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

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

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

"Nix my dolly, pals, fake away!"

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

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

ending with the inevitable and insufferable chorus,

"Nix my dolly, pals, fake away!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour,"

found its echo in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The reviewer then quotes the poem down to the general commination, ending with

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

He then resumes his commentary:—

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

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

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

and the critic resumes:—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit, Nulli flebilior quam mihi!"

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


31 ONSLOW SQUARE, October 1903.

LIST OF EDITIONS OF THE BON GAULTIER BALLADS. Edition. 1 1845 16mo Illustrated by ALFRED CROWQUILL. 2 1849 sm. 4to Illustrated by ALFRED CROWQUILL and RICHARD DOYLE. With Portrait of "Bon Gaultier," Illuminated Title-page, and Ornamental Borders. 3 [1849] " Illustrated by ALFRED CROWQUILL, RICHARD DOYLE, and JOHN LEECH. First edition with Corner Cartoons. 4 [1855] " Illustrated by the SAME. Second Edition with Corner Cartoons. 5 1857 " The editions 5 to 17 were illustrated by DOYLE, LEECH, and CROWQUILL. 6 1859 " 7 1861 " 8 1864 " 9 1866 " The 16th and 17th Editions being the Third and Fourth with Corner Cartoons. 10 1868 " 11 1870 " 12 1874 " 13 1877 " 14 1884 crown 8vo 15 1889 " 16 1903 sm. 4to 17 1904 "



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


The Broken Pitcher.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don Fernando Gomersalez. From the Spanish of Astley's.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Courtship of our Cid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

"Since you dragged the 'tarnal crittur From the bottom of the ponds, Here's the hundred dollars due you, All in Pennsylvanian Bonds!" {44}

The Lay of Mr Colt.

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


* * * *

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

The Death of Jabez Dollar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Alabama Duel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The American's Apostrophe to Boz.

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Student of Jena.

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

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

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

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

The Lay of the Levite.

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

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

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

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

Bursch Groggenburg.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Night and Morning.


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

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

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

(TOM—lene susurrans)

"My head! Oh, that tenth tumbler! 'Twas that which wrought my woe!"

The Biter Bit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Convict and the Australian Lady.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Knyghte and the Taylzeour's Daughter.

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

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

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

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

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