should ne’er forget the circumstance;
He has met you since, at a public ball,
Or at Albert Smith’s—the Egyptian Hall!
You shake your head! what! not at all?
Yes, yes! ’twas at the Kirkham’s dance!”
Here Browne come frowningly in, but smiled,
When he found his wife seemed nothing riled,
And begged his guest to be seated:
And looking at Mrs. Browne askance,
Received in return a conjugal glance,
Which showed, “sans doûte,” as they say in France,
She wished Jack civilly treated.
So he bustled about, and soon laid out
A cold chicken, some ham, a bottle of stout,
With ale of Bass’s brewing.
And when these were dispatched by the modest youth,
Placed a flask on the board, which, to tell the truth,
Had on it the name of “Sir Felix Booth,”
But which Jack pronounced “blue ruin.”
Jack plied at the spirit, and soon began
To play so well the agreeable man,
The retailer of jokes and scandal,
That good Mrs. Browne grew quite elate;
And Browne, though he muttered, “It’s rather late,”
Replenished the fire, and swept up the grate,
And trimmed the Palmer’s candle.
Thus went the talk,—“Poor Lady Flashe
Has eloped with Captain Sabretasche;
They bolted from Baden-Baden,
While Sir Anthony Flashe their flight ne’er checked,
As it on his rheumatics had no effect;
Like the Jews of old, since he’s grown ‘stiffnecked,’
His heart has begun to harden.
“But I heard last night from Lord De Vere,
From Boulogne who has just come over here,
The most wonderful adventure;
For his Lordship last season received a ‘call,’—
Not such as those folks who at Exeter Hall
About Popery wrangle, his was all
About railway scrip and debenture.
“He said, one night that, homeward walking,
There were two men before him, talking,
Whose words caught his instant attention,
For he heard one say, as he drew more near,
‘I’ll cut his throat from ear to ear
And send his soul to ⸺’ a place which here
I really don’t like to mention.
“Shocked at these words, though somewhat alarmed,
His Lordship his noble heart soon calmed,
And set his nerves firm as rockstone,
Then followed the men up a street so lone
And dark that,”—here Mrs. Browne gave a groan,
While Browne looked the picture of fright, as shown
So well by Keeley and Buckstone.
Narrowly eyeing them, Jack continued,—
“The hands of these men so iron-sinewed,
Were red as the cover of ‘Murray,’
And in these hands they carried sticks
Of the pattern and size with which Mr. Hicks
All at once, single-handed, so easily licks
Ten land-sharks at the Surrey.
“These horrible ruffians, as more near
They approached, caught sight of Lord De Vere,
And seized him, pale and shrinking,
And as him on the ground they threw
Yelled out⸺
By Jove! it’s half-past two,
I’ve kept you up till all is blue,
I’ll run away like winkin’.”
Then, while with open mouth and eyes
The pair sat speechless with surprise,
Jack vanished quick as thought is,
And as the stairs he darted down,
Called out, “My wager, Browne, I’ve won,—
’Twas that here I’d sup; and you’re fairly done
Of ham, chicken, and aquafortis!
“My boasted acquaintance with Lord De Vere,
The tale of the street so dark and drear,
Was all improvisatoré!
You would pardon a lord, though a church he should rob,
Yet hang what T. P. Cooke would call ‘a poor swab,’
And you’re nothing at best but a tuft-hunting snob,
So I’ll ‘leave you alone in your glory.’”

Ye Moralle.

When once you are wed, bid a friendly adieu
To all bachelor chums, or keep just one or two,
And be sure they’re not fast men, but moral and true;
And in order that Rasper-like insults you may shun,
Don’t talk about lords upon every occasion,
But, like clerks at a terminus, keep in your station.

E. H. Y.




Edited by Edmund H. Yates.

In submitting to the public some of the productions of my lamented friend Rivers, I think it right to endeavour to sketch some faint outline of the career of their illustrious author. “The world knows nothing of its greatest men,” says Philip Van Artevelde, and its general ignorance of Rivers clearly proves the truth of the remark.

Born of poor but respectable parents, in the parish of St. Pancras, at an early age Rivers evinced symptoms of that poetic talent which, in later life, made him so renowned—I mean, which would have made him so renowned, had he not been crushed by the wretched blindness and illiberality of the publishers of the metropolis. He could not have been more than five years of age when he first burst forth in metrical numbers; it was at the family dinner-table, when, pointing first to the smoking joint, then to the domestic implement by which he was conveying a portion of it to his mouth, he exclaimed—


A moment after, indicating the beer jug, his juvenile “poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,” he continued, “chalk!” His meaning on this point was vague, but it is generally considered he implied that the liquid was not paid for at the time, but was chalked up behind the door to the family account—a custom prevalent, I have ascertained, in many parts of the United Kingdom. From that period until his death he was constantly engaged in writing;—though his[95] name never appeared to any of his productions, they were most extensively read; indeed, one of his minor poems—

“Dearest maid, I thee do love;
This my tender vows shall prove—
Little Cupid’s thrilling dart
Has found refuge in my heart,”

has been considered so successful, that the publication of it is annually revived, and the fourteenth of February, sacred to St. Valentine, is the day usually chosen for its reappearance.

For the last twenty years of his life, poor Rivers laboured under severe fits of melancholy and depression, the cause of which he long held secret. Shortly before his decease, however, he confided to me the source of his grief. It was, that manuscripts which he had forwarded on approval to various publishers, had been returned as worthless, while a few months afterwards the same publishers would send forth books of poems in which the most direct plagiarisms from my poor friend’s productions would appear. He made me solemnly pledge myself to see him righted in the opinion of the world, and hence the publication of these papers.

I regret exceedingly to be obliged to hold up to public odium names which have hitherto stood so highly as those of Mr. A—f—d T—ys—n and his publisher, Mr. M—x—n, but I defy any candid reader to peruse the following vigorous and striking stanzas of my poor friend’s, and then turn to that weak and rambling production, “L—cks—y H—ll,” without perceiving which is the grand original, which the mean and despicable parody!


Cabman, stop thy jaded knacker; cabman, draw thy slackened rein;
Take this sixpence—do not grumble, swear not at Sir Richard Mayne!
’Tis the place, and all around it, as of old, the cadgers bawl—
Sparkling rockets, squibs and crackers, whizzing over gay Vauxhall.
Gay Vauxhall! that in the summer all the youth of town attracts,
Glittering with its lamps and fireworks, and its flashing cataracts.
Many a night in yonder gilded temple, ere I went to rest,
Did I look on great Von Joel, mimicking the feathered nest;
Many a night I saw Hernandez in a tinsel garb arrayed,
With his odorif’rous ringlets tangled in a silver braid;
Here about the paths I wandered, chaffing, laughing all the time,
Laughing at the piebald clown, or listening to the minstrel’s rhyme;
When beneath the business-counter linendraper’s men reposed,
When in calm and peaceful slumber, sharp maternal eyes are closed;
When I dipt into the pewter pot that held the foaming stout,
When I quaffed the burning punch, or wildly sipped the “cold without.”
In the spring a finer cambric’s wrapped around the lordling’s breast;
In the spring the gent at Redmayne’s gets himself a Moses’ “vest;”
In the spring we make investment in a white or lilac glove;
In the spring my youthful fancy prompted me to fall in love.
Then she danced through all the ballet, as a fairy blithe and young,
Stood a tiptoe on a flow’ret or from clouds of pasteboard swung—
And I said, “Miss Julia Belmont, speak, and speak the truth to me,
Wilt thou from this fairy region with a heart congenial flee?”
On her lovely cheek and forehead came a blushing through her paint,
And she sank upon my bosom in the semblance of a faint;
Then she turned, her voice was broken (so, if I must tell the truth,
Was her English—all I pardoned in the generous warmth of youth),
Saying, “Pray excuse my feelings, nothing wrong, indeed, is meant,”
Saying, “Will you be my loveyer?” weeping, “You are quite the gent.”
Love took up the glass before me, filled it foaming to the brim,
Love changed every comic ballad to a sweet euphonious hymn!
Many a morning in the railway did we run to Richmond, Kew,
And her hunger cleared my pockets oft of shillings not a few!
Many an evening down at Greenwich did we eat the pleasant “bait,”
Till I found my earnings going at a rather rapid rate.—
Oh! Miss Belmont, fickle-hearted! Oh, Miss Belmont, known too late!
Oh, that horrid, horrid Richmond, oh, the cursed, cursed “bait.”
Falser far than Lola Montes, falser e’en than Alice Gray,
Scorner of a faithful press-man, sharer of a tumbler’s pay!—
Is it well to wish thee happy? having once loved me—to wed
With a fool who gains his living by his heels and not his head!
As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown,
And, pursuing his profession, he will strive to drag thee down.
He will hold thee, in the winter, when his fooleries begin,
Something better than his wig, a little dearer than his gin.
What is this? his legs are bending! think’st thou he is weary, faint?
Go to him, it is thy duty; kiss him, how he tastes of paint!
Am I mad, that I should cherish memories of the by-gone time?
Think of loving one whose husband fools it in a pantomime!
Never, though my mortal summers should be lengthened to the sum
Granted to the aged Parr, or more illustrious Widdicomb—
Comfort!—talk to me of comfort!—what is comfort here below?
Lies it in iced drinks in summer, aquascutum coats in snow?
Think not thou wilt know its meaning, wait of all his vows the proof,
Till the manager is sulky, and the rain pours through the roof:
See, his life he acts in dreams, while thou art staring in his face,
Listen to his hollow laughter, mark his effort at grimace!
Thou shalt hear “Hot Codlins” muttered in his vision-haunted sleep,
Thou shalt hear his feigned ecstatics, thou shalt hear his curses deep:
Let them fall on gay Vauxhall, that scene to me of deepest woe,
But—the waiters are departing, and perhaps I’d better go!

Such is the noble ballad of Vauxhall! but Rivers was master of all styles. The following exquisite picture of the joys and sorrows of modern domestic life presents an example of that happy blending[99] of the real and the romantic with which the head of Rivers overflowed. The ballad of “Boreäna” has been kindly communicated by my literary friend Frank Fairleigh, who knew, loved, and admired Rivers as much as myself. After pointing out some of the more subtle and mysterious beauties of this matchless lyric, Fairleigh adds, “and yet after this, A—f—d T—ny—n had the face to publish that bombastic, trashy ballad of “Oriana,” and pretend it was original; where does that misguided man expect to go to?”


My brain is wearied with thy prate,
I sit and curse my hapless fate,
What time the rain pours down the gutter,
Still your platitudes you utter,
I unholy wishes mutter,
Ere the night-light’s flame was fading,
While the cats were serenading,
Sheep were bleating, oxen lowing,
We heard the beasts to Smithfield going,
You said the butcher’s bill was owing,
At Cremorne, we two alone,
Ere my wisdom teeth were grown,
While the dancers gaily hopped,
And the brass band never stopped,
I to thee the question popped,
She stood behind the area gate,
She did it just to aggravate,
She saw me wink, she heard me swear,
She recognized the scoundrel there,
She knows a bailiff I can’t bear,
The cursed writ he pushed it through,
The area rails, and gave it you,
The infernal summons me un-nerved,
He from his duty never swerved,
On thee, my bride, the writ he served,
Oh! narrow-minded County Court,
’Tis death to me, to them ’tis sport,
Oh! stab in my most tender place,
My pocket! oh! the deep disgrace,
I fell down flat upon my face,
They fined me at the next court day,
Locked up, how can I get away,
I don’t perceive of hope a ray,
’Tis a true bill, but, oh! I say,
How without tin am I to pay,
When turns the never-pausing mill,
I tread, I do not dare stand still,
At home, of beer thou drink’st thy fill,
I may not come to thee and swill,
I hear the rolling of the mill,

Chapter II.

My poor friend had always within him a certain classical fondness of the ancient style of poetry; none of your vulgar Alcaics and Sapphics—“These,” he used to remark, “Horace, Tibullus, or any fellow of that calibre could manage; but the glorious hexameters and pentameters of Homer, Virgil, and Ovid,—they’re the things, my boy!” His delight in this species of composition was so great that at school we used to call him, as a nickname, “Professor Long-and-short-fellow.” It curdles my blood to think that some obscure person in America, who has latterly been indulging in dactyllic and spondaic metre, has dared to name himself[102] partly in imitation of the sobriquét by which we designated our friend.

Recollecting poor Pellucid’s warm admiration of the hexameter then, I have made strict search among his papers, on the chance of finding some classical Latin or Greek poem of his composition, but without success. At one time a ray of hope darted through me, as I came upon a paper carefully folded, and docketted, “Notions for a Fight between Hector and Achilles;” I unfolded it eagerly, but, alas! it was only a fragment, the words “Arma virumque cano” were legibly inscribed in my friend’s neat hand, but it was evident that he had either been called away, or that the Muse had deserted him at the critical moment, as he had left it without another word. At length I chanced to find the following poem, descriptive of a picnic at Cliefden and its consequences, in the true classical verse, but, before submitting it to the world, I must remark that on the outside cover of the MS. is written, in pencil, and in a hand very similar to that of Mr. B⸺, the publisher, of F⸺ Street, “Query? Evang’⸺;” the rest of the word is illegible, and I could never comprehend the meaning of the comment.


These are the green woods of Cliefden. The glorious oaks and the chestnuts
All appertain to the Duke, whose residence stands in the distance—
Stands like a toyhouse of childhood, besprinkled all over with windows—
Stands like a pudding at Christmas, a white surface dotted with black things.
Loud from the neighbouring river, the deep-voiced clamorous bargée
Roars, and in accents opprobrious hollas to have the lock opened.
These are the green woods of Cliefden. But where are the people who in them
Laughed like a man when he lists to the breath-catching accents of Buckstone?
Where are the wondrous white waistcoats, the flimsy baréges and muslins,
Worn by the swells and the ladies who came here on pleasant excursions?
Gone are those light-hearted people, flirtations, perhaps love, even marriage,
All have had woeful effect since Mrs. Merillian’s picnic;
And of that great merrymaking, some bottles in tinfoil enveloped,
And a glove dropped by Jane Page, are the vestiges only remaining!
Ye who take pleasure in picnics and doat on excursions aquatic,
Flying the smoke of the city, vexations and troubles of business,
List to a joyous tradition of one which was held once at Cliefden—
List to a tale of cold chicken, champagne, bitter beer, lobster salad!
Brilliantly burst forth the sun o’er the pleasant meadows of Cliefden,
Bathed in his beautiful light, the daisies and daffydowndillies
Shone like those fanciful gems made by Beverly, at the Lyceum:
Calmly the whole of the morning untrodden, unseen, and unnoticed,
Lay all the valley around; but when from Maidenhead’s steeple
Clashed the four quarters of noon, then come the first batch of the rev’llers,
Come in a large open boat, broad-bottomed, and decked with tarpaulin,
Which from the sun’s scorching rays formed a needful and pleasant protection.
Here were seated the belles of the fête, Kate and Ellen Merillian,
Fairest of all demoiselles who dwell in Belgravia’s quarters.
With them came Margaret Stewart, their pretty cousin from Scotland,
Marian Vernon, and eke, to give proper tone to the party,
Old Mrs. Blinder, who’s deaf, and so chaperoned most discreetly.
Nor did they lack cavaliers—Jack Wilson, the fast and the funny,
Pride of the Board of Control, delight of his club and his office,
Sat at the stern of the boat, alternately singing and smoking;
There, too, was Captain De Boots, of Her Majesty’s Household Brigade, he
Sat by the side of Miss Vernon, and talked in so earnest a whisper,
That the rest called it “a case,” and begged to have “cake and gloves” sent them.
Scarce was the party on shore when several ran up to meet them,
Chattering, laughing young girls, and matrons more serious and sober,
Men from the City, resplendent in whiskers and large-patterned trousers—
Men from the West, who relied on their manners much more than their costume—
Marvellous were the shirt-collars encircling the necks of the young ones,
Seemed it as though they were made of a cross between buckram and mill-board;
Marvellous, too, was their conduct, a mixture of insult and folly,
Gods! how absurd were their airs, how silly, insane, and precocious.
Now began frolic and mirth, pleasant pastimes and games in which all joined,
And where e’en fathers and mothers partook of the fun with their children,
“Hunting the Slipper,” (“by Jove! what fun can be had at that same, sir!”)
“How, when, and where!” “Prisoner’s Base!” but not until dinner was over
Played they at Blindman’s Buff, the climax of riot and revel.
Gathering their dresses close round them, the ladies sat down on the herbage,
Laughing at every speech, and screaming at popping champagne corks,
While their attentive gallants were constantly hovering near them,
Handing the wings of cold fowls and trembling blancmanges and jellies.
More can I not write at present. I’ve striven to laugh on this subject,
But ’neath my placid external beats sadly a heart crushed and blighted!
Shall I confess to ye the reason? Know then, that at this said picnic,
Fired by the fumes of champagne and strong deleterious potions,
Placed I my fortune and hand at the feet of Emily Robins!
Know then, that losing my balance I sprawled on the greensward before her,
And, ere the evening was o’er, got outrageously thrashed by her brother!

Note by the Editor.—In transcribing this poem from my friend’s MS., I feel it my duty to state that his touching description of his love was not without foundation. The “knock-down blow” he received did not entirely floor him; he sought to see the lady again, and, on being repulsed, commenced a very pretty little poem, beginning—

“When he who adores thee has left but the name
Of his faults and his follies behind.”

Here he stopped, which, I think, was a pity, as he evidently possessed the feeling and talents essential to an amatory poet.



Chapter III.

It is a melancholy pleasure to me to wander among these vestiges of the departed great man; to trace his various thoughts from his earliest infancy to the time when death robbed the world of what should have been its brightest ornament, and left to it merely the paste and tinsel, the gewgaw and tomfoolery of literature.

Of his father he has left many records. This person, upon whom the honour of being Pellucid’s progenitor devolved, appears to have been a worthy undertaker; an unprofitable one, however, for he never undertook anything well, nor carried it out successfully. Nevertheless, his failings or shortcomings in life, served but to increase the love his son bore him, and which is manifested in many poetical scraps, evidently written in early life, one of which, commencing—

“My father, my dear father, if a name
Dearer and holier were, it should be thine,”

is worthy of comparison with anything of Byron’s; it is, however, too long for extract. To his schooldays also, I find many pleasing allusions scattered through his manuscripts. In a letter to his sister (which, from family reasons, I am precluded from publishing) he draws a wonderful sketch of his pedagogue, whom he describes as being a man severe and stern to view, but who often relaxed to a joke with his scholars, and was the best hand at argument in the village, using words of such learned length and wondrous sound, that the amazed rustics stood gaping at his knowledge. His “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Islington Free-school,” is also full of pleasing reminiscences of his younger days.

Late in life Rivers began to take a great interest in theatrical matters, and I find among his MSS. the following poem, evidently written shortly before his decease. One curious fact connected[107] with these verses is, that as executor of poor Pellucid, I am at present at loggerheads with one Mr. McAuley, a Scotch gentleman, who, absurdly enough, claims their authorship:—


Great Smithius of Drury Lane,
By cape and truncheon swore
That Bold Gustavus Brookius
Should perdu lie no more.
By staff and cape he swore it,
And named his opening night,
And sent his messengers abroad,
Each with a pile of orders stored,
To summon all they might.
East and west, and south and north,
The messengers repair;
Some hie them to the Regal Oak,
Some to the Arms of Eyre.
Shame on the false theatrical
Who would refuse to come,
When bold Gustavus Brookius
Enters the “Drama’s Home!”
The gallery-boys and pittites
Are pouring in amain,
And struggling in a turbid mass,
The theatre doors they gain.
From many a noisome alley,
From many a crowded court,
Great G. V. B.’s supporters
Have hastened to the sport.
From Kingsland’s leafy quarters,
From Camden’s noble town,
From where Belgravia’s daughters
On humble men look down;
From Islington the merry,
From Kensington the slow,
To meet the great Gustavus
The many-headed go.
The patrons of the Surrey,
Who e’er in shirt-sleeves sit,
While the refreshing foaming stout
Is handed round the pit,
Yield up their old allegiance,
And join the swelling train,
Crossing the Bridge of Waterloo,
To meet at Drury Lane.
Ho! fiddlers, scrape your catgut!
Ho! drummers, use your strength!
HE comes, whose name on every wall
Measures six feet in length!
Who, though perchance he cannot
With Shakespeare move your souls,
Will gain your heartiest plaudits
By gifts of soup and coals!
Come, Phelps, come crouch unto him;
Come, Kean, and do the same;
You, famous by your own good deeds,
You by your father’s name!
Crouch to the great Gustavus,
Who has become the rage,
And proved himself, by feats of alms,
King of the British stage.


Chapter IV.

Poeta nascitur non fit,” is a trite but wise aphorism. Few men have selected such varied subjects as my friend Rivers, and few have dealt with their choice so successfully. Unlike your modern writers, who put on one suit of similes and wear it threadbare (such as Alessandro Smiffini, for instance, who is never tired of gazing at the moon or dipping in the sea), Pellucid’s kindly nature immortalises even the most trivial occurrences of his life. The following extract from his works will show what I mean. Unblessed with riches, he had incurred a small bill at a restaurant, in the neighbourhood of his lodgings, and one night the proprietor of the hostelry effected an entrance into his apartment, and refused to quit until the claim was settled. This circumstance, which would have discomposed a less happy mind, gave him the idea for a set of verses, which he named “The Tankard,” and which he calls, “A Domestic Scene turned into Poetry.” Again, on this manuscript is a pencilled query (in the same writing to which I have before alluded), “Does he mean Edgar Poe—try?” I confess this joke is beyond my poor powers of brain. Perhaps my readers will be able to interpret it, when they read the verses, which run thus:—


Sitting in my lonely chamber, in this dreary, dark December,
Gazing on the whitening ashes of my fastly-fading fire,
Pond’ring o’er my misspent chances with that grief which time enhances—
Misdirected application, wanting aims and objects higher,—
Aims to which I should aspire.
As I sat thus wond’ring, thinking, fancy unto fancy linking,
In the half-expiring embers many a scene and form I traced—
Many a by-gone scene of gladness, yielding now but care and sadness,—
Many a form once fondly cherished, now by misery’s hand effaced,—
Forms which Venus’ self had graced.
Suddenly, my system shocking, at my door there came a knocking,
Loud and furious,—such a rat-tat never had I heard before;
Through the keyhole I stood peeping, heart into my mouth up-leaping,
Till at length, my teeth unclenching, faintly said I, “What a bore!”
Gently, calmly, teeth unclenching, faintly said I, “What a bore!”
Said the echo, “Pay your score!”
At this solemn warning trembling, some short time I stood dissembling,
Till again the iron knocker beat its summons ’gainst the door,
Then, the oak wide open throwing, stood I on the threshold bowing—
Bows such as, save motley tumbler, mortal never bowed before,—
Bows which even Mr. Flexmore never yet had tried before:
Said the echo, “Pay your score!”
Grasping then the light, upstanding, looked I round the dreary landing,
Looked at every wall, the ceiling, looked upon the very floor,
Nought I saw there but a Tankard, from the which that night I’d drank hard,—
Drank as drank our good forefathers in the merry days of yore,—
In the corner stood the Tankard, where it oft had stood before,—
Stood and muttered, “Pay your score!”
Much I marvelled at this pewter, surely ne’er in past or future
Has been, will be, such a wonder, such a Tankard learned in lore!
Gazing at it more intensely, stared I more and more immensely
When it added, “Come, old boy, you’ve many a promise made before,—
False they were as John O’Connell’s, who would ‘die upon the floor!’
Now for once—come, pay your score!”
From my placid temper starting, and upon the Tankard darting,
With one furious hurl I flung it down before the porter’s door;
But as I my oak was locking, heard I then the self-same knocking,
And on looking out I saw the Tankard sitting as before,—
Sitting, squatting in the self-same corner as it sat before,—
Sitting, crying “Pay your score!”
And the Tankard, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,
In the very self-same corner where it sat in days of yore:
And its pewter still is shining, and it bears the frothy lining,
Which the night when first I drained its cooling beverage it bore,
But my mouth that frothy lining never, never tasted more,
Since it muttered, “Pay your score!”

I have concluded my extracts; the remaining poems are principally of a private and personal nature, which renders them unfitted for publication.

After a perusal of his verses there will, I trust, be very few persons who will not at once appreciate the powers of my lamented friend, and grieve over the illiberal treatment he experienced. Should I find that tardy justice is done to his productions, and that they meet with that posthumous popularity which is undoubtedly their due, the effort which I have made to bring him into notice, and to shake the dii majores of the literary world on their unstable thrones, will not have been unrewarded.

Edmund H. Yates.