To my Father
When a father gives to his daughter both laugh when a daughter gives to her father both cry.
She is my daughter, I am her father
When she cries
My heart cries
I feel Stabbed by
A sharp knife
Her tears make me
Writhe in pain
When she laughs
My heart jumps in joy
When she is away
In my mind
Thoughts about her play
Worried of her welfare
Unable to concentrate
My mind sways
She is the melody
Of my life’s song
Of all the faces
I am the plant
She, my flower
The most precious
Gift to me
From my wife
She is my daughter
I am her father
He shot his daughter
(This is a true story)
One day a man was showing off his loaded gun to a friend.
It accidentally discharged and it brought his daughter's life to an end.
The bullet went through his hand and hit his baby daughter.
He was horrified when he learned that he shot her.
The man was being irresponsible when he was showing off his loaded gun.
Owning a firearm takes responsibility and if you're not responsible, you shouldn't own one.
El Gato's uncle lures them with grain in a pail
and shoots the brown pig between the eyes,
shoos the red-snouted white and black brothers
from guzzling blood in the trough.
At ten Gato walks chop-block streets
with a rooster's tail strut
razored for a fight – life
a broken fire hydrant
flooding streets with blood.
In opulent estates,
fountains gazelle and bridal-train gardens drain
abundantly over spear-tipped walls.
Grecian statues offer laureled wisdom
to butlered adults with paper-weight hearts,
who answer the burning and gunning of America,
by building more prisons.
Nobody cares what El Gato'll find to eat or where he'll sleep,
under street lights throwing dirt clods
at hornets' nests, unafraid of being stung,
he vows to avenge his poverty,
to gash unmercifully with a bicycle chain
spineless attorneys taking advantage of his misery,
rob a construction executive in a limousine
sampling heroin off a hooker's thigh,
mug preppy brokers with golden smiles
whose gutter glares condemn him,
and all the chumps
who never cracked a soup-line biscuit
or had a court gavel crush their life,
should know he plans violent schemes against you,
saints melt his pain red hot,
he'll hammer sharp to take you down
to darkness where he lives
and impale your heads
on La Virgen De Guadelupe's moon sickle.
Twelve years old. El Gato is no good,
dime bagging Peruvian flakes,
inhaling a glue-rag.
With all your police and prison sentences,
you can't chase El Gato from the street
or stop him from selling drugs,
because in his square white paper
lives God -- El Gato deals God -- who gives reprieve
from earthly hell and makes him feel good,
gives him hope and self-esteem,
and transforms despair to a cocaine-heaven,
until he's killed or OD's
like other homeboys trashed
on a stack of county jail corpses,
who understood life was a sewer grate
their dignity poured down with discarded litter,
where crack creates light when all one has is darkness.
Crack is God
when hopeless days bury El Gato under
rock piles of despair,
blocking him from feeling any more,
breaking his heart into pieces of NOTHING.
El Gato is no good and preaches NOTHING door to door,
a strong kid full of NOTHING,
from NOTHING does he ask a blessing,
to NOTHING does he pray, hopes NOTHING
forgive his wrongs and NOTHING
helps when he take vengeance on us.
beneath a moon above the sport caster's booth,
at the out doors boxing coliseum,
after crowds go home and the ring removed,
El Gato shadow boxes invisible opponents
and raises his hand as champion.
He joins homeboys against a rival gang,
skips bleachers over hand-rails out of breath,
and holds court in the field with bats, pipes, chains,
brass knuckles and guns,
in a game every kid has to hold a five-ace winning heart,
or die with a poker player's bluffing hand –
death nothing but an eight-ball roll on the break.
El Gato's life is a Babe Ruth pop-up,
sailing beyond the rival gang's catch, hop scotching crime-chalked sidewalks, fleeing police over backyard fences
from guard dogs barking,
down scuffed alleys where clapping windows and shutting doors applaud him,
sliding under a stripped car homeplate, hearing the news Jo-Jo and Sparky got shot,
he x's their names off building scorecard-walls for dead.
a brown fighting get down impromptu warrior,
lip-pursed ooohing fevered to defy,
clicking tap shoes on sidewalks,
chi chi chi cano, heel to toe, chin to chest,
chi chi chi cano,
T-shirt rolled to bare midriff, pomade hair back,
low-hugging hip khakis,
inked-cross on right hand,
bandanna'd, top button
tied on his Pendelton, lean and mean,
haunting us with his gangsta' signs.
El Gato learned his history
around water-bucket talk,
listening to mule-tongued growers
mutter holy whys they barbwired lands off,
clacking hoe in grower's dirt
on skulls and bones of his people
murdered and buried in chains.
In branding-hot noon
he cuts lettuce for bronc-buckled
soft palmed land owners
posing as frontiersmen,
their steer-horn cadillac radios
tuned to religious broadcast
blaring glory to their godliness,
as they loom over him,
'God hates you spic. God hates you!
You're dirt, boy, dirt! Even dirt grows weeds,
but you, you're dirt that don't grow nothing but more dirt!'
Beat purple at nine,
butt bullet stings.
El Gato touched washcloth to welted bruises
on thighs, legs, back, winced under the shower nozzle, cursing life.
His heart the severed head of an outlaw
pickled in a jar of liquor and drugs
to numb the hurt.
Purging his shame for being born,
OD'd, was stabbed and shot,
wanting to believe he was bad.
It was better than falling into darkness
where nothing existed but more darkness.
He wanted to exist even as dirt, no good dirt.
At nineteen, trying to rebuild his life,
El Gato got the urge to get high and did –
put pistol to his head and played roulette,
his bloodshot drunkard's eye seething rage
his guardian angel didn't want him dead.
The dirt yard pleads for his daughter's laughter,
her tricycle treads scribble,
You are always gone,
in whiskey and drugs,
never here to play or help me grow.
No heat, light or food.
His baby's crying
chisels on the headstone of his bones
her need for a father,
wobbles to a stop
when he picks her from the crib,
inhales her milky aroma,
patting and kissing her,
walking her back and forth
in the cold living room,
warming her with his skin heat,
breathing warmth on her,
holding her to his chest,
humming a deep-chest hymn
learned from his grandmother –
' Bendito, bendito, bendito sea dios,
los angeles cantan y daban a dios...'
' Blessed, blessed blessed is the lord
the angels sing and give to the Lord...'
Her tiny hand flexes, a wing
unwrinkling from cocoon for flight,
fossilized in the stone of his arms.
El Gato is two men with one life –
he loves her, cares about her feelings,
wants to live at home, be a family man,
grow old with one woman.
But the warrior bares thorny teeth
at domesticity, slurs in disgust
at the dreamer's naiveté,
wants to brawl unafraid of dying young.
Tonight his infant is him
and he is her. He sees himself
as he was born,
innocent and perfect, whole life ahead of him,
and sees she can become him,
no good. He hums her holding tight,
melting into one hug humming her
'til dawn thaws frost down window casements
into stucco cracks, stray hounds croon in ruts,
yeowling cold from jaws, tooth-scratching
stickers from paws, he walks and walks
his sleeping infant in his arms,
humming hurting-man blues.
Thinking how to give his family a better life,
he strolls the ditch-bank next morning,
surprised to see pebbles last night's rain uncovered --blues and greens. He wants his tears to reveal
what is covered in him like that.
He throws a stone in the irrigation water,
where it gasps his child's awe-struck mouth glistens
for breath, for a chance at life, glimmering ripples calling him to be a father.
El Gato realizes he must start today.
Where the stone hits is the center of the ripples,
where the stone hits is the center that causes action. Where
the stone hits is the beginning,
where he is now,
is the center. He is the stone, he held in his hand as a kid and threw to see how far it could go.
El Gato changed.
At twenty one
he prays his lightning self
carve from thrown away wood-pile days
cut deep to the knot-core of his heart,
giving him a limb-top buoyancy,
awakening, a realization that he was
a good man, a good human being,
healing emotional earthquakes in himself.
- quotes about dogs
- quotes about walking
- quotes about Peru
- quotes about thaw
- quotes about billiards
- quotes about war
- quotes about earthquakes
- quotes about Greece
Sigismond And Guiscardo. From Boccace
While Norman Tancred in Salerno reigned,
The title of a gracious Prince he gained;
Till turned a tyrant in his latter days,
He lost the lustre of his former praise,
And from the bright meridian where he stood
Descending dipped his hands in lovers' blood.
This Prince, of Fortune's favour long possessed,
Yet was with one fair daughter only blessed;
And blessed he might have been with her alone,
But oh! how much more happy had he none!
She was his care, his hope, and his delight,
Most in his thought, and ever in his sight:
Next, nay beyond his life, he held her dear;
She lived by him, and now he lived in her.
For this, when ripe for marriage, he delayed
Her nuptial bands, and kept her long a maid,
As envying any else should share a part
Of what was his, and claiming all her heart.
At length, as public decency required,
And all his vassals eagerly desired,
With mind averse, he rather underwent
His people's will than gave his own consent.
So was she torn, as from a lover's side,
And made, almost in his despite, a bride.
Short were her marriage joys; for in the prime
Of youth, her lord expired before his time;
And to her father's court in little space
Restored anew, she held a higher place;
More loved, and more exalted into grace.
This Princess, fresh and young, and fair and wise,
The worshipped idol of her father's eyes,
Did all her sex in every grace exceed,
And had more wit beside than women need.
Youth, health, and ease, and most an amorous mind,
To second nuptials had her thoughts inclined;
And former joys had left a secret string behind.
But, prodigal in every other grant,
Her sire left unsupplied her only want,
And she, betwixt her modesty and pride,
Her wishes, which she could not help, would hide.
Resolved at last to lose no longer time,
And yet to please her self without a crime,
She cast her eyes around the court, to find
A worthy subject suiting to her mind,
To him in holy nuptials to be tied,
A seeming widow, and a secret bride.
Among the train of courtiers, one she found
With all the gifts of bounteous nature crowned,
Of gentle blood, but one whose niggard fate
Had set him far below her high estate:
Guiscard his name was called, of blooming age,
Now squire to Tancred, and before his page:
To him, the choice of all the shining crowd,
Her heart the noble Sigismonda vowed.
Yet hitherto she kept her love concealed,
And with close glances every day beheld
The graceful youth; and every day increased
The raging fire that burned within her breast;
Some secret charm did all his acts attend,
And what his fortune wanted hers could mend;
Till, as the fire will force its outward way,
Or, in the prison pent, consume the prey,
So long her earnest eyes on his were set,
At length their twisted rays together met;
And he, surprised with humble joy, surveyed
One sweet regard, shot by the royal maid.
Not well assured, while doubtful hopes he nursed,
A second glance came gliding like the first;
And he, who saw the sharpness of the dart,
Without defence received it in his heart.
In public, though their passion wanted speech,
Yet mutual looks interpreted for each:
Time, ways, and means of meeting were denied,
But all those wants ingenious Love supplied.
The inventive god, who never fails his part,
Inspires the wit when once he warms the heart.
When Guiscard next was in the circle seen,
Where Sigismonda held the place of queen,
A hollow cane within her hand she brought,
But in the concave had enclosed a note;
With this she seemed to play, and, as in sport,
Tossed to her love in presence of the court;
'Take it,' she said, 'and when your needs require,
'This little brand will serve to light your fire.'
He took it with a bow, and soon divined
The seeming toy was not for nought designed:
But when retired, so long with curious eyes
He viewed the present, that he found the prize.
Much was in little writ; and all conveyed
With cautious care, for fear to be betrayed
By some false confident or favourite maid.
The time, the place, the manner how to meet,
Were all in punctual order plainly writ:
But since a trust must be, she thought it best
To put it out of laymen's power at least,
And for their solemn vows prepared a priest.
Guiscard, her secret purpose understood,
With joy prepared to meet he coming good;
Nor pains nor danger was resolved to spare,
But use the means appointed by the fair.
Near the proud palace of Salerno stood
A mount of rough ascent, and thick with wood;
Through this cave was dug with vast expense,
The work it seemed of some suspicious Prince,
Who, when abusing power with lawless might,
From public justice would secure his flight.
The passage made by many a winding way,
Reached even the room in which the tyrant lay,
Fit for his purpose; on a lower floor,
He lodged, whose issue was an iron door,
From whence by stairs descending to the ground,
In the blind grot a safe retreat he found.
Its outlet ended in a brake o'ergrown
With brambles, choked by time, and now unknown.
A rift there was, which from the mountain's height
Conveyed a glimmering and malignant light,
A breathing-place to draw the damps away,
A twilight of an intercepted day.
The tyrant's den, whose use, though lost to fame,
Was now the apartment of the royal dame;
The cavern, only to her father known,
By him was to his darling daughter shown.
Neglected long she let the secret rest,
Till love recalled it to her labouring breast,
And hinted as the way by Heaven designed
The teacher by the means he taught to blind.
What will not women do, when need inspires
Their wit, or love their inclination fires!
Though jealousy of state the invention found,
Yet love refined upon the former ground.
That way the tyrant had reserved, to fly
Pursuing hate, now served to bring two lovers nigh.
The dame, who long in vain had kept the key,
Bold by desire, explored the secret way;
Now tried the stairs, and wading through the night,
Searched all the deep recess, and issued into light.
All this her letter had so well explained,
The instructed youth might compass what remained;
The cavern-mouth alone was hard to find,
Because the path disused was out of mind:
But in what quarter of the cops it lay,
His eye by certain level could survey:
Yet (for the wood perplexed with thorns he knew)
A frock of leather o'er his limbs he drew;
And thus provided searched the brake around,
Till the choked entry of the cave he found.
Thus all prepared, the promised hour arrived,
So long expected, and so well contrived:
With love to friend, the impatient lover went,
Fenced from the thorns, and trod the deep descent.
The conscious priest, who was suborned before,
Stood ready posted at the postern-door;
The maids in distant rooms were sent to rest,
And nothing wanted but the invited guest.
He came, and, knocking thrice, without delay
The longing lady heard, and turned the key;
At once invaded him with all her charms,
And the first step he made was in her arms:
The leathern outside, boistrous as it was,
Gave way, and bent beneath her strict embrace:
On either side the kisses flew so thick,
That neither he nor she had breath to speak.
The holy man, amazed at what he saw,
Made haste to sanctify the bliss by law;
And muttered fast the matrimony o'er,
For fear committed sin should get before.
His work performed, he left the pair alone,
Because he knew he could not go too soon;
His presence odious, when his task was done.
What thoughts he had beseems not me to say,
Though some surmise he went to fast and pray,
And needed both to drive the tempting thoughts away.
The foe once gone, they took their full delight;
'Twas restless rage and tempest all the night;
For greedy love each moment would employ,
And grudged the shortest pauses of their joy.
Thus were their loves auspiciously begun,
And thus with secret care were carried on,
The stealth it self did appetite restore,
And looked so like a sin, it pleased the more.
The cave was now become a common way,
The wicket, often opened, knew the key.
Love rioted secure, and, long enjoyed,
Was ever eager, and was never cloyed.
But as extremes are short, of ill and good,
And tides the highest mark regorge the flood;
So Fate, that could no more improve their joy,
Took a malicious pleasure to destroy.
Tancred, who fondly loved, and whose delight
Was placed in his fair daughter's daily sight,
Of custom, when his state affairs were done,
Would pass his pleasing hours with her alone;
And, as a father's privilege allowed,
Without attendance of the officious crowd.
It happened once, that when in heat of day
He tried to sleep, as was his usual way,
The balmy slumber fled his wakeful eyes,
And forced him, in his own despite, to rise:
Of sleep forsaken, to relieve his care,
He sought the conversation of the fair;
But with her train of damsels she was gone,
In shady walks the scorching heat to shun:
He would not violate that sweet recess,
And found besides a welcome heaviness
That seized his eyes; and slumber, which forgot,
When called before, to come, now came unsought.
From light retired, behind his daughter's bed,
He for approaching sleep composed his head;
A chair was ready, for that use designed,
So quilted that he lay at ease reclined;
The curtains closely drawn, the light to screen,
As if he had contrived to lie unseen:
Thus covered with an artificial night,
Sleep did his office soon, and sealed his sight.
With Heaven averse, in this ill-omened hour
Was Guiscard summoned to the secret bower,
And the fair nymph, with expectation fired,
From her attending damsels was retired:
For, true to love, she measured time so right
As not to miss one moment of delight.
The garden, seated on the level floor,
She left behind, and locking every door,
Thought all secure; but little did she know,
Blind to her fate, she had enclosed her foe.
Attending Guiscard in his leathern frock
Stood ready, with his thrice repeated knock:
Thrice with a doleful sound the jarring grate
Rung deaf and hollow, and presaged their fate.
The door unlocked, to known delight they haste,
And panting, in each other's arms embraced,
Rush to the conscious bed, a mutual freight,
And heedless press it with their wonted weight.
The sudden bound awaked the sleeping sire,
And showed a sight no parent can desire;
His opening eyes at once with odious view
The love discovered, and the lover knew:
He would have cried; but, hoping that he dreamt,
Amazement tied his tongue, and stopped the attempt.
The ensuing moment all the truth declared,
But now he stood collected and prepared;
For malice and revenge had put him on his guard.
So, like a lion that unheeded lay,
Dissembling sleep, and watchful to betray,
With inward rage he meditates his prey.
The thoughtless pair, indulging their desires,
Alternate kindled and then quenched their fires;
Nor thinking in the shades of death they played,
Full of themselves, themselves alone surveyed,
And, too secure, were by themselves betrayed.
Long time dissolved in pleasure thus they lay,
Till nature could no more suffice their play;
Then rose the youth, and through the cave again
Returned; the princess mingled with her train.
Resolved his unripe vengeance to defer,
The royal spy, when now the coast was clear,
Sought not the garden, but retired unseen,
To brood in secret on his gathered spleen,
And methodize revenge: to death he grieved;
And, but he saw the crime, had scarce believed.
The appointment for the ensuing night he heard;
And, therefore, in the cavern had prepared
Two brawny yeoman of his trusty guard.
Scarce had unwary Guiscard set his foot
Within the farmost entrance of the grot,
When these in secret ambush ready lay,
And, rushing on the sudden, seized the prey.
Encumbered with his frock, without defence,
An easy prize, they led the prisoner thence,
The gloomy sire, too sensible of wrong
To vent his rage in words, restrained his tongue,
And only said, 'Thus servants are preferred
'And trusted, thus their sovereigns they reward:
'Had I not seen, had not these eyes received
'Too clear a proof, I could not have believed.'
He paused, and choked the rest. The youth, who saw
His forfeit life abandoned to the law,
The judge the accuser, and the offence to him,
Who had both power and will to avenge the crime,
No vain defence prepared, but thus replied:
'The faults of Love by Love are justified;
'With unresisted might the monarch reigns,
'He levels mountains and he raises plains,
'And, not regarding difference of degree,
'Abased your daughter and exalted me.'
This bold return with seeming patience heard,
The prisoner was remitted to the guard.
But lonely walking by a winking night,
Sobbed, wept, and groaned, and beat his withered breast,
But would not violate his daughter's rest;
Who long expecting lay, for bliss prepared,
Listening for noise, and grieved that none she heard;
Oft rose, and oft in vain employed the key,
And oft accused her lover of delay,
And passed the tedious hours in anxious thoughts away.
The morrow came; and at his usual hour
Old Tancred visited his daughter's bower;
Her cheek (for such his custom was) he kissed,
Then blessed her kneeling, and her maids dismissed.
The royal dignity thus far maintained,
Now left in private, he no longer feigned;
But all at once his grief and rage appeared,
And floods of tears ran trickling down his beard.
'O Sigismonda,' he began to say;
Thrice he began, and thrice was forced to stay,
Till words with often trying found their way;
'I thought, O Sigismonda, (but how blind
'Are parents' eyes their children's faults to find!)
'Thy virtue, birth, and breeding were above
'A mean desire, and vulgar sense of love;
'Nor less than sight and hearing could convince
'So fond a father, and so just a Prince,
'Of such an unforeseen and unbelieved offece:
'Then what indignant sorrow must I have,
'To see thee lie subjected to my slave!
'A man so smelling of the people's lee,
'The court received him first for charity;
'And since with no degree of honour graced,
'But only suffered where he first was placed;
'A grovelling insect still; and so designed
'By nature's hand, nor born of noble kind;
'A thing by neither man nor woman prized,
'And scarcely known enough to be despised:
'To what has Heaven reserved my age? Ah! why
'Should man, when nature calls, not choose to die;
'Rather than stretch the span of life, to find
'Such ills as Fate has wisely cast behind,
'For those to feel, whom fond desire to live
'Makes covetous of more than life can give!
'Each has his share of good; and when 'tis gone
'The guest, though hungry, cannot rise too soon.
'But I, expecting more, in my own wrong
'Protracting life, have lived a day too long.
'If yesterday could be recalled again,
'Even now would I conclude my happy reign;
'But 'tis too late, my glorious race is run,
'And a dark cloud o'ertakes my setting sun.
'Hadst thou not loved, or loving saved the shame,
'If not the sin, by some illustrious name,
'This little comfort had relieved my mind,
''Twas frailty, not unusual to thy kind:
'But thy low fall beneath thy royal blood
'Shows downward appetite to mix with mud.
'Thus not the least excuse is left for thee,
'Nor the least refuge for unhappy me.
'For him I have resolved: whom by surprise
'I took, and scarce can call it, in disguise;
'For such was his attire, as, with intent
'Of nature, suited to his mean descent:
'The harder question yet remains behind,
'What pains a parent and a prince can find
'To punish an offence of this degenerate kind.
'As I have loved, and yet I love thee more
'Than ever father loved a child before;
'So that indulgence draws me to forgive:
'Nature, that gave thee life, would have thee live,
'But, as a public parent of the state,
'My justice and thy crime requires thy fate.
'Fain would I choose a middle course to steer;
'Nature's too kind, and justice too severe:
'Speak for us both, and to the balance bring
'On either side the father and the king.
'Heaven knows, my heart is bent to favour thee;
'Make it but scanty weight, and leave the rest to me.'
Here stopping with a sigh, he poured a flood
Of tears, to make his last expression good.
She who had heard him speak, nor saw alone
The secret conduct of her love was known,
But he was taken who her soul possessed,
Felt all the pangs of sorrow in her breast:
And little wanted, but a woman's heart
With cries and tears had testified her smart,
But inborn worth, that fortune can control,
New strung and stiffer bent her softer soul;
The heroine assumed the woman's place,
Confirmed her mind, and fortified her face:
Why should she beg, or what could she pretend,
When her stern father had condemned her friend!
Her life she might have had; but her despair
Of saving his had put it past her care:
Resolved on fate, she would not lose her breath,
But, rather than not die, solicit death.
Fixed on this thought, she, not as women use,
Her fault by common frailty would excuse;
But boldly justified her innocence,
And while the fact was owned, denied the offence:
Then with dry eyes, and with an open look,
She met his glance midway, and thus undaunted spoke:
'Tancred, I neither am disposed to make
'Request for life, nor offered life to take;
'Much less deny the deed; but least of all
'Beneath pretended justice weakly fall.
'My words to sacred truth shall be confined,
'My deeds shall show the greatness of my mind.
'That I have loved, I own; that still I love
'I call to witness all the powers above:
'Yet more I own; to Guiscard's love I give
'The small remaining time I have to live;
'And if beyond this life desire can be,
'Not Fate it self shall set my passion free.
'This first avowed, nor folly warped my mind,
'Nor the frail texture of the female kind
'Betrayed my virtue; for too well I knew
'What honour was, and honour had his due:
'Before the holy priest my vows were tied,
'So came I not a strumpet, but a bride:
'This for my fame, and for the public voice;
'Yet more, his merits justified my choic:
'Which had they not, the first election thine,
'That bond dissolved, the next is freely mine;
'Or grant I erred (which yet I must deny),
'Had parents power even second vows to tie,
'Thy little care to mend my widowed nights
'Has forced me to recourse of marriage rites,
'To fill an empty side, and follow known delights.
'What have I done in this, deserving blame?
'State-laws may alter: Nature's are the same;
'Those are usurped on helpless woman-kind,
'Made without our consent, and wanting power to bind.
'Thou, Tancred, better shouldst have understood,
'That, as thy father gave thee flesh and blood,
'So gavest thou me: not from the quarry hewed,
'But of a softer mould, with a sense endued;
'Even softer than thy own, of suppler kind,
'More exquisite of taste, and more than man refined.
'Nor needst thou by thy daughter to be told,
'Though now thy sprightly blood with age be cold,
'Thou hast been young: and canst remember still,
'That when thou hadst the power, thou hadst the will:
'And from the past experience of thy fires,
'Canst tell with what a tide our strong desires
'Come rushing on in youth, and what their rage requires.
'And grant thy youth was exercised in arms,
'When love no leisure found for softer charms,
'My tender age in luxury was trained,
'With idle ease and pageants entertained;
'My hours my own, my pleasures unrestrained.
'So bred, no wonder if I took the bent
'That seemed even warranted by thy consent,
'For, when the father is too fondly kind,
'Such seed he sows, such harvest shall he find.
'Blame then thy self, as reason's law requires,
'(Since nature gave, and thou fomentst my fires);
'If still those appetites continue strong,
'Thou mayest consider I am yet but young.
'Consider too that, having been a wife,
'I must have tasted of a better life,
'And am not to be blamed, if I renew
'By lawful means the joys which then I knew.
'Where was the crime, if pleasure I procured,
'Young, and a woman, and to bliss enured?
'That was my case, and this is my defence:
'I pleased my self, I shunned incontinence,
'And, urged by strong desires, indulged my sense.
'Left to my self, I must avow, I strove
'And, well acquainted with thy native pride,
'Endeavoured what I could not help to hide,
'For which a woman's wit an easy way supplied.
'How this, so well contrived, so closely laid,
'Was known to thee, or by what chance betrayed,
'Is not my care; to please thy pride alone,
'I could have wished it had been still unknown.
'Nor took I Guiscard, by blind fancy led
'Or hasty choice, as many women wed;
'But with deliberate care, and ripened thought,
'At leisure first designed, before I wrought:
'On him I rested after long debate,
'And not without considering fixed my fate:
'His flame was equal, though by mine inspired:
'(For so the difference of our birth required):
'Had he been born like me, like me his love
'Had first begun what mine was forced to move:
'But thus beginning, thus we preserve;
'Our passions yet continue what they were,
'Nor length of trial makes our joys the less sincere.
'At this my choice, though not by thine allowed,
'(Thy judgement herding with the common crowd,)
'Dost less the merit than the man esteem.
'Too sharply, Tancred, by thy pride betrayed,
'Hast thou against the laws of kind inveighed;
'For all the offence is in opinion placed,
'Which deems high birth by lowly choice debased.
'This thought alone with fury fires thy breast,
'(For holy marriage justifies the rest,)
'That I have sunk the glories of the state,
'And mixed my blood with a plebeian mate:
'In which I wonder thou shouldst oversee
'Superior causes, or impute to me
'The fault of Fortune, or the Fates' decree.
'Or call it Heaven's imperial power alone,
'Which moves on springs of justice, though unknown.
'Yet this we see, though ordered for the best,
'The bad exalted, and the good oppressed;
'Permitted laurels grace the lawless brow,
'The unworthy raised, the worthy cast below.
'But leaving that: search we the secret springs,
'And backward trace the principles of things;
'There shall we find, that when the world began,
'One common mass composed the mould of man;
'One paste of flesh on all degrees bestowed,
'And kneaded up alike with moistening blood.
'The same Almighty Power inspired the frame
'With kindled life, and formed the souls the same:
'The faculties of intellect and will
'Dispensed with equal hand, disposed with equal skill,
'Like liberty indulged with choice of good or ill.
'Thus born alike, from virtue first began
'The diffidence that distinguished man from man:
'He claimed no title from descent of blood,
'But that which made him noble made him good.
'Warmed with more particles of heavenly flame,
'He winged his upward flight, and soared to fame;
'The rest remained below, a tribe without a name.
'This law, though custom now diverts the course,
'As Nature's institute, is yet in force;
'Uncancelled, though disused; and he, whose mind
'Is virtuous, is alone of noble kind;
'Though poor in fortune, of celestial race;
'And he commits the crime who calls him base.
'Now lay the line; and measure all thy court
'By inward virtue, not external port,
'And find whom justly to prefer above
'The man on whom my judgement placed my love;
'So shalt thou see his parts and person shine,
'And thus compared, the rest a base degenerate line.
'Nor took I, when I first surveyed thy court,
'His valour or his virtues on report;
'But trustd what I ought to trust alone,
'Relying on thy eyes, and not my own;
'Thy praise (and thine was then the public voice)
'First recommended Guiscard to my choice:
'Directed thus by thee, I looked, and found
'A man I thought deserving to be crowned!
'First by my father pointed to my sight,
'Nor less conspicuous by his native light;
'His mind, his mien, the features of his face,
'Excelling all the rest of human race:
'These were thy thoughts, and thou couldst judge aright,
'Till interest made a jaundice in thy sight.
'Or should I grant thou didst not rightly see,
'Then thou wert first deceived, and I deceived by thee.
'But if thou shalt allege, through pride of mind,
'Thy blood with one of base condition joined,
''Tis false; for 'tis not baseness to be poor:
'His poverty augments thy crime the more;
'Upbraid thy justice with the scant regard
'Of worth; whom princes praise, they should reward.
'Are these the kings entrusted by the crowd
'With wealth, to be dispensed for common good?
'The people sweat not for their king's delight,
'To enrich a pimp, or raise a parasite;
'Theirs is the toil; and he who well has served
'His country, has his country's wealth deserved.
'Even mighty monarchs oft are meanly born,
'And kings by birth to lowest rank return;
'All subject to the power of giddy chance,
'For Fortune can depress, or can advance;
'But true nobility is of the mind,
'Not given by chance, and not to chance resigned.
'For the remaining doubt of thy decree,
'What to resolve, and how dispose of me,
'Be warned to cast that useless care aside,
'My self alone will for my self provide.
'If in thy doting and decrepit age,
'Thy soul, a stranger in thy youth to rage,
'Begins in cruel deeds to take delight,
'Gorge with my blood thy barbarous appetite;
'For I so little am disposed to pray
'For life, I would not cast a wish away.
'Such as it is, the offence is all my own;
'And what to Guiscard is already done,
'Or to be done, is doomed by thy decree,
'That, if not executed first by thee,
'Shall on my person be performed by me.
'Away! with women weep, and leave me here,
'Fixed, like a man, to die without a tear;
'Or save or slay us both this present hour,
''Tis all that Fate has left within thy power.'
She said; nor did her father fail to find
In all she spoke the greatness of her mind;
Yet thought she was not obstinate to die,
Nor deemed the death she promised was so nigh:
Secure in this belief, he left the dame,
Resolved to spare her life, and save her shame;
But that detested object to remove,
To wreak his vengeance, and to cure her love.
Intent on this, a secret order signed
The death of Guiscard to his guards enjoined;
Strangling was chosen, and the night the time;
A mute revenge, and blind as was the crime:
His faithful heart, a bloody sacrifice,
Torn from his breast, to glut the tyrant's eyes,
Closed the severe command; for, slaves to pay,
What kings decree the soldier must obey:
Waged against foes, and, when the wars are o'er,
Fit only to maintain despotic power;
Dangerous to freedom, and desired alone
By kings, who seek an arbitrary throne.
Such were these guards; as ready to have slain
The Prince him self, allured with greater gain;
So was the charge performed with better will,
By men enured to blood, and exercised in ill.
Now, though the sullen sire had eased his mind,
The pomp of his revenge was yet behind,
A goblet rich with gems, and rough with gold,
Of depth and breadth the precious pledge to hold,
With cruel care he chose; the hollow part
Enclosed, the lid concealed the lover's heart.
Then of his trusted mischiefs one he sent,
And bad him, with these words, the gift present:
'Thy father sends thee this to cheer thy breast,
'And glad thy sight with what thou lovest the best,
'As thou hast pleased his eyes, and joyed his mind,
'With what he loved the most of human kind.'
Ere this, the royal dame, who well had weighed
The consequence of what her sire had said,
Fixed on her fate, against the expected hour,
Procured the means to have it in her power;
For this she had distilled with early care
The juice of simples friendly to despair,
A magazine of death, and thus prepared,
Secure to die, the fatal message heard:
Then smiled severe; nor with a troubled look,
Or trembling hand, the funeral present took;
Even kept her countenance, when the lid removed
Disclosed her heart, unfortunately loved.
She needed not to be told within whose breast
It lodged; the message had explained the rest.
Or not amazed, or hiding her surprise,
She sternly on the bearer fixed her eyes;
Then thus: 'Tell Tancred, on his daughter's part,
'The gold, though precious, equals not the heart;
'But he did well to give his best; and I,
'Who wished a worthier urn, forgive his poverty.'
At this she curbed a groan, that else had come,
And pausing, viewed the present in the tomb;
Then to the heart adored devoutly glued
Her lips, and raising it, her speech renewed:
'Even from my day of birth, to this, the bound
'Of my unhappy being, I have found
'My father's care and tenderness expressed;
'But this last act of love excels the rest:
'For this so dear a present, bear him back
'The best return that I can live to make.'
The messenger dispatched, again she viewed
The loved remains, and, sighing, thus pursued:
'Source of my life, and lord of my desires,
'In whom I lived, with whom my soul expires!
'Poor heart, no more the spring of vital heat,
'Cursed be the hands that tore thee from thy seat!
'The course is finished which thy fates decreed,
'And thou from thy corporeal prison freed:
'Soon hast thou reached the goal with mended pace;
'A world of woes dispatched in little space;
'Forced by thy worth, thy foe, in death become
'Thy friend, has lodged thee in a costly tomb.
'There yet remained thy funeral exequies,
'The weeping tribute of thy widow's eyes;
'And those indulgent Heaven has found the way
'That I, before my death, have leave to pay.
'My father even in cruelty is kind,
'Or Heaven has turned the malice of his mind
'To better uses than his hate designed,
'And made the insult, which in his gift appears,
'The means to mourn thee with my pious tears;
'Which I will pay thee down before I go,
'And save myself the pains to weep below,
'If souls can weep. Though once I meant to meet
'My fate with face unmoved, and eyes unwet,
'Yet, since I have thee here in narrow room,
'My tears shall set thee first afloat within thy tomb.
'Then (as I know thy spirit hovers nigh)
'Under thy friendly conduct will I fly
'To regions unexplored, secure to share
'Thy state; nor hell shall punishment appear;
'And Heaven is double Heaven, if thou art there.'
She said. Her brimful eyes, that ready stood,
And only wanted will to weep a flood,
Released their watery store, and poured amain,
Like clouds low hung, a sober shower of rain;
Mute solemn sorrow, free from female noise,
Such as the majesty of grief destroys;
For, bending o'er the cup, the tears she shed
Seemed by the posture to discharge her head,
O'er-filled before; and oft (her mouth applied
To the cold heart) she kissed at once, and cried.
Her maids, who stood amazed, nor knew the cause
Of her complaining, nor whose heart it was,
Yet all dlue measures of her mouring kept,
Did office at the dirge, and by infection swept,
And oft inquired the occasion of her grief,
Unanswered but by sighs, and offered vain relief.
At length, her stock of tears already shed,
She wiped her eyes, she raised her drooping head,
And thus pursued: -- 'O ever faithful heart,
'I have performed the ceremonial part,
'The decencies of grief; it rests behind,
'That, as our bodies were, our souls be joined:
'To thy whate'er abode my shade convey,
'And, as an elder ghost, direct the way!'
She said; and bad the vial to be brought,
Where she before had brewed the deadly draught:
First pouring out the medicinable bane,
The heart her tears had rinsed she bathed again;
Then down her throat the death securely throws,
And quaffs a long oblivion of her woes.
This done, she mounts the genial bed, and there
(Her body first composed with honest care)
Attends the welcome rest; her hands yet hold
Close to her heart the monumental gold;
Nor farther word she spoke, but closed her sight,
And quiet sought the covert of the night.
The damsels, who the while in silence mourned,
Not knowing nor suspecting death suborned,
Yet, as their duty was, to Tancred sent,
Who, conscious of the occasion, feared the event.
Alarmed, and with presaging heart, he came
And drew the curtains, and exposed the dame
To loathsome light; then with a late relief
Made vain efforts to mitigate her grief.
She, what she could, excluding day, her eyes
Kept firmly sealed, and sternly thus replies:
'Tancred, restrain thy tears unsought by me,
'And sorrow unavailing now to thee:
'Did ever man before afflict his mind
'To see the effect of what himself designed?
'Yet, if thou hast remaining in thy heart
'Some sense of love, some unextinguished part
'Of former kindness, largely once professed,
'Let me by that adjure thy hardened breast
'Not to deny thy daughter's last request:
'The secret love which I so long enjoyed,
'And still concealed to gratify thy pride,
'Thou hast disjoined; but, with my dying breath,
'Seek not, I beg thee, to disjoin our death:
'Where'er his corps by thy command is laid,
'Thither let mine in public be conveyed;
'Exposed in open view, and side by side,
'Acknowledged as a bridegroom and a bride.'
The Prince's anguish hindered his reply;
And she, who felt her fate approaching nigh,
Seized the cold heart, and heaving to her breast,
'Here, precious pledge,' she said, 'securely rest.'
These accents were her last; the creeping death
Benumbed her senses first, then stopped her breath.
Thus she for disobedience justly died;
The sire was justly punished for his pride;
The youth, least guilty, suffered for the offence
Of duty violated to his Prince;
Who, late repenting of his cruel deed,
One common sepulchre for both decreed;
Entombed the wretched pair in royal state,
And on their monument inscribed their fate.
The Ballad of Mabel Clare
Ye children of the Land of Gold,
I sing a song to you,
And if the jokes are somewhat old,
The main idea is new.
So be it sung, by hut and tent,
Where tall the native grows;
And understand, the song is meant
For singing through the nose.
There dwelt a hard old cockatoo
On western hills far out,
Where everything is green and blue,
Except, of course, in drought;
A crimson Anarchist was he—
Held other men in scorn—
Yet preached that ev’ry man was free,
And also ‘ekal born.’
He lived in his ancestral hut—
His missus wasn’t there—
And there was no one with him but
His daughter, Mabel Clare.
Her eyes and hair were like the sun;
Her foot was like a mat;
Her cheeks a trifle overdone;
She was a democrat.
A manly independence, born
Among the trees, she had,
She treated womankind with scorn,
And often cursed her dad.
She hated swells and shining lights,
For she had seen a few,
And she believed in ‘women’s rights’
(She mostly got’em, too).
A stranger at the neighb’ring run
Sojourned, the squatter’s guest,
He was unknown to anyone,
But like a swell was dress’d;
He had an eyeglass to his eye,
A collar to his ears,
His feet were made to tread the sky,
His mouth was formed for sneers.
He wore the latest toggery,
The loudest thing in ties—
’Twas generally reckoned he
Was something in disguise.
But who he was, or whence he came,
Was long unknown, except
Unto the squatter, who the name
And noble secret kept.
And strolling in the noontide heat,
Beneath the blinding glare,
This noble stranger chanced to meet
The radiant Mabel Clare.
She saw at once he was a swell—
According to her lights—
But, ah! ’tis very sad to tell,
She met him oft of nights.
And, strolling through a moonlit gorge,
She chatted all the while
Of Ingersoll, and Henry George,
And Bradlaugh and Carlyle:
In short, he learned to love the girl,
And things went on like this,
Until he said he was an Earl,
And asked her to be his.
‘Oh, say no more, Lord Kawlinee,
‘Oh, say no more!’ she said;
‘Oh, say no more, Lord Kawlinee,
‘I wish that I was dead:
‘My head is in a hawful whirl,
‘The truth I dare not tell—
‘I am a democratic girl,
‘And cannot wed a swell!’
‘Oh love!’ he cried, ‘but you forget
‘That you are most unjust;
‘’Twas not my fault that I was set
‘Within the upper crust.
‘Heed not the yarns the poets tell—
‘Oh, darling, do not doubt
‘A simple lord can love as well
‘As any rouseabout!
‘For you I’ll give my fortune up—
‘I’d go to work for you!
‘I’ll put the money in the cup
‘And drop the title, too.
‘Oh, fly with me! Oh, fly with me
‘Across the mountains blue!
‘Hoh, fly with me! Hoh, fly with me!—’
That very night she flew.
They took the train and journeyed down—
Across the range they sped—
Until they came to Sydney town,
Where shortly they were wed.
And still upon the western wild
Admiring teamsters tell
How Mabel’s father cursed his child
For clearing with a swell.
‘What ails my bird this bridal night,’
Exclaimed Lord Kawlinee;
‘What ails my own this bridal night—
‘O love, confide in me!’
‘Oh now,’ she said, ‘that I am yaws
‘You’ll let me weep—I must—
‘I did desert the people’s cause
‘To join the upper crust.’
O proudly smiled his lordship then—
His chimney-pot he floor’d—
‘Look up, my love, and smile again,
‘For I am not a lord!’
His eye-glass from his eye he tore,
The dickey from his breast,
And turned and stood his bride before
‘Unknown I’ve loved you long,’ he said,
‘And I have loved you true—
‘A-shearing in your guv’ner’s shed
‘I learned to worship you.
‘I do not care for place or pelf,
‘For now, my love, I’m sure
‘That you will love me for myself
‘And not because I’m poor.
‘To prove your love I spent my cheque
‘To buy this swell rig-out;
‘So fling your arms about my neck
‘For I’m a rouseabout!’
At first she gave a startled cry,
Then, safe from care’s alarms,
She sigh’d a soul-subduing sigh
And sank into his arms.
He pawned the togs, and home he took
His bride in all her charms;
The proud old cockatoo received
The pair with open arms.
And long they lived, the faithful bride,
The noble rouseabout—
And if she wasn’t satisfied
She never let it out.
- quotes about flying
- quotes about love
- quotes about eyes
- quotes about independence
- quotes about speed
- quotes about humor
- quotes about hate
- quotes about receiving
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.
He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle. His boots were up to the thigh.
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard.
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred.
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened. His face was white and peaked.
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's red-lipped daughter.
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—
"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."
He rose upright in the stirrups. He scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(O, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.
He did not come in the dawning. He did not come at noon;
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
They said no word to the landlord. They drank his ale instead.
But they gagged his daughter, and bound her, to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.
They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest.
They had bound a musket beside her, with the muzzle beneath her breast!
"Now, keep good watch!" and they kissed her. She heard the doomed man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!
She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!
The tip of one finger touched it. She strove no more for the rest.
Up, she stood up to attention, with the muzzle beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love's refrain.
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horsehoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding—
The red coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still.
Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer. Her face was like a light.
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.
He turned. He spurred to the west; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.
Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high.
Blood red were his spurs in the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat;
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.
And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard.
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred.
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
His daughter returned from her boarding school, improved in fashionable airs and expert in manufacturing fashionable toys; but, in her conversation, he sought in vain for that refined and fertile mind which he had fondly expected.
People shopping in the mall
Looks deceive, while there's so much more to every-one than meets the eye
Boy slim and tall
Buying some hair dye
But what people can't see are the scars on his arm
He holds a knife in his hand with wrong use
Tearing away inside of him is the parent caused harm
Everyday he goes home to abuse
Looks deceive, while there's so much more to every-one than meets the eye
Young girl buying some Red Bulls
But what no-one can see are the immoral acts that go on at her place
Dad rapes his daughter as on her hair he pulls
What happens is a disgrace
Looks deceive, while there's so much more
Shy looking lady buying some meat
But what no-one can see is how her husband makes her sore
He pushes her into the seat
As he continues to beat her up
In her face, smashing a glass cup
It will later prove to be a fatal act
As her face is no longer intact
People happily shopping in the mall...
Or so you thought
But, for many, help is their call
To hide their emotions is what they've been taught
Looks deceive, while there's so much more
Of that I'm sure
A Son Reaches For His Father's Hand
A Son Reaches For His Father's Hand
As they walk,
A son reaches
for his father's hand,
barely able to brush his fingertips.
Only sometime later,
the father wraps his fingers
around his son's
The son looks into his father's eyes.
The father looks down,
a tear is heard
as it falls onto the clay soil.
The son tries hard
to move his legs fast,
to follow each of his father's strides.
The father looks down,
finally he adjusts his gait.
His son relieved,
breathes normally once more,
as he gratefully finds his pace.
At the woods' edge
the father chooses the path to the left.
Soon they are out of sight.
They see tall trees, fallen trees, rocks, mushrooms,
one beaver, two fawns,
three ponds with frogs and the like.
The son feels both excited and at peace
as they start on one of the trails back.
But this time the son gets to choose,
left or right.
During the entire walk
They came to the grassland,
no longer just father and son,
as they had begun.
spliced into one.
A simple walk in the woods,
by themselves in nature's blessed bosom,
can quitely re-compose
the fragmenting noises of daily life
into a largo of deepening love.
A moment of simplicity
with one of our own,
can dissove life's duplicity-
denying the frenetic pursuit
of the transient.
The sowing of seeds of love and loyalty,
in the most fragile, fertile of grounds,
creates children as Nature's true royalty.
It is their blessed spirits
which rest softly
on the breast of Mother Nature.
The years elapse, the child
now a father, takes his daughter
for a walk in the woods.
Her age, about the same
as his back then.
He asks her which way she would
like to go.
She points to the right.
soon they are part of the woods.
The father reaches down,
embraces her tiny hand.
She squeezes, then sort of kneeds his.
They see into each others' eyes.
She and he reach for each other.
He lifts her to his chest
as she wraps her arms
tightly around his neck.
The sparrows, look down,
then turning skyward, sing smiling.
The surrounding peacefulness
into father and daughter,
each of them forever together,
with mitered hearts.
Mike August 04/12/2009
A Romance of Canada
An English youth to Canada came,
A labourer, John Roe by name;
His little wealth had made him bold-
Twenty sovereigns in gold,
He was industrious and wise,
And e'en small sums did not despise ;
He added to his wealth each year,
For independence he loved dear.
He knew a labourer he would be
Forever, in the old country ;
His forefathers had tilled the ground
And never one had saved a pound ;
On beds of down they did not lie,
And frugally their goods did buy,
Their one luxury around the door
A few choice flowers their garden bore ;
But never hoped to own the soil,
But serve as hinds to sweat and toil.
To work and toil, for him had charm,
He hoped, some day, to own a farm ;
So he hired with Rueben Tripp,
The wealthiest man in the township.
Tripp's only child, his daughter Jane,
He sought her love, and not in vain ;
As Jacob served for Rachel, dear,
So John he served, year after year-
Till, rich enough to buy bush farm
For to chop down with his strong arm.
The truest nobleman of all,
He lives not in ancestral hall,
But sheltereth family from harm
By logs rolled up with his strong arms
In this young glorious land, so free,
Where each may rear his own roof tree ;
And the chief glory of old days,
Broad fire place, where big logs did blaze-
As much as two strong men could handle-
They served alike for heat and candle.
He his young oxen did adorn
With fine gay ribbons on each horn,
And to his home with joy and pride
he did bring sweet, blooming bride
Such happiness is seldom seen,
Happier far than King or Queen ;
She helped him in the fields to reap,
And span the wool from off their sheep,
And from the yarn she wove the cloth,
All they required, they had for both,
And she was a good tailoress-
Did make his coat and her own dress.
The golden butter that she made
Was of the very finest grade ;
Each grace and virtue she possess'd-
Where 'ere she was that spot was blessed.
And, though they did not have stove then-
Neither did they own an oven-
She filled large pot with well knead dough
And baked fine bread 'mong embers glow.
He each winter the forest trees
Did quickly hew them down with ease ;
For, he to work had a desire
And the skill did soon acquire ;
But, 'round great giants hewed a ring,
Then storms would soon them prostrate bring
For many a time the furious breeze.
Would quick o'erthrow the girdled trees,
And sometimes they would kill the cows .
When they did feed on grass or brouse.
But after reckoning damage all,
A benefit was each windfall ;-
Though good fortune now he sees
Might have been got from walnut trees.
But trees were foes, in his hurry,
All were slain, both oak and cherry,
And to this day he doth incline
To mourn o'er slaughter of the pine,
And reflects how he did o'erwhelm
Many a maple, beach and elm,
And each summer day did toil,
With his steers, drawing logs in pile.
These giants of the forest dead,
Fire did reduce to an ash bed,
And soon potatoes, wheat and corn,
They did the rugged stumps adorn.
And Jane did help him with the hoe,
And well she did keep up her row-
No organs then they had to play,
But she could work and sing all day.
In spring he did live maples tap,
To draw from them the luscious sap ;
He gathered it in big log trough,
Then boiled it down and sugared off
Enough the household for to cheer,
With all its sweets, for the whole year.
And no such thing those times were seen,
As the swift raising stump machine,
And where main road was low and damp
With logs he built a road through swamp.
But a smooth ride could not enjoy
While it was naught but corduroy-
Each year added earth and gravel,
Now smoothly o'er they can travel ;
For, it doth make an excellent road
For John and Jane to go abroad,
And it is now a great highway
Where hundreds travel every day.
There were no roads in early days,
But bridal path, their guide the blaze,
And mills and marts so far away
They never could return same day.
Log school house served as church for all
Of various creeds, and for Town Hall.
These scenes to youth do now seem strange,
So wondrous quick hath been the change.
O'er paths where oxen only trod,
Cars quickly speed o'er the railroad,
And every way, both up and down,
There has sprung up a thriving town.
No more he fights with Forest trees,
But both enjoy their wealth and ease.
Long since the old folks both are gone,
And left the whole to Jane and John.
The log house, too, hath passed away
With all its chincks filled in with clay,
And in its place fine house of stone,
With lawn where choice shrubs are grown,
With sons and daughters they are blest-
The young men say they'll move north-west.
This gives their mother some alarm,
She wants them still on the home farm,
But father will not have them tarry-
They can plow so quick on prairie-
And they find coal makes a good fire
And build their fences of barbed wire ;
They would not be forever gone,
As they could talk by telephone,
The Bride Of Corinth
ONCE a stranger youth to Corinth came,
Who in Athens lived, but hoped that he
From a certain townsman there might claim,
As his father's friend, kind courtesy.
Son and daughter, they
Had been wont to say
Should thereafter bride and bridegroom be.
But can he that boon so highly prized,
Save tis dearly bought, now hope to get?
They are Christians and have been baptized,
He and all of his are heathens yet.
For a newborn creed,
Like some loathsome weed,
Love and truth to root out oft will threat.
Father, daughter, all had gone to rest,
And the mother only watches late;
She receives with courtesy the guest,
And conducts him to the room of state.
Wine and food are brought,
Ere by him besought;
Bidding him good night. she leaves him straight.
But he feels no relish now, in truth,
For the dainties so profusely spread;
Meat and drink forgets the wearied youth,
And, still dress'd, he lays him on the bed.
Scarce are closed his eyes,
When a form in-hies
Through the open door with silent tread.
By his glimmering lamp discerns he now
How, in veil and garment white array'd,
With a black and gold band round her brow,
Glides into the room a bashful maid.
But she, at his sight,
Lifts her hand so white,
And appears as though full sore afraid.
"Am I," cries she, "such a stranger here,
That the guest's approach they could not name?
Ah, they keep me in my cloister drear,
Well nigh feel I vanquish'd by my shame.
On thy soft couch now
Slumber calmly thou!
I'll return as swiftly as I came."
"Stay, thou fairest maiden!" cries the boy,
Starting from his couch with eager haste:
"Here are Ceres', Bacchus' gifts of joy;
Amor bringest thou, with beauty grac'd!
Thou art pale with fear!
Loved one let us here
Prove the raptures the Immortals taste."
"Draw not nigh, O Youth! afar remain!
Rapture now can never smile on me;
For the fatal step, alas! is ta'en,
Through my mother's sick-bed phantasy.
Cured, she made this oath:
'Youth and nature both
Shall henceforth to Heav'n devoted be.'
"From the house, so silent now, are driven
All the gods who reign'd supreme of yore;
One Invisible now rules in heaven,
On the cross a Saviour they adore.
Victims slay they here,
Neither lamb nor steer,
But the altars reek with human gore."
And he lists, and ev'ry word he weighs,
While his eager soul drinks in each sound:
"Can it be that now before my gaze
Stands my loved one on this silent ground?
Pledge to me thy troth!
Through our father's oath:
With Heav'ns blessing will our love be crown'd."
"Kindly youth, I never can be thine!
'Tis my sister they intend for thee.
When I in the silent cloister pine,
Ah, within her arms remember me!
Thee alone I love,
While love's pangs I prove;
Soon the earth will veil my misery."
"No! for by this glowing flame I swear,
Hymen hath himself propitious shown:
Let us to my fathers house repair,
And thoult find that joy is not yet flown,
Sweetest, here then stay,
And without delay
Hold we now our wedding feast alone!"
Then exchange they tokens of their truth;
She gives him a golden chain to wear,
And a silver chalice would the youth
Give her in return of beauty rare.
"That is not for me;
Yet I beg of thee,
One lock only give me of thy hair."
Now the ghostly hour of midnight knell'd,
And she seem'd right joyous at the sign;
To her pallid lips the cup she held,
But she drank of nought but blood-red wine.
For to taste the bread
There before them spread,
Nought he spoke could make the maid incline.
To the youth the goblet then she brought,--
He too quaff'd with eager joy the bowl.
Love to crown the silent feast he sought,
Ah! full love-sick was the stripling's soul.
From his prayer she shrinks,
Till at length he sinks
On the bed and weeps without control.
And she comes, and lays her near the boy:
"How I grieve to see thee sorrowing so!
If thou think'st to clasp my form with joy,
Thou must learn this secret sad to know;
Yes! the maid, whom thou
Call'st thy loved one now,
Is as cold as ice, though white as snow."
Then he clasps her madly in his arm,
While love's youthful might pervades his frame:
"Thou might'st hope, when with me, to grow warm,
E'en if from the grave thy spirit came!
Breath for breath, and kiss!
Overflow of bliss!
Dost not thou, like me, feel passion's flame?"
Love still closer rivets now their lips,
Tears they mingle with their rapture blest,
From his mouth the flame she wildly sips,
Each is with the other's thought possess'd.
His hot ardour's flood
Warms her chilly blood,
But no heart is beating in her breast.
In her care to see that nought went wrong,
Now the mother happen'd to draw near;
At the door long hearkens she, full long,
Wond'ring at the sounds that greet her ear.
Tones of joy and sadness,
And love's blissful madness,
As of bride and bridegroom they appear,
From the door she will not now remove
'Till she gains full certainty of this;
And with anger hears she vows of love,
Soft caressing words of mutual bliss.
"Hush! the cock's loud strain!
But thoult come again,
When the night returns!"--then kiss on kiss.
Then her wrath the mother cannot hold,
But unfastens straight the lock with ease
"In this house are girls become so bold,
As to seek e'en strangers' lusts to please?"
By her lamp's clear glow
Looks she in,--and oh!
Sight of horror!--'tis her child she sees.
Fain the youth would, in his first alarm,
With the veil that o'er her had been spread,
With the carpet, shield his love from harm;
But she casts them from her, void of dread,
And with spirit's strength,
In its spectre length,
Lifts her figure slowly from the bed.
"Mother! mother!"--Thus her wan lips say:
"May not I one night of rapture share?
From the warm couch am I chased away?
Do I waken only to despair?
It contents not thee
To have driven me
An untimely shroud of death to wear?
"But from out my coffin's prison-bounds
By a wond'rous fate I'm forced to rove,
While the blessings and the chaunting sounds
That your priests delight in, useless prove.
Water, salt, are vain
Fervent youth to chain,
Ah, e'en Earth can never cool down love!
"When that infant vow of love was spoken,
Venus' radiant temple smiled on both.
Mother! thou that promise since hast broken,
Fetter'd by a strange, deceitful oath.
Gods, though, hearken ne'er,
Should a mother swear
To deny her daughter's plighted troth.
From my grave to wander I am forc'd,
Still to seek The Good's long-sever'd link,
Still to love the bridegroom I have lost,
And the life-blood of his heart to drink;
When his race is run,
I must hasten on,
And the young must 'neath my vengeance sink,
"Beauteous youth! no longer mayst thou live;
Here must shrivel up thy form so fair;
Did not I to thee a token give,
Taking in return this lock of hair?
View it to thy sorrow!
Grey thoult be to-morrow,
Only to grow brown again when there.
"Mother, to this final prayer give ear!
Let a funeral pile be straightway dress'd;
Open then my cell so sad and drear,
That the flames may give the lovers rest!
When ascends the fire
From the glowing pyre,
To the gods of old we'll hasten, blest."
Alexis And Dora
FARTHER and farther away, alas! at each moment the vessel
Hastens, as onward it glides, cleaving the foam-cover'd flood!
Long is the track plough'd up by the keel where dolphins are sporting,
Following fast in its rear, while it seems flying pursuit.
All forebodes a prosperous voyage; the sailor with calmness
Leans 'gainst the sail, which alone all that is needed performs.
Forward presses the heart of each seamen, like colours and streamers;
Backward one only is seen, mournfully fix'd near the mast,
While on the blue tinged mountains, which fast are receding, he gazeth,
And as they sink in the sea, joy from his bosom departs.
Vanish'd from thee, too, oh Dora, is now the vessel that robs thee
Of thine Alexis, thy friend,--ah, thy betrothed as well!
Thou, too, art after me gazing in vain. Our hearts are still throbbing,
Though, for each other, yet ah! 'gainst one another no more.
Oh, thou single moment, wherein I found life! thou outweighest
Every day which had else coldly from memory fled.
'Twas in that moment alone, the last, that upon me descended
Life, such as deities grant, though thou perceived'st it not.
Phoebus, in vain with thy rays dost thou clothe the ether in glory:
Thine all-brightening day hateful alone is to me.
Into myself I retreat for shelter, and there, in the silence,
Strive to recover the time when she appear'd with each day.
Was it possible beauty like this to see, and not feel it?
Work'd not those heavenly charms e'en on a mind dull as thine?
Blame not thyself, unhappy one! Oft doth the bard an enigma
Thus propose to the throng, skillfully hidden in words.
Each one enjoys the strange commingling of images graceful,
Yet still is wanting the word which will discover the sense.
When at length it is found, the heart of each hearer is gladden'd,
And in the poem he sees meaning of twofold delight.
Wherefore so late didst thou remove the bandage, oh Amor,
Which thou hadst placed o'er mine eyes,--wherefore remove it so late?
Long did the vessel, when laden, lie waiting for favouring breezes,
'Till in kindness the wind blew from the land o'er the sea.
Vacant times of youth! and vacant dreams of the future!
Ye all vanish, and nought, saving the moment, remains.
Yes! it remains,--my joy still remains! I hold thee; my Dora,
And thine image alone, Dora, by hope is disclos'd.
Oft have I seen thee go, with modesty clad, to the temple,
While thy mother so dear solemnly went by thy side.
Eager and nimble thou wert, in bearing thy fruit to the market,
Boldly the pail from the well didst thou sustain on thy head.
Then was reveal'd thy neck, then seen thy shoulders so beauteous,
Then, before all things, the grace filling thy motions was seen.
Oft have I fear'd that the pitcher perchance was in danger of falling,
Yet it ever remain'd firm on the circular cloth.
Thus, fair neighbour, yes, thus I oft was wont to observe thee,
As on the stars I might gaze, as I might gaze on the moon,
Glad indeed at the sight, yet feeling within my calm bosom
Not the remotest desire ever to call them mine own.
Years thus fleeted away! Although our houses were only
Twenty paces apart, yet I thy threshold ne'er cross'd.
Now by the fearful flood are we parted! Thou liest to Heaven,
Billow! thy beautiful blue seems to me dark as the night.
All were now in movement; a boy to the house of my father
Ran at full speed and exclaim'd: 'Hasten thee quick to the strand
Hoisted the sail is already, e'en now in the wind it is flutt'ring,
While the anchor they weigh, heaving it up from the sand;
Come, Alexis, oh come!'--My worthy stout-hearted father
Press'd, with a blessing, his hand down on my curly-lock'd head,
While my mother carefully reach'd me a newly-made bundle,
'Happy mayst thou return!' cried they--' both happy and rich!'
Then I sprang away, and under my arm held the bundle,
Running along by the wall. Standing I found thee hard by,
At the door of thy garden. Thou smilingly saidst then 'Alexis!
Say, are yon boisterous crew going thy comrades to be?
Foreign coasts will thou visit, and precious merchandise purchase,
Ornaments meet for the rich matrons who dwell in the town.
Bring me, also, I praythee, a light chain; gladly I'll pay thee,
Oft have I wish'd to possess some stich a trinket as that.'
There I remain'd, and ask'd, as merchants are wont, with precision
After the form and the weight which thy commission should have.
Modest, indeed, was the price thou didst name! I meanwhile was gazing
On thy neck which deserv'd ornaments worn but by queens.
Loudly now rose the cry from the ship; then kindly thou spakest
'Take, I entreat thee, some fruit out of the garden, my friend
Take the ripest oranges, figs of the whitest; the ocean
Beareth no fruit, and, in truth, 'tis not produced by each land.'
So I entered in. Thou pluckedst the fruit from the branches,
And the burden of gold was in thine apron upheld.
Oft did I cry, Enough! But fairer fruits were still falling
Into the hand as I spake, ever obeying thy touch.
Presently didst thou reached the arbour; there lay there a basket,
Sweet blooming myrtle trees wav'd, as we drew nigh, o'er our heads.
Then thou began'st to arrange the fruit with skill and in silence:
First the orange, which lay heavy as though 'twere of gold,
Then the yielding fig, by the slightest pressure disfigur'd,
And with myrtle the gift soon was both cover'd and grac'd.
But I raised it not up. I stood. Our eyes met together,
And my eyesight grew dim, seeming obscured by a film,
Soon I felt thy bosom on mine! Mine arm was soon twining
Round thy beautiful form; thousand times kiss'd I thy neck.
On my shoulder sank thy head; thy fair arms, encircling,
Soon rendered perfect the ring knitting the rapturous pair.
Amor's hands I felt: he press'd us together with ardour,
And, from the firmament clear, thrice did it thunder; then tears
Stream'd from mine eyes in torrents, thou weptest, I wept, both were weeping,
And, 'mid our sorrow and bliss, even the world seem'd to die.
Louder and louder they calI'd from the strand; my feet would no longer
Bear my weight, and I cried:--'Dora! and art thou not mine?'
'Thine forever!' thou gently didst say. Then the tears we were shedding
Seem'd to be wiped from our eyes, as by the breath of a god.
Nearer was heard the cry 'Alexis!' The stripling who sought me
Suddenly peep'd through the door. How he the basket snatch'd up!
How he urged me away! how press'd I thy hand! Wouldst thou ask me
How the vessel I reach'd? Drunken I seem'd, well I know.
Drunken my shipmates believed me, and so had pity upon me;
And as the breeze drove us on, distance the town soon obscur'd.
'Thine for ever!' thou, Dora, didst murmur; it fell on my senses
With the thunder of Zeus! while by the thunderer's throne
Stood his daughter, the Goddess of Love; the Graces were standing
Close by her side! so the bond beareth an impress divine!
Oh then hasten, thou ship, with every favouring zephyr!
Onward, thou powerful keel, cleaving the waves as they foam!
Bring me unto the foreign harbour, so that the goldsmith
May in his workshop prepare straightway the heavenly pledge!
Ay, of a truth, the chain shall indeed be a chain, oh my Dora!
Nine times encircling thy neck, loosely around it entwin'd
Other and manifold trinkets I'll buy thee; gold-mounted bracelets,
Richly and skillfully wrought, also shall grace thy fair hand.
There shall the ruby and emerald vie, the sapphire so lovely
Be to the jacinth oppos'd, seeming its foil; while the gold
Holds all the jewels together, in beauteous union commingled.
Oh, how the bridegroom exults, when he adorns his betroth'd!
Pearls if I see, of thee they remind me; each ring that is shown me
Brings to my mind thy fair hand's graceful and tapering form.
I will barter and buy; the fairest of all shalt thou choose thee,
Joyously would I devote all of the cargo to thee.
Yet not trinkets and jewels alone is thy loved one procuring;
With them he brings thee whate'er gives to a housewife delight.
Fine and woollen coverlets, wrought with an edging of purple,
Fit for a couch where we both, lovingly, gently may rest;
Costly pieces of linen. Thou sittest and sewest, and clothest
Me, and thyself, and, perchance, even a third with it too.
Visions of hope, deceive ye my heart! Ye kindly Immortals,
Soften this fierce-raging flame, wildly pervading my breast!
Yet how I long to feel them again, those rapturous torments.
When, in their stead, care draws nigh, coldly and fearfully calm.
Neither the Furies' torch, nor the hounds of hell with their harking
Awe the delinquent so much, down in the plains of despair,
As by the motionless spectre I'm awed, that shows me the fair one
Far away: of a truth, open the garden-door stands!
And another one cometh! For him the fruit, too, is falling,
And for him, also, the fig strengthening honey doth yield!
Doth she entice him as well to the arbour? He follows? Oh, make me
Blind, ye Immortals! efface visions like this from my mind!
Yes, she is but a maiden! And she who to one doth so quickly
Yield, to another ere long, doubtless, Will turn herself round.
Smile not, Zeus, for this once, at an oath so cruelly broken!
Thunder more fearfully! Strike!--Stay--thy fierce lightnings withhold!
Hurl at me thy quivering bolt! In the darkness of midnight
Strike with thy lightning this mast, make it a pitiful wreck!
Scatter the planks all around, and give to the boisterous billows
All these wares, and let me be to the dolphins a prey
Now, ye Muses, enough! In vain would ye strive to depicture
How, in a love-laden breast, anguish alternates with bliss.
Ye cannot heal the wounds, it is true, that love hath inflicted;
Yet from you only proceeds, kindly ones, comfort and balm.
The Beggar's Daughter of Bednall-Green
Part the First
Itt was a blind beggar, had long lost his sight,
He had a faire daughter of bewty most bright;
And many a gallant brave suiter had shee,
For none was soe comelye as pretty Bessee.
And though shee was of favor most faire,
Yett seing shee was but a poor beggars heyre,
Of ancyent housekeepers despised was shee,
Whose sonnes came as suitors to prettye Bessee.
Wherefore in great sorrow faire Bessy did say,
'Good father, and mother, let me goe away
To seeke out my fortune, whatever itt bee.'
This suite then they granted to prettye Bessee.
Then Bessy, that was of bewtye soe bright,
All cladd in gray russett, and late in the night
From father and mother alone parted shee,
Who sighed and sobbed for prettye Bessee.
Shee went till shee came to Stratford-le-Bow,
Then knew shee not whither, nor which way to goe;
With teares shee lamented her hard destinie,
So sadd and soe heavy was pretty Bessee.
Shee kept on her journey untill it was day,
And went unto Rumford along the hye way;
Where at the Queenes Armes entertained was shee,
Soe faire and wel favoured was pretty Bessee.
Shee had not beene there a month to an end,
But master and mistres and all was her friend;
And every brave gallant that once did her see
Was straight-way enamoured of pretty Bessee.
Great gifts they did send her of silver and gold,
And in their songs daylye her love was extold;
Her beawtye was blazed in every degree,
Soe faire and soe comelye was pretty Bessee.
The young men of Rumford in her had their joy;
Shee shewed herself courteous, and modestlye coye,
And at her commandment still wold they bee,
Soe fayre and so comelye was pretty Bessee.
Foure suitors att once unto her did goe,
They craved her favor, but still she sayd noe;
'I wild not wish gentles to marry with mee,-'
Yett ever they honored pretty Bessee.
The first of them was a gallant young knight,
And he came unto her disguisde in the night;
The second a gentleman of good degree,
Who wooed and sued for prettye Bessee.
A merchant of London, whose wealth was not small,
He was the third suiter, and proper withall;
Her masters owne sonne the fourth man must bee,
Who swore he would dye for pretty Bessee.
'And, if thou wilt marry with mee,' quoth the knight,
'Ile make thee a ladye with joy and delight;
My hart's so enthralled by thy bewtie,
That soone I shall dye for prettye Bessee.'
The gentleman sayd, 'Come marry with mee,
As fine as a ladye my Bessy shal bee;
My life is distressed, O heare me,' quoth hee,
'And grant me thy love, my prettye Bessee.'
'Let me bee thy husband,' the merchant cold say,
'Thou shalt live in London both gallant and gay;
My shippes shall bring home rych jewells for thee,
And I will for ever love pretty Bessee.'
Then Bessy shee sighed, and thus shee did say;
'My father and mother I meane to obey;
First gett their good will, and be faithfull to me,
And you shall enjoye your prettye Bessee.'
To every one this answer shee made;
Wherfore unto her they joyfullye sayd,
'This thing to fulfill we all doe agree;
But where dwells thy father, my prettye Bessee?'
'My father,' shee said, 'is soone to be seene;
The seely blind beggar of Bednall-greene,
That daylye sits begging for charitie,
He is the good father of pretty Bessee.
'His markes and his tokens are knowen very well;
He always is led with a dogg and a bell;
A seely olde man, God knoweth, is hee,
Yet hee is the father of pretty Bessee.'
'Nay then,' quoth the merchant, 'thou art not for mee;'
'Nor,' quoth the innholder, 'my wiffe thou shalt bee;'
'I lothe,' sayd the gentle, 'a beggars degree,
And therefore, adewe, my pretty Bessee!'
'Why then,' quoth the knight, 'hap better or worse,
I waighe not true love by the waight of the pursse,
And bewtye is bewtye in every degree;
Then welcome unto me, my pretty Bessee.
'With thee to thy father forthwith I will goe.'
'Nay soft,' quoth his kinsmen, 'it must not be soe:
A poor beggars daughter noe ladye shal bee;
Then take thy adew of pretty Bessee.'
But soone after this, by breake of the day,
The knight had from Rumford stole Bessy away;
The younge men of Rumford, as thicke might bee,
Rode after to feitch againe pretty Bessee.
As swifte as the winde to ryde they were seene,
Until they came neare unto Rednall-greene,
And as the knight lighted most courteouslie,
They all fought against him for pretty Bessee.
But rescew came speedilye over the plaine,
Or else the young knight for his love had been slaine;
This fray being ended, then straitway he see
His kinsmen come rayling at pretty Bessee.
Then spake the blind beggar, 'Although I bee poore,
Yett rayle not against my child at my own doore;
Though shee be not decked in velvett and pearle,
Yet will I dropp angells with you for my girle;
'And then if my gold may better her birthe,
And equall the gold that you lay on the earth,
Then neyther rayle nor grudge you to see
The blind beggars daughter a lady to bee.
'But first you shall promise, and have itt well knowne,
The gold that you drop shall all be your owne.'
With that they replyed, 'Contented bee wee.'
'Then here's,' quoth the beggar, 'for pretty Bessee.'
With that an angell he cast on the ground,
And dropped, in angels, full three thousand pound;
And oftentimes itt was proved most plaine,
For the gentlemens one, the beggar droppt twayne:
Soe that the place wherin they did sitt
With gold it was covered every whitt;
The gentlemen then having dropt all their store,
Sayd, 'Now, beggar, hold, for wee have noe more.
'Thou hast fulfilled thy promise arright;'
'Then marry,' quoth he, 'my girle to this knight;
And heere,' added hee, 'I will now throwe you downe,
A hundred pounds more to buy her a gowne.'
The gentlemen all, that this treasure had seene,
Admired the beggar of Bednall-greene.
And all those that were her suitors before,
There fleshe for very anger they tore.
Thus was faire Besse matched to the knight,
And then made a ladye in others despite:
A fairer ladye there never was seene,
Than the blind beggars daughter of Bednall-greene.
But of their sumptuous marriage and feast,
What brave lords and knights thither were prest,
The Second Fitt shall set forth to your sight,
With marveilous pleasure, and wished delight.
Part the Second
Off a blind beggars daughter most bright,
That late was betrothed unto a younge knight,
All the discourse therof you did see,
But now comes the wedding of pretty Bessee.
Within a gorgeous palace most brave,
Adorned with all the cost they cold have,
This wedding was kept most sumptuouslie,
And all for the creditt of pretty Bessee.
All kind of dainties and delicates sweete
Were bought for the banquet, as it was most meete;
Partridge, and plover, and venison most free,
Against the brave wedding of pretty Bessee.
This marriage through England was spread by report,
Soe that a great number thereto did resort,
Of nobles and gentles in every degree,
And all for the fame of prettye Bessee.
To church then went this gallant younge knight;
His bride followed after, an angell most bright,
With troopes of ladyes, the like nere was seene
As went with sweete Bessy of Bednall-greene.
This marryage being solempnized then,
With musicke performed by the skilfullest men,
The nobles and gentles sate downe at that tyde,
Each one admiring the beautifull bryde.
Now, after the sumptuous dinner was done,
To talke and to reason a number begunn,
They talkt of the blind beggars daughter most bright,
And what with his daughter he gave to the knight.
Then spake the nobles, 'Much marveil have wee
This jolly blind beggar wee cannot here see.'
'My Lords,' qouth the bride, 'my father's so base
He is loth with his presence these states to disgrace.'
'The prayse of a woman in questyon to bringe,
Before her own face, were a flattering thinge;
But wee thinke thy father's baseness,' quoth they,
'Might by thy bewtye be cleane put away.'
They had noe sooner these pleasant words spoke,
But in comes the beggar cladd in a silke cloke,
A faire velvet capp and a fether had hee,
And now a musicyan, forsooth, he wold bee.
He had a daintye lute under his arme,
He touched the strings, which made such a charme;
Saies, 'Please you to heare any musicke of mee,
Ile sing you a song of pretty Bessee.'
With that his lute he twanged straightway,
And thereon begann most sweetlye to play,
And after that lessons were playd two or three,
He strayn'd out this song most delicatlie:
'A poore beggars daughter did dwell on a greene,
Who for her fairenesse might well be a queene,
A blithe bonny lasse, and a daintye was shee,
And many one called her pretty Bessee.
'Her father hee had noe goods, nor noe land,
But beggd for a penny all day with his hand,
And yett to her marriage hee gave thousands three,
And still he hath somewhat for pretty Bessee.
'And if any one here her berth doe disdaine,
Her father is ready, with might and with maine,
To proove shee is come of noble degree,
Therfore never flout att prettye Bessee.'
With that the lords and the companye round
With harty laughter were readye to swound;
Att last said the lords, 'Full well wee may see,
The bride and the beggar's behoulden to thee.'
On this the bride all blushing did rise,
The pearlie dropps standing within her faire eyes;
'O pardon my father, grave nobles,' quoth shee,
'That throughe blind affection thus doteth on mee.'
'If this be thy father,' the nobles did say,
'Well may he be proud of this happy day,
Yett by his countenance well may wee see,
His birth and his fortune did never agree.
'And therfore, blind man, we pray thee bewray,
(And looke that the truth thou to us doe say),
Thy birth and thy parentage what itt may bee,
For the love that thou bearest to pretty Bessee.'
'Then give me leave, nobles and gentles, each one,
One song more to sing and then I have done;
And if that itt may not winn good report,
Then doe not give me a Groat for my sport:
'[Sir Simon de Montfort my subject shal bee;
Once chiefe of all the great barons was hee,
Yet fortune so cruelle this lorde did abase,
Now loste and forgotten are hee and his race.
'When the barons in armes did King Henrye oppose,
Sir Simon de Montfort their leader they chose;
A leader of courage undaunted was hee,
And oft-times he made their enemyes flee.
'At length in the battle on Evashame plaine
The barons were routed, and Montfort was slaine;
Most fatall that battel did prove unto thee,
Thoughe thou wast not borne then, my prettye Bessee!
'Along with the nobles that fell at that tyde,
His eldest son Henrye, who fought by his side,
Was fellde by a blowe he receivde in the fight!
A blowe that deprivde him for ever of sight.
'Among the dead bodyes all lifelesse he laye,
Till evening drewe on of the following daye,
When by a yong ladye discoverd was hee;
And this was thy mother, my prettye Bessee!
'A barons faire daughter stept forth in the nighte
To search for her father who fell in the fight,
And seeing yong Montfort, where gasping he laye,
Was moved with pitye and brought him awaye.
'In secrette she nurst him and swaged his paine,
While he throughe the realme was beleevd to be slaine;
At lengthe his faire bride she consented to bee,
And made him glad father of prettye Bessee.
'And nowe lest oure foes our lives sholde betraye,
We clothed ourselves in beggars arraye;
Her jewelles shee solde, and hither came wee;
All our comfort and care was our prettye Bessee.]
'And here have wee lived in fortunes despite,
Thoughe poore, yet contented, with humble delighte:
Full forty winters thus have I beene
A silly blind beggar of Bednall-greene.
'And here, noble lordes, is ended the song
Of one that once to your own ranke did belong;
And thus have you learned a secrette from mee,
That ne'er had beene knowne but for prettye Bessee.'
Now when the faire companye everye one
Had heard the strange tale in the song he had showne,
They all were amazed, as well they might bee,
Both at the blinde beggar and pretty Bessee.
With that the faire bride they all did embrace,
Saying, 'Sure thou art come of an honourable race;
Thy father likewise is of noble degree,
And thou art well worthy a lady to bee.'
Thus was the feast ended with joye and delighte;
A bridegroome most happy then was the young knighte,
In joy and felicitie long lived hee,
All with his faire ladye, the pretty Bessee.
The Birth of The War-God (Canto First) - Uma's Nativity
Far in the north Himálaya, lifting high
His towery summits till they cleave the sky,
Spans the wide land from east to western sea,
Lord of the hills, instinct with deity.
For him, when Prithu ruled in days of old
The rich earth, teeming with her gems and gold,
The vassal hills and Meru drained her breast,
To deck Himálaya, for they loved him best;
And earth, the mother, gave her store to fill
With herbs and sparkling ores the royal hill.
Proud mountain-king! his diadem of snow
Dims not the beauty of his gems below.
For who can gaze upon the moon, and dare
To mark one spot less brightly glorious there?[Pg 2]
Who, 'mid a thousand virtues, dares to blame
One shade of weakness in a hero's fame?
Oft, when the gleamings of his mountain brass
Flash through the clouds and tint them as they pass,
Those glories mock the hues of closing day,
And heaven's bright wantons hail their hour of play;
Try, ere the time, the magic of their glance,
And deck their beauty for the twilight dance.
Dear to the sylphs are the cool shadows thrown
By dark clouds wandering round the mountain's zone,
Till frightened by the storm and rain they seek
Eternal sunshine on each loftier peak.
Far spread the wilds where eager hunters roam,
Tracking the lion to his dreary home.
For though the melting snow has washed away
The crimson blood-drops of the wounded prey,
Still the fair pearls that graced his forehead tell
Where the strong elephant, o'ermastered, fell,
And clinging to the lion's claws, betray,
Falling at every step, the mighty conqueror's way.
There birch-trees wave, that lend their friendly aid
To tell the passion of the love-lorn maid,
So quick to learn in metal tints to mark
Her hopes and fears upon the tender bark.
List! breathing from each cave, Himálaya leads
The glorious hymn with all his whispering reeds,[Pg 3]
Till heavenly minstrels raise their voice in song,
And swell his music as it floats along.
There the fierce elephant wounds the scented bough
To ease the torment of his burning brow;
And bleeding pines their odorous gum distil
To breathe rare fragrance o'er the sacred hill.
There magic herbs pour forth their streaming light
From mossy caverns through the darksome night,
And lend a torch to guide the trembling maid
Where waits her lover in the leafy shade.
Yet hath he caves within whose inmost cells
In tranquil rest the murky darkness dwells,
And, like the night-bird, spreads the brooding wing
Safe in the shelter of the mountain-king,
Unscorned, uninjured; for the good and great
Spurn not the suppliant for his lowly state.
Why lingers yet the heavenly minstrel's bride
On the wild path that skirts Himálaya's side?
Cold to her tender feet—oh, cold—the snow,
Why should her steps—her homeward steps—be slow?
'Tis that her slender ankles scarce can bear
The weight of beauty that impedes her there;
Each rounded limb, and all her peerless charms,
That broad full bosom, those voluptuous arms.[Pg 4]
E'en the wild kine that roam his forests bring
The royal symbols to the mountain-king.
With tails outspread, their bushy streaming hair
Flashes like moonlight through the parted air.
What monarch's fan more glorious might there be,
More meet to grace a king as proud as he?
There, when the nymphs, within the cave's recess,
In modest fear their gentle limbs undress,
Thick clouds descending yield a friendly screen,
And blushing beauty bares her breast unseen.
With pearly dewdrops Gangá loads the gale
That waves the dark pines towering o'er the vale,
And breathes in welcome freshness o'er the face
Of wearied hunters when they quit the chase.
So far aloft, amid Himálayan steeps,
Crouched on the tranquil pool the lotus sleeps,
That the bright Seven who star the northern sky
Cull the fair blossoms from their seats on high;
And when the sun pours forth his morning glow
In streams of glory from his path below,
They gain new beauty as his kisses break
His darlings' slumber on the mountain lake.
Well might that ancient hill by merit claim
The power and glory of a monarch's name;[Pg 5]
Nurse of pure herbs that grace each holy rite,
Earth's meetest bearer of unyielding might.
The Lord of Life for this ordained him king,
And bade him share the sacred offering.
Gladly obedient to the law divine,
He chose a consort to prolong his line.
No child of earth, born of the Sage's will,
The fair nymph Mená pleased the sovran hill.
To her he sued, nor was his prayer denied,
The Saints' beloved was the mountain's bride.
Crowned with all bliss and beauty were the pair,
He passing glorious, she was heavenly fair.
Swiftly the seasons, winged with love, flew on,
And made her mother of a noble son,
The great Maináka, who in triumph led
His Serpent beauties to the bridal bed;
And once when Indra's might those pinions rent
That bare the swift hills through the firmament,
(So fierce his rage, no mountain could withstand
The wild bolt flashing from his red right hand,)
He fled to Ocean, powerful to save,
And hid his glory 'neath the friendly wave.
A gentle daughter came at length to bless
The royal mother with her loveliness;
Born once again, for in an earlier life
High fame was hers, as Śiva's faithful wife.[Pg 6]
But her proud sire had dared the God to scorn;
Then was her tender soul with anguish torn,
And jealous for the lord she loved so well,
Her angered spirit left its mortal cell.
Now deigned the maid, a lovely boon, to spring
From that pure lady and the mountain-king.
When Industry and Virtue meet and kiss,
Holy their union, and the fruit is bliss.
Blest was that hour, and all the world was gay,
When Mená's daughter saw the light of day.
A rosy glow suffused the brightening sky;
An odorous breeze came sweeping softly by.
Breathed round the hill a sweet unearthly strain,
And the glad heavens poured down their flowery rain.
That fair young maiden diademmed with light
Made her dear mother's fame more sparkling bright.
As the blue offspring of the Turquois Hills
The parent mount with richer glory fills,
When the cloud's voice has caused the gem to spring,
Responsive to its gentle thundering.
Then was it sweet, as days flew by, to trace
The dawning charm of every infant grace,
Even as the crescent moons their glory pour
More full, more lovely than the eve before.
As yet the maiden was unknown to fame;
Child of the Mountain was her only name.[Pg 7]
But when her mother, filled with anxious care
At her stern penance, cried Forbear! Forbear!
To a new title was the warning turned,
And Umá was the name the maiden earned.
Loveliest was she of all his lovely race,
And dearest to her father. On her face
Looking with love he ne'er could satisfy
The thirsty glances of a parent's eye.
When spring-tide bids a thousand flowerets bloom
Loading the breezes with their rich perfume,
Though here and there the wandering bee may rest,
He loves his own—his darling mango—best.
The Gods' bright river bathes with gold the skies,
And pure sweet eloquence adorns the wise.
The flambeau's glory is the shining fire;
She was the pride, the glory of her sire,
Shedding new lustre on his old descent,
His loveliest child, his richest ornament.
The sparkling Gangá laved her heavenly home,
And o'er her islets would the maiden roam
Amid the dear companions of her play
With ball and doll to while the hours away.
As swans in autumn in assembling bands
Fly back to Gangá's well-remembered sands:
As herbs beneath the darksome shades of night
Collect again their scattered rays of light:[Pg 8]
So dawned upon the maiden's waking mind
The far-off memory of her life resigned,
And all her former learning in its train,
Feelings, and thoughts, and knowledge came again.
Now beauty's prime, that craves no artful aid,
Ripened the loveliness of that young maid:
That needs no wine to fire the captive heart,—
The bow of Love without his flowery dart.
There was a glory beaming from her face,
With love's own light, and every youthful grace:
Ne'er had the painter's skilful hand portrayed
A lovelier picture than that gentle maid;
Ne'er sun-kissed lily more divinely fair
Unclosed her beauty to the morning air.
Bright as a lotus, springing where she trod,
Her glowing feet shed radiance o'er the sod.
That arching neck, the step, the glance aside,
The proud swans taught her as they stemmed the tide,
Whilst of the maiden they would fondly learn
Her anklets' pleasant music in return.
When the Almighty Maker first began
The marvellous beauty of that child to plan,
In full fair symmetry each rounded limb
Grew neatly fashioned and approved by Him:
The rest was faultless, for the Artist's care
Formed each young charm most excellently fair,[Pg 9]
As if his moulding hand would fain express
The visible type of perfect loveliness.
What thing of beauty may the poet dare
With the smooth wonder of those limbs compare?
The young tree springing by the brooklet's side?
The rounded trunk, the forest-monarch's pride?
Too rough that trunk, too cold that young tree's stem;
A softer, warmer thing must vie with them.
Her hidden beauties though no tongue may tell,
Yet Śiva's love will aid the fancy well:
No other maid could deem her boasted charms
Worthy the clasp of such a husband's arms.
Between the partings of fair Umá's vest
Came hasty glimpses of a lovely breast:
So closely there the sweet twin hillocks rose,
Scarce could the lotus in the vale repose.
And if her loosened zone e'er slipped below,
All was so bright beneath the mantle's flow,
So dazzling bright, as if the maid had braced
A band of gems to sparkle round her waist;
And the dear dimples of her downy skin
Seemed fitting couch for Love to revel in.
Her arms were softer than the flowery dart,
Young Káma's arrow, that subdues the heart;
For vain his strife with Śiva, till at last
He chose those chains to bind his conqueror fast.[Pg 10]
E'en the new moon poured down a paler beam
When her long fingers flashed their rosy gleam,
And brighter than Aśoka's blossom threw
A glory round, like summer's evening hue.
The strings of pearl across her bosom thrown
Increased its beauty, and enhanced their own,—
Her breast, her jewels seeming to agree,
The adorner now, and now the adorned to be.
When Beauty gazes on the fair full moon,
No lotus charms her, for it blooms at noon:
If on that flower she feed her raptured eye,
No moon is shining from the mid-day sky;
She looked on Umá's face, more heavenly fair,
And found their glories both united there.
The loveliest flower that ever opened yet
Laid in the fairest branch: a fair pearl set
In richest coral, with her smile might vie
Flashing through lips bright with their rosy dye.
And when she spoke, upon the maiden's tongue,
Distilling nectar, such rare accents hung,
The sweetest note that e'er the Koïl poured
Seemed harsh and tuneless as a jarring chord.
The melting glance of that soft liquid eye,
Tremulous like lilies when the breezes sigh,
Which learnt it first—so winning and so mild—
The gentle fawn, or Mená's gentler child?[Pg 11]
And oh, the arching of her brow! so fine
Was the rare beauty of its pencilled line,
Love gazed upon her forehead in despair
And spurned the bow he once esteemed so fair:
Her long bright tresses too might shame the pride
Of envious yaks who roamed the mountain-side.
Surely the Maker's care had been to bring
From Nature's store each sweetest, loveliest thing,
As if the world's Creator would behold
All beauty centred in a single mould.
When holy Nárad—Saint who roams at will—
First saw the daughter of the royal hill,
He hailed the bride whom Śiva's love should own
Half of himself, and partner of his throne.
Himálaya listened, and the father's pride
Would yield the maiden for no other's bride:
To Fire alone of all bright things we raise
The holy hymn, the sacrifice of praise.
But still the monarch durst not, could not bring
His child, unsought, to Heaven's supremest King;
But as a good man fears his earnest prayer
Should rise unheeded, and with thoughtful care
Seeks for some friend his eager suit to aid,
Thus great Himálaya in his awe delayed.[Pg 12]
Since the sad moment when his gentle bride
In the full glory of her beauty died,
The mournful Śiva in the holy grove
Had dwelt in solitude, and known not love.
High on that hill where musky breezes throw
Their balmy odours o'er eternal snow;
Where heavenly minstrels pour their notes divine,
And rippling Gangá laves the mountain pine,
Clad in a coat of skin all rudely wrought
He lived for prayer and solitary thought.
The faithful band that served the hermit's will
Lay in the hollows of the rocky hill,
Where from the clefts the dark bitumen flowed.
Tinted with mineral dyes their bodies glowed;
Clad in rude mantles of the birch-tree's rind,
With bright red garlands was their hair entwined.
The holy bull before his master's feet
Shook the hard-frozen earth with echoing feet,
And as he heard the lion's roaring swell
In distant thunder from the rocky dell,
In angry pride he raised his voice of fear
And from the mountain drove the startled deer.
Bright fire—a shape the God would sometimes wear
Who takes eight various forms—was glowing there.
Then the great deity who gives the prize
Of penance, prayer, and holy exercise,[Pg 13]
As though to earn the meed he grants to man,
Himself the penance and the pain began.
Now to that holy lord, to whom is given
Honour and glory by the Gods in heaven,
The worship of a gift Himálaya paid,
And towards his dwelling sent the lovely maid;
Her task, attended by her youthful train,
To woo his widowed heart to love again.
The hermit welcomed with a courteous brow
That gentle enemy of hermit vow.
The still pure breast where Contemplation dwells
Defies the charmer and the charmer's spells.
Calm and unmoved he viewed the wondrous maid,
And bade her all his pious duties aid.
She culled fresh blossoms at the God's command,
Sweeping the altar with a careful hand;
The holy grass for sacred rites she sought,
And day by day the fairest water brought.
And if the unwonted labour caused a sigh,
The fair-haired lady turned her languid eye
Where the pale moon on Śiva's forehead gleamed,
And swift through all her frame returning vigour streamed.
[Translated from the Sanskrit into English Verse by. Ranrn T. H. GRIFFITH, M.A.. ]
Some Account of a New Play
'The play's the thing!'-- Hamlet.
Tavistock Hotel, Nov. 1839.
-- In reply to your letter, and Fanny's,
Lord Brougham, it appears, isn't dead,-- though Queen Anne is;
'Twas a 'plot' and a 'farce'-- you hate farces, you say --
Take another 'plot,' then, viz. the plot of a Play.
The Countess of Arundel, high in degree,
As a lady possess'd of an earldom in fee,
Was imprudent enough at fifteen years of age,
A period of life when we're not over sage,
To form a liaison -- in fact, to engage
Her hand to a Hop-o'-my-thumb of a Page.
This put her Papa --
She had no Mamma --
As may well be supposed, in a deuce of a rage.
Mr. Benjamin Franklin was wont to repeat,
In his budget of proverbs, 'Stolen Kisses are sweet;'
But they have their alloy --
Fate assumed, to annoy
Miss Arundel's peace, and embitter her joy,
The equivocal shape of a fine little Boy.
When, through 'the young Stranger,' her secret took wind,
The Old Lord was neither 'to haud nor to bind.'
He bounced up and down,
And so fearful a frown
Contracted his brow, you'd have thought he'd been blind.
The young lady, they say,
Having fainted away,
Was confined to her room for the whole of that day;
While her beau -- no rare thing in the old feudal system --
Disappear'd the next morning, and nobody miss'd him.
The fact is, his Lordship, who hadn't, it seems,
Form'd the slightest idea, not ev'n in his dreams,
That the pair had been wedded according to law,
Conceived that his daughter had made a faux pas;
So he bribed at a high rate
A sort of a Pirate
To knock out the poor dear young Gentleman's brains,
And gave him a handsome douceur for his pains.
The Page thus disposed of, his Lordship now turns
His attention at once to the Lday's concerns;
And, alarm'd for the future,
Looks out for a suitor,
One not fond of raking, nor giv'n to 'the pewter,'
But adapted to act both the husband and tutor --
Finds a highly respectable, middle-aged, widower,
Marries her off, and thanks Heaven that he's rid o' her.
Relieved from his cares,
The old Peer now prepares
To arrange in good earnest his worldly affairs;
Has his will made new by a Special Attorney,
Sickens, takes to his bed, and sets out on his journey.
Which way he travell'd
Has not been unravell'd;
To speculate much on the point were too curious,
If the climate he reach'd were serene or sulphureous.
To be sure in his balance-sheet all must declare
One item -- The Page -- was an awkward affair;
But, per contra, he'd lately endow'd a new Chantry
For Priests, with ten marks and the run of the pantry.
Be that as it may,
It's sufficient to say
That his tomb in the chancel stands there to this day,
Built of Bethersden marble -- a dark bluish grey.
The figure, a fine one of pure alabaster,
A cleanly churchwarden has cover'd with plaster;
While some Vandal or Jew,
With a taste for virtu,
Has knock'd off his toes, to place, I suppose,
In some Pickwick Museum, with part of his nose;
From his belt and his sword
And his misericorde
The enamel's been chipp'd out, and never restored;
His ci-gît in old French is inscribed all around,
And his head's in his helm, and his heel's on his hound,
The palms of his hands, as if going to pray,
Are join'd and upraised o'er his bosom -- But stay!
I forgot that his tomb's not described in the Play!
Lady Arundel, now in her own right a Peeress,
Perplexes her noddle with no such nice queries,
But produces in time, to her husband's great joy,
Another remarkably 'fine little boy.'
As novel connections
Oft change the affections,
And turn all one's love into different directions,
Now to young 'Johnny Newcome' she seems to confine hers,
Neglecting the poor little dear out at dry-nurse;
Nay, far worse than that,
She considers 'the brat'
As a bore -- fears her husband may smell out a rat.
As her legal adviser
She takes an old Miser,
A sort of 'poor cousin.' She might have been wiser;
For this arrant deceiver,
By name Maurice Beevor,
A shocking old scamp, should her own issue fail,
By the law of the land stands the next in entail.
So, as soon as she ask'd him to hit on some plan
To provide for her eldest, away the rogue ran
To that self-same unprincipled sea-faring man;
In his ear whisper'd low ...--'Bully Gaussen' said 'done!--
I Burked the papa, now I'll Bishop the son!'
'Twas agreed; and, with speed
To accomplish the deed,
He adopted a scheme he was sure would succeed.
By long cock-and-bull stories
Of Candish and Noreys,
Of Drake and bold Raleigh, then fresh in his glories,
Acquired 'mongst the Indians and Rapparee Tories,
He so work'd on the lad,
That he left, which was bad,
The only true friend in the world that he had,
Father Onslow, a priest, though to quit him most loth,
Who in childhood had furnish'd his pap and his broth.
At no small risk of scandal, indeed, to his cloth.
The kidnapping crimp
Took the foolish young imp
On board of his cutter so trim and so jimp,
Then, seizing him just as you'd handle a shrimp,
Twirl'd him thrice in the air with a whirligig motion,
And soused him at once neck and heels in the ocean.
This was off Plymouth Sound,
And he must have been drown'd,
For 'twas nonsense to think he could swim to dry ground,
If 'A very great Warman,
Call'd Billy the Norman,'
Had not just at that moment sail'd by, outward bound.
A shark of great size,
With his great glassy eyes,
Sheer'd off as he came, and relinquish'd the prize;
So he pick'd up the lad, swabb'd, and dry-rubb'd, and mopp'd him,
And, having no children, resolved to adopt him.
Full many a year
Did he hand, reef, and steer,
And by no means consider'd himself as small beer,
When old Norman at length died and left him his frigate,
With lots of pistoles in his coffers to rig it.
A sailor ne'er moans;
So, consigning the bones
Of his friend to the locker of one Mr. Jones,
For England he steers.--
On the voyage it appears
That he rescued a maid from the Dey of Algiers;
And at length reached the Sussex coast, where in a bay,
Not a great way from Brighton, most cosey-ly lay
His vessel at anchor, the very same day
That the Poet begins,-- thus commencing his play.
Giles Gaussen accosts old Sir Maurice de Beevor,
And puts the poor Knight in a deuce of a fever,
By saying the boy, whom he took out to please him,
Is come back a Captain on purpose to tease him.--
Sir Maurice, who gladly would see Mr. Gaussen
Breaking stones on the highway, or sweeping a crossing,
Dissembles -- observes, It's of no use to fret,--
And hints he may find some more work for him yet;
Then calls at the castle, and tells Lady A.
That the boy they had ten years ago sent away
Is return'd a grown man, and, to come to the point,
Will put her son Percy's nose clean out of joint;
But adds, that herself she no longer need vex,
If she'll buy him (Sir Maurice) a farm near the Ex.
'Oh! take it,' she cries; 'but secure every document.'--
'A bargain,' says Maurice,--' including the stock you meant?'--
The Captain, meanwhile,
With a lover-like smile,
And a fine cambric handkerchief, wipes off the tears
From Miss Violet's eyelash, and hushes her fears.
(That's the Lady he saved from the Dey of Algiers.)
Now arises a delicate point, and this is it --
The young lady herself is but down on a visit.
She's perplex'd; and, in fact,
Does not know how to act.
It's her very first visit -- and then to begin
By asking a stranger -- a gentleman, in --
One with mustaches too -- and a tuft on his chin --
She 'really don't know --
He had much better go,'
Here the Countess steps in from behind, and says 'No!--
Fair sir, you are welcome. Do, pray, stop and dine --
You will take our pot-luck -- and we've decentish wine.'
He bows,-- looks at Violet,-- and does not decline.
After dinner the Captain recounts, with much glee,
All he's heard, seen and done, since he first went to sea,
All his perils, and scrapes,
And his hair-breadth escapes,
Talks of boa-constrictors, and lions, and apes,
And fierce 'Bengal Tigers,' like that which you know,
If you've ever seen any respectable 'Show,'
'Carried off the unfortunate Mr. Munro.'
Then, diverging a while, he adverts to the mystery
Which hangs, like a cloud, o'er his own private history --
How he ran off to sea -- how they set him afloat,
(Not a word, though, of barrel or bung hole -- See Note)
How he happen'd to meet
With the Algerine fleet,
And forced them by sheer dint of arms to retreat,
Thus saving his Violet -- (One of his feet
Here just touched her toe, and she moved on her seat,)--
How his vessel was batter'd --
In short, he so chatter'd,
Now lively, now serious, so ogled and flatter'd,
That the ladies much marvell'd a person should be able,
To 'make himself,' both said, 'so very agreeable.'
Captain Norman's adventures were scarcely half done,
When Percy Lord Ashdale, her ladyship's son,
In a terrible fume,
Bounces into the room,
And talks to his guest as you'd talk to a groom,
Claps his hand on his rapier, and swears he'll be through him --
The Captain does nothing at all but 'pooh! pooh!' him.--
Unable to smother
His hate of his brother,
He rails at his cousin, and blows up his mother.
'Fie! fie!' says the first.-- Says the latter, 'In sooth,
This is sharper by far than a keen serpent's tooth!'
(A remark, by the way, which King Lear had made years ago,
When he ask'd for his Knights, and his Daughter said 'Here's a go!')--
This made Ashdale ashamed;
But he must not be blamed
Too much for his warmth, for, like many young fellows, he
Was apt to lose temper when tortured by jealousy.
Still speaking quite gruff,
He goes off in a huff;
Lady A., who is now what some call 'up to snuff,'
Straight determines to patch
Up a clandestine match
Between the Sea-Captain she dreads like Old Scratch,
And Miss, whom she does not think any great catch
For Ashdale; besides, he won't kick up such shindies
Were she once fairly married and off to the Indies.
Miss Violet takes from the Countess her tone;
She agrees to meet Norman 'by moonlight alone,'
And slip off to his bark,
'The night being dark,'
Though 'the moon,' the Sea-Captain says, rises in Heaven
'One hour before midnight,'-- i.e. at eleven.
From which speech I infer,
-- Though perhaps I may err --
That, though weatherwise, doubtless, midst surges and surf, he
When 'capering on shore,' was by no means a Murphy.
He starts off, however, at sunset to reach
An old chapel in ruins, that stands on the beach,
Where the Priest is to bring, as he's promised by letter, a
Paper to prove his name, 'birthright,' et cetera.
Being rather too late,
Gaussen, lying in wait,
Has just given Father Onslow a knock on the pate,
But bolts, seeing Norman, before he has wrested
From the hand of the Priest, as Sir Maurice requested,
The marriage certificate duly attested.--
Norman kneels by the clergyman fainting and gory,
And begs he won't die till he's told him his story;
The Father complies,
Re-opens his eyes,
And tells him all how and about it -- and dies!
Norman, now call'd Le Mesnil, instructed of all,
Goes back, though it's getting quite late for a call,
Hangs his hat and his cloak on a peg in the hall,
And tells the proud Countess it's useless to smother
The fact any longer -- he knows she's his mother!
His Pa's wedded Spouse,--
She questions his nous,
And threatens to have him turn'd out of the house.
He still perseveres,
Till, in spite of her fears,
She admits he's the son she had cast off for years,
And he gives her the papers 'all blister'd with tears,'
When Ashdale, who chances his nose in to poke,
Takes his hat and his cloak,
Just as if in a joke,
Determined to put in his wheel a new spoke,
And slips off thus disguised, when he sees by the dial it
's time for the rendezvous fix'd with Miss Violet.
-- Captain Norman, who, after all, feels rather sore
At his mother's reserve, vows to see her no more,
Rings the bell for the servant to open the door,
And leaves his Mamma in a fit on the floor.
Now comes the Catastrophe -- Ashdale, who's wrapt in
The cloak, with the hat and the plume of the Captain,
Leads Violet down through the grounds to the chapel,
Where Gaussen's concealed -- he springs forward to grapple
The man he's erroneously led to suppose
Captain Norman himself, by the cut of his clothes.
In the midst of their strife,
And just as the knife
Of the Pirate is raised to deprive him of life,
The Captain comes forward, drawn there by the squeals
Of the Lady, and, knocking Giles head over heels,
Fractures his 'nob,'
Saves the hangman a job,
And executes justice most strictly, the rather,
'Twas the spot where the rascal had murder'd his father
Then in comes the mother,
Who, finding one brother
Had the instant before saved the life of the other,
Explains the whole case.
Ashdale puts a good face
On the matter; and since he's obliged to give place,
Yields his coronet up with a pretty good grace;
Norman vows he won't have it -- the kinsmen embrace,--
And the Captain, the first in this generous race,
To remove every handle
For gossip and scandal,
Sets the whole of the papers alight with the candle;
An arrangement takes place -- on the very same night, all
Is settled and done, and the points the most vital
Are, N. takes the personals;-- A., in requital,
Keeps the whole real property, Mansion, and Title.--
V. falls to the share of the Captain, and tries a
Sea-voyage as a Bride in the 'Royal Eliza.'--
Both are pleased with the part they acquire as joint heirs,
And old Maurice Beevor is bundled down stairs!
The public, perhaps, with the drama might quarrel
If deprived of all epilogue, prologue, and moral,
This may serve for all three then:--
'Young Ladies of property,
Let Lady A.'s history serve as a stopper t' ye;
Don't wed with low people beneath your degree,
And if you've a baby, don't send it to sea!
'Young Noblemen! shun every thing like a brawl;
And be sure when you dine out, or go to ball,
Don't take the best hat that you find in the hall,
And leave one in its stead that's worth nothing at all!
'Old Knights, don't give bribes!-- above all, never urge a man
To steal people's things, or to stick an old Clergyman!
'And you, ye Sea-Captains! who've nothing to do
But to run round the world, fight, and drink till all's blue,
And tell us tough yarns, and then swear they are true,
Reflect, notwithstanding your sea-faring life,
That you can't get on well long, without you've a wife;
So get one at once, treat her kindly and gently,
Write a Nautical novel,-- and send it to Bentley!
The Clergyman’s Second Tale
Edward and Jane a married couple were,
And fonder she of him or he of her
Was hard to say; their wedlock had begun
When in one year they both were twenty-one;
And friends, who would not sanction, left them free.
He gentle-born, nor his inferior she,
And neither rich; to the newly-wedded boy,
A great Insurance Office found employ.
Strong in their loves and hopes, with joy they took
This narrow lot and the world’s altered look;
Beyond their home they nothing sought or craved,
And even from the narrow income saved;
Their busy days for no ennui had place,
Neither grew weary of the other’s face.
Nine happy years had crowned their married state
With children, one a little girl of eight;
With nine industrious years his income grew,
With his employers rose his favour too;
Nine years complete had passed when something ailed,
Friends and the doctors said his health had failed,
He must recruit, or worse would come to pass;
And though to rest was hard for him, alas!
Three months of leave he found he could obtain,
And go, they said, get well and work again.
Just at this juncture of their married life,
Her mother, sickening, begged to have his wife.
Her house among the hills in Surrey stood,
And to be there, said Jane, would do the children good.
They let their house, and with the children she
Went to her mother, he beyond the sea;
Far to the south his orders were to go.
A watering-place, whose name we need not know,
For climate and for change of scene was best:
There he was bid, laborious task, to rest.
A dismal thing in foreign lands to roam
To one accustomed to an English home,
Dismal yet more, in health if feeble grown,
To live a boarder, helpless and alone
In foreign town, and worse yet worse is made,
If ’tis a town of pleasure and parade.
Dispiriting the public walks and seats,
The alien faces that an alien meets;
Drearily every day this old routine repeats.
Yet here this alien prospered, change of air
Or change of scene did more than tenderest care:
Three weeks were scarce completed, to his home,
He wrote to say, he thought he now could come,
His usual work was sure he could resume,
And something said about the place’s gloom,
And how he loathed idling his time away.
O, but they wrote, his wife and all, to say
He must not think of it, ’twas quite too quick;
Let was their house, her mother still was sick,
Three months were given, and three he ought to take;
For his and her’s and for his children’s sake.
He wrote again, ’twas weariness to wait,
This doing nothing was a thing to hate;
He’d cast his nine laborious years away,
And was as fresh as on his wedding-day;
At last he yielded, feared he must obey.
And now, his health repaired, his spirits grown
Less feeble, less he cared to live alone.
’Twas easier now to face the crowded shore,
And table d’hôte less tedious than before;
His ancient silence sometimes he would break,
And the mute Englishman was heard to speak.
His youthful colour soon, his youthful air
Came back; amongst the crowd of idlers there,
With whom good looks entitle to good name,
For his good looks he gained a sort of fame,
People would watch him as he went and came.
Explain the tragic mystery who can,
Something there is, we know not what, in man,
With all established happiness at strife,
And bent on revolution in his life.
Explain the plan of Providence who dare,
And tell us wherefore in this world there are
Beings who seem for this alone to live,
Temptation to another soul to give.
A beauteous woman at the table d’hôte,
To try this English heart, at least to note
This English countenance, conceived the whim.
She sat exactly opposite to him.
Ere long he noticed with a vague surprise
How every day on him she bent her eyes;
Soft and inquiring now they looked, and then
Wholly withdrawn, unnoticed came again;
His shrunk aside: and yet there came a day,
Alas! they did not wholly turn away.
So beautiful her beauty was, so strange,
And to his northern feeling such a change;
Her throat and neck Junonian in their grace;
The blood just mantled in her southern face:
Dark hair, dark eyes; and all the arts she had
With which some dreadful power adorns the bad,
Bad women in their youth, and young was she,
Twenty perhaps, at the utmost twenty-three,
And timid seemed, and innocent of ill,;
Her feelings went and came without her will.
You will not wish minutely to know all
His efforts in the prospect of the fall.
He oscillated to and fro, he took
High courage oft, temptation from him shook,
Compelled himself to virtuous thoughts and just,
And as it were in ashes and in dust
Abhorred his thought. But living thus alone,
Of solitary tedium weary grown;
From sweet society so long debarred,
And fearing in his judgment to be hard
On her that he was sometimes off his guard
What wonder? She relentless still pursued
Unmarked, and tracked him in his solitude.
And not in vain, alas!
The days went by and found him in the snare.
But soon a letter full of tenderest care
Came from his wife, the little daughter too
In a large hand the exercise was new
To her papa her love and kisses sent.
Into his very heart and soul it went.
Forth on the high and dusty road he sought
Some issue for the vortex of his thought,
Returned, packed up his things, and ere the day
Descended, was a hundred miles away.
There are, I know of course, who lightly treat
Such slips; we stumble, we regain our feet;
What can we do, they say, but hasten on
And disregard it as a thing that’s gone?
Many there are who in a case like this
Would calm re-seek their sweet domestic bliss;
Accept unshamed the wifely tender kiss,
And lift their little children on their knees,
And take their kisses too; with hearts at ease
Will read the household prayers, to church will go,
And sacrament, nor care if people know.
Such men so minded do exist, God knows,
And, God be thanked, this was not one of those.
Late in the night, at a provincial town
In France, a passing traveller was put down;
Haggard he looked, his hair was turning grey,
His hair, his clothes, were much in disarray:
In a bedchamber here one day he stayed,
Wrote letters, posted them, his reckoning paid
And went. ’Twas Edward rushing from his fall;
Here to his wife he wrote and told her all.
Forgiveness yes, perhaps she might forgive
For her, and for the children, he must live
At any rate; but their old home to share
As yet was something that he could not bear.
She with her mother still her home should make,
A lodging-near the office he should take
And once a quarter he would bring his pay,
And he would see her on the quarter-day,
But her alone; e’en this would dreadful be,
The children ’twas not possible to see.
Back to the office at this early day
To see him come, old-looking thus and grey,
His comrades wondered, wondered too to see,
How dire a passion for his work had he,
How in a garret too he lived alone;
So cold a husband, cold a father grown.
In a green lane beside her mother’s home,
Where in old days they had been used to roam,
His wife had met him on the appointed day,
Fell on his neck, said all that love could say,
And wept; he put the loving arms away.
At dusk they met, for so was his desire;
She felt his cheeks and forehead all on fire;
The kisses which she gave he could not brook;
Once in her face he gave a sidelong look,
Said, but for them he wished that he were dead,
And put the money in her hand and fled.
Sometimes in easy and familiar tone,
Of sins resembling more or less his own
He heard his comrades in the office speak,
And felt the colour tingling in his cheek;
Lightly they spoke as of a thing of nought;
He of their judgment ne’er so much as thought.
I know not, in his solitary pains,
Whether he seemed to feel as in his veins
The moral mischief circulating still,
Racked with the torture of the double will;
And like some frontier-land where armies wage
The mighty wars, engage and yet engage
All through the summer in the fierce campaign;
March, counter-march, gain, lose, and yet regain;
With battle reeks the desolated plain;
So felt his nature yielded to the strife
Of the contending good and ill of life.
But a whole year this penance he endured,
Nor even then would think that he was cured.
Once in a quarter, in the country lane,
He met his wife and paid his quarter’s gain;
To bring the children she besought in vain.
He has a life small happiness that gives,
Who friendless in a London lodging lives,
Dines in a dingy chop-house, and returns
To a lone room while all within him yearns
For sympathy, and his whole nature burns
With a fierce thirst for some one, is there none?
To expend his human tenderness upon.
So blank, and hard, and stony is the way
To walk, I wonder not men go astray.
Edward, whom still a sense that never slept
On the strict path undeviating kept,
One winter-evening found himself pursued
Amidst the dusky thronging multitude.
Quickly he walked, but strangely swift was she,
And pertinacious, and would make him see.
He saw at last, and recognising slow,
Discovered in this hapless thing of woe
The occasion of his shame twelve wretched months ago.
She gaily laughed, she cried, and sought his hand,
And spoke sweet phrases of her native land;
Exiled, she said, her lovely home had left,
Not to forsake a friend of all but her bereft;
Exiled, she cried, for liberty, for love,
She was; still limpid eyes she turned above.
So beauteous once, and now such misery in,
Pity had all but softened him to sin;
But while she talked, and wildly laughed, and cried,
And plucked the hand which sadly he denied,
A stranger came and swept her from his side.
He watched them in the gas-lit darkness go,
And a voice said within him, Even so,
So midst the gloomy mansions where they dwell
The lost souls walk the flaming streets of hell!
The lamps appeared to fling a baleful glare,
A brazen heat was heavy in the air;
And it was hell, and he some unblest wanderer there.
For a long hour he stayed the streets to roam,
Late gathering sense, he gained his garret home;
There found a telegraph that bade him come
Straight to the country, where his daughter, still
His darling child, lay dangerously ill.
The doctor would he bring? Away he went
And found the doctor; to the office sent
A letter, asking leave, and went again,
And with a wild confusion in his brain,
Joining the doctor caught the latest train.
The train swift whirled them from the city light
Into the shadows of the natural night.
’Twas silent starry midnight on the down,
Silent and chill, when they, straight come from town,
Leaving the station, walked a mile to gain
The lonely house amid the hills where Jane,
Her mother, and her children should be found.
Waked by their entrance, but of sleep unsound,
The child not yet her altered father knew;
Yet talked of her papa in her delirium too.
Danger there was, yet hope there was; and he,
To attend the crisis, and the changes see,
And take the steps, at hand should surely be.
Said Jane the following day, ‘Edward, you know,
Over and over I have told you so,
As in a better world I seek to live,
As I desire forgiveness, I forgive.
Forgiveness does not feel the word to say,
As I believe in One who takes away
Our sin and gives us righteousness instead,
You to this sin, I do believe, are dead.
’Twas I, you know, who let you leave your home
And bade you stay when you so wished to come;
My fault was that: I’ve told you so before,
And vainly told; but now ’tis something more.
Say, is it right, without a single friend,
Without advice, to leave me to attend
Children and mother both? Indeed, I’ve thought
Through want of you the child her fever caught.
Chances of mischief come with every hour.
It is not in a single woman’s power
Alone, and ever haunted more or less
With anxious thoughts of you and your distress,
’Tis not indeed, I’m sure of it, in me,
All things with perfect judgment to foresee.
This weight has grown too heavy to endure;
And you, I tell you now, and I am sure,
Neglect your duty both to God and man
Persisting thus in your unnatural plan.
This feeling you must conquer, for you can.
And after all, you know we are but dust,
What are we, in ourselves that we should trust?’
He scarcely answered her; but he obtained
A longer leave, and quietly remained.
Slowly the child recovered, long was ill,
Long delicate, and he must watch her still
To give up seeing her he could not near,
To leave her less attended, did not dare.
The child recovered slowly, slowly too
Recovered he, and more familiar drew
Home’s happy breath; and apprehension o’er,
Their former life he yielded to restore,
And to his mournful garret went no more.
Midnight was dim and hazy overhead.
When the tale ended and we turned to bed.
On the companion-way, descending slow,
The artillery captain, as we went below,
Said to the lawyer, life could not be meant
To be so altogether innocent.
What did the atonement show? he, for the rest,
Could not, he thought, have written and confessed.
Weakness it was, and adding crime to crime
To leave his family that length of time,
The lawyer said; the American was sure
Each nature knows instinctively its cure.
Midnight was in the cabin still and dead,
Our fellow-passengers were all in bed,
We followed them, and nothing further spoke.
Out of the sweetest of my sleep I woke
At two, and felt we stopped; amid a dream
Of England knew the letting-off of steam
And rose. ’Twas fog, and were we off Cape Race?
The captain would be certain of his place.
Wild in white vapour flew away the force,
And self-arrested was the eager course
That had not ceased before. But shortly now
Cape Race was made to starboard on the bow.
The paddles plied. I slept. The following night
In the mid seas we saw a quay and light,
And peered through mist into an unseen town,
And on scarce-seeming land set one companion down,
And went. With morning and a shining sun,
Under the bright New Brunswick coast we run,
And visible discern to every eye
Rocks, pines, and little ports, and passing by
The boats and coasting craft. When sunk the night,
Early now sunk, the northern streamers bright
Floated and flashed, the cliffs and clouds behind,
With phosphorus the billows all were lined.
That evening, while the arctic streamers bright
Rolled from the clouds in waves of airy light,
The lawyer said, ‘I laid by for to night
A story that I would not tell before;
For the last time, a confidential four,
We meet. Receive in your elected ears
A tale of human suffering and tears.’
The Borough. Letter XI: Inns
All the comforts of life in a Tavern are known,
'Tis his home who possesses not one of his own;
And to him who has rather too much of that one,
'Tis the house of a friend where he's welcome to
The instant you enter my door you're my Lord,
With whose taste and whose pleasure I'm proud to
And the louder you call, and the longer you stay,
The more I am happy to serve and obey.
To the house of a friend if you're pleased to
You must all things admit, you must all tilings
You must pay with observance the price of your
You must eat what is praised, and must praise what
But here you may come, and no tax we require,
You may loudly condemn what you greatly admire;
You may growl at our wishes and pains to excel,
And may snarl at the rascals who please you so
At your wish we attend, and confess that your
On the nation's affairs might the minister teach;
His views you may blame, and his measures oppose,
There's no Tavern-treason--you're under the Rose;
Should rebellions arise in your own little state,
With me you may safely their consequence wait;
To recruit your lost spirits 'tis prudent to come,
And to fly to a friend when the devil's at home.
That I've faults is confess'd; but it won't be
'Tis my interest the faults of my neighbours to
If I've sometimes lent Scandal occasion to prate,
I've often conceal'd what she lov'd to relate;
If to Justice's bar some have wander'd from mine,
'Twas because the dull rogues wouldn't stay by
And for brawls at my house, well the poet explains,
That men drink shallow draughts, and so madden
MUCH do I need, and therefore will I ask,
A Muse to aid me in my present task;
For then with special cause we beg for aid,
When of our subject we are most afraid:
INNS are this subject--'tis an ill-drawn lot,
So, thou who gravely triflest, fail me not;
Fail not, but haste, and to my memory bring
Scenes yet unsung, which few would choose to sing;
Thou mad'st a Shilling splendid; thou hast thrown
On humble themes the graces all thine own;
By thee the Mistress of a Village-school
Became a queen enthroned upon her stool;
And far beyond the rest thou gav'st to shine
Belinda's Lock--that deathless work was thine.
Come, lend thy cheerful light, and give to
These seats of revelry, these scenes of ease;
Who sings of Inns much danger has to dread,
And needs assistance from the fountain-head.
High in the street, o'erlooking all the place,
The rampant Lion shows his kingly face;
His ample jaws extend from side to side,
His eyes are glaring, and his nostrils wide;
In silver shag the sovereign form is dress'd,
A mane horrific sweeps his ample chest;
Elate with pride, he seems t'assert his reign,
And stands the glory of his wide domain.
Yet nothing dreadful to his friends the sight,
But sign and pledge of welcome and delight.
To him the noblest guest the town detains
Flies for repast, and in his court remains;
Him too the crowd with longing looks admire,
Sigh for his joys, and modestly retire;
Here not a comfort shall to them be lost
Who never ask or never feel the cost.
The ample yards on either side contain
Buildings where order and distinction reign; -
The splendid carriage of the wealthier guest,
The ready chaise and driver smartly dress'd;
Whiskeys and gigs and curricles are there,
And high-fed prancers many a raw-boned pair.
On all without a lordly host sustains
The care of empire, and observant reigns;
The parting guest beholds him at his side,
With pomp obsequious, bending in his pride;
Round all the place his eyes all objects meet,
Attentive, silent, civil, and discreet.
O'er all within the lady-hostess rules,
Her bar she governs, and her kitchen schools;
To every guest th' appropriate speech is made,
And every duty with distinction paid;
Respectful, easy, pleasant, or polite -
'Your honour's servant'--'Mister Smith, good night
Next, but not near, yet honour'd through the
There swing, incongruous pair! the Bear and Crown:
That Crown suspended gems and ribands deck,
A golden chain hangs o'er that furry neck:
Unlike the nobler beast, the Bear is bound,
And with the Crown so near him, scowls uncrown'd;
Less his dominion, but alert are all
Without, within, and ready for the call;
Smart lads and light run nimbly here and there,
Nor for neglected duties mourns the Bear.
To his retreats, on the Election-day,
The losing party found their silent way;
There they partook of each consoling good,
Like him uncrown'd, like him in sullen mood -
Threat'ning, but bound.--Here meet a social kind,
Our various clubs for various cause combined;
Nor has he pride, but thankful takes as gain
The dew-drops shaken from the Lion's mane:
A thriving couple here their skill display,
And share the profits of no vulgar sway.
Third in our Borough's list appears the sign
Of a fair queen--the gracious Caroline;
But in decay--each feature in the face
Has stain of Time, and token of disgrace.
The storm of winter, and the summer-sun,
Have on that form their equal mischief done;
The features now are all disfigured seen,
And not one charm adorns th' insulted queen.
To this poor face was never paint applied,
Th' unseemly work of cruel Time to hide;
Here we may rightly such neglect upbraid,
Paint on such faces is by prudence laid.
Large the domain, but all within combine
To correspond with the dishonoured sign;
And all around dilapidates; you call -
But none replies--they're inattentive all:
At length a ruin'd stable holds your steed,
While you through large and dirty rooms proceed,
Spacious and cold; a proof they once had been
In honour,--now magnificently mean;
Till in some small half-furnish'd room you rest,
Whose dying fire denotes it had a guest.
In those you pass'd, where former splendour
You saw the carpets torn, the paper stain'd;
Squares of discordant glass in windows fix'd,
And paper oil'd in many a space betwixt;
A soil'd and broken sconce, a mirror crack'd,
With table underpropp'd, and chairs new back'd;
A marble side-slab with ten thousand stains,
And all an ancient Tavern's poor remains.
With much entreaty, they your food prepare,
And acid wine afford, with meagre fare;
Heartless you sup; and when a dozen times
You've read the fractured window's senseless
Have been assured that Phoebe Green was fair,
And Peter Jackson took his supper there;
You reach a chilling chamber, where you dread
Damps, hot or cold, from a tremendous bed;
Late comes your sleep, and you are waken'd soon
By rustling tatters of the old festoon.
O'er this large building, thus by time defaced,
A servile couple has its owner placed,
Who not unmindful that its style is large,
To lost magnificence adapt their charge:
Thus an old beauty, who has long declined,
Keeps former dues and dignity in mind;
And wills that all attention should be paid
For graces vanish'd and for charms decay'd.
Few years have pass'd, since brightly 'cross the
Lights from each window shot the lengthen'd ray,
And busy looks in every face were seen,
Through the warm precincts of the reigning Queen;
There fires inviting blazed, and all around
Was heard the tinkling bells' seducing sound;
The nimble waiters to that sound from far
Sprang to the call, then hasteri'd to the bar,
Where a glad priestess of the temple sway'd,
The most obedient, and the most obey'd;
Rosy and round, adorn'd in crimson vest,
And flaming ribands at her ample breast:
She, skill'd like Circe, tried her guests to move,
With looks of welcome and with words of love;
And such her potent charms, that men unwise
Were soon transform'd and fitted for the sties.
Her port in bottles stood, a well-stain'd row,
Drawn for the evening from the pipe below;
Three powerful spirits filled a parted case,
Some cordial bottles stood in secret place;
Fair acid-fruits in nets above were seen,
Her plate was splendid, and her glasses clean;
Basins and bowls were ready on the stand,
And measures clatter'd in her powerful hand.
Inferior Houses now our notice claim,
But who shall deal them their appropriate fame?
Who shall the nice, yet known distinction, tell,
Between the peal complete and single Bell?
Determine ye, who on your shining nags
Wear oil-skin beavers, and bear seal-skin bags;
Or ye, grave topers, who with coy delight
Snugly enjoy the sweetness of the night;
Ye travellers all, superior Inns denied
By moderate purse, the low by decent pride;
Come and determine,--will you take your place
At the full Orb, or half the lunar Face?
With the Black-Boy or Angel will ye dine?
Will ye approve the Fountain or the Vine?
Horses the white or black will ye prefer?
The Silver-Swan or Swan opposed to her -
Rare bird! whose form the raven-plumage decks,
And graceful curve her three alluring necks?
All these a decent entertainment give,
And by their comforts comfortably live.
Shall I pass by the Boar?--there are who cry,
'Beware the Boar,' and pass determined by:
Those dreadful tusks, those little peering eyes
And churning chaps, are tokens to the wise.
There dwells a kind old Aunt, and there you see
Some kind young Nieces in her company;
Poor village nieces, whom the tender dame
Invites to town, and gives their beauty Fame;
The grateful sisters feel th' important aid,
And the good Aunt is flatter'd and repaid.
What, though it may some cool observers strike,
That such fair sisters should be so unlike;
That still another and another comes,
And at the matron's tables smiles and blooms;
That all appear as if they meant to stay
Time undefined, nor name a parting day;
And yet, though all are valued, all are dear,
Causeless, they go, and seldom more appear.
Yet let Suspicion hide her odious head,
And Scandal vengeance from a burgess dread;
A pious friend, who with the ancient dame
At sober cribbage takes an evening game;
His cup beside him, through their play he quaffs,
And oft renews, and innocently laughs;
Or growing serious, to the text resorts,
And from the Sunday-sermon makes reports;
While all, with grateful glee, his wish attend,
A grave protector and a powerful friend:
But Slander says, who indistinctly sees,
Once he was caught with Sylvia on his knees; -
A cautious burgess with a careful wife
To be so caught!--'tis false, upon my life.
Next are a lower kind, yet not so low
But they, among them, their distinctions know;
And when a thriving landlord aims so high,
As to exchange the Chequer for the Pye,
Or from Duke William to the Dog repairs,
He takes a finer coat and fiercer airs.
Pleased with his power, the poor man loves to
What favourite Inn shall share his evening's pay;
Where he shall sit the social hour, and lose
His past day's labours and his next day's views.
Our Seamen too have choice; one takes a trip
In the warm cabin of his favourite Ship;
And on the morrow in the humbler Boat
He rows till fancy feels herself afloat;
Can he the sign--Three Jolly Sailors--pass,
Who hears a fiddle and who sees a lass?
The Anchor too affords the seaman joys,
In small smoked room, all clamour, crowd, and
Where a curved settle half surrounds the fire,
Where fifty voices purl and punch require;
They come for pleasure in their leisure hour,
And they enjoy it to their utmost power;
Standing they drink, they swearing smoke, while all
Call, or make ready for a second call:
There is no time for trifling--'Do ye see?
We drink and drub the French extempore.'
See! round the room, on every beam and balk,
Are mingled scrolls of hieroglyphic chalk;
Yet nothing heeded--would one stroke suffice
To blot out all, here honour is too nice, -
'Let knavish landsmen think such dirty things,
We're British tars, and British tars are kings.'
But the Green-Man shall I pass by unsung,
Which mine own James upon his sign-post hung?
His sign his image,--for he was once seen
A squire's attendant, clad in keeper's green;
Ere yet, with wages more and honour less,
He stood behind me in a graver dress.
James in an evil hour went forth to woo
Young Juliet Hart, and was her Romeo:
They'd seen the play, and thought it vastly sweet
For two young lovers by the moon to meet;
The nymph was gentle, of her favours free,
E'en at a word--no Rosalind was she;
Nor, like that other Juliet, tried his truth
With--'Be thy purpose marriage, gentle youth?'
But him received, and heard his tender tale,
When sang the lark, and when the nightingale;
So in few months the generous lass was seen
I' the way that all the Capulets had been.
Then first repentance seized the amorous man,
And--shame on love!--he reason'd and he ran;
The thoughtful Romeo trembled for his purse,
And the sad sounds, 'for better and for worse.'
Yet could the Lover not so far withdraw,
But he was haunted both by Love and Law;
Now Law dismay'd him as he view'd its fangs,
Now Pity seized him for his Juliet's pangs;
Then thoughts of justice and some dread of jail,
Where all would blame him, and where none might
These drew him back, till Juliet's hut appear'd,
Where love had drawn him when he should have
There sat the father in his wicker throne,
Uttering his curses in tremendous tone:
With foulest names his daughter he reviled,
And look'd a very Herod at the child:
Nor was she patient, but with equal scorn,
Bade him remember when his Joe was born:
Then rose the mother, eager to begin
Her plea for frailty, when the swain came in.
To him she turn'd, and other theme began,
Show'd him his boy, and bade him be a man;
'An honest man, who, when he breaks the laws,
Will make a woman honest if there's cause.'
With lengthen'd speech she proved what came to pass
Was no reflection on a loving lass:
'If she your love as wife and mother claim,
What can it matter which was first the name?
But 'tis most base, 'tis perjury and theft,
When a lost girl is like a widow left;
The rogue who ruins .. ' here the father found
His spouse was treading on forbidden ground.
'That's not the point,' quoth he, 'I don't
My good friend Fletcher to be one of those;
What's done amiss he'll mend in proper time -
I hate to hear of villany and crime:
'Twas my misfortune, in the days of youth,
To find two lasses pleading for my truth;
The case was hard, I would with all my soul
Have wedded both, but law is our control;
So one I took, and when we gain'd a home,
Her friend agreed--what could she more?--to come;
And when she found that I'd a widow'd bed,
Me she desired--what could I less?--to wed.
An easier case is yours: you've not the smart
That two fond pleaders cause in one man's heart.
You've not to wait from year to year distress'd,
Before your conscience can be laid at rest;
There smiles your bride, there sprawls your new-
A ring, a licence, and the thing is done.' -
'My loving James,'--the Lass began her plea,
I'll make thy reason take a part with me;
Had I been froward, skittish, or unkind,
Or to thy person or thy passion blind;
Had I refused, when 'twas thy part to pray,
Or put thee off with promise and delay;
Thou might'st in justice and in conscience fly,
Denying her who taught thee to deny:
But, James, with me thou hadst an easier task,
Bonds and conditions I forbore to ask;
I laid no traps for thee, no plots or plans,
Nor marriage named by licence or by banns;
Nor would I now the parson's aid employ,
But for this cause,'--and up she held her boy.
Motives like these could heart of flesh resist?
James took the infant and in triumph kiss'd;
Then to his mother's arms the child restored,
Made his proud speech and pledged his worthy word.
'Three times at church our banns shall publish'd
Thy health be drunk in bumpers three times three;
And thou shalt grace (bedeck'd in garments gay)
The christening-dinner on the wedding-day.'
James at my door then made his parting bow,
Took the Green-Man, and is a master now.
Hermann And Dorothea - II. Terpsichore
THEN when into the room the well-built son made his entry,
Straightway with piercing glances the minister eyed him intently,
And with carefulness watch'd his looks and the whole of his bearing,
With an inquiring eye which easily faces decyphers;
Then he smiled, and with cordial words address'd him as follows
'How you are changed in appearance, my friend! I never have seen you
Half so lively before; your looks are thoroughly cheerful.
You have return'd quite joyous and merry. You've doubtless divided
All of the presents amongst the poor, their blessings receiving.'
Then in calm accents replied the son, with gravity speaking
'Whether I've laudably acted, I know not; I follow'd the impulse
Of my own heart, as now I'll proceed to describe with exactness.
Mother, you rummaged so long, in looking over old pieces,
And in making your choice, that 'twas late when the bundle was ready,
And the wine and the beer were slowly and carefully pack'd up.
When I at length emerged at the gate, and came on the highway,
Streams of citizens met I returning, with women and children,
For the train of the exiles had long disappear'd in the distance.
So I quicken'd my pace, and hastily drove to the village
Where I had heard that to-night to rest and to sleep they intended.
Well, as I went on my way, the newly-made causeway ascending,
Suddenly saw I a waggon, of excellent timber constructed,
Drawn by a couple of oxen, the best and the strongest of foreign.
Close beside it there walk'd, with sturdy footsteps, a maiden,
Guiding the two strong beasts with a long kind of staff, which with skill she
Knew how to use, now driving, and now restraining their progress.
When the maiden observed me, she quietly came near the horses,
And address'd me as follows:--'Our usual condition, believe me,
Is not so sad as perchance you might judge from our present appearance.
I am not yet accustom'd to ask for alms from a stranger,
Who so often but gives, to rid himself of a beggar.
But I'm compell'd to speak by necessity. Here on the straw now
Lies the lately-confined poor wife of a wealthy landowner,
Whom with much trouble I managed to save with oxen and waggon.
We were late in arriving, and scarcely with life she escaped.
Now the newly-born child in her arms is lying, all naked,
And our friends will be able to give them but little assistance,
E'en if in the next village, to which to-night we are going,
We should still find them, although I fear they have left it already.
If you belong to the neighbourhood, any available linen
These poor people will deem a most acceptable present.
'Thus she spake, and wearily raised herself the pale patient
Up from the straw and gazed upon me, while thus I made answer
'Oft doth a heavenly spirit whisper to kind-hearted people,
So that they feel the distress o'er their poorer brethren impending;
For my mother, your troubles foreboding, gave me a bundle
Ready prepared for relieving the wants of those who were naked.'
Then I loosen'd the knots of the cord, and the dressing-gown gave her
Which belong'd to my father, and gave her some shirts and some linen,
And she thank'd me with joy and said:--'The fortunate know not
How 'tis that miracles happen; we only discover in sorrow
God's protecting finger and hand, extended to beckon
Good men to good. May your kindness to us by Him be requited.'
And I saw the poor patient joyfully handling the linen,
Valuing most of all the soft flannel, the dressing-gown lining.
Then the maid thus address'd her:--'Now let us haste to the village
Where our friends are resting, to-night intending to sleep there
There I will straightway attend to what e'er for the infant is needed.'
Then she saluted me too, her thanks most heartily giving,
Drove the oxen, the waggon went on. I lingerd behind them,
Holding my horses rein'd back, divided between two opinions,
Whether to hasten ahead, reach the village, the viands distribute
'Mongst the rest of the people, or give them forthwith to the maiden,
So that she might herself divide them amongst them with prudence
Soon I made up my mind, and follow'd after her softly,
Overtook her without delay, and said to her quickly
'Maiden, it was not linen alone that my mother provided
And in the carriage placed, as clothing to give to the naked,
But she added meat, and many an excellent drink too;
And I have got quite a stock stow'd away in the boot of the carriage.
Well, I have taken a fancy the rest of the gifts to deposit
In your hands, and thus fulfil to the best my commission;
You will divide them with prudence, whilst I my fate am obeying.'
Then the maiden replied:--'With faithfulness I will distribute
All your gifts, and the needy shall surely rejoice at your bounty.'
Thus she spake, and I hastily open'd the boot of the carriage,
Took out the hams (full heavy they were) and took out the bread-stuffs,
Flasks of wine and beer, and handed the whole of them over.
Gladly would I have given her more, but empty the boot was.
Straightway she pack'd them away at the feet of the patient, and forthwith
Started again, whilst I hasten'd back to the town with my horses.'
Then when Hermann had ended his story, the garrulous neighbour
Open'd his mouth and exclaim'd:--'I only deem the man happy
Who lives alone in his house in these days of flight and confusion,
Who has neither wife nor children cringing beside him
I feel happy at present; I hate the title of father;
Care of children and wife in these days would be a sad drawback.
Often have I bethought me of flight, and have gather'd together
All that I deem most precious, the antique gold and the jewels
Worn by my late dear mother, not one of which has been sold yet.
Much indeed is left out, that is not so easily carried.
Even the herbs and the roots, collected with plenty of trouble,
I should he sorry to lose, though little in value they may be.
If the dispenser remains, I shall leave my house in good spirits
If my ready money is saved, and my body, why truly
All is saved, for a bachelor easily flies when 'tis needed.'
'Neighbour,' rejoin'd forthwith young Hermann, with emphasis speaking
'Altogether I differ, and greatly blame your opinions.
Can that man be deem'd worthy, who both in good and ill fortune
Thinks alone of himself, and knows not the secret of sharing
Sorrows and joys with others, and feels no longing to do so?
I could more easily now than before determine to marry
Many an excellent maiden needs a husband's protection,
Many a man a cheerful wife, when sorrow's before him.'
Smilingly said then the father:--'I'm pleas'd to hear what you're saying,
Words of such wisdom have seldom been utter'd by you in my presence.
Then his good mother broke in, in her turn, with vivacity speaking
'Son, you are certainly right. We parents set the example.
'Twas not in time of pleasure that we made choice of each other,
And 'twas the saddest of hours, that knitted us closely together.
Monday morning,--how well I remember! the very day after
That most terrible fire occurr'd which burnt down the borough,
Twenty years ago now; the day, like to-day, was a Sunday,
Hot and dry was the weather, and little available water.
All the inhabitants, clothed in their festival garments, were walking,
Scatter'd about in the inns and the mills of the neighbouring hamlets.
At one end of the town the fire broke out, and the flames ran
Hastily all through the streets, impell'd by the draught they created.
And the barns were consumed, where all the rich harvest was gather'd
And all the streets as far as the market; the dwelling house also
Of my father hard by was destroy'd, as likewise was this one.
Little indeed could we save; I sat the sorrowful night through
On the green of the town, protecting the beds and the boxes.
Finally sleep overtook me, and when by the cool breeze of morning
Which dies away when the sun arises I was awaken'd,
Saw I the smoke and the glow, and the half-consumed walls and the chimneys.
Then my heart was sorely afflicted; but soon in his glory
Rose the sun more brilliant than ever, my spirits reviving.
Then in haste I arose, impell'd the site to revisit
Where our dwelling had stood, to see if the chickens were living
Which I especially loved; for childlike I still was by nature.
But when over the ruins of courtyard and house I was climbing,
Which still smoked, and saw my dwelling destroy'd and deserted,
You came up on the other side, the ruins exploring.
You had a horse shut up in his stall; the still-glowing rafters
Over it lay, and rubbish, and nought could be seen of the creature.
Over against each other we stood, in doubt and in sorrow,
For the wall had fallen which used to sever our courtyards;
And you grasp'd my hand, addressing me softly as follows
'Lizzy, what here are you doing? Away! Your soles you are burning,
For the rubbish is hot, and is scorching my boots which are thicker.'
Then you lifted me up, and carried me off through your courtyard.
There still stood the gateway before the house, with its arch'd roof,
Just as it now is standing, the only thing left remaining.
And you sat me down and kiss'd me, and I tried to stop you,
But you presently said, with kindly words full of meaning
'See, my house is destroy'd! Stop here and help me to build it,
I in return will help to rebuild the house of your father.'
I understood you not, till you sent to my father your mother,
And ere long our marriage fulfilid the troth we soon plighted.
Still to this day I remember with pleasure the half-consumed rafters,
Still do I see the sun in all his majesty rising,
For on that day I gain'd my husband; the son of my youth too
Gained I during that earliest time of the wild desolation.
Therefore commend I you, Hermann, for having with confidence guileless
Turn'd towards marriage your thoughts in such a period of mourning,
And for daring to woo in war and over the ruins.--'
Then the father straightway replied, with eagerness speaking:--
'Sensible is your opinion, and true is also the story
Which you have told us, good mother, for so did ev'rything happen.
But what is better is better. 'Tis not the fortune of all men
All their life and existence to find decided beforehand;
All are not doom'd to such troubles as we and others have suffer'd.
O, how happy is he whose careful father and mother
Have a house ready to give him, which he can successfully manage!
All beginnings are hard, and most so the landlords profession.
Numberless things a man must have, and ev'rything daily
Dearer becomes, so he needs to scrape together more money.
So I am hoping that you, dear Hermann, will shortly be bringing
Home to us a bride possessing an excellent dowry,
For a worthy husband deserves a girl who is wealthy,
And 'tis a capital thing for the wish'd-for wife to bring with her
Plenty of suitable articles stow'd in her baskets and boxes.
Not in vain for years does the mother prepare for her daughter
Stocks of all kinds of linen, both finest and strongest in texture;
Not in vain do god-parents give them presents of silver,
Or the father lay by in his desk a few pieces of money.
For she hereafter will gladden, with all her goods and possessions,
That happy youth who is destined from out of all others to choose her.
Yes! I know how pleasant it makes a house for a young wife,
When she finds her own property placed in the rooms and the kitchen,
And when she herself has cover'd the bed and the table.
Only well-to-do brides should be seen in a house, I consider,
For a poor one is sure at last to be scorn'd by her husband,
And he'll deem her a jade who as jade first appear'd with her bundle.
Men are always unjust, but moments of love are but transient.
Yes, my Hermann, you greatly would cheer the old age of your father
If you soon would bring home a daughter-in-law to console me,
Out of the neighbourhood too,--yes, out of yon dwelling, the green one!
Rich is the man, in truth his trade and his manufactures
Make him daily richer, for when does a merchant not prosper?
He has only three daughters; the whole of his wealth they'll inherit.
True the eldest's already engaged; but then there's the second,
And the third, who still (not for long) may be had for the asking.
Had I been in your place, I should not till this time have waited;
Bring home one of the girls, as I brought your mother before you.
Then, with modesty, answer'd the son his impetuous father
'Truly my wish was, like yours, to marry one of the daughters
Of our neighbour. We all, in fact, were brought up together,
Sported in youthful days near the fountain adjoining the market,
And from the rudeness of boys I often managed to save them.
But those days have long pass'd the maidens grew up, and with reason
Stop now at home and avoid the rougher pastimes of childhood.
Well brought up with a vengeance they are! To please you, I sometimes
Went to visit them, just for the sake of olden acquaintance
But I was never much pleased at holding intercourse with them,
For they were always finding fault, and I had to bear it
First my coat was too long, the cloth too coarse, and the colour
Far too common, my hair was cut and curl'd very badly.
I at last was thinking of dressing myself like the shop-boys,
Who are accustom'd on Sundays to show off their persons up yonder,
And round whose coats in summer half-silken tatters are hanging.
But ere long I discover'd they only intended to fool me
This was very annoying, my pride was offended, but more still
Felt I deeply wounded that they so mistook the good feelings
Which I cherish'd towards them, especially Minnie, the youngest.
Well, I went last Easter, politely to pay them a visit,
And I wore the new coat now hanging up in the closet,
And was frizzled and curld, like all the rest of the youngsters.
When I enter'd, they titter'd; but that didn't very much matter.
Minnie sat at the piano, the father was present amongst them,
Pleased with his daughter's singing, and quite in a jocular humour.
Little could I understand of the words in the song she was singing,
But I constantly heard of Pamina, and then of Tamino,*
(* Characters In Mozart's Zauberflote.)
And I fain would express my opinion; so when she had ended,
I ask'd questions respecting the text, and who were the persons.
All were silent and smiled; but presently answer'd the father
'Did you e'er happen, my friend, to hear of Eve or of Adam?'
Then no longer restrain'd they themselves, the girls burst out laughing,
All the boys laugh'd loudly, the old man's sides appear'd splitting.
In my confusion I let my hat fall down, and the titt'ring
Lasted all the time the singing and playing continued.
Then I hasten'd home, ashamed and full of vexation,
Hung up my coat in the closet, and put my hair in disorder
With my fingers, and swore ne'er again to cross o'er their threshold.
And I'm sure I was right; for they are all vain and unloving.
And I hear they're so rude as to give me the nickname Tamino.'
Then the mother rejoin'd:--'You're wrong, dear Hermann, to harbour
Angry feelings against the children, for they are but children.
Minnie's an excellent girl, and has a tenderness for you;
Lately she ask'd how you were. Indeed, I wish you would choose her!'
Then the son thoughtfully answer'd:--'I know not why, but the fact is
My annoyance has graven itself in my mind, and hereafter
I could not bear at the piano to see her, or list to her singing.'
But the father sprang up, and said, in words full of anger
'Little comfort you give me, in truth! I always have said it,
When you took pleasure in horses, and cared for nothing but fieldwork;
That which the servants of prosperous people perform as their duty,
You yourself do; meanwhile the father his son must dispense with,
Who in his honour was wont to court the rest of the townsfolk.
Thus with empty hopes your mother early deceived me,
When your reading, and writing, and learning at school ne'er succeeded
Like the rest of the boys, and so you were always the lowest.
This all comes from a youth not possessing a due sense of honour,
And not having the spirit to try and raise his position.
Had my father but cared for me, as I have for you, sir,
Sent me to school betimes, and given me proper instructors,
I should not merely have been the host of the famed Golden Lion.'
But the son arose, and approach'd the doorway in silence,
Slowly, and making no noise: but then the father in dudgeon
After him shouted:--'Be off! I know you're an obstinate fellow!
Go and look after the business; else I shall scold you severely;
But don't fancy I'll ever allow you to bring home in triumph
As my daughter-in-law any boorish impudent hussy.
Long have I lived in the world, and know how to manage most people,
Know how to entertain ladies and gentlemen, so that they leave me
In good humour, and know how to flatter a stranger discreetly.
But my daughter-in-law must have useful qualities also,
And be able to soften my manifold cares and vexations.
She must also play on the piano, that all the best people
Here in the town may take pleasure in often coming to see us,
As in the house of our neighbour the merchant happens each Sunday.'
Softly the son at these words raised the latch, and left the apartment.
Mogg Megone - Part I.
Who stands on that cliff, like a figure of stone,
Unmoving and tall in the light of the sky,
Where the spray of the cataract sparkles on high,
Lonely and sternly, save Mogg Megone?
Close to the verge of the rock is he,
While beneath him the Saco its work is doing,
Hurrying down to its grave, the sea,
And slow through the rock its pathway hewing!
Far down, through the mist of the falling river,
Which rises up like an incense ever,
The splintered points of the crags are seen,
With water howling and vexed between,
While the scooping whirl of the pool beneath
Seems an open throat, with its granite teeth!
But Mogg Megone never trembled yet
Wherever his eye or his foot was set.
He is watchful: each form in the moonlight dim,
Of rock or of tree, is seen of him:
He listens; each sound from afar is caught,
The faintest shiver of leaf and limb:
But he sees not the waters, which foam and fret,
Whose moonlit spray has his moccasin wet, -
And the roar of their rushing, he bears it not.
The moonlight, through the open bough
Of the gnarl'd beech, whose naked root
Coils like a serpent at his foot,
Falls, checkered, on the Indian's brow.
His head is bare, save only where
Waves in the wind one lock of hair,
Reserved for him, whoe'er he be,
More mighty than Megone in strife,
When breast to breast and knee to knee,
Above the fallen warrior's life
Gleams, quick and keen, the scalping-knife.
Megone hath his knife and hatchet and gun,
And his gaudy and tasselled blanket on:
His knife hath a handle with gold inlaid,
And magic words on its polished blade, -
'Twas the gift of Castine to Mogg Megone,
For a scalp or twain from the Yengees torn:
His gun was the gift of the Tarrantine,
And Modocawando's wives had strung
The brass and the beads, which tinkle and shine
On the polished breach, and broad bright line
Of beaded wampum around it hung.
What seeks Megone? His foes are near, -
Grey Jocelyn's eye is never sleeping,
And the garrison lights are burning clear,
Where Phillips' men their watch are keeping.
Let him hie him away through the dank river fog,
Never rustling the boughs nor displacing the rocks,
For the eyes and the ears which are watching for Mogg
Are keener than those of the wolf or the fox.
He starts, - there's a rustle among the leaves:
Another, - the click of his gun in heard!
A footstep, - is it the step of Cleaves,
With Indian blood on his English sword?
Steals Harmon down from the sands of York,
With hand of iron and foot of cork?
Has Scamman, versed in Indian wile,
For vengeance left his vine-hung in isle?
Hark! at that whistle, soft and low,
How lights the eye of Mogg Megone!
A smile gleams o'er his dusky brow, -
'Boon welcome, Johnny Bonython!'
Out steps, with cautious foot and slow,
And quick, keen glances to and fro,
The hunted outlaw, Bonython!
A low, lean, swarthy man is he,
With blanket-garb and buskined knee,
And naught of English fashion on;
For he hates the race from whence he sprung,
And he couches his words in the Indian tongue.
'Hush, - let the Sachem's voice be weak;
The water-rat shall hear him speak, -
The owl shall whoop in the white man's ear,
That Mogg Megone, with his scalps, is here!'
He pauses, - dark, over cheek and brow,
A flush, as of shame, is stealing now:
'Sachem!' he says, 'let me have the land,
Which stretches away upon either hand,
As far about as my feet can stray
In the half of a gentle summer's day,
From the leaping brook to the Saco river, -
And the fair-hared girl, thou hast sought of me,
Shall sit in the Sachem's wigwam, and be
The wife of Mogg Megone forever.'
There's sudden light in the Indian's glance,
A moment's trace of powerful feeling,
Of love or triumph, or both perchance,
Over his proud, calm features stealing.
'The words of my father are very good;
He shall have the land, and water, and wood;
And he who harms the Sagamore John,
Shall feel the knife of Mogg Megone;
But the fawn of the Yengees shall sleep on my breast,
And the bird of the clearing shall sing in my nest.'
'But, father!' - and the Indian's hand
Falls gently on the white man's arm,
And with a smile as shrewdly bland
As the deep voice is slow and calm, -
'Where is my father's singing-bird, -
The sunny eye, and sunset hair?
I know I have my father's word,
And that his word is good and fair;
But will my father tell me where
Megone shall go and look for his bride? -
For he sees her not by her father's side.'
The dark, stern eye of Bonython
Flashes over the features of Mogg Megone,
In one of those glances which search within ;
But the stolid calm of the Indian alone
Remains where the trace of emotion has been.
'Does the Sachem doubt? Let him go with me,
And the eyes of the Sachem his bride shall see.'
Cautious and slow, with pauses oft,
And watchful eyes and whispers soft,
The twain are stealing through the wood,
Leaving the downward-rushing flood,
Whose deep and solemn roar behind
Grows fainter on the evening wind.
Hark! - is that the angry howl
Of the wolf, the hills among? -
Or the hooting of the owl,
On his leafy cradle swung? -
Quickly glancing, to and fro,
Listening to each sound they go
Round the columns of the pine,
Indistinct, in shadow, seeming
Like some old and pillared shrine;
With the soft and white moonshine,
Round the foliage-tracery shed
Of each column's branching head,
For its lamps of worship gleaming!
And the sounds awakened there,
In the pine-leaves fine and small,
Soft and sweetly musical,
By the fingers of the air,
For the anthem's dying fall
Lingering round some temple's wall!
Niche and cornice round and round
Wailing like the ghost of sound!
Is not Nature's worship thus,
Ceaseless ever, going on?
Hath it not a voice for us
In the thunder, or the tone
Of the leaf-harp faint and small,
Speaking to the unsealed ear
Words of blended love and fear,
Of the mighty Soul of all?
Naught had the twain of thoughts like these
As they wound along through the crowded trees,
Where never had rung the axeman's stroke
On the gnarled trunk of the rough-barked oak; -
Climbing the dead tree's mossy log,
Breaking the mesh of the bramble fine,
Turning aside the wild grapevine,
And lightly crossing the quaking bog
Whose surface shakes at the leap of the frog,
And out of whose pools the ghostly fog
Creeps into the chill moonshine!
Yet, even that Indian's ear had heard
The preaching of the Holy Word:
Sanchekantacket's isle of sand
Was once his father's hunting land,
Where zealous Hiacoomes stood, -
The wild apostle of the wood,
Shook from his soul the fear of harm,
And trampled on the Powwaw's charm;
Until the wizard's curses hung
Suspended on his palsying tongue,
And the fierce warrior, grim and tall,
Trembled before the forest Paul!
A cottage hidden in the wood, -
Red through its seams a light is glowing,
On rock and bough and tree-trunk rude,
A narrow lustre throwing.
'Who's there?' a clear, firm voice demands;
'Hold, Ruth, - 'tis I, the Sage more!'
Quick, at the summons, hasty hands
Unclose the bolted door;
And on the outlaw's daughter shine
The flashes of the kindled pine.
Tall and erect the maiden stands,
Like some young priestess of the wood,
The freeborn child of Solitude,
And bearing still the wild and rude,
Yet noble trace of Nature's hands.
Her dark brown cheek has caught its stain
More from the sunshine than the rain;
Yet, where her long fair hair is parting,
A pure white brow into light is starting;
And, where the folds of her blanket sever,
Are a neck and bosom as white as ever
The foam-wreaths rise on the leaping river.
But in the convulsive quiver and grip
Of the muscles around her bloodless lip,
There is something painful and sad to see;
And her eye has a glance more sternly wild
Than even that of a forest child
In its fearless and untamed freedom should be.
Yet, seldom in hall or court are seen
So queenly a form and so noble a mien,
As freely and smiling she welcomes them there, -
Her outlawed sire and Mogg Megone:
'Pray, father, how does thy hunting fare?
And, Sachem, say, - does Scamman wear,
In spite of thy promise, a scalp of his own?'
Hurried and light is the maiden's tone;
But a fearful meaning lurks within
Her glance, as it questions the eye of Megone, -
An awful meaning of guilt and sin! -
The Indian hath opened his blanket, and there
Hangs a human scalp by its long damp hair!
With hand upraised, with quick drawn breath,
She meets that ghastly sign of death.
In one long, glassy, spectral stare
The enlarging eye is fastened there,
As if that mesh of pale brown hair
Had power to change at sight alone,
Even as the fearful locks which wound
Medusa's fatal forehead round,
The gazer into stone.
With such a look Herodias read
The features of the bleeding head,
So looked the mad Moor on his dead,
Or the young Cenci as she stood,
O'er-dabbled with a father's blood!
Look! - feeling melts that frozen glance,
It moves that marble countenance,
As if at once within her strove
Pity with shame, and hate with love.
The Past recalls its joy and pain,
Old memories rise before her brain, -
The lips which love's embraces met,
The hand her tears of parting wet,
The voice whose pleading tones beguiled
The pleased ear of the forest-child, -
And tears she may no more repress
Reveal her lingering tenderness.
O, woman wronged can cherish hate
More deep and dark than manhood may;
But when the mockery of Fate
Hath left Revenge its chosen way,
And the fell curse, which years have nursed,
Full on the spoiler's head hath burst, -
When all her wrong, and shame, and pain,
Burns fiercely on his heart and brain, -
Still lingers something of the spell
Which bound her to the traitor's bosom, -
Still, midst the vengeful fires of hell,
Some flowers of old affection blossom.
John Bonython's eyebrows together are drawn
With a fierce expression of wrath and scorn, -
He hoarsely whispers, 'Ruth, beware!
Is this the time to be playing the fool, -
Crying over a paltry lock of hair,
Like a love-sick girl at school? -
Curse on it! - an Indian can see and hear:
Away, - and prepare our evening cheer!'
How keenly the Indian is watching now
Her tearful eye and her varying brow, -
With a serpent eye, which kindles and burns,
Like a fiery star in the upper air:
On sire and daughter his fierce glance turns: -
'Has my old white father a scalp to spare?
For his young one loves the pale brown hair
Of the scalp of an English dog far more
Than Mogg Megone, or his wigwam floor;
Go, - Mogg is wise: he will keep his land, -
And Sagamore John, when he feels with his hand,
Shall miss his scalp where it grew before.
The moment's gust of grief is gone, -
The lip is clenched, - the tears are still, -
God pity thee, Ruth Bonython!
With what a strength of will
Are nature's feelings in thy breast,
As with an iron hand, repressed!
And how, upon that nameless woe,
Quick as the pulse can come and go,
While shakes the unsteadfast knee, and yet
The bosom heaves, - the eye is wet, -
Has thy dark spirit power to stay
The heart's wild current on its way?
And whence that baleful strength of guile,
Which over that still working brow
And tearful eye and cheek can throw
The mockery of a smile?
Warned by her father's blackening frown,
With one strong effort crushing down
Grief, hate, remorse, she meets again
The savage murderer's sullen gaze,
And scarcely look or tone betrays
How the heart strives beneath its chain.
'Is the Sachem angry, - angry with Ruth,
Because she cries with an ache in her tooth,
Which would make a Sagamore jump and cry,
And look about with a woman's eye?
No, - Ruth will sit in the Sachem's door
And braid the mats for his wigwam floor,
And broil his fish and tender fawn,
And weave his wampum, and grind his corn, -
For she loves the brave and the wise, and none
Are braver and wiser than Mogg Megone!'
The Indian's brow is clear once more:
With grave, calm face, and half-shut eye,
He sits upon the wigwam floor,
And watches Ruth go by,
Intent upon her household care;
And ever and anon, the while,
Or on the maiden, or her fare,
Which smokes in grateful promise there,
Bestows his quiet smile.
Ah, Mogg Megone! - what dreams are thine,
But those which love's own fancies dress, -
The sum of Indian happiness! -
A wigwam, where the warm sunshine
Looks in among the groves of pine, -
A stream, where, round thy light canoe,
The trout and salmon dart in view,
And the fair girl, before thee now,
Or plying, in the dews of morn,
Her hoe amidst thy patch of corn,
Or offering up, at eve, to thee,
Thy birchen dish of hominy!
From the rude board of Bonython,
Venison and succotash have gone, -
For long these dwellers want of food.
But untasted of Ruth is the frugal cheer, -
With head averted, yet ready ear,
She stands by the side of her austere sire,
Feeding, at times, the unequal fire
With the yellow knots of the pitch-pine tree,
Whose flaring light, as they kindle, falls
On the cottage-roof, and its black log walls,
And over its inmates three.
From Sagamore Bonython's hunting flask
The fire-water burns at the lip of Megone:
'Will the Sachem hear what his father shall ask?
Will he make his mark, that it may be known,
On the speaking-leaf, that he gives the land,
From the Sachem's own, to his father's hand?'
The fire-water shines in the Indian's eyes,
As he rises, the white man's bidding to do:
'Wuttamuttata - weekan! Mogg is wise, -
For the water he drinks is strong and new, -
Mogg's heart is great! - will he shut his hand,
When his father asks for a little land?' -
With unsteady fingers, the Indian has drawn
On the parchment the shape of a hunter's bow,
'Boon water, - boon water, - Sagamore John!
Wuttamuttata, - weekan! our hearts will grow!'
He drinks yet deeper, - he mutters low, -
He reels on his bear-skin to and fro, -
His head falls down on his naked breast, -
He struggles, and sinks to a drunken rest.
'Humph - drunk as a beast!' - and Bonython's brow
Is darker than ever with evil thought -
'The fool has signed his warrant; but how
And when shall the deed be wrought?
Speak, Ruth! why, what the devil is there,
To fix thy gaze in that empty air? -
Speak, Ruth! by my soul, if I thought that tear,
Which shames thyself and our purpose here,
Were shed for that cursed and pale-faced dog,
Whose green scalp hangs from the belt of Mogg,
And whose beastly soul is in Satan's keeping, -
This - this!' - he dashes his hand upon
The rattling stock of his loaded gun, -
'Should send thee with him to do thy weeping!'
'Father!' - the eye of Bonython
Sinks at that low, sepulchral tone,
Hollow and deep, as it were spoken
By the unmoving tongue of death, -
Or from some statue's lips had broken, -
A sound without a breath!
'Father! - my life I value less
Than yonder fool his gaudy dress;
And how it ends it matters not,
By heart-break or by rifle-shot;
But spare awhile the scoff and threat, -
Our business is not finished yet.'
'True, true, my girl, - I only meant
To draw up again the bow unbent.
Harm thee, my Ruth! I only sought
To frighten off thy gloomy thought;
Come, - let's be friends!' He seeks to clasp
His daughter's cold, damp hand in his.
Ruth startles from her father's grasp,
As if each nerve and muscle felt,
Instinctively, the touch of guilt,
Through all their subtle sympathies.
He points her to the sleeping Mogg:
'What shall be done with yonder dog?
Scamman is dead, and revenge is thine, -
The deed is signed and the land is mine;
And this drunken fool is of use no more,
Save as thy hopeful bridegroom, and sooth,
'Twere Christian mercy to finish him, Ruth,
Now, while he lies like a beast on our floor, -
If not for thine, at least for his sake,
Rather than let the poor dog awake
To drain my flask, and claim as his bride
Such a forest devil to run by his side, -
Such a Wetuomanit as thou wouldst make!'
He laughs at his jest. Hush - what is there? -
The sleeping Indian is striving to rise,
With his knife in his hand, and glaring eyes! -
'Wagh! - Mogg will have the pale-face's hair,
For his knife is sharp, and his fingers can help
The hair to pull and the skin to peel, -
Let him cry like a woman and twist like an eel,
The great Captain Scamman must lose his scalp!
And Ruth, when she sees it, shall dance with Mogg.'
His eyes are fixed, - but his lips draw in, -
With a low, hoarse chuckle, and fiendish grin, -
And he sinks again, like a senseless log.
Ruth does not speak, - she does not stir;
But she gazes down on the murderer,
Whose broken and dreamful slumbers tell
Too much for her ear of that deed of hell.
She sees the knife, with its slaughter red,
And the dark fingers clenching the bearskin bed!
What thoughts of horror and madness whirl
Through the burning brain of that fallen girl!
John Bonython lifts his gun to his eye,
Its muzzle is close to the Indian's ear, -
But he drops it again. 'Some one may be nigh,
And I would not that even the wolves should hear.'
He draws his knife from its deer-skin belt, -
Its edge with his fingers is slowly felt; -
Kneeling down on one knee, by the Indian's side,
From his throat he opens the blanket wide;
And twice or thrice he feebly essays
A trembling hand with the knife to raise.
'I cannot,' - he mutters, - 'did he not save
My life from a cold and wintry grave,
When the storm came down from Agioochook,
And the north-wind howled, and the tree-tops shook, -
And I strove, in the drifts of the rushing snow,
Till my knees grew weak and I could not go,
And I felt the cold to my vitals creep,
And my heart's blood stiffen, and pulses sleep!
I cannot strike him - Ruth Bonython!
In the Devil's name, tell me - what's to be done?'
O, when the soul, once pure and high,
Is stricken down from Virtue's sky,
As, with the downcast star of morn,
Some gems of light are with it drawn, -
And, through its night of darkness, play
Some tokens of its primal day, -
Some lofty feelings linger still, -
The strength to dare, the nerve to meet
Whatever threatens with defeat
Its all-indomitable will! -
But lacks the mean of mind and heart,
Though eager for the gains of crime,
Oft, at his chosen place and time,
The strength to bear his evil part;
And, shielded by his very Vice,
Escapes from Crime by Cowardice.
Ruth starts erect, - with bloodshot eye,
And lips drawn tight across her teeth,
Showing their locked embrace beneath,
In the red firelight: - 'Mogg must die!
Give me the knife!' - The outlaw turns,
Shuddering in the heart and limb, away, -
But, fitfully there, the hearth-fire burns,
And he sees on the wall strange shadows play.
A lifted arm, a tremulous blade,
Are dimly pictured in light and shade,
Plunging down in the darkness. Hark, that cry
Again - and again - he sees it fall, -
That shadowy arm down the lighted wall!
He hears quick footsteps - a shape flits by -
The door on its rusted hinges creaks: -
'Ruth - daughter Ruth!' the outlaw shrieks.
But no sound comes back, - he is standing alone
By the mangled corse of Mogg Megone!
The Merchant of Venice,: A Legend of Italy
I believe there are few
But have heard of a Jew,
Named Shylock, of Venice, as arrant a 'screw'
In money transactions as ever you knew;
An exorbitant miser, who never yet lent
A ducat at less than three hundred per cent.,
Insomuch that the veriest spendthrift in Venice,
Who'd take no more care of his pounds than his pennies,
When press'd for a loan, at the very first sight
Of his terms, would back out, and take refuge in Flight.
It is not my purpose to pause and inquire
If he might not, in managing thus to retire,
Jump out of the frying-pan into the fire;
Suffice it, that folks would have nothing to do,
Who could possibly help it, with Shylock the Jew.
But, however discreetly one cuts and contrives,
We've been most of us taught in the course of our lives,
That 'Needs must when the Elderly Gentleman drives!'
In proof of this rule,
A thoughtless young fool,
Bassanio, a Lord of the Tomnoddy school,
Who, by showing at Operas, Balls, Plays, and Court,
A 'swelling' (Payne Collier would read 'swilling') 'port,'
And inviting his friends to dine, breakfast, and sup,
Had shrunk his 'weak means,' and was 'stump'd,' and 'hard up,'
Took occasion to send
To his very good friend
Antonio, a merchant whose wealth had no end,
And who'd often before had the kindness to lend
Him large sums, on his note, which he'd managed to spend.
'Antonio,' said he, 'Now listen to me;
I've just hit on a scheme which, I think you'll agree,
All matters consider'd, is no bad design,
And which, if it succeeds, will suit your book and mine.
'In the first place, you know all the money I've got,
Time and often, from you has been long gone to pot,
And in making those loans you have made a bad shot;
Now do as the boys do when, shooting at sparrows
And tom-tits, they chance to lose one of their arrows,
-- Shoot another the same way -- I'll watch well its track,
And, turtle to tripe, I'll bring both of them back!
So list to my plan,
And do what you can,
To attend to and second it, that's a good man!
'There's a Lady, young, handsome, beyond all compare, at
A place they call Belmont, whom, when I was there, at
The suppers and parties my friend Lord Mountferrat
Was giving last season, we all used to stare at,
Then, as to her wealth, her solicitor told mine,
Besides vast estates, a pearl fishery, and gold mine,
Her iron strong box
Seems bursting its locks,
It's stuffed so with shares in 'Grand Junctions,' and 'Docks,'
Not to speak of the money's she's got in the stocks,
French, Dutch, and Brazilian, Columbian, and Chilian,
In English Exchequer-bills full half a million,
Not 'kites,' manufactured to cheat and inveigle,
But the right sort of 'flimsy,' all signed by Monteagle.
Then I know not how much in Canal-shares and Railways
And more speculations I need not detail, ways
Of vesting which, if not so safe as some think'em,
Contribute a deal to improving one's income;
In short, she's a Mint!
-- Now I say, deuce is in't
If with all my experience, I can't take a hint,
And her 'eye's speechless messages,' plainer than print
At the time that I told you of, know from a squint,
In short, my dear Tony,
My trusty old crony,
Do stump up three thousand once more as a loan -- I
Am sure of my game -- though, of course there are brutes,
Of all sorts and sizes, preferring their suits
To her you may call the Italian Miss Coutts,
Yet Portia -- she's named from that daughter of Cato's--
Is not to be snapp'd up like little potatoes,
And I have not a doubt I shall rout every lout
Ere you'll whisper Jack Robinson -- cut them all out --
Surmount every barrier, Carry her, marry her!
-- Then hey! my old Tony, when once fairly noosed,
For her Three-and-a-half per cents -- New and Reduced!'
With a wink of his eye His friend made reply
In his jocular manner, sly, caustic, and dry.
'Still the same boy, Bassanio -- never say 'die'!
-- Well -- I hardly know how I shall do't, but I'll try.--
Don't suppose my affairs are at all in a hash,
But the fact is, at present I'm quite out of cash;
The bulk of my property, merged in rich cargoes, is
Tossing about, as you know, in my Argosies,
Tending, of course, my resources to cripple,-- I
've one bound to England,-- another to Tripoli--
Cyprus -- Masulipatam -- and Bombay;--
A sixth, by the way, I consigned t'other day
To Sir Gregor M'Gregor, Cacique of Poyais,
A country where silver's as common as clay.
Meantime, till they tack, And come, some of them, back,
What with Custom-house duties, and bills falling due,
My account with Jones Loyd and Co. looks rather blue;
While, as for the 'ready,' I'm like a Church-mouse,--
I really don't think there's five pounds in the house.
But, no matter for that,
Let me just get my hat,
And my new silk umbrella that stands on the mat,
And we'll go forth at once to the market -- we two,--
And try what my credit in Venice can do;
I stand well on 'Change, and, when all's said and done, I
Don't doubt I shall get it for love or for money.'
They were going to go,
When, lo! down below,
In the street, they heard somebody crying, 'Old Clo'!'
--'By the Pope, there's the man for our purpose!-- I knew
We should not have to search long. Salanio, run you,
-- Salarino,-- quick!-- haste! ere he get out of view,
And call in that scoundrel, old Shylock the Jew!'
With a pack,
Like a sack
Of old clothes at his back,
And three hats on his head, Shylock came in a crack,
Saying, 'Rest you fair, Signior Antonio!-- vat, pray,
Might your vorship be pleashed for to vant in ma vay!'
--'Why, Shylock, although, As you very well know,
I am what they call 'warm,'-- pay my way as I go,
And, as to myself, neither borrow nor lend,
I can break through a rule to oblige an old friend;
And that's the case now -- Lord Bassanio would raise
Some three thousand ducats -- well,-- knowing your ways,
And that nought's to be got from you, say what one will,
Unless you've a couple of names to the bill,
Why, for once, I'll put mine to it,
Yea, seal and sign to it --
Now, then, old Sinner, let's hear what you'll say
As to 'doing' a bill at three months from to-day?
Three thousand gold ducats, mind -- all in good bags
Of hard money -- no sealing-wax, slippers, or rags?'
'-- Vell, ma tear,' says the Jew, 'I'll see vat I can do!
But Mishter Antonio, hark you, 'tish funny
You say to me, 'Shylock, ma tear, ve'd have money!'
Ven you very vell knows, How you shpit on ma clothes,
And use naughty vords -- call me Dog -- and avouch
Dat I put too much int'resht py half in ma pouch,
And vhile I, like de resht of ma tribe, shrug and crouch,
You find fault mit ma pargains, and say I'm a Smouch.
-- Vell!--n o matters, ma tear,-- Von vord in your ear!
I'd be friends mit you bote -- and to make dat appear,
Vy, I'll find you de monies as soon as you vill,
Only von littel joke musht be put in de pill;
Ma tear, you musht say,
If on such and such day
Such sum or such sums, you shall fail to repay,
I shall cut vere I like, as de pargain is proke,
A fair pound of your flesh -- chest by vay of a joke.'
So novel a clause Caused Bassanio to pause;
But Antonio, like most of those sage 'Johnny Raws'
Who care not three straws
About Lawyers or Laws,
And think cheaply of 'Old Father Antic,' because
They have never experienced a gripe from his claws,
'Pooh pooh'd' the whole thing.--'Let the Smouch have his way,
Why, what care I, pray,
For his penalty?-- Nay,
It's a forfeit he'd never expect me to pay:
And, come what come may, I hardly need say
My ships will be back a full month ere the day.'
So, anxious to see his friend off on his journey,
And thinking the whole but a paltry concern, he
Affixed with all speed
His name to a deed,
Duly stamp'd and drawn up by a sharp Jew attorney.
Thus again furnish'd forth, Lord Bassanio, instead
Of squandering the cash, after giving one spread,
With fiddling and masques, at the Saracen's Head,
In the morning 'made play,' And without more delay,
Started off in the steam-boat for Belmont next day.
But scarcely had he
From the harbour got free,
And left the Lagunes for the broad open sea,
Ere the 'Change and Rialto both rung with the news
That he'd carried off more than mere cash from the Jew's.
Though Shylock was old,
And, if rolling in gold,
Was as ugly a dog as you' wish to behold,
For few in his tribe 'mongst their Levis and Moseses,
Sported so Jewish an eye, beard, and nose as his,
Still, whate'er the opinion of Horace and some be,
Your aquilæ generate sometimes Columbæ,
Like Jephthah, as Hamlet says, he'd 'one fair daughter,'
And every gallant, who caught sight of her, thought her,
A jewel -- a gem of the very first water;
A great many sought her,
Till one at last caught her,
And, upsetting all that the Rabbis had taught her,
To feelings so truly reciprocal brought her,
That the very same night Bassanio thought right
To give all his old friends that farewell 'invite,'
And while Shylock was gone there to feed out of spite,
On 'wings made by a tailor' the damsel took flight.
By these 'wings' I'd express
A grey duffle dress,
With brass badge and muffin cap, made, as by rule,
For an upper-class boy in the National School.
Jessy ransack'd the house, popp'd her breeks on, and when so
Disguised, bolted off with her beau -- one Lorenzo,
An 'Unthrift,' who lost not a moment in whisking
Her into the boat,
And was fairly afloat
Ere her Pa had got rid of the smell of the griskin.
Next day, while old Shylock was making a racket,
And threatening how well he'd dust every man's jacket
Who'd help'd her in getting aboard of the packet,
Bassanio at Belmont was capering and prancing,
And bowing, and scraping, and singing, and dancing,
Making eyes at Miss Portia, and doing his best
To perform the polite, and to cut out the rest;
And, if left to herself, he, no doubt, had succeeded,
For none of them waltz'd so genteelly as he did;
But an obstacle lay, Of some weight, in his way,
The defunct Mr. P. who was now turned to clay,
Had been an odd man, and, though all for the best he meant,
Left but a queer sort of 'Last will and testament,'--
Bequeathing her hand,
With her houses and land,
&c., from motives one don't understand,
As she rev'renced his memory, and valued his blessing,
To him who should turn out the best hand at guessing!
Like a good girl, she did
Just what she was bid,
In one of three caskets her picture she hid,
And clapp'd a conundrum a-top of each lid.
A couple of Princes, a black and a white one,
Tried first, but they both fail'd in choosing the right one.
Another from Naples, who shoe'd his own horses;
A French Lord, whose graces might vie with Count D'Orsay's;--
A young English Baron;-- a Scotch Peer his neighbour;--
A dull drunken Saxon, all moustache and sabre;
All follow'd, and all had their pains for their labour.
Bassanio came last -- happy man be his dole!
Put his conjuring cap on,-- considered the whole,--
The gold put aside as
Mere 'hard food for Midas,'
The silver bade trudge
As a 'pale common drudge;'
Then choosing the little lead box in the middle,
Came plump on the picture, and found out the riddle.
Now, you're not such a goose as to think, I dare say,
Gentle Reader, that all this was done in a day,
Any more than the dome Of St. Peter's at Rome
Was built in the same space of time; and, in fact,
Whilst Bassanio was doing
His billing and cooing,
Three months had gone by ere he reach'd the fifth act;
Meanwhile that unfortunate bill became due,
Which his Lordship had almost forgot, to the Jew,
And Antonio grew In a deuce of a stew,
For he could not cash up, spite of all he could do;
(The bitter old Israelite would not renew,)
What with contrary winds, storms, wrecks, and embargoes, his
Funds were all stopp'd, or gone down in his argosies,
None of the set having come into port,
And Shylock's attorney was moving the Court
For the forfeit supposed to be set down in sport.
The serious news
Of this step of the Jew's,
And his fix'd resolution all terms to refuse,
Gave the newly-made Bridegroom a fit of 'the Blues,'
Especially, too, as it came from the pen
Of his poor friend himself on the wedding-day,-- then,
When the Parson had scarce shut his book up, and when
The Clerk was yet uttering the final Amen.
'Dear Friend,' it continued, 'all's up with me -- I
Have nothing on earth now to do but to die!
And, as death clears all scores, you're no longer my debtor;
I should take it as kind
Could you come -- never mind --
If your love don't persaude you, why,-- don't let this letter!'
I hardly need say this was scarcely read o'er
Ere a post-chaise and four
Was brought round to the door
And Bassanio, though, doubtless, he thought it a bore,
Gave his Lady one kiss, and then started at score.
But scarce in his flight
Had he got out of sight
Ere Portia, addressing a groom, said, 'My lad, you a
Journey must take on the instant to Padua;
Find out there Bellario,a Doctor of Laws,
Who, like Follett, is never left out of a cause,
And give him this note,
Which I've hastily wrote,
Take the papers he'll give you -- then push for the ferry
Below, where I'll meet you, you'll do't in a wherry,
If you can't find a boat on the Brenta with sails to it
-- Stay, bring his gown too, and wig with three tails to it.'
Giovanni (that's Jack)
Brought out his hack,
Made a bow to his mistress, then jump'd on its back,
Put his hand to his hat, and was off in a crack.
The Signora soon follow'd herself, taking as her
Own escort Nerissa her maid, and Balthasar.
'The Court is prepared, the Lawyers are met,
The Judges all ranged, a terrible show!'
As Captain Macheath says,-- and when one's in debt,
The sight's as unpleasant a one as I know,
Yet still not so bad after all, I suppose,
As if, when one cannot discharge what one owes,
They should bid people cut off one's toes or one's nose;
Yet here, a worse fate,
Stands Antonio, of late
A Merchant, might vie e'en with Princes in state,
With his waistcoat unbutton'd, prepared for the knife,
Which, in taking a pound of flesh, must take his life;
-- On the other side Shylock, his bag on the floor,
And three shocking bad hats on his head, as before,
As he waits their commands
With his scales and his great snicker-snee in his hands:
-- Between them, equipt in a wig, gown and bands,
With a very smooth face, a young dandified Lawyer,
Whose air, ne'ertheless, speaks him quite a top-sawyer,
Though his hopes are but feeble,
Does his possible
To make the hard Hebrew to mercy incline,
And in lieu of his three thousand ducats take nine,
Which Bassanio, for reasons we well may divine,
Shows in so many bags all drawn up in a line.
But vain are all efforts to soften him -- still
He points to the bond He so often has conn'd,
And says in plain terms he'll be shot if he will.
So the dandified Lawyer, with talking grown hoarse,
Says, 'I can say no more -- let the law take its course.'
Just fancy the gleam of the eye of the Jew,
As he sharpen'd his knife on the sole of his shoe
From the toe to the heel, And grasping the steel,
With a business-like air was beginning to feel
Whereabouts he should cut, as a butcher would veal,
When the dandified Judge puts a spoke in his wheel.
'Stay, Shylock,' says he, Here's one thing -- you see
This bond of yours gives you here no jot of blood!
-- The words are 'A pound of flesh,'-- that's clear as mud --
Slice away, then, old fellow -- but mind!-- if you spill
One drop of his claret that's not in your bill,
I'll hang you, like Haman?-- By Jingo I will!'
When apprised of this flaw, You never yet saw
Such an awfully mark'd elongation of jaw
As in Shylock, who cried, 'Plesh ma heart! ish dat law?'--
Off went his three hats,
And he look'd as the cats
Do, whenever a mouse has escaped from their claw.
'-- Ish't the law?'-- why the thing won't admit of a query --
'No doubt of the fact,
Only look at the act;
Acto quinto, cap. tertio, Dogi Falieri --
Nay, if, rather than cut, you'd relinquish the debt,
The Law, Master Shy, has a hold on you yet.
See Foscari's 'Statutes at large'--'If a Stranger
A Citizen's life shall, with malice, endanger,
The whole of his property, little or great,
Shall go, on conviction, one half to the State,
And one to the person pursued by his hate;
And, not to create
Any farther debate,
The Doge, if he pleases, may cut off his pate.'
So down on your marrowbones, Jew, and ask mercy!
Defendant and Plaintiff are now wisy wersy.'
What need to declare
How pleased they all were
At so joyful an end to so sad an affair?
Or Bassanio's delight at the turn things had taken,
His friend having saved, to the letter, his bacon?--
How Shylock got shaved, and turn'd Christian, though late,
To save a life-int'rest in half his estate?
How the dandified Lawyer, who'd managed the thing,
Would not take any fee for his pains but a ring
Which Mrs. Bassanio had given to her spouse,
With injunctions to keep it on leaving the house?--
How when he, and the spark
Who appeared as his clerk,
Had thrown off their wigs, and their gowns, and their jetty coats,
There stood Nerissa and Portia in petticoats?--
How they pouted, and flouted, and acted the cruel,
Because Lord Bassanio had not kept his jewel?--
How they scolded and broke out,
Till having their joke out,
They kissed, and were friends, and, all blessing and blessed,
Drove home by the light
Of a moonshiny night,
Like the one in which Troilus, the brave Trojan knight,
Sat astride on a wall, and sigh'd after his Cressid?--
All this, if 'twere meet,
I'd go on to repeat,
But a story spun out so's by no means a treat,
So, I'll merely relate what, in spite of the pains
I have taken to rummage among his remains,
No edition of Shakspeare, I've met with, contains;
But, if the account which I've heard be the true one,
We shall have it, no doubt, before long, in a new one.
In an MS., then sold
For its full weight in gold,
And knock'd down to my friend, Lord Tomnoddy, I'm told
It's recorded that Jessy, coquettish and vain,
Gave her husband, Lorenzo, a good deal of pain;
Being mildly rebuked, she levanted again,
Ran away with a Scotchman, and, crossing the main,
Became known by the name of the 'Flower of Dumblane.'
That Antonio, whose piety caused, as we've seen,
Him to spit upon every old Jew's gaberdine,
And whose goodness to paint
All colours were faint,
Acquired the well-merited prefix of 'Saint,'
And the Doge, his admirer, of honour the fount,
Having given him a patent, and made him a Count,
He went over to England, got nat'ralis'd there,
And espous'd a rich heiress in Hanover Square.
That Shylock came with him; no longer a Jew,
But converted, I think may be possibly true,
But that Walpole, as these self-same papers aver,
By changing the y in his name into er,
Should allow him a fictitious surname to dish up,
And in Seventeen-twenty-eight make him a Bishop,
I cannot believe--but shall still think them two men
Till some Sage proves the fact 'with his usual acumen.'
From this tale of the Bard
It's uncommonly hard
If an editor can't draw a moral.--'Tis clear,
Then,-- In ev'ry young wife-seeking Bachelor's ear
A maxim, 'bove all other stories, this one drums,
'PITCH GREEK TO OLD HARRY, AND STICK TO CONUNDRUMS!!'
To new-married ladies this lesson it teaches,
'You're "no that far wrong" in assuming the breeches!'
Monied men upon 'Change, and rich Merchants it schools
To look well to assets -- nor play with edge tools!
Last of all, this remarkable History shows men,
What caution they need when they deal with old-clothesmen!
So bid John and Mary
To mind and be wary,
And never let one of them come down the are'