Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Collected Poems - In Two Volumes, Vol. II
Author: Dobson, Austin, 1840-1921
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Collected Poems - In Two Volumes, Vol. II" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



COLLECTED POEMS


BY
AUSTIN DOBSON


IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. II.


_Majores majora sonent_


NEW YORK
DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY
PUBLISHERS



_Copyright, 1895,_
BY DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

       *       *       *       *       *

_All rights reserved._


University Press:
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A.



    _"For old sake's sake!" 'Twere hard to choose_
    _Words fitter for an old-world Muse_
        _Than these, that in their cadence bring_
        _Faint fragrance of the posy-ring,_
    _And charms that rustic lovers use._

    _The long day lengthens, and we lose_
    _The first pale flush, the morning hues,--_
        _Ah! but the back-look, lingering,_
            _For old sake's sake!_

    That _we retain. Though Time refuse_
    _To lift the veil on forward views,_
        _Despot in most, he is not King_
        _Of those kind memories that cling_
    _Around his travelled avenues_
            _For old sake's sake!_



    "_Qui n'a pas l'esprit de son âge_
    _De son âge a tout le malheur._"
                             Voltaire.



CONTENTS.

                                                Page
AT THE SIGN OF THE LYRE:--
  The Ladies of St. James's                        3
  The Old Sedan Chair                              6
  To an Intrusive Butterfly                        9
  The Curé's Progress                             11
  The Masque of the Months                        13
  Two Sermons                                     17
  "Au Revoir"                                     19
  The Carver and the Caliph                       26
  To an Unknown Bust in the British Museum        29
  Molly Trefusis                                  32
  At the Convent Gate                             36
  The Milkmaid                                    38
  An Old Fish-Pond                                40
  An Eastern Apologue                             43
  To a Missal of the Thirteenth Century           45
  A Revolutionary Relic                           48
  A Madrigal                                      54
  A Song to the Lute                              56
  A Garden Song                                   58
  A Chapter of Froissart                          60
  To the Mammoth Tortoise                         64
  A Roman "Round-Robin"                           66
  Verses to Order                                 68
  A Legacy                                        70
  "Little Blue Ribbons"                           72
  Lines to a Stupid Picture                       74
  A Fairy Tale                                    76
  To a Child                                      78
  Household Art                                   80
  The Distressed Poet                             81
  Jocosa Lyra                                     83
  My Books                                        85
  The Book-Plate's Petition                       87
  Palomydes                                       89
  André le Chapelain                              91
  The Water of Gold                               95
  A Fancy from Fontenelle                         97
  Don Quixote                                     98
  A Broken Sword                                  99
  The Poet's Seat                                101
  The Lost Elixir                                104

MEMORIAL VERSES:--
  A Dialogue (Alexander Pope)                    107
  A Familiar Epistle (William Hogarth)           112
  Henry Fielding                                 115
  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow                     119
  Charles George Gordon                          120
  Victor Hugo                                    121
  Alfred, Lord Tennyson                          122

FABLES OF LITERATURE AND ART:--
  The Poet and the Critics                       127
  The Toyman                                     130
  The Successful Author                          133
  The Dilettant                                  136
  The Two Painters                               138
  The Claims of the Muse                         140
  The 'Squire at Vauxhall                        144
  The Climacteric                                149

TALES IN RHYME:--
  The Virgin with the Bells                      155
  A Tale of Polypheme                            159
  A Story from a Dictionary                      170
  The Water Cure                                 178
  The Noble Patron                               184

VERS DE SOCIÉTÉ:--
  Incognita                                      193
  Dora _versus_ Rose                             197
  Ad Rosam                                       200
  Outward Bound                                  205
  In the Royal Academy                           208
  The Last Despatch                              213
  "Premiers Amours"                              216
  The Screen in the Lumber Room                  219
  Daisy's Valentines                             221
  In Town                                        224
  A Sonnet in Dialogue                           227
  Growing Gray                                   229

VARIA:--
  The Maltworm's Madrigal                        233
  An April Pastoral                              236
  A New Song of the Spring Gardens               237
  A Love Song, 1700                              239
  Of his Mistress                                240
  The Nameless Charm                             242
  To Phidyle                                     243
  To his Book                                    244
  For a Copy of Herrick                          246
  With a Volume of Verse                         247
  For the Avery "Knickerbocker"                  248
  To a Pastoral Poet                             250
  "Sat est Scripsisse"                           251

PROLOGUES AND EPILOGUES:--
  Prologue and Envoi to Abbey's Edition of
    "She Stoops to Conquer"                      257
  Prologue and Epilogue to Abbey's "Quiet Life"  264

NOTES                                            271



AT THE SIGN OF THE LYRE.



    _"At the Sign of the Lyre,"_
      _Good Folk, we present you_
    _With the pick of our quire,_
      _And we hope to content you!_

    _Here be Ballad and Song,_
      _The fruits of our leisure,_
    _Some short and some long--_
      _May they all give you pleasure!_

    _But if, when you read,_
      _They should fail to restore you,_
    _Farewell, and God-speed--_
      _The world is before you!_



THE LADIES OF ST. JAMES'S.

A PROPER NEW BALLAD OF THE COUNTRY AND THE TOWN.

    "_Phyllida amo ante alias._"
                            Virg.


    The ladies of St. James's
      Go swinging to the play;
    Their footmen run before them,
      With a "Stand by! Clear the way!"
    But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
      She takes her buckled shoon,
    When we go out a-courting
      Beneath the harvest moon.

    The ladies of St. James's
      Wear satin on their backs;
    They sit all night at _Ombre_,
      With candles all of wax:
    But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
      She dons her russet gown,
    And runs to gather May dew
      Before the world is down.

    The ladies of St. James's!
      They are so fine and fair,
    You'd think a box of essences
      Was broken in the air:
    But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
      The breath of heath and furze,
    When breezes blow at morning,
      Is not so fresh as hers.

    The ladies of St. James's!
      They're painted to the eyes;
    Their white it stays for ever,
      Their red it never dies:
    But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
      Her colour comes and goes;
    It trembles to a lily,--
      It wavers to a rose.

    The ladies of St. James's!
      You scarce can understand
    The half of all their speeches,
      Their phrases are so grand:
    But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
     Her shy and simple words
    Are clear as after rain-drops
      The music of the birds.

    The ladies of St. James's!
      They have their fits and freaks;
    They smile on you--for seconds,
      They frown on you--for weeks:
    But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
      Come either storm or shine,
    From Shrove-tide unto Shrove-tide,
      Is always true--and mine.

    My Phyllida! my Phyllida!
      I care not though they heap
    The hearts of all St. James's,
      And give me all to keep;
    I care not whose the beauties
      Of all the world may be,
    For Phyllida--for Phyllida
      Is all the world to me!



THE OLD SEDAN CHAIR.

    "_What's not destroyed by Time's devouring Hand?_
    _Where's Troy, and where's the May-Pole in the Strand?_"
                               Bramston's "Art of Politicks."


    It stands in the stable-yard, under the eaves,
    Propped up by a broom-stick and covered with leaves:
    It once was the pride of the gay and the fair,
    But now 'tis a ruin,--that old Sedan chair!

    It is battered and tattered,--it little avails
    That once it was lacquered, and glistened with nails;
    For its leather is cracked into lozenge and square,
    Like a canvas by Wilkie,--that old Sedan chair!

    See,--here came the bearing-straps; here were the holes
    For the poles of the bearers--when once there were poles;
    It was cushioned with silk, it was wadded with hair,
    As the birds have discovered,--that old Sedan chair!

    "Where's Troy?" says the poet! Look,--under the seat,
    Is a nest with four eggs,--'tis the favoured retreat
    Of the Muscovy hen, who has hatched, I dare swear,
    Quite an army of chicks in that old Sedan chair!

    And yet--Can't you fancy a face in the frame
    Of the window,--some high-headed damsel or dame,
    Be-patched and be-powdered, just set by the stair,
    While they raise up the lid of that old Sedan chair?

    Can't you fancy Sir Plume, as beside her he stands,
    With his ruffles a-droop on his delicate hands,
    With his cinnamon coat, with his laced solitaire,
    As he lifts her out light from that old Sedan chair?

    Then it swings away slowly. Ah, many a league
    It has trotted 'twixt sturdy-legged Terence and Teague;
    Stout fellows!--but prone, on a question of fare,
    To brandish the poles of that old Sedan chair!

    It has waited by portals where Garrick has played;
    It has waited by Heidegger's "Grand Masquerade;"
    For my Lady Codille, for my Lady Bellair,
    It has waited--and waited, that old Sedan chair!

    Oh, the scandals it knows! Oh, the tales it could tell
    Of Drum and Ridotto, of Rake and of Belle,--
    Of Cock-fight and Levee, and (scarcely more rare!)
    Of Fête-days at Tyburn, that old Sedan chair!

    "_Heu! quantum mutata_," I say as I go.
    It deserves better fate than a stable-yard, though!
    We must furbish it up, and dispatch it,--"With Care,"--
    To a Fine-Art Museum--that old Sedan chair!



TO AN INTRUSIVE BUTTERFLY.

    "_Kill not--for Pity's sake--and lest ye slay_
    _The meanest thing upon its upward way._"
                             Five Rules of Buddha.


    I watch you through the garden walks,
      I watch you float between
    The avenues of dahlia stalks,
      And flicker on the green;
    You hover round the garden seat,
      You mount, you waver. Why,--
    Why storm us in our still retreat,
      O saffron Butterfly!

    Across the room in loops of flight
      I watch you wayward go;
    Dance down a shaft of glancing light,
      Review my books a-row;
    Before the bust you flaunt and flit
      Of "blind Mæonides"--
    Ah, trifler, on his lips there lit
      Not butterflies, but bees!

    You pause, you poise, you circle up
      Among my old Japan;
    You find a comrade on a cup,
      A friend upon a fan;
    You wind anon, a breathing-while,
      Around AMANDA'S brow;--
    Dost dream her then, O Volatile!
      E'en such an one as thou?

    Away! Her thoughts are not as thine.
      A sterner purpose fills
    Her steadfast soul with deep design
      Of baby bows and frills;
    What care hath she for worlds without,
      What heed for yellow sun,
    Whose endless hopes revolve about
      A planet, _ætat_ One!

    Away! Tempt not the best of wives;
      Let not thy garish wing
    Come fluttering our Autumn lives
      With truant dreams of Spring!
    Away! Re-seek thy "Flowery Land;"
      Be Buddha's law obeyed;
    Lest Betty's undiscerning hand
      Should slay ... a future PRAED!



THE CURÉ'S PROGRESS.


    Monsieur the Curé down the street
      Comes with his kind old face,--
    With his coat worn bare, and his straggling hair,
      And his green umbrella-case.

    You may see him pass by the little "_Grande Place_,"
      And the tiny "_Hôtel-de-Ville_";
    He smiles, as he goes, to the _fleuriste_ Rose,
      And the _pompier_ Théophile.

    He turns, as a rule, through the "_Marché_" cool,
      Where the noisy fish-wives call;
    And his compliment pays to the "_Belle Thérèse_,"
      As she knits in her dusky stall.

    There's a letter to drop at the locksmith's shop,
      And Toto, the locksmith's niece,
    Has jubilant hopes, for the Curé gropes
      In his tails for a _pain d'épice_.

    There's a little dispute with a merchant of fruit,
      Who is said to be heterodox,
    That will ended be with a "_Ma foi, oui!_"
      And a pinch from the Curé's box.

    There is also a word that no one heard
      To the furrier's daughter Lou;
    And a pale cheek fed with a flickering red,
      And a "_Bon Dieu garde M'sieu!_"

    But a grander way for the _Sous-Préfet_,
      And a bow for Ma'am'selle Anne;
    And a mock "off-hat" to the Notary's cat,
      And a nod to the Sacristan:--

    For ever through life the Curé goes
      With a smile on his kind old face--
    With his coat worn bare, and his straggling hair,
      And his green umbrella-case.



THE MASQUE OF THE MONTHS.

(FOR A FRESCO.)


    Firstly thou, churl son of Janus,
      Rough for cold, in drugget clad,
    Com'st with rack and rheum to pain us;--
    Firstly thou, churl son of Janus.
    Caverned now is old Sylvanus;
      Numb and chill are maid and lad.

    After thee thy dripping brother,
      Dank his weeds around him cling;
    Fogs his footsteps swathe and smother,--
    After thee thy dripping brother.
    Hearth-set couples hush each other,
      Listening for the cry of Spring.

    Hark! for March thereto doth follow,
      Blithe,--a herald tabarded;
    O'er him flies the shifting swallow,--
    Hark! for March thereto doth follow.
    Swift his horn, by holt and hollow,
      Wakes the flowers in winter dead.

    Thou then, April, Iris' daughter,
      Born between the storm and sun;
    Coy as nymph ere Pan hath caught her,--
    Thou then, April, Iris' daughter.
    Now are light, and rustling water;
      Now are mirth, and nests begun.

    May the jocund cometh after,
      Month of all the Loves (and mine);
    Month of mock and cuckoo-laughter,--
    May the jocund cometh after.
    Beaks are gay on roof and rafter;
      Luckless lovers peak and pine.

    June the next, with roses scented,
      Languid from a slumber-spell;
    June in shade of leafage tented;--
    June the next, with roses scented.
    Now her Itys, still lamented,
      Sings the mournful Philomel.

    Hot July thereafter rages,
      Dog-star smitten, wild with heat;
    Fierce as pard the hunter cages,--
    Hot July thereafter rages.
    Traffic now no more engages;
      Tongues are still in stall and street.

    August next, with cider mellow,
      Laughs from out the poppied corn;
    Hook at back, a lusty fellow,--
    August next, with cider mellow.
    Now in wains the sheafage yellow
      'Twixt the hedges slow is borne.

    Laden deep with fruity cluster,
      Then September, ripe and hale;
    Bees about his basket fluster,--
    Laden deep with fruity cluster.
    Skies have now a softer lustre;
      Barns resound to flap of flail.

    Thou then, too, of woodlands lover,
      Dusk October, berry-stained;
    Wailed about of parting plover,--
    Thou then, too, of woodlands lover.
    Fading now are copse and cover;
      Forests now are sere and waned.

    Next November, limping, battered,
      Blinded in a whirl of leaf;
    Worn of want and travel-tattered,--
    Next November, limping, battered.
    Now the goodly ships are shattered,
      Far at sea, on rock and reef.

    Last of all the shrunk December
      Cowled for age, in ashen gray;
    Fading like a fading ember,--
    Last of all the shrunk December.
    Him regarding, men remember
      Life and joy must pass away.



TWO SERMONS.


    Between the rail of woven brass,
      That hides the "Strangers' Pew,"
    I hear the gray-haired vicar pass
      From Section One to Two.

    And somewhere on my left I see--
      Whene'er I chance to look--
    A soft-eyed, girl St. Cecily,
      Who notes them--in a book.

    Ah, worthy GOODMAN,--sound divine!
      Shall I your wrath incur,
    If I admit these thoughts of mine
      Will sometimes stray--to her?

    I know your theme, and I revere;
      I hear your precepts tried;
    Must I confess I also hear
      A sermon at my side?

    Or how explain this need I feel,--
      This impulse prompting me
    Within my secret self to kneel
      To Faith,--to Purity!



"AU REVOIR."

A DRAMATIC VIGNETTE.


SCENE.--_The Fountain in the Garden of the Luxembourg. It is surrounded
by Promenaders._

    MONSIEUR JOLICOEUR.
    A LADY (_unknown_).


M. JOLICOEUR.
    'Tis she, no doubt. Brunette,--and tall:
    A charming figure, above all!
    This promises.--Ahem!

THE LADY.
                          Monsieur?
    Ah! it is three. Then Monsieur's name
    Is JOLICOEUR?...

M. JOLICOEUR.
                    Madame, the same.

THE LADY.
    And Monsieur's goodness has to say?...
    Your note?...

M. JOLICOEUR.
                  _Your_ note.

THE LADY.
                             Forgive me.--Nay.
    (_Reads_)
    "_If Madame_ [I omit] _will be_
    _Beside the Fountain-rail at Three,_
    _Then Madame--possibly--may hear_
    _News of her Spaniel._ JOLICOEUR."
    Monsieur denies his note?

M. JOLICOEUR.
                              I do.
    Now let me read the one from you.
    "_If Monsieur Jolicoeur will be_
    _Beside the Fountain-rail at Three,_
    _Then Monsieur--possibly--may meet_
    _An old Acquaintance. 'INDISCREET_.'"

THE LADY (_scandalized_).
    Ah, what a folly! 'Tis not true.
    I never met Monsieur. And you?

M. JOLICOEUR (_with gallantry_).
    Have lived in vain till now. But see:
    We are observed.

THE LADY. (_looking round_).
                     I comprehend....
    (_After a pause._)
    Monsieur, malicious brains combine
    For your discomfiture, and mine.
    Let us defeat that ill design.
    If Monsieur but ... (_hesitating_).

M. JOLICOEUR (_bowing_).
                        Rely on me.

THE LADY (_still hesitating_).
    Monsieur, I know, will understand ...

M. JOLICOEUR.
    Madame, I wait but your command.

THE LADY.
    You are too good. Then condescend
    At once to be a new-found Friend!

M. JOLICOEUR (_entering upon the part forthwith_).
    How? I am charmed,--enchanted. Ah!
    What ages since we met ... at _Spa_?

THE LADY (_a little disconcerted_).
    At _Ems_, I think. Monsieur, maybe,
    Will recollect the Orangery?

M. JOLICOEUR.
    At _Ems_, of course. But Madame's face
    Might make one well forget a place.

THE LADY.
    It seems so. Still, Monsieur recalls
    The Kürhaus, and the concert-balls?

M. JOLICOEUR.
    Assuredly. Though there again
    'Tis Madame's image I retain.

THE LADY.
    Monsieur is skilled in ... repartee.
    (How do they take it?--Can you see?)

M. JOLICOEUR.
    Nay,--Madame furnishes the wit.
    (They don't know what to make of it!)

THE LADY.
    And Monsieur's friend who sometimes came?...
    That clever ... I forget the name.

M. JOLICOEUR.
    The BARON?... It escapes me, too.
    'Twas doubtless he that Madame knew?

THE LADY (_archly_).
    Precisely. But, my carriage waits.
    Monsieur will see me to the gates?

M. JOLICOEUR (_offering his arm_).
    I shall be charmed. (Your stratagem
    Bids fair, I think, to conquer them.)
                                          (_Aside_)
    (Who is she? I must find that out.)
    --And Madame's husband thrives, no doubt?

THE LADY (_off her guard_).
    Monsieur de BEAU--?... He died at _Dôle_!

M. JOLICOEUR.
    Truly. How sad!
                    (_Aside_)
                    (Yet, on the whole,
    How fortunate! BEAU-_pré_?--BEAU-_vau_?
    Which can it be? Ah, there they go!)
    --Madame, your enemies retreat
    With all the honours of ... defeat.

THE LADY.
    Thanks to Monsieur. Monsieur has shown
    A skill PRÉVILLE could not disown.

M. JOLICOEUR.
    You flatter me. We need no skill
    To act so nearly what we will.
    Nay,--what may come to pass, if Fate
    And Madame bid me cultivate ...

THE LADY (_anticipating_).
    Alas!--no farther than the gate.
    Monsieur, besides, is too polite
    To profit by a jest so slight.

M. JOLICOEUR.
    Distinctly. Still, I did but glance
    At possibilities ... of Chance.

THE LADY.
    Which must not serve Monsieur, I fear,
    Beyond the little grating here.

M. JOLICOEUR (_aside_).
    (She's perfect. One may push too far,
    _Piano, sano_.)
    (_They reach the gates._)
                         Here we are.
    Permit me, then ...
    (_Placing her in the carriage._)
                        And Madame goes?...
    Your coachman?... Can I?...

THE LADY (_smiling_).
                        Thanks! he knows.
    Thanks! Thanks!

M. JOLICOEUR (_insidiously_).
                    And shall we not renew
    Our ... "_Ems_ acquaintanceship?"

THE LADY (_still smiling_).
                                    Adieu!
    My thanks instead!

M. JOLICOEUR (_with pathos_).
                       It is too hard!
    (_Laying his hand on the grating._)
    To find one's Paradise is barred!!

THE LADY.
    Nay.--"Virtue is her own Reward!"
                                      [_Exit._

M. JOLICOEUR (_solus_).
    BEAU-_vau_?--BEAU-_vallon_?--BEAU-_manoir_?--
    But that's a detail!
    (_Waving his hand after the carriage._)
                          AU REVOIR!



THE CARVER AND THE CALIPH.


    (_We lay our story in the East.
    Because 'tis Eastern? Not the least.
    We place it there because we fear
    To bring its parable too near,
    And seem to touch with impious hand
    Our dear, confiding native land._)


    HAROUN ALRASCHID, in the days
    He went about his vagrant ways,
    And prowled at eve for good or bad
    In lanes and alleys of BAGDAD,
    Once found, at edge of the bazaar,
    E'en where the poorest workers are,
    A Carver.

              Fair his work and fine
    With mysteries of inlaced design,
    And shapes of shut significance
    To aught but an anointed glance,--
    The dreams and visions that grow plain
    In darkened chambers of the brain.

    And all day busily he wrought
    From dawn to eve, but no one bought;--
    Save when some Jew with look askant,
    Or keen-eyed Greek from the Levant,
    Would pause awhile,--depreciate,--
    Then buy a month's work by the weight,
    Bearing it swiftly over seas
    To garnish rich men's treasuries.

    And now for long none bought at all,
    So lay he sullen in his stall.
    Him thus withdrawn the Caliph found,
    And smote his staff upon the ground--
    "Ho, there, within! Hast wares to sell?
    Or slumber'st, having dined too well?"
    "'Dined,'" quoth the man, with angry eyes,
    "How should I dine when no one buys?"
    "Nay," said the other, answering low,--
    "Nay, I but jested. Is it so?
    Take then this coin, ... but take beside
    A counsel, friend, thou hast not tried.
    This craft of thine, the mart to suit,
    Is too refined,--remote,--minute;
    These small conceptions can but fail;
    'Twere best to work on larger scale,
    And rather choose such themes as wear
    More of the earth and less of air,
    The fisherman that hauls his net,--
    The merchants in the market set,--
    The couriers posting in the street,--
    The gossips as they pass and greet,--
    These--these are clear to all men's eye
    Therefore with these they sympathize.
    Further (neglect not this advice!)
    Be sure to ask three times the price."

    The Carver sadly shook his head;
    He knew 'twas truth the Caliph said.
    From that day forth his work was planned
    So that the world might understand.
    He carved it deeper, and more plain;
    He carved it thrice as large again;
    He sold it, too, for thrice the cost;
    --Ah, but the Artist that was lost!



TO AN UNKNOWN BUST IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM.

"_Sermons in stones._"


    Who were you once? Could we but guess,
      We might perchance more boldly
    Define the patient weariness
      That sets your lips so coldly;
    You "lived," we know, for blame and fame;
      But sure, to friend or foeman,
    You bore some more distinctive name
      Than mere "B. C.,"--and "Roman"?

    Your pedestal should help us much.
      Thereon your acts, your title,
    (Secure from cold Oblivion's touch!)
      Had doubtless due recital;
    Vain hope!--not even deeds can last!
      That stone, of which you're _minus_,
    Maybe with all your virtues past
      Endows ... a TIGELLINUS!

    We seek it not; we should not find.
      But still, it needs no magic
    To tell you wore, like most mankind,
      Your comic mask and tragic;
    And held that things were false and true,
      Felt angry or forgiving,
    As step by step you stumbled through
      This life-long task ... of living!

    You tried the _cul-de-sac_ of Thought;
      The _montagne Russe_ of Pleasure;
    You found the best Ambition brought
      Was strangely short of measure;
    You watched, at last, the fleet days fly,
      Till--drowsier and colder--
    You felt MERCURIUS loitering by
      To touch you on the shoulder.

    'Twas then (why not?) the whim would come
      That howso Time should garble
    Those deeds of yours when you were dumb,
      At least you'd live--in Marble;
    You smiled to think that after days,
      At least, in Bust or Statue,
    (We all have sick-bed dreams!) would gaze,
      Not quite incurious, at you.

    _We_ gaze; _we_ pity you, be sure!
      In truth, Death's worst inaction
    Must be less tedious to endure
      Than nameless petrifaction;
    Far better, in some nook unknown,
      To sleep for once--and soundly,
    Than still survive in wistful stone,
      Forgotten more profoundly!



MOLLY TREFUSIS.


    _"Now the Graces are four and the Venuses two,_
      _And ten is the number of Muses;_
    _For a Muse and a Grace and a Venus are you,--_
      _My dear little Molly Trefusis!"_


    So he wrote, the old bard of an "old magazine:"
      As a study it not without use is,
    If we wonder a moment who she may have been,
      This same "little Molly Trefusis!"

    She was Cornish. We know that at once by the "Tre;"
      Then of guessing it scarce an abuse is
    If we say that where Bude bellows back to the sea
      Was the birthplace of Molly Trefusis.

    And she lived in the era of patches and bows,
      Not knowing what rouge or ceruse is;
    For they needed (I trust) but her natural rose,
      The lilies of Molly Trefusis.

    And I somehow connect her (I frankly admit
      That the evidence hard to produce is)
    With BATH in its hey-day of Fashion and Wit,--
      This dangerous Molly Trefusis.

    I fancy her, radiant in ribbon and knot,
      (How charming that old-fashioned puce is!)
    All blooming in laces, fal-lals and what not,
      At the PUMP ROOM,--Miss Molly Trefusis.

    I fancy her reigning,--a Beauty,--a Toast,
      Where BLADUD'S medicinal cruse is;
    And we know that at least of one Bard it could boast,--
      The Court of Queen Molly Trefusis.

    He says she was "VENUS." I doubt it. Beside,
      (Your rhymer so hopelessly loose is!)
    His "little" could scarce be to Venus applied,
      If fitly to Molly Trefusis.

    No, no. It was HEBE he had in his mind;
      And fresh as the handmaid of Zeus is,
    And rosy, and rounded, and dimpled,--you'll find,--
      Was certainly Molly Trefusis!

    Then he calls her "a MUSE." To the charge I reply
      That we all of us know what a Muse is;
    It is something too awful,--too acid,--too dry,--
      For sunny-eyed Molly Trefusis.

    But "a GRACE." There I grant he was probably right;
      (The rest but a verse-making ruse is)
    It was all that was graceful,--intangible,--light,
      The beauty of Molly Trefusis!

    Was she wooed? Who can hesitate much about that
      Assuredly more than obtuse is;
    For how could the poet have written so pat
      "_My_ dear little Molly Trefusis!"

    And was wed? That I think we must plainly infer,
      Since of suitors the common excuse is
    To take to them Wives. So it happened to her,
      Of course,--"little Molly Trefusis!"

    To the Bard? 'Tis unlikely. Apollo, you see,
      In practical matters a goose is;--
    'Twas a knight of the shire, and a hunting J.P.,
      Who carried off Molly Trefusis!

    And you'll find, I conclude, in the "_Gentleman's Mag._,"
      At the end, where the pick of the news is,
    "_On the_ (blank), _at 'the Bath,' to Sir Hilary Bragg_,
      _With a Fortune_, MISS MOLLY TREFUSIS."

    Thereupon ... But no farther the student may pry:
      Love's temple is dark as Eleusis;
    So here, at the threshold, we part, you and I,
      From "dear little Molly Trefusis."



AT THE CONVENT GATE.


    Wistaria blossoms trail and fall
    Above the length of barrier wall;
      And softly, now and then,
    The shy, staid-breasted doves will flit
    From roof to gateway-top, and sit
      And watch the ways of men.

    The gate's ajar. If one might peep!
    Ah, what a haunt of rest and sleep
      The shadowy garden seems!
    And note how dimly to and fro
    The grave, gray-hooded Sisters go,
      Like figures seen in dreams.

    Look, there is one that tells her beads;
    And yonder one apart that reads
      A tiny missal's page;
    And see, beside the well, the two
    That, kneeling, strive to lure anew
      The magpie to its cage!

    Not beautiful--not all! But each
    With that mild grace, outlying speech,
      Which comes of even mood;--
    The Veil unseen that women wear
    With heart-whole thought, and quiet care,
      And hope of higher good.

    "A placid life--a peaceful life!
    What need to these the name of Wife?
      What gentler task (I said)--
    What worthier--e'en your arts among--
    Than tend the sick, and teach the young,
      And give the hungry bread?"

    "No worthier task!" re-echoes She,
    Who (closelier clinging) turns with me
      To face the road again:
    --And yet, in that warm heart of hers,
    She means the doves', for she prefers
      To "watch the ways of men."



THE MILKMAID.

A NEW SONG TO AN OLD TUNE.


    Across the grass I see her pass;
      She comes with tripping pace,--
    A maid I know,--and March winds blow
      Her hair across her face;--
        With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly!
          Dolly shall be mine,
        Before the spray is white with May,
          Or blooms the eglantine.

    The March winds blow. I watch her go:
      Her eye is brown and clear;
    Her cheek is brown, and soft as down,
      (To those who see it near!)--
        With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly!
          Dolly shall be mine,
        Before the spray is white with May,
          Or blooms the eglantine.

    What has she not that those have got,--
      The dames that walk in silk!
    If she undo her 'kerchief blue,
      Her neck is white as milk.
        With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly!
          Dolly shall be mine,
        Before the spray is white with May,
          Or blooms the eglantine.

    Let those who will be proud and chill!
      For me, from June to June,
    My Dolly's words are sweet as curds--
      Her laugh is like a tune;--
        With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly!
          Dolly shall be mine,
        Before the spray is white with May,
          Or blooms the eglantine.

    Break, break to hear, O crocus-spear!
      O tall Lent-lilies flame!
    There'll be a bride at Easter-tide,
      And Dolly is her name.
        With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly!
          Dolly shall be mine,
        Before the spray is white with May,
          Or blooms the eglantine.



AN OLD FISH POND.


    Green growths of mosses drop and bead
      Around the granite brink;
    And 'twixt the isles of water-weed
      The wood-birds dip and drink.

    Slow efts about the edges sleep;
      Swift-darting water-flies
    Shoot on the surface; down the deep
      Fast-following bubbles rise.

    Look down. What groves that scarcely sway!
      What "wood obscure," profound!
    What jungle!--where some beast of prey
      Might choose his vantage-ground!

           *       *       *       *       *

    Who knows what lurks beneath the tide?--
      Who knows what tale? Belike,
    Those "antres vast" and shadows hide
      Some patriarchal Pike;--

    Some tough old tyrant, wrinkle-jawed,
      To whom the sky, the earth,
    Have but for aim to look on awed
      And see him wax in girth;--

    Hard ruler there by right of might;
      An ageless Autocrat,
    Whose "good old rule" is "Appetite,
      And subjects fresh and fat;"--

    While they--poor souls!--in wan despair
      Still watch for signs in him;
    And dying, hand from heir to heir
      The day undawned and dim,

    When the pond's terror too must go;
      Or creeping in by stealth,
    Some bolder brood, with common blow,
      Shall found a Commonwealth.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Or say,--perchance the liker this!--
      That these themselves are gone;
    That Amurath _in minimis_,--
      Still hungry,--lingers on,

    With dwindling trunk and wolfish jaw
      Revolving sullen things,
    But most the blind unequal law
      That rules the food of Kings;--

    The blot that makes the cosmic All
      A mere time-honoured cheat;--
    That bids the Great to eat the Small,
      Yet lack the Small to eat!

           *       *       *       *       *

    Who knows! Meanwhile the mosses bead
      Around the granite brink;
    And 'twixt the isles of water-weed
      The wood-birds dip and drink.



AN EASTERN APOLOGUE.

(To E. H. P.)


    Melik the Sultán, tired and wan,
    Nodded at noon on his diván.

    Beside the fountain lingered near
    JAMÍL the bard, and the vizier--

    Old YÚSUF, sour and hard to please;
    Then JAMÍL sang, in words like these.

    _Slim is Butheina--slim is she
    As boughs of the Aráka tree!_

    "Nay," quoth the other, teeth between,
    "Lean, if you will,--I call her lean."

    _Sweet is Butheina--sweet as wine,
    With smiles that like red bubbles shine!_

    "True,--by the Prophet!" YÚSUF said,
    "She makes men wander in the head!"

    _Dear is Butheina--ah! more dear
    Than all the maidens of Kashmeer!_

    "Dear," came the answer, quick as thought,
    "Dear ... and yet always to be bought."

    So JAMÍL ceased. But still Life's page
    Shows diverse unto YOUTH and AGE:

    And,--be the song of Ghouls or Gods,--
    TIME, like the Sultán, sits ... and nods.



TO A MISSAL OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY.


    Missal of the Gothic age,
    Missal with the blazoned page,
    Whence, O Missal, hither come,
    From what dim scriptorium?

    Whose the name that wrought thee thus,
    Ambrose or Theophilus,
    Bending, through the waning light,
    O'er thy vellum scraped and white;

    Weaving 'twixt thy rubric lines
    Sprays and leaves and quaint designs;
    Setting round thy border scrolled
    Buds of purple and of gold?

    Ah!--a wondering brotherhood,
    Doubtless, by that artist stood,
    Raising o'er his careful ways
    Little choruses of praise;

    Glad when his deft hand would paint
    Strife of Sathanas and Saint,
    Or in secret coign entwist
    Jest of cloister humourist.

    Well the worker earned his wage,
    Bending o'er the blazoned page!
    Tired the hand and tired the wit
    Ere the final _Explicit_!

    Not as ours the books of old--
    Things that steam can stamp and fold;
    Not as ours the books of yore--
    Rows of type, and nothing more.

    Then a book was still a Book,
    Where a wistful man might look,
    Finding something through the whole,
    Beating--like a human soul.

    In that growth of day by day,
    When to labour was to pray,
    Surely something vital passed
    To the patient page at last;
    Something that one still perceives
    Vaguely present in the leaves;
    Something from the worker lent;
    Something mute--but eloquent!



A REVOLUTIONARY RELIC.


    Old it is, and worn and battered,
      As I lift it from the stall;
    And the leaves are frayed and tattered,
    And the pendent sides are shattered,
      Pierced and blackened by a ball.

    'Tis the tale of grief and gladness
      Told by sad St. Pierre of yore,
    That in front of France's madness
    Hangs a strange seductive sadness,
      Grown pathetic evermore.

    And a perfume round it hovers,
      Which the pages half reveal,
    For a folded corner covers,
    Interlaced, two names of lovers,--
      A "Savignac" and "Lucile."

    As I read I marvel whether,
      In some pleasant old château,
    Once they read this book together,
    In the scented summer weather,
      With the shining Loire below?

    Nooked--secluded from espial,
      Did Love slip and snare them so,
    While the hours danced round the dial
    To the sound of flute and viol,
      In that pleasant old château?

    Did it happen that no single
      Word of mouth could either speak?
    Did the brown and gold hair mingle,
    Did the shamed skin thrill and tingle
      To the shock of cheek and cheek?

    Did they feel with that first flushing
      Some new sudden power to feel,
    Some new inner spring set gushing
    At the names together rushing
      Of "Savignac" and "Lucile"?

    Did he drop on knee before her--
      "_Son Amour, son Coeur, sa Reine_"--
    In his high-flown way adore her,
    Urgent, eloquent implore her,
      Plead his pleasure and his pain?

    Did she turn with sight swift-dimming,
      And the quivering lip we know,
    With the full, slow eyelid brimming,
    With the languorous pupil swimming,
      Like the love of Mirabeau?

    Stretch her hand from cloudy frilling,
      For his eager lips to press;
    In a flash all fate fulfilling
    Did he catch her, trembling, thrilling--
      Crushing life to one caress?

    Did they sit in that dim sweetness
      Of attained love's after-calm,
    Marking not the world--its meetness,
    Marking Time not, nor his fleetness,
      Only happy, palm to palm?

    Till at last she,--sunlight smiting
      Red on wrist and cheek and hair,--
    Sought the page where love first lighting,
    Fixed their fate, and, in this writing,
      Fixed the record of it there.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Did they marry midst the smother,
      Shame and slaughter of it all?
    Did she wander like that other
    Woful, wistful, wife and mother,
      Round and round his prison wall;--

    Wander wailing, as the plover
      Waileth, wheeleth, desolate,
    Heedless of the hawk above her,
    While as yet the rushes cover,
      Waning fast, her wounded mate,--

    Wander, till his love's eyes met hers,
      Fixed and wide in their despair?
    Did he burst his prison fetters,
    Did he write sweet, yearning letters,
      "_A Lucile,--en Angleterre_"?

    Letters where the reader, reading,
      Halts him with a sudden stop,
    For he feels a man's heart bleeding,
    Draining out its pain's exceeding--
      Half a life, at every drop:

    Letters where Love's iteration
      Seems to warble and to rave;
    Letters where the pent sensation
    Leaps to lyric exultation,
      Like a song-bird from a grave.

    Where, through Passion's wild repeating,
      Peep the Pagan and the Gaul,
    Politics and love competing,
    Abelard and Cato greeting,
      Rousseau ramping over all.

    Yet your critic's right--you waive it,
      Whirled along the fever-flood;
    And its touch of truth shall save it,
    And its tender rain shall lave it,
    For at least you read _Amavit_,
      Written there in tears of blood.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Did they hunt him to his hiding,
      Tracking traces in the snow?
    Did they tempt him out, confiding,
    Shoot him ruthless down, deriding,
      By the ruined old château?

    Left to lie, with thin lips resting
      Frozen to a smile of scorn,
    Just the bitter thought's suggesting,
    At this excellent new jesting
      Of the rabble Devil-born.

    Till some "tiger-monkey," finding
      These few words the covers bear,
    Some swift rush of pity blinding,
    Sent them in the shot-pierced binding
      "_A Lucile, en Angleterre_."

           *       *       *       *       *

    Fancies only! Nought the covers,
      Nothing more the leaves reveal,
    Yet I love it for its lovers,
    For the dream that round it hovers
      Of "Savignac" and "Lucile."



A MADRIGAL.


    Before me, careless lying,
    Young Love his ware comes crying;
    Full soon the elf untreasures
    His pack of pains and pleasures,--
      With roguish eye,
      He bids me buy
    From out his pack of treasures.

    His wallet's stuffed with blisses,
    With true-love-knots and kisses,
    With rings and rosy fetters,
    And sugared vows and letters;--
      He holds them out
      With boyish flout,
    And bids me try the fetters.

    Nay, Child (I cry), I know them;
    There's little need to show them!
    Too well for new believing
    I know their past deceiving,--
      I am too old
      (I say), and cold,
    To-day, for new believing!

    But still the wanton presses,
    With honey-sweet caresses,
    And still, to my undoing,
    He wins me, with his wooing,
      To buy his ware
      With all its care,
    Its sorrow and undoing.



A SONG TO THE LUTE.


    When first I came to Court,
                 _Fa la_!
    When first I came to Court,
    I deemed Dan Cupid but a boy,
    And Love an idle sport,
    A sport whereat a man might toy
    With little hurt and mickle joy--
    When first I came to Court!

    Too soon I found my fault,
                _Fa la_!
    Too soon I found my fault;
    The fairest of the fair brigade
    Advanced to mine assault.
    Alas! against an adverse maid
    Nor fosse can serve nor palisade--
    Too soon I found my fault!

    When SILVIA'S eyes assail,
                _Fa la_!
    When SILVIA'S eyes assail,
    No feint the arts of war can show,
    No counterstroke avail;
    Naught skills but arms away to throw,
    And kneel before that lovely foe,
    When SILVIA'S eyes assail!

    Yet is all truce in vain,
                _Fa la_!
    Yet is all truce in vain,
    Since she that spares doth still pursue
    To vanquish once again;
    And naught remains for man to do
    But fight once more, to yield anew,
    And so all truce is vain!



A GARDEN SONG.

(To W. E. H.)


    Here, in this sequestered close
    Bloom the hyacinth and rose;
    Here beside the modest stock
    Flaunts the flaring hollyhock;
    Here, without a pang, one sees
    Ranks, conditions, and degrees.

    All the seasons run their race
    In this quiet resting place;
    Peach, and apricot, and fig
    Here will ripen, and grow big;
    Here is store and overplus,--
    More had not Alcinoüs!

    Here, in alleys cool and green,
    Far ahead the thrush is seen;
    Here along the southern wall
    Keeps the bee his festival;
    All is quiet else--afar
    Sounds of toil and turmoil are.

    Here be shadows large and long;
    Here be spaces meet for song;
    Grant, O garden-god, that I,
    Now that none profane is nigh,--
    Now that mood and moment please,
    Find the fair Pierides!



A CHAPTER OF FROISSART.

(GRANDPAPA LOQUITUR.)


    You don't know Froissart now, young folks.
      This age, I think, prefers recitals
    Of high-spiced crime, with "slang" for jokes,
                    And startling titles;

    But, in my time, when still some few
      Loved "old Montaigne," and praised Pope's _Homer_
    (Nay, thought to style him "poet" too,
                    Were scarce misnomer),

    Sir John was less ignored. Indeed,
      I can re-call how Some-one present
    (Who spoils her grandson, Frank!) would read
                    And find him pleasant;

    For,--by this copy,--hangs a Tale.
      Long since, in an old house in Surrey,
    Where men knew more of "morning ale"
                    Than "Lindley Murray,"

    In a dim-lighted, whip-hung hall,
      'Neath Hogarth's "Midnight Conversation,"
    It stood; and oft 'twixt spring and fall,
                    With fond elation,

    I turned the brown old leaves. For there
      All through one hopeful happy summer,
    At such a page (I well knew where),
                    Some secret comer,

    Whom I can picture, 'Trix, like you
      (Though scarcely such a colt unbroken),
    Would sometimes place for private view
                    A certain token;--

    A rose-leaf meaning "Garden Wall,"
      An ivy-leaf for "Orchard corner,"
    A thorn to say "Don't come at all,"--
                    Unwelcome warner!--

    Not that, in truth, our friends gainsaid;
      But then Romance required dissembling,
    (Ann Radcliffe taught us that!) which bred
                    Some genuine trembling;

    Though, as a rule, all used to end
      In such kind confidential parley
    As may to you kind Fortune send,
                    You long-legged Charlie,

    When your time comes. How years slip on!
      We had our crosses like our betters;
    Fate sometimes looked askance upon
                    Those floral letters;

    And once, for three long days disdained,
      The dust upon the folio settled;
    For some-one, in the right, was pained,
                    And some-one nettled,

    That sure was in the wrong, but spake
      Of fixed intent and purpose stony
    To serve King George, enlist and make
                    Minced-meat of "Boney,"

    Who yet survived--ten years at least.
      And so, when she I mean came hither,
    One day that need for letters ceased,
                    She brought this with her!

    Here is the leaf-stained Chapter:--_How
      The English King laid Siege to Calais_;
    I think Gran. knows it even now,--
                    Go ask her, Alice.



TO THE MAMMOTH-TORTOISE

OF THE MASCARENE ISLANDS.

    "_Tuque, Testudo, resonare septem_
        _Callida nervis._"
                                 Hor. iii. 11.


    Monster Chelonian, you suggest
      To some, no doubt, the calm,--
    The torpid ease of islets drest
      In fan-like fern and palm;

    To some your cumbrous ways, perchance,
      Darwinian dreams recall;
    And some your Rip-van-Winkle glance,
      And ancient youth appal;

    So widely varied views dispose:
      But not so mine,--for me
    Your vasty vault but simply shows
      A LYRE immense, _per se_,

    A LYRE to which the Muse might chant
      A truly "Orphic tale,"
    Could she but find that public want,
      A Bard--of equal scale!

    Oh, for a Bard of awful words,
      And lungs serenely strong,
    To sweep from your sonorous chords
      Niagaras of song,

    Till, dinned by that tremendous strain,
      The grovelling world aghast,
    Should leave its paltry greed of gain,
      And mend its ways ... at last!



A ROMAN "ROUND-ROBIN."

("HIS FRIENDS" TO QUINTUS HORATIUS FLACCUS.)

"_Hæc decies repetita_ [non] _placebit_."--Ars Poetica.


    Flaccus, you write us charming songs:
      No bard we know possesses
    In such perfection what belongs
      To brief and bright addresses;

    No man can say that Life is short
      With mien so little fretful;
    No man to Virtue's paths exhort
      In phrases less regretful;

    Or touch, with more serene distress,
      On Fortune's ways erratic;
    And then delightfully digress
      From Alp to Adriatic:

    All this is well, no doubt, and tends
      Barbarian minds to soften;
    But, HORACE--we, we are your friends--
      Why tell us this so often?

    Why feign to spread a cheerful feast,
      And then thrust in our faces
    These barren scraps (to say the least)
      Of Stoic common-places?

    Recount, and welcome, your pursuits:
      Sing Lydë's lyre and hair;
    Sing drums and Berecynthian flutes;
      Sing parsley-wreaths; but spare,--

    O, spare to sing, what none deny,
      That things we love decay;--
    That Time and Gold have wings to fly;--
      That all must Fate obey!

    Or bid us dine--on this day week--
      And pour us, if you can,
    As soft and sleek as girlish cheek,
      Your inmost Cæcuban;--

    Of that we fear not overplus;
      But your didactic 'tap'--
    Forgive us!--grows monotonous;
      _Nunc vale! Verbum sap._



VERSES TO ORDER.

(FOR A DRAWING BY E. A. ABBEY.)


    How weary 'twas to wait! The year
      Went dragging slowly on;
    The red leaf to the running brook
      Dropped sadly, and was gone;
    December came, and locked in ice
      The plashing of the mill;
    The white snow filled the orchard up;
      But she was waiting still.

    Spring stirred and broke. The rooks once more
      'Gan cawing in the loft;
    The young lambs' new awakened cries
      Came trembling from the croft;
    The clumps of primrose filled again
      The hollows by the way;
    The pale wind-flowers blew; but she
      Grew paler still than they.

    How weary 'twas to wait! With June,
      Through all the drowsy street,
    Came distant murmurs of the war,
      And rumours of the fleet;
    The gossips, from the market-stalls,
      Cried news of Joe and Tim;
    But June shed all her leaves, and still
      There came no news of him.

    And then, at last, at last, at last,
      One blessèd August morn,
    Beneath the yellowing autumn elms,
      Pang-panging came the horn;
    The swift coach paused a creaking-space,
      Then flashed away, and passed;
    But she stood trembling yet, and dazed:
      The news had come--at last!

    And thus the artist saw her stand,
      While all around her seems
    As vague and shadowy as the shapes
      That flit from us in dreams;
    And naught in all the world is true,
      Save those few words which tell
    That he she lost is found again--
      Is found again--and well!



A LEGACY.


    Ah, Postumus, we all must go:
      This keen North-Easter nips my shoulder;
    My strength begins to fail; I know
      _You_ find me older;

    I've made my Will. Dear, faithful friend--
      My Muse's friend and not my purse's!
    Who still would hear and still commend
      My tedious verses,

    How will you live--of these deprived?
      I've learned your candid soul. The venal,--
    The sordid friend had scarce survived
      A test so penal;

    But you--Nay, nay, 'tis so. The rest
      Are not as you: you hide your merit;
    You, more than all, deserve the best
      True friends inherit;--

    Not gold,--that hearts like yours despise;
      Not "spacious dirt" (your own expression),
    No; but the rarer, dearer prize--
      The Life's Confession!

    You catch my thought? What! Can't you guess?
      You, you alone, admired my Cantos;--
    I've left you, P., my whole MS.,
      In three portmanteaus!



"LITTLE BLUE-RIBBONS."


    "Little Blue-Ribbons!" We call her that
    From the ribbons she wears in her favourite hat;
    For may not a person be only five,
    And yet have the neatest of taste alive?--
    As a matter of fact, this one has views
    Of the strictest sort as to frocks and shoes;
    And we never object to a sash or bow,
    When "little Blue-Ribbons" prefers it so.

    "Little Blue-Ribbons" has eyes of blue,
    And an arch little mouth, when the teeth peep through;
    And her primitive look is wise and grave,
    With a sense of the weight of the word "behave;"
    Though now and again she may condescend
    To a radiant smile for a private friend;
    But to smile for ever is weak, you know,
    And "little Blue-Ribbons" regards it so.

    She's a staid little woman! And so as well
    Is her ladyship's doll, "Miss Bonnibelle;"
    But I think what at present the most takes up
    The thoughts of her heart is her last new cup;
    For the object thereon,--be it understood,--
    Is the "Robin that buried the 'Babes in the Wood'"--
    It is not in the least like a robin, though,
    But "little Blue-Ribbons" declares it so.

    "Little Blue-Ribbons" believes, I think,
    That the rain comes down for the birds to drink;
    Moreover, she holds, in a cab you'd get
    To the spot where the suns of yesterday set;
    And I know that she fully expects to meet
    With a lion or wolf in Regent Street!
    We may smile, and deny as we like--But, no;
    For "little Blue-Ribbons" still dreams it so.

    Dear "little Blue-Ribbons!" She tells us all
    That she never intends to be "great" and "tall";
    (For how could she ever contrive to sit
    In her "own, own chair," if she grew one bit!)
    And, further, she says, she intends to stay
    In her "darling home" till she gets "quite gray;"
    Alas! we are gray; and we doubt, you know,
    But "little Blue-Ribbons" will have it so!



LINES TO A STUPID PICTURE.

    "_--the music of the moon
    Sleeps in the plain eggs of the nightingale._"
                                      Aylmer's Field.


    Five geese,--a landscape damp and wild,--
    A stunted, not too pretty, child,
      Beneath a battered gingham;
    Such things, to say the least, require
    A Muse of more-than-average Fire
      Effectively to sing 'em.

    And yet--Why should they? Souls of mark
    Have sprung from such;--e'en Joan of Arc
      Had scarce a grander duty;
    Not always ('tis a maxim trite)
    From righteous sources comes the right,--
      From beautiful, the beauty.

    Who shall decide where seed is sown?
    Maybe some priceless germ was blown
      To this unwholesome marish;
    (And what must grow will still increase,
    Though cackled round by half the geese
      And ganders in the parish.)

    Maybe this homely face may hide
    A Staël before whose mannish pride
      Our frailer sex shall tremble;
    Perchance this audience anserine
    May hiss (O fluttering Muse of mine!)--
      May hiss--a future Kemble!

    Or say the gingham shadows o'er
    An undeveloped Hannah More!--
      A latent Mrs. Trimmer!!
    Who shall affirm it?--who deny?--
    Since of the truth nor you nor I
      Discern the faintest glimmer?

    So then--Caps off, my Masters all;
    Reserve your final word,--recall
      Your all-too-hasty strictures;
    Caps off, I say, for Wisdom sees
    Undreamed potentialities
      In most unhopeful pictures.



A FAIRY TALE.

    "_On court, hélas! après la vérité;
    Ah! croyez-moi, l'erreur a son mérite._"
                                        Voltaire.


    Curled in a maze of dolls and bricks,
    I find Miss Mary, _ætat_ six,
      Blonde, blue-eyed, frank, capricious,
    Absorbed in her first fairy book,
    From which she scarce can pause to look,
      Because it's "_so_ delicious!"

    "Such marvels, too. A wondrous Boat,
    In which they cross a magic Moat,
      That's smooth as glass to row on--
    A Cat that brings all kinds of things;
    And see, the Queen has angel wings--
      Then OGRE comes"--and so on.

    What trash it is! How sad to find
    (Dear Moralist!) the childish mind,
      So active and so pliant.
    Rejecting themes in which you mix
    Fond truths and pleasing facts, to fix
      On tales of Dwarf and Giant!

    In merest prudence men should teach
    That cats mellifluous in speech
      Are painful contradictions;
    That science ranks as monstrous things
    _Two_ pairs of upper limbs; so wings--
      E'en angels' wings!--are fictions:

    That there's no giant now but Steam;
    That life, although "an empty dream,"
      Is scarce a "land of Fairy."
    "Of course I said all this?" Why, no;
    I _did_ a thing far wiser, though,--
      _I read the tale with Mary_.



TO A CHILD.

(FROM THE "GARLAND OF RACHEL.")


    How shall I sing you, Child, for whom
      So many lyres are strung;
    Or how the only tone assume
      That fits a Maid so young?

    What rocks there are on either hand!
      Suppose--'tis on the cards--
    You should grow up with quite a grand
      Platonic hate for bards!

    How shall I then be shamed, undone,
      For ah! with what a scorn
    Your eyes must greet that luckless One
      Who rhymed you, newly born,--

    Who o'er your "helpless cradle" bent
      His idle verse to turn;
    And twanged his tiresome instrument
      Above your unconcern!

    Nay,--let my words be so discreet,
      That, keeping Chance in view,
    Whatever after fate you meet
      A part may still be true.

    Let others wish you mere good looks,--
      Your sex is always fair;
    Or to be writ in Fortune's books,--
      She's rich who has to spare:

    I wish you but a heart that's kind,
      A head that's sound and clear;
    (Yet let the heart be not too blind,
      The head not too severe!)

    A joy of life, a frank delight;
      A not-too-large desire;
    And--if you fail to find a Knight--
      At least ... a trusty Squire.



HOUSEHOLD ART.


    "Mine be a cot," for the hours of play,
    Of the kind that is built by MISS GREENAWAY;
    Where the walls are low, and the roofs are red,
    And the birds are gay in the blue o'erhead;
    And the dear little figures, in frocks and frills,
    Go roaming about at their own sweet wills,
    And "play with the pups," and "reprove the calves,"
    And do nought in the world (but Work) by halves,
    From "Hunt the Slipper" and "Riddle-me-ree"
    To watching the cat in the apple-tree.

    O Art of the Household! Men may prate
    Of their ways "intense" and Italianate,--
    They may soar on their wings of sense, and float
    To the _au delà_ and the dim remote,--
    Till the last sun sink in the last-lit West,
    'Tis the Art at the Door that will please the best;
    To the end of Time 'twill be still the same,
    For the Earth first laughed when the children came!



THE DISTRESSED POET.

A SUGGESTION FROM HOGARTH.


    One knows the scene so well,--a touch,
      A word, brings back again
    That room, not garnished overmuch,
      In gusty Drury Lane;

    The empty safe, the child that cries,
      The kittens on the coat,
    The good-wife with her patient eyes,
      The milkmaid's tuneless throat;

    And last, in that mute woe sublime,
      The luckless verseman's air:
    The "Bysshe," the foolscap and the rhyme,--
      The Rhyme ... that is not there!

    Poor Bard! to dream the verse inspired--
      With dews Castalian wet--
    Is built from cold abstractions squired
      By "Bysshe," his epithet!

    Ah! when she comes, the glad-eyed Muse,
      No step upon the stair
    Betrays the guest that none refuse,--
      She takes us unaware;

    And tips with fire our lyric lips,
      And sets our hearts a-flame,
    And then, like Ariel, off she trips,
      And none know how she came.

    Only, henceforth, for right or wrong,
      By some dull sense grown keen,
    Some blank hour blossomed into song,
      We feel that she has been.



JOCOSA LYRA.


    In our hearts is the Great One of Avon
                           Engraven,
    And we climb the cold summits once built on
                           By Milton.

    But at times not the air that is rarest
                           Is fairest,
    And we long in the valley to follow
                           Apollo.

    Then we drop from the heights atmospheric
                           To Herrick,
    Or we pour the Greek honey, grown blander,
                           Of Landor;

    Or our cosiest nook in the shade is
                           Where Praed is,
    Or we toss the light bells of the mocker
                           With Locker.

    Oh, the song where not one of the Graces
                           Tight-laces,--
    Where we woo the sweet Muses not starchly,
                           But archly,--

    Where the verse, like a piper a-Maying,
                           Comes playing,--
    And the rhyme is as gay as a dancer
                           In answer,--

    It will last till men weary of pleasure
                           In measure!
    It will last till men weary of laughter ...
                           And after!



MY BOOKS.


    They dwell in the odour of camphor,
      They stand in a Sheraton shrine,
    They are "warranted early editions,"
      These worshipful tomes of mine;--

    In their creamiest "Oxford vellum,"
      In their redolent "crushed Levant,"
    With their delicate watered linings,
      They are jewels of price, I grant;--

    Blind-tooled and morocco-jointed,
      They have Zaehnsdorf's daintiest dress,
    They are graceful, attenuate, polished,
      But they gather the dust, no less;--

    For the row that I prize is yonder,
      Away on the unglazed shelves,
    The bulged and the bruised _octavos_,
      The dear and the dumpy twelves,--

    Montaigne with his sheepskin blistered,
      And Howell the worse for wear,
    And the worm-drilled Jesuits' Horace,
      And the little old cropped Molière,

    And the Burton I bought for a florin,
      And the Rabelais foxed and flea'd,--
    For the others I never have opened,
      But those are the books I read.



THE BOOK-PLATE'S PETITION.

BY A GENTLEMAN OF THE TEMPLE.


    While cynic CHARLES still trimm'd the vane
    'Twixt _Querouaille_ and _Castlemaine_,
    In days that shocked JOHN EVELYN,
    My First Possessor fixed me in.
    In days of _Dutchmen_, and of frost,
    The narrow sea with JAMES I cross'd,
    Returning when once more began
    The Age of _Saturn_ and of ANNE.
    I am a part of all the past;
    I knew the GEORGES, first and last;
    I have been oft where else was none
    Save the great wig of ADDISON;
    And seen on shelves beneath me grope
    The little eager form of POPE.
    I lost the Third that owned me when
    French NOAILLES fled at Dettingen;
    The year JAMES WOLFE surpris'd Quebec,
    The Fourth in hunting broke his neck;
    The day that WILLIAM HOGARTH dy'd,
    The Fifth one found me in Cheapside.
    This was a _Scholar_, one of those
    Whose _Greek_ is sounder than their _hose_;
    He lov'd old Books and nappy ale,
    So liv'd at Streatham, next to THRALE.
    'Twas there this stain of grease I boast
    Was made by Dr. JOHNSON'S toast.
    (He did it, as I think, for Spite;
    My Master call'd him _Jacobite_!)
    And now that I so long to-day
    Have rested _post discrimina_,
    Safe in the brass-wir'd book-case where
    I watch'd the Vicar's whit'ning hair,
    Must I these travell'd bones inter
    In some _Collector's_ sepulchre!
    Must I be torn herefrom and thrown
    With _frontispiece_ and _colophon_!
    With vagrant _E's_, and _I's_, and _O's_,
    The spoil of plunder'd _Folios_!
    With scraps and snippets that to ME
    Are naught but _kitchen company_!
    Nay, rather, FRIEND, this favour grant me:
    Tear me at once; _but don't transplant me_.

    Cheltenham,
    _Sept. 31, 1792._



PALOMYDES.


    Him best in all the dim Arthuriad,
      Of lovers of fair women, him I prize,--
    The Pagan Palomydes. Never glad
      Was he with sweetness of his lady's eyes,
              Nor joy he had.

    But, unloved ever, still must love the same,
      And riding ever through a lonely world,
    Whene'er on adverse shield or crest he came,
      Against the danger desperately hurled,
              Crying her name.

    So I, who strove to You I may not earn,
      Methinks, am come unto so high a place,
    That though from hence I can but vainly yearn
      For that averted favour of your face,
              I shall not turn.

    No, I am come too high. Whate'er betide,
      To find the doubtful thing that fights with me,
    Toward the mountain tops I still shall ride,
      And cry your name in my extremity,
              As Palomyde,
    Until the issue come. Will it disclose
      No gift of grace, no pity made complete,
    After much labour done,--much war with woes?
      Will you deny me still in Heaven, my sweet;--
              Ah, Death--who knows?



ANDRÉ LE CHAPELAIN.

(_Clerk of Love, 1170._)

HIS PLAINT TO VENUS OF THE COMING YEARS.

    "_Plus ne suis ce que j'ay esté_
       _Et ne le sçaurois jamais estre;_
       _Mon beau printemps et mon esté_
       _Ont fait le saut par la fenestre._"


    Queen Venus, round whose feet,
      To tend thy sacred fire,
    With service bitter-sweet
      Nor youths nor maidens tire;--
    Goddess, whose bounties be
    Large as the un-oared sea;--

    Mother, whose eldest born
      First stirred his stammering tongue,
    In the world's youngest morn,
      When the first daisies sprung:--
    Whose last, when Time shall die,
    In the same grave shall lie:--

    Hear thou one suppliant more!
      Must I, thy Bard, grow old,
    Bent, with the temples frore,
      Not jocund be nor bold,
    To tune for folk in May
    Ballad and virelay?

    Shall the youths jeer and jape,
      "Behold his verse doth dote,--
    Leave thou Love's lute to scrape,
      And tune thy wrinkled throat
    To songs of 'Flesh is Grass,'"--
    Shall they cry thus and pass?

    And the sweet girls go by?
      "Beshrew the grey-beard's tune!--
    What ails his minstrelsy
      To sing us snow in June!"
    Shall they too laugh, and fleet
    Far in the sun-warmed street?

    But Thou, whose beauty bright,
      Upon thy wooded hill,
    With ineffectual light
      The wan sun seeketh still;--
    Woman, whose tears are dried,
    Hardly, for Adon's side,--

    Have pity, Erycine!
      Withhold not all thy sweets;
    Must I thy gifts resign
      For Love's mere broken meats;
    And suit for alms prefer
    That was thine Almoner?

    Must I, as bondsman, kneel
      That, in full many a cause,
    Have scrolled thy just appeal?
      Have I not writ thy Laws?
    _That none from Love shall take
    Save but for Love's sweet sake;_--

    _That none shall aught refuse
    To Love of Love's fair dues;--
    That none dear Love shall scoff
    Or deem foul shame thereof;--
    That none shall traitor be
    To Love's own secrecy;_--

    Avert,--avert it, Queen!
      Debarred thy listed sports,
    Let me at least be seen
      An usher in thy courts,
    Outworn, but still indued
    With badge of servitude.

    When I no more may go,
      As one who treads on air,
    To string-notes soft and slow,
      By maids found sweet and fair--
    When I no more may be
    Of Love's blithe company;--

    When I no more may sit
      Within thine own pleasànce,
    To weave, in sentence fit,
      Thy golden dalliance;
    When other hands than these
    Record thy soft decrees;--

    Leave me at least to sing
      About thine outer wall,
    To tell thy pleasuring,
      Thy mirth, thy festival;
    Yea, let my swan-song be
    Thy grace, thy sanctity.

    [_Here ended André's words:_
      _But One that writeth, saith--_
    _Betwixt his stricken chords_
      _He heard the Wheels of Death;_
    _And knew the fruits Love bare_
    _But Dead-Sea apples were._]



THE WATER OF GOLD.


    "Buy,--who'll buy?" In the market-place,
      Out of the market din and clatter,
    The quack with his puckered persuasive face
      Patters away in the ancient patter.

    "Buy,--who'll buy? In this flask I hold--
      In this little flask that I tap with my stick, Sir--
    Is the famed, infallible Water of Gold,--
      The One, Original, True Elixir!

    "Buy--who'll buy? There's a maiden there,--
      She with the ell-long flaxen tresses,--
    Here is a draught that will make you fair,
      Fit for an emperor's own caresses!

    "Buy,--who'll buy? Are you old and gray?
      Drink but of this, and in less than a minute,
    Lo! you will dance like the flowers in May,
      Chirp and chirk like a new-fledged linnet!

    "Buy,--who'll buy? Is a baby ill?
      Drop but a drop of this in his throttle,
    Straight he will gossip and gorge his fill,
      Brisk as a burgher over a bottle!

    "Here is wealth for your life,--if you will but ask;
      Here is health for your limb, without lint or lotion;
    Here is all that you lack, in this tiny flask;
      And the price is a couple of silver groschen!

    "Buy,--who'll buy?" So the tale runs on:
      And still in the great world's market-places
    The Quack, with his quack catholicon,
      Finds ever his crowd of upturned faces;

    For he plays on our hearts with his pipe and drum,
      On our vague regret, on our weary yearning;
    For he sells the thing that never can come,
      Or the thing that has vanished, past returning.



A FANCY FROM FONTENELLE.

"_De mémoires de Roses on n'a point vu mourir le Jardinier._"


    The Rose in the garden slipped her bud,
    And she laughed in the pride of her youthful blood,
    As she thought of the Gardener standing by--
    "He is old,--so old! And he soon must die!"

    The full Rose waxed in the warm June air,
    And she spread and spread till her heart lay bare;
    And she laughed once more as she heard his tread--
    "He is older now! He will soon be dead!"

    But the breeze of the morning blew, and found
    That the leaves of the blown Rose strewed the ground;
    And he came at noon, that Gardener old,
    And he raked them gently under the mould.

    _And I wove the thing to a random rhyme,
    For the Rose is Beauty, the Gardener, Time._



DON QUIXOTE.


    Behind thy pasteboard, on thy battered hack,
    Thy lean cheek striped with plaster to and fro,
    Thy long spear levelled at the unseen foe,
    And doubtful Sancho trudging at thy back,
    Thou wert a figure strange enough, good lack!
    To make Wiseacredom, both high and low,
    Rub purblind eyes, and (having watched thee go)
    Dispatch its Dogberrys upon thy track:
    Alas! poor Knight! Alas! poor soul possest?
    Yet would to-day when Courtesy grows chill,
    And life's fine loyalties are turned to jest,
    Some fire of thine might burn within us still!
    Ah, would but one might lay his lance in rest,
    And charge in earnest--were it but a mill!



A BROKEN SWORD.

(To A. L.)


    The shopman shambled from the doorway out
          And twitched it down--
    Snapped in the blade! 'Twas scarcely dear, I doubt,
          At half-a-crown.

    Useless enough! And yet can still be seen,
          In letters clear,
    Traced on the metal's rusty damaskeen--
          "_Povr Paruenyr._"

    Whose was it once?--Who manned it once in hope
          His fate to gain?
    Who was it dreamed his oyster-world should ope
          To this--in vain?

    Maybe with some stout Argonaut it sailed
          The Western Seas;
    Maybe but to some paltry Nym availed
          For toasting cheese!

    Or decked by Beauty on some morning lawn
          With silken knot,
    Perchance, ere night, for Church and King 'twas drawn--
          Perchance 'twas not!

    Who knows--or cares? To-day, 'mid foils and gloves
          Its hilt depends,
    Flanked by the favours of forgotten loves,--
          Remembered friends;--

    And oft its legend lends, in hours of stress,
          A word to aid;
    Or like a warning comes, in puffed success,
          Its broken blade.



THE POET'S SEAT.

AN IDYLL OF THE SUBURBS.

    "_Ille terrarum mihi præter omnes
        Angulus_ Ridet."
                           --Hor. ii. 6.


    It was an elm-tree root of yore,
      With lordly trunk, before they lopped it,
    And weighty, said those five who bore
      Its bulk across the lawn, and dropped it
    Not once or twice, before it lay.
      With two young pear-trees to protect it,
    Safe where the Poet hoped some day
      The curious pilgrim would inspect it.

    He saw him with his Poet's eye,
      The stately Maori, turned from etching
    The ruin of St. Paul's, to try
      Some object better worth the sketching:--
    He saw him, and it nerved his strength
      What time he hacked and hewed and scraped it,
    Until the monster grew at length
      The Master-piece to which he shaped it.

    To wit--a goodly garden seat,
      And fit alike for Shah or Sophy,
    With shelf for cigarettes complete,
      And one, but lower down, for coffee;
    He planted pansies 'round its foot,--
      "Pansies for thoughts!" and rose and arum;
    The Motto (that he meant to put)
      Was "_Ille angulus terrarum._"

    But "Oh! the change" (as Milton sings)--
      "The heavy change!" When May departed,
    When June with its "delightful things"
      Had come and gone, the rough bark started,--
    Began to lose its sylvan brown,
      Grew parched, and powdery, and spotted;
    And, though the Poet nailed it down,
      It still flapped up, and dropped, and rotted.

    Nor was this all. 'Twas next the scene
      Of vague (and viscous) vegetations;
    Queer fissures gaped, with oozings green,
      And moist, unsavoury exhalations,--
    Faint wafts of wood decayed and sick,
      Till, where he meant to carve his Motto,
    Strange leathery fungi sprouted thick,
      And made it like an oyster grotto.

    Briefly, it grew a seat of scorn,
      Bare,--shameless,--till, for fresh disaster,
    From end to end, one April morn,
      'Twas riddled like a pepper caster,--
    Drilled like a vellum of old time;
      And musing on this final mystery,
    The Poet left off scribbling rhyme,
      And took to studying Natural History.

    This was the turning of the tide;
      His five-act play is still unwritten;
    The dreams that now his soul divide
      Are more of Lubbock than of Lytton;
    "_Ballades_" are "verses vain" to him
      Whose first ambition is to lecture
    (So much is man the sport of whim!)
      On "Insects and their Architecture."



THE LOST ELIXIR.

"_One drop of ruddy human blood puts more life into the veins of a poem
than all the delusive 'aurum potabile' that can be distilled out of the
choicest library._"--Lowell.


    Ah, yes, that "drop of human blood!"--
      We had it once, may be,
    When our young song's impetuous flood
      First poured its ecstasy;
    But now the shrunk poetic vein
    Yields not that priceless drop again.

    We toil,--as toiled we not of old;
      Our patient hands distil
    The shining spheres of chemic gold
      With hard-won, fruitless skill;
    But that red drop still seems to be
    Beyond our utmost alchemy.

    Perchance, but most in later age,
      Time's after-gift, a tear,
    Will strike a pathos on the page
      Beyond all art sincere;
    But that "one drop of human blood"
    Has gone with life's first leaf and bud.



MEMORIAL VERSES.



A DIALOGUE

TO THE MEMORY OF MR. ALEXANDER POPE.

    "_Non injussa cano._"
                       Virg.


      POET. I sing of POPE--

      FRIEND. What, POPE, the _Twitnam_ Bard,
    Whom _Dennis_, _Cibber_, _Tibbald_ push'd so hard!
    POPE of the _Dunciad_! POPE who dar'd to woo,
    And then to libel, _Wortley-Montagu_!
    POPE of the _Ham-walks_ story--

                                 P. Scandals all!
    Scandals that now I care not to recall.
    Surely a little, in two hundred Years,
    One may neglect Contemporary Sneers:--
    Surely Allowance for the Man may make
    That had all _Grub-street_ yelping in his Wake!
    And who (I ask you) has been never Mean,
    When urged by Envy, Anger or the Spleen?
    No: I prefer to look on POPE as one
    Not rightly happy till his Life was done;
    Whose whole Career, romance it as you please,
    Was (what he call'd it) but a "long Disease:"
    Think of his Lot,--his Pilgrimage of Pain,
    His "crazy Carcass" and his restless Brain;
    Think of his Night-Hours with their Feet of Lead,
    His dreary Vigil and his aching Head;
    Think of all this, and marvel then to find
    The "crooked Body with a crooked Mind!"
    Nay rather, marvel that, in Fate's Despite,
    You find so much to solace and delight,--
    So much of Courage, and of Purpose high
    In that unequal Struggle _not_ to die.
    I grant you freely that POPE played his Part
    Sometimes ignobly--but he lov'd his Art;
    I grant you freely that he sought his Ends
    Not always wisely--but he lov'd his Friends;
    And who of Friends a nobler Roll could show--
    _Swift_, _St. John_, _Bathurst_, _Marchmont_, _Peterb'ro'_,
    _Arbuthnot_--

               FR. ATTICUS?

                           P. Well (_entre nous_),
    Most that he said of _Addison_ was _true_.
    Plain Truth, you know--

                           FR. Is often not polite
    (So _Hamlet_ thought)--

                         P. And _Hamlet_ (Sir) was right.
    But leave POPE'S Life. To-day, methinks, we touch
    The Work too little and the Man too much.
    Take up the _Lock_, the _Satires_, _Eloise_--
    What Art supreme, what Elegance, what Ease!
    How keen the Irony, the Wit how bright,
    The Style how rapid, and the Verse how light!
    Then read once more, and you shall wonder yet
    At Skill, at Turn, at Point, at Epithet.
    "True Wit is Nature to Advantage dress'd"--
    Was ever Thought so pithily express'd?
    "And ten low Words oft creep in one dull Line"--
    Ah, what a Homily on Yours ... and Mine!
    Or take--to choose at Random--take but This--
    "Ten censure wrong for one that writes amiss."

      FR. Pack'd and precise, no Doubt. Yet surely those
    Are but the Qualities we ask of Prose,
    Was he a POET?

                 P. Yes: if that be what
    _Byron_ was certainly and _Bowles_ was not;
    Or say you grant him, to come nearer Date,
    What _Dryden_ had, that was denied to _Tate_--

      FR. Which means, you claim for him the Spark divine,
    Yet scarce would place him on the highest Line--

      P. True, there are Classes. POPE was most of all
    Akin to _Horace_, _Persius_, _Juvenal_;
    POPE was, like them, the Censor of his Age,
    An Age more suited to Repose than Rage;
    When Rhyming turn'd from Freedom to the Schools,
    And shock'd with Licence, shudder'd into Rules;
    When _Phoebus_ touch'd the Poet's trembling Ear
    With one supreme Commandment _Be thou Clear_;
    When Thought meant less to reason than compile,
    And the _Muse_ labour'd ... chiefly with the File.
    Beneath full Wigs no Lyric drew its Breath
    As in the Days of great ELIZABETH;
    And to the Bards of ANNA was denied
    The Note that _Wordsworth_ heard on _Duddon_-side.
    But POPE took up his Parable, and knit
    The Woof of Wisdom with the Warp of Wit;
    He trimm'd the Measure on its equal Feet,
    And smooth'd and fitted till the Line was neat;
    He taught the Pause with due Effect to fall;
    He taught the Epigram to come at Call;
    He wrote----

                FR. His _Iliad_!

                              P. Well, suppose you own
    You like your _Iliad_ in the Prose of _Bohn_,--
    Tho' if you'd learn in Prose how _Homer_ sang,
    'Twere best to learn of _Butcher_ and of _Lang_,--
    Suppose you say your Worst of POPE, declare
    His Jewels Paste, his Nature a Parterre,
    His Art but Artifice--I ask once more
    Where have you seen such Artifice before?
    Where have you seen a Parterre better grac'd,
    Or gems that glitter like his Gems of Paste?
    Where can you show, among your Names of Note,
    So much to copy and so much to quote?
    And where, in Fine, in all our English Verse,
    A Style more trenchant and a Sense more terse?

    So I, that love the old _Augustan_ Days
    Of formal Courtesies and formal Phrase;
    That like along the finish'd Line to feel
    The Ruffle's Flutter and the Flash of Steel;
    That like my Couplet as compact as clear;
    That like my Satire sparkling tho' severe,
    Unmix'd with Bathos and unmarr'd by Trope,
    I fling my Cap for Polish--and for POPE!



A FAMILIAR EPISTLE

_To * * Esq. of * * with a Life of the late Ingenious M^r. W^m.
Hogarth._


    Dear Cosmopolitan,--I know
    I should address you a _Rondeau_,
    Or else announce what I've to say
    At least _en Ballade fratrisée_;
    But No: for once I leave Gymnasticks,
    And take to simple _Hudibrasticks_;
    Why should I choose another Way,
    When this was good enough for GAY?

    You love, my FRIEND, with me, I think,
    That Age of Lustre and of Link;
    Of _Chelsea_ China and long "s"es,
    Of Bag-wigs and of flowered Dresses;
    That Age of Folly and of Cards,
    Of Hackney Chairs and Hackney Bards;
    --No H--LTS, no K--G--N P--LS were then
    Dispensing Competence to Men;
    The gentle Trade was left to Churls,
    Your frowsy TONSONS and your CURLLS;
    Mere Wolves in Ambush to attack
    The AUTHOR in a Sheep-skin Back;
    Then SAVAGE and his Brother-Sinners
    In _Porridge-Island_ div'd for Dinners;
    Or doz'd on _Covent Garden_ Bulks,
    And liken'd Letters to the Hulks;--
    You know that by-gone Time, I say,
    That aimless easy-moral'd Day,
    When rosy Morn found MADAM still
    Wrangling at _Ombre_ or _Quadrille_,
    When good Sir JOHN reel'd Home to Bed,
    From _Pontack's_ or the _Shakespear's Head_;
    When TRIP _convey'd_ his Master's Cloaths,
    And took his Titles and his Oaths;
    While BETTY, in a cast _Brocade_,
    Ogled MY LORD at Masquerade;
    When GARRICK play'd the guilty _Richard_,
    Or mouth'd _Macbeth_ with Mrs. PRITCHARD;
    When FOOTE grimac'd his snarling Wit;
    When CHURCHILL bullied in the Pit;
    When the CUZZONI sang--
                           But there!
    The further Catalogue I spare,
    Having no Purpose to eclipse
    That tedious Tale of HOMER'S Ships;--
    This is the MAN that drew it all
    From _Pannier Alley_ to the _Mall_,
    Then turn'd and drew it once again
    From _Bird-Cage Walk_ to _Lewknor's Lane_;--
    Its Rakes and Fools, its Rogues and Sots;
    Its brawling Quacks, its starveling Scots;
    Its Ups and Downs, its Rags and Garters,
    Its HENLEYS, LOVATS, MALCOLMS, CHARTRES;
    Its Splendour, Squalor, Shame, Disease;
    Its _quicquid agunt Homines_;--
    Nor yet omitted to pourtray
    _Furens quid possit Foemina_;--
    In short, held up to ev'ry Class
    NATURE'S unflatt'ring looking-Glass;
    And, from his Canvass, spoke to All
    The Message of a JUVENAL.

    Take Him. His Merits most aver:
    His weak Point is--his Chronicler!

Nov^r. 1, 1879.



HENRY FIELDING.

(To James Russell Lowell.)


    Not from the ranks of those we call
    Philosopher or Admiral,--
    Neither as LOCKE was, nor as BLAKE,
    Is that Great Genius for whose sake
    We keep this Autumn festival.

    And yet in one sense, too, was he
    A soldier--of humanity;
    And, surely, philosophic mind
    Belonged to him whose brain designed
    That teeming COMIC EPOS where,
    As in CERVANTES and MOLIÈRE,
    Jostles the medley of Mankind.

    Our ENGLISH NOVEL'S pioneer!
    His was the eye that first saw clear
    How, not in natures half-effaced
    By cant of Fashion and of Taste,--
    Not in the circles of the Great,
    Faint-blooded and exanimate,--
    Lay the true field of Jest and Whim,
    Which we to-day reap after him.
    No:--he stepped lower down and took
    The piebald PEOPLE for his Book!

    Ah, what a wealth of Life there is
    In that large-laughing page of his!
    What store and stock of Common-Sense,
    Wit, Wisdom, Books, Experience!
    How his keen Satire flashes through,
    And cuts a sophistry in two!
    How his ironic lightning plays
    Around a rogue and all his ways!
    Ah, how he knots his lash to see
    That ancient cloak, Hypocrisy!

    Whose are the characters that give
    Such round reality?--that live
    With such full pulse? Fair SOPHY yet
    Sings _Bobbing Joan_ at the spinet;
    We see AMELIA cooking still
    That supper for the recreant WILL;
    We hear Squire WESTERN'S headlong tones
    Bawling "Wut ha?--wut ha?" to JONES.
    Are they not present now to us,--
    The Parson with his _Æschylus_?
    SLIPSLOP the frail, and NORTHERTON,
    PARTRIDGE, and BATH, and HARRISON?--
    Are they not breathing, moving,--all
    The motley, merry carnival
    That FIELDING kept, in days agone?

    He was the first who dared to draw
    Mankind the mixture that he saw;
    Not wholly good nor ill, but both,
    With fine intricacies of growth.
    He pulled the wraps of flesh apart,
    And showed the working human heart;
    He scorned to drape the truthful nude
    With smooth, decorous platitude!

    He was too frank, may be; and dared
    Too boldly. Those whose faults he bared,
    Writhed in the ruthless grasp that brought
    Into the light their secret thought.
    Therefore the TARTUFFE-throng who say
    "_Couvrez ce sein_," and look that way,--
    Therefore the Priests of Sentiment
    Rose on him with their garments rent.
    Therefore the gadfly swarm whose sting
    Plies ever round some generous thing,
    Buzzed of old bills and tavern-scores,
    Old "might-have-beens" and "heretofores";--
    Then, from that garbled record-list,
    Made him his own Apologist.

    And was he? Nay,--let who has known
    Nor Youth nor Error, cast the stone!
    If to have sense of Joy and Pain
    Too keen,--to rise, to fall again,
    To live too much,--be sin, why then,
    This was no pattern among men.
    But those who turn that later page,
    The Journal of his middle-age,
    Watch him serene in either fate,--
    Philanthropist and Magistrate;
    Watch him as Husband, Father, Friend,
    Faithful, and patient to the end;
    Grieving, as e'en the brave may grieve,
    But for the loved ones he must leave:
    These will admit--if any can--
    That 'neath the green Estrella trees,
    No Artist merely, but a MAN,
    Wrought on our noblest island-plan,
    Sleeps with the alien Portuguese.



HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.

      "_Nec turpem senectam
    Degere, nec cithara carentem._"
                        --Hor. i. 31.


    "Not to be tuneless in old age!"
    Ah! surely blest his pilgrimage,
      Who, in his Winter's snow,
    Still sings with note as sweet and clear
    As in the morning of the year
      When the first violets blow!

    Blest!--but more blest, whom Summer's heat,
    Whom Spring's impulsive stir and beat,
      Have taught no feverish lure;
    Whose Muse, benignant and serene,
    Still keeps his Autumn chaplet green
      Because his verse is pure!

    Lie calm, O white and laureate head!
    Lie calm, O Dead, that art not dead,
      Since from the voiceless grave,
    Thy voice shall speak to old and young
    While song yet speaks an English tongue
      By Charles' or Thamis' wave!



CHARLES GEORGE GORDON.


    "Rather be dead than praised," he said,
    That hero, like a hero dead,
    In this slack-sinewed age endued
    With more than antique fortitude!

    "Rather be dead than praised!" Shall we,
    Who loved thee, now that Death sets free
    Thine eager soul, with word and line
    Profane that empty house of thine?

    Nay,--let us hold, be mute. Our pain
    Will not be less that we refrain;
    And this our silence shall but be
    A larger monument to thee.



VICTOR HUGO.


    He set the trumpet to his lips, and lo!
    The clash of waves, the roar of winds that blow,
    The strife and stress of Nature's warring things,
    Rose like a storm-cloud, upon angry wings.

    He set the reed-pipe to his lips, and lo!
    The wreck of landscape took a rosy glow,
    And Life, and Love, and gladness that Love brings
    Laughed in the music, like a child that sings.

    Master of each, Arch-Master! We that still
    Wait in the verge and outskirt of the Hill
    Look upward lonely--lonely to the height
    Where thou has climbed, for ever, out of sight!



ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON.

EMIGRAVIT, OCTOBER VI., MDCCCXCII.


    Grief there will be, and may,
    When King Apollo's bay
    Is cut midwise;
    Grief that a song is stilled,
    Grief for the unfulfilled
    Singer that dies.

    Not so we mourn thee now,
    Not so we grieve that thou,
    MASTER, art passed,
    Since thou thy song didst raise,
    Through the full round of days,
    E'en to the last.

    Grief there may be, and will,
    When that the Singer still
    Sinks in the song;
    When that the wingéd rhyme
    Fails of the promised prime,
    Ruined and wrong.

    Not thus we mourn thee--we--
    Not thus we grieve for thee,
    MASTER and Friend;
    Since, like a clearing flame,
    Clearer thy pure song came
    E'en to the end.

    Nay--nor for thee we grieve
    E'en as for those that leave
    Life without name;
    Lost as the stars that set,
    Empty of men's regret,
    Empty of fame.

    Rather we count thee one
    Who, when his race is run,
    Layeth him down,
    Calm--through all coming days,
    Filled with a nation's praise,
    Filled with renown.



FABLES OF LITERATURE AND ART.



THE POET AND THE CRITICS.

    If those who wield the Rod forget,
    'Tis truly--_Quis custodiet?_


    A certain Bard (as Bards will do)
    Dressed up his Poems for Review.
    His Type was plain, his Title clear;
    His Frontispiece by FOURDRINIER.
    Moreover, he had on the Back
    A sort of sheepskin Zodiac;--
    A Mask, a Harp, an Owl,--in fine,
    A neat and "classical" Design.
    But the _in_-Side?--Well, good or bad,
    The Inside was the best he had:
    Much Memory,--more Imitation;--
    Some Accidents of Inspiration;--
    Some Essays in that finer Fashion
    Where Fancy takes the place of Passion;--
    And some (of course) more roughly wrought
    To catch the Advocates of Thought.

    In the less-crowded Age of ANNE,
    Our Bard had been a favoured Man;
    Fortune, more chary with the Sickle,
    Had ranked him next to GARTH or TICKELL;--
    He might have even dared to hope
    A Line's Malignity from POPE!
    But now, when Folks are hard to please,
    And Poets are as thick as--Peas,
    The Fates are not so prone to flatter,
    Unless, indeed, a Friend ... No Matter.

    The Book, then, had a minor Credit:
    The Critics took, and doubtless read it.
    Said A.--_These little Songs display
    No lyric Gift; but still a Ray,--
    A Promise. They will do no Harm._
    'Twas kindly, if not _very_ warm.
    Said B.--_The Author may, in Time,
    Acquire the Rudiments of Rhyme:
    His Efforts now are scarcely Verse._
    This, certainly, could not be worse.

    Sorely discomfited, our Bard
    Worked for another ten Years--hard.
    Meanwhile the World, unmoved, went on;
    New Stars shot up, shone out, were gone;
    Before his second Volume came
    His Critics had forgot his Name:

    And who, forsooth, is bound to know
    Each Laureate _in embryo_!
    They tried and tested him, no less,-
    The sworn Assayers of the Press.
    Said A.--_The Author may, in Time...._
    Or much what B. had said of Rhyme.
    Then B.--_These little Songs display...._
    And so forth, in the sense of A.
    Over the Bard I throw a Veil.

    There is no MORAL to this Tale.



THE TOYMAN.

    With Verse, is Form the first, or Sense?
    Hereon men waste their Eloquence.


    "Sense (cry the one Side), Sense, of course.
    How can you lend your Theme its Force?
    How can you be direct and clear,
    Concise, and (best of all) sincere,
    If you must pen your Strain sublime
    In Bonds of Measure and of Rhyme?
    Who ever heard true Grief relate
    Its heartfelt Woes in 'six' and 'eight'?
    Or felt his manly Bosom swell
    Beneath a French-made _Villanelle_?
    How can your _Mens divinior_ sing
    Within the Sonnet's scanty Ring,
    Where she must chant her Orphic Tale
    In just so many Lines, or fail?..."

    "Form is the first (the Others bawl);
    If not, why write in Verse at all?
    Why not your throbbing Thoughts expose
    (If verse be such Restraint) in Prose?
    For surely if you speak your Soul
    Most freely where there's least Control,
    It follows you must speak it best
    By Rhyme (or Reason) unreprest.
    Blest Hour! be not delayed too long,
    When Britain frees her Slaves of Song;
    And barred no more by Lack of Skill,
    The Mob may crowd _Parnassus_ Hill!..."


    Just at this Point--for you must know,
    All this was but the To-and-fro
    Of MATT and DICK who played with Thought,
    And lingered longer than they ought
    (So pleasant 'tis to tap one's Box
    And trifle round a Paradox!)--
    There came--but I forgot to say,
    'Twas in the Mall, the Month was May--
    There came a Fellow where they sat,
    His Elf-locks peeping through his Hat,
    Who bore a Basket. Straight his Load
    He set upon the Ground, and showed
    His newest Toy--a Card with Strings.
    On this side was a Bird with Wings,
    On that, a Cage. You twirled, and lo!
    The Twain were one.
                        Said MATT, "E'en so.
    Here's the Solution in a Word:--
    Form is the Cage and Sense the Bird.
    The Poet twirls them in his Mind,
    And wins the Trick with both combined."



THE SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR.


    When Fate presents us with the Bays,
    We prize the Praiser, not the Praise.
    We scarcely think our Fame eternal
    If vouched for by the _Farthing Journal_;
    But when the _Craftsman's_ self has spoken,
    We take it for a certain Token.
    This an Example best will show,
    Derived from DENNIS DIDEROT.

    A hackney Author, who'd essayed
    All Hazards of the scribbling Trade;
    And failed to live by every Mode,
    From _Persian Tale_ to _Birthday Ode_;
    Embarked at last, thro' pure Starvation,
    In Theologic Speculation.
    'Tis commonly affirmed his Pen
    Had been most orthodox till then;
    But oft, as SOCRATES has said,
    The Stomach's stronger than the Head;
    And, for a sudden Change of Creed,
    There is no _Jesuit_ like Need.
    Then, too, 'twas cheap; he took it all,
    By force of Habit, from the Gaul.
    He showed (the Trick is nowise new)
    That Nothing we believe is true;
    But chiefly that Mistake is rife
    Touching the point of _After-Life_;
    Here all were wrong from PLATO down:
    His Price (in Boards) was Half-a-Crown.
    The Thing created quite a Scare:--
    He got a Letter from VOLTAIRE,
    Naming him _Ami_ and _Confrère_;
    Besides two most attractive Offers
    Of Chaplaincies from noted Scoffers.
    He fell forthwith his Head to lift,
    To talk of "I and DR. SW--FT;"
    And brag, at Clubs, as one who spoke,
    On equal Terms, with BOLINGBROKE.
    But, at the last, a Missive came
    That put the Copestone to his Fame.
    The Boy who brought it would not wait:
    It bore a _Covent-Garden_ Date;--
    A woful Sheet with doubtful Ink.
    And Air of _Bridewell_ or the Clink,
    It ran in this wise:--_Learned Sir!
    We, whose Subscriptions follow here,
    Desire to state our Fellow-feeling
    In this Religion you're revealing.
    You make it plain that if so be_
    _We 'scape on Earth from_ Tyburn Tree,
    _There's nothing left for us to fear
    In this--or any other Sphere.
    We offer you our Thanks; and hope
    Your Honor, too, may cheat the Rope!_
    With that came all the Names beneath,
    As BLUESKIN, JERRY CLINCH, MACHEATH,
    BET CARELESS, and the Rest--a Score
    Of Rogues and _Bona Robas_ more.

    This _Newgate Calendar_ he read:
    'Tis not recorded what he said.



THE DILETTANT.


    The most oppressive Form of Cant
    Is that of your Art-Dilettant:--
    Or rather "was." The Race, I own,
    To-day is, happily, unknown.

    A Painter, now by Fame forgot,
    Had painted--'tis no matter what;
    Enough that he resolved to try
    The Verdict of a critic Eye.
    The Friend he sought made no Pretence
    To more than candid Common-sense,
    Nor held himself from Fault exempt.
    He praised, it seems, the whole Attempt.
    Then, pausing long, showed here and there
    That Parts required a nicer Care,--
    A closer Thought. The Artist heard,
    Expostulated, chafed, demurred.

    Just then popped in a passing Beau,
    Half Pertness, half Pulvilio;--
    One of those Mushroom Growths that spring
    From _Grand Tours_ and from Tailoring;--
    And dealing much in terms of Art
    Picked up at Sale and auction Mart.
    Straight to the Masterpiece he ran
    With lifted Glass, and thus began,
    Mumbling as fast as he could speak:--
    "Sublime!--prodigious!--truly Greek!
    That 'Air of Head' is just divine;
    That contour GUIDO, every line;
    That Forearm, too, has quite the _Gusto_
    Of the third Manner of ROBUSTO...."
    Then, with a Simper and a Cough,
    He skipped a little farther off:--
    "The middle Distance, too, is placed
    Quite in the best Italian Taste;
    And Nothing could be more effective
    Than the _Ordonnance_ and Perspective....
    You've sold it?--No?--Then take my word,
    I shall speak of it to MY LORD.
    What!--I insist. Don't stir, I beg.
    Adieu!" With that he made a Leg,
    Offered on either Side his Box,--
    So took his _Virtú_ off to COCK'S.

    The Critic, with a Shrug, once more
    Turned to the Canvas as before.
    "Nay,"--said the Painter--"I allow
    The Worst that you can tell me now.
    'Tis plain my Art must go to School,
    To win such Praises--from a FOOL!"



THE TWO PAINTERS.


    In Art some hold Themselves content
    If they but compass what they meant;
    Others prefer, their Purpose gained,
    Still to find Something unattained--
    Something whereto they vaguely grope
    With no more Aid than that of Hope.
    Which are the Wiser? Who shall say!
    The prudent Follower of GAY
    Declines to speak for either View,
    But sets his Fable 'twixt the two.

    Once--'twas in good Queen ANNA'S Time--
    While yet in this benighted Clime
    The GENIUS of the ARTS (now known
    On mouldy Pediments alone)
    Protected all the Men of Mark,
    Two Painters met Her in the Park.
    Whether She wore the Robe of Air
    Portrayed by VERRIO and LAGUERRE;
    Or, like BELINDA, trod this Earth,
    Equipped with Hoop of monstrous Girth,
    And armed at every Point for Slaughter
    With Essences and Orange-water,
    I know not: but it seems that then,
    After some talk of Brush and Pen,--
    Some chat of Art both High and Low,
    Of VAN'S "Goose-Pie" and KNELLER'S "_Mot_,"--
    The Lady, as a Goddess should,
    Bade Them ask of Her what They would.
    "Then, Madam, my request," says BRISK,
    Giving his _Ramillie_ a whisk,
    "Is that your Majesty will crown
    My humble Efforts with Renown.
    Let me, I beg it--Thanks to You--
    Be praised for Everything I do,
    Whether I paint a Man of Note,
    Or only plan a Petticoat."
    "Nay," quoth the other, "I confess"
    (This One was plainer in his Dress,
    And even poorly clad), "for me,
    I scorn Your Popularity.
    Why should I care to catch at once
    The Point of View of every Dunce?
    Let me do well, indeed, but find
    The Fancy first, the Work behind;
    Nor wholly touch the thing I wanted...."
    The Goddess both Petitions granted.

    Each in his Way, achieved Success;
    But One grew Great. And which One? Guess.



THE CLAIMS OF THE MUSE.


    Too oft we hide our Frailties' Blame
    Beneath some simple-sounding Name!
    So Folks, who in gilt Coaches ride,
    Will call Display but _Proper Pride_;
    So Spendthrifts, who their Acres lose,
    Curse not their Folly but the _Jews_;
    So _Madam_, when her Roses faint,
    Resorts to ... anything but _Paint_.

    An honest Uncle, who had plied
    His Trade of Mercer in _Cheapside_,
    Until his Name on _'Change_ was found
    Good for some Thirty Thousand Pound,
    Was burdened with an Heir inclined
    To thoughts of quite a different Kind.
    His Nephew dreamed of Naught but Verse
    From Morn to Night, and, what was worse,
    He quitted all at length to follow
    That "sneaking, whey-faced God, APOLLO."
    In plainer Words, he ran up Bills
    At _Child's_, at _Batson's_ and at _Will's_;
    Discussed the Claims of rival Bards
    At Midnight,--with a Pack of Cards;
    Or made excuse for "t'other Bottle"
    Over a point in ARISTOTLE.
    This could not last, and like his Betters
    He found, too soon, the _Cost_ of Letters.
    Back to his Uncle's House he flew,
    Confessing that he'd not a _Sou_.
    'Tis true, his Reasons, if sincere,
    Were more poetical than clear:
    "Alas!" he said, "I name no Names:
    The _Muse_, dear Sir, the _Muse_ has claims."
    His Uncle, who, behind his Till,
    Knew less of _Pindus_ than _Snow-Hill_,
    Looked grave, but thinking (as Men say)
    That Youth but once can have its Day,
    Equipped anew his _Pride_ and _Hope_
    To frisk it on _Parnassus_ Slope.
    In one short Month he sought the Door
    More shorn and ragged than before.
    This Time he showed but small Contrition,
    And gloried in his mean Condition.
    "The greatest of our Race," he said,
    "Through _Asian_ Cities begged his Bread.
    The _Muse_--the _Muse_ delights to see
    Not _Broadcloth_ but _Philosophy_!
    Who doubts of this her Honour shames,
    But (as you know) she has her Claims...."
    "Friend," quoth his Uncle then, "I doubt
    This scurvy Craft that you're about
    Will lead your _philosophic_ Feet
    Either to _Bedlam_ or the _Fleet_.
    Still, as I would not have you lack,
    Go get some _Broadcloth_ to your Back,
    And--if it please this precious _Muse_--
    'Twere well to purchase decent Shoes.
    Though harkye, Sir...." The Youth was gone,
    Before the good Man could go on.

    And yet ere long again was seen
    That Votary of _Hippocrene_.
    As along _Cheap_ his Way he took,
    His Uncle spied him by a Brook,
    Not such as _Nymphs Castalian_ pour,--
    'Twas but the Kennel, nothing more.
    His Plight was plain by every Sign
    Of Idiot Smile and Stains of Wine.
    He strove to rise, and wagged his Head--
    "The _Muse_, dear Sir, the _Muse_--" he said.
    "_Muse!_" quoth the Other, in a Fury,
    "The _Muse_ shan't serve you, I assure ye.
    She's just some wanton, idle _Jade_
    That makes young Fools forget their Trade,--
    Who should be whipped, if I'd my Will,
    From _Charing Cross_ to _Ludgate Hill_.
    She's just...." But he began to stutter,
    So left SIR GRACELESS in the Gutter.



THE 'SQUIRE AT VAUXHALL.


    Nothing so idle as to waste
    This Life disputing upon _Taste_;
    And most--let that sad Truth be written--
    In this contentious Land of _Britain_,
    Where each one holds "it seems to me"
    Equivalent to Q. E. D.,
    And if you dare to doubt his Word
    Proclaims you Blockhead and absurd.
    And then, too often, the Debate
    Is not 'twixt First and Second-rate,
    Some narrow Issue, where a Touch
    Of more or less can't matter much,
    But, and this makes the Case so sad,
    Betwixt undoubted Good and Bad.
    Nay,--there are some so strangely wrought,--
    So warped and twisted in their Thought,--
    That, if the Fact be but confest,
    They like the baser Thing the best.
    Take BOTTOM, who for one, 'tis clear,
    Possessed a "reasonable Ear;"
    He might have had at his Command
    The Symphonies of _Fairy-Land_;
    Well, our immortal SHAKESPEAR owns
    The Oaf preferred the "Tongs and Bones!"

    'Squire HOMESPUN from _Clod-Hall_ rode down,
    As the Phrase is--"to see the Town;"
    (The Town, in those Days, mostly lay
    Betwixt the _Tavern_ and the _Play_.)
    Like all their Worships the J.P.'s,
    He put up at the _Hercules_;
    Then sallied forth on Shanks his Mare,
    Rather than jolt it in a Chair,--
    A curst, new-fangled _Little-Ease_,
    That knocks your Nose against your Knees.
    For the good 'Squire was Country-bred,
    And had strange Notions in his Head,
    Which made him see in every Cur
    The starveling Breed of _Hanover_;
    He classed your Kickshaws and _Ragoos_
    With Popery and Wooden Shoes;
    Railed at all Foreign Tongues as Lingo,
    And sighed o'er _Chaos_ Wine for Stingo.

    Hence, as he wandered to and fro,
    Nothing could please him, high or low.
    As _Savages_ at _Ships of War_
    He looked unawed on _Temple-Bar_;
    Scarce could conceal his Discontent
    With _Fish-Street_ and the _Monument_;
    And might (except at Feeding-Hour)
    Have scorned the Lion in the _Tower_,
    But that the Lion's Race was run,
    And--for the Moment--there was none.

    At length, blind Fate, that drives us all,
    Brought him at Even to _Vauxhall_,
    What Time the eager Matron jerks
    Her slow Spouse to the _Water-Works_,
    And the coy Spinster, half-afraid
    Consults the _Hermit_ in the Shade.
    Dazed with the Din and Crowd, the 'Squire
    Sank in a Seat before the Choir.
    The FAUSTINETTA, fair and showy,
    Warbled an Air from _Arsinoë_,
    Playing her Bosom and her Eyes
    As Swans do when they agonize.
    Alas! to some a Mug of Ale
    Is better than an _Orphic Tale_!
    The 'Squire grew dull, the 'Squire grew bored;
    His chin dropt down; he slept; he snored.
    Then, straying thro' the "poppied Reign,"
    He dreamed him at _Clod-Hall_ again;
    He heard once more the well-known Sounds,
    The Crack of Whip, the Cry of Hounds.

    He rubbed his Eyes, woke up, and lo!
    A Change had come upon the Show.
    Where late the Singer stood, a Fellow,
    Clad in a Jockey's Coat of Yellow,
    Was mimicking a Cock that crew.
    Then came the Cry of Hounds anew,
    _Yoicks! Stole Away!_ and harking back;
    Then Ringwood leading up the Pack.
    The 'Squire in Transport slapped his Knee
    At this most hugeous Pleasantry.
    The sawn Wood followed; last of all
    The Man brought something in a Shawl,--
    Something that struggled, scraped, and squeaked
    As Porkers do, whose tails are tweaked.
    Our honest 'Squire could scarcely sit
    So excellent he thought the Wit.
    But when _Sir Wag_ drew off the Sheath
    And showed there was no Pig beneath,
    His pent-up Wonder, Pleasure, Awe,
    Exploded in a long Guffaw:
    And, to his dying Day, he'd swear
    That Naught in Town the Bell could bear
    From "Jockey wi' the Yellow Coat
    That had a Farm-Yard in his Throat!"

    MORAL THE FIRST you may discover:
    The 'Squire was like TITANIA'S lover;
    He put a squeaking Pig before
    The Harmony of CLAYTON'S Score.

    MORAL THE SECOND--not so clear;
    But still it shall be added here:
    He praised the Thing he understood;
    'Twere well if every Critic would.



THE CLIMACTERIC.


    When do the reasoning Powers decline?
    The Ancients said at Forty-Nine.
    At Forty-Nine behoves it then
    To quit the Inkhorn and the Pen,
    Since ARISTOTLE so decreed.
    Premising thus, we now proceed.

    In that thrice-favoured Northern Land,
    Where most the Flowers of Thought expand,
    And all things nebulous grow clear,
    Through Spectacles and Lager-Beer,
    There lived, at _Dumpelsheim_ the Lesser,
    A certain High-Dutch Herr Professor.
    Than GROTIUS more alert and quick,
    More logical than BURGERSDYCK,
    His Lectures both so much transcended,
    That far and wide his Fame extended,
    Proclaiming him to every clime
    Within a Mile of _Dumpelsheim_.
    But chief he taught, by Day and Night,
    The Doctrine of the Stagirite,
    Proving it fixed beyond Dispute,
    In Ways that none could well refute;
    For if by Chance 'twas urged that Men
    O'er-stepped the Limit now and then,
    He'd show unanswerably still
    Either that all they did was "Nil,"
    Or else 'twas marked by Indication
    Of grievous mental Degradation:
    Nay--he could even trace, they say,
    That Degradation to a Day.

    The Years rolled on, and as they flew,
    More famed the Herr Professor grew,
    His "_Locus_ of the Pineal Gland"
    (A Masterpiece he long had planned)
    Had reached the End of Book Eleven,
    And he was nearing Forty-Seven.
    Admirers had not long to wait;
    The last Book came at Forty-Eight,
    And should have been the Heart and Soul--
    The Crown and Summit--of the whole.
    But now the oddest Thing ensued;
    'Twas so insufferably crude,
    So feeble and so poor, 'twas plain
    The Writer's Mind was on the wane.
    Nothing could possibly be said;
    E'en Friendship's self must hang the head,
    While jealous Rivals, scarce so civil,
    Denounced it openly as "Drivel."
    Never was such Collapse. In brief,
    The poor Professor died of Grief.

    With fitting mortuary Rhyme
    They buried him at _Dumpelsheim_,
    And as they sorrowing set about
    A "Short Memoir," the Truth came out.
    He had been older than he knew.
    The Parish Clerk had put a "2"
    In place of "Nought," and made his Date
    Of Birth a Brace of Years too late.
    When he had written Book the Last,
    His true Climacteric had past!

    MORAL.--To estimate your Worth,
    Be certain as to date of Birth.



TALES IN RHYME.



THE VIRGIN WITH THE BELLS.


    Much strange is true. And yet so much
    Dan Time thereto of doubtful lays
    He blurs them both beneath his touch:--

    In this our tale his part he plays.
    At Florence, so the legend tells,
    There stood a church that men would praise

    (Even where Art the most excels)
    For works of price; but chief for one
    They called the "Virgin with the Bells."

    Gracious she was, and featly done,
    With crown of gold about the hair,
    And robe of blue with stars thereon,

    And sceptre in her hand did bear;
    And o'er her, in an almond tree,
    Three little golden bells there were,

    Writ with Faith, Hope, and Charity.
    None knew from whence she came of old,
    Nor whose the sculptor's name should be

    Of great or small. But this they told:--
    That once from out the blaze of square,
    And bickering folk that bought and sold,

    More moved no doubt of heat than prayer,
    Came to the church an Umbrian,
    Lord of much gold and champaign fair,

    But, for all this, a hard, haught man.
    To whom the priests, in humbleness,
    At once to beg for alms began,

    Praying him grant of his excess
    Such as for poor men's bread might pay,
    Or give their saint a gala-dress.

    Thereat with scorn he answered--"Nay,
    Most Reverend! Far too well ye know,
    By guile and wile, the fox's way

    "To swell the Church's overflow.
    But ere from me the least carline
    Ye win, this summer's sky shall snow;

    "Or, likelier still, your doll's-eyed queen
    Shall ring her bells ... but not of craft.
    By Bacchus! ye are none too lean

    "For fasting folk!" With that he laughed,
    And so, across the porphyry floor,
    His hand upon his dagger-haft,

    Strode, and of these was seen no more.
    Nor, of a truth, much marvelled they
    At those his words, since gear and store

    Oft dower shrunk souls. But, on a day,
    While yet again throughout the square,
    The buyers in their noisy way,

    Chaffered around the basket ware,
    It chanced (I but the tale reveal,
    Nor true nor false therein declare)--

    It chanced that when the priest would kneel
    Before the taper's flickering flame,
    Sudden a little tremulous peal

    From out the Virgin's altar came.
    And they that heard must fain recall
    The Umbrian, and the words of shame

    Spoke in his pride, and therewithal
    Came news how, at that very date
    And hour of time was fixed his fall,

    Who, of the Duke, was banned the State,
    And all his goods, and lands as well,
    To Holy Church were confiscate.

    Such is the tale the Frati tell.



A TALE OF POLYPHEME.


    "There's nothing new"--Not that I go so far
      As he who also said "There's nothing true,"
    Since, on the contrary, I hold there are
      Surviving still a verity or two;
    But, as to novelty, in my conviction,
    There's nothing new,--especially in fiction.

    Hence, at the outset, I make no apology,
      If this _my_ story is as old as Time,
    Being, indeed, that idyll of mythology,--
      The Cyclops' love,--which, somewhat varied, I'm
    To tell once more, the adverse Muse permitting,
    In easy rhyme, and phrases neatly fitting.

    "Once on a time"--there's nothing new, I said--
      It may be fifty years ago or more,
    Beside a lonely posting-road that led
      Seaward from Town, there used to stand of yore,
    With low-built bar and old bow-window shady,
    An ancient Inn, the "Dragon and the Lady."

    Say that by chance, wayfaring Reader mine,
      You cast a shoe, and at this dusty Dragon,
    Where beast and man were equal on the sign,
      Inquired at once for Blacksmith and for flagon:
    The landlord showed you, while you drank your hops,
    A road-side break beyond the straggling shops.

    And so directed, thereupon you led
      Your halting roadster to a kind of pass,
    This you descended with a crumbling tread,
      And found the sea beneath you like a glass;
    And soon, beside a building partly walled--
    Half hut, half cave--you raised your voice and called.

    Then a dog growled; and straightway there began
      Tumult within--for, bleating with affright,
    A goat burst out, escaping from the can;
      And, following close, rose slowly into sight--
    Blind of one eye, and black with toil and tan--
    An uncouth, limping, heavy-shouldered man.

    Part smith, part seaman, and part shepherd too:
      You scarce knew which, as, pausing with the pail
    Half filled with goat's milk, silently he drew
      An anvil forth, and reaching shoe and nail,
    Bared a red forearm, bringing into view
    Anchors and hearts in shadowy tattoo.

    And then he lit his fire.... But I dispense
      Henceforth with you, my Reader, and your horse,
    As being but a colorable pretence
      To bring an awkward hero in perforce;
    Since this our smith, for reasons never known,
    To most society preferred his own.

    Women declared that he'd an "Evil Eye,"--
      This in a sense was true--he had but one;
    Men, on the other hand, alleged him shy:
      We sometimes say so of the friends we shun;
    But, wrong or right, suffices to affirm it--
    The Cyclops lived a veritable hermit,--

    Dwelling below the cliff, beside the sea,
      Caved like an ancient British Troglodyte,
    Milking his goat at eve, and it may be,
      Spearing the fish along the flats at night,
    Until, at last, one April evening mild,
    Came to the Inn a Lady and a Child.

    The Lady was a nullity; the Child
      One of those bright bewitching little creatures,
    Who, if she once but shyly looked and smiled,
      Would soften out the ruggedest of features;
    Fragile and slight,--a very fay for size,--
    With pale town-cheeks, and "clear germander eyes."

    Nurses, no doubt, might name her "somewhat wild;"
      And pedants, possibly, pronounce her "slow;"
    Or corset-makers add, that for a child,
      She needed "cultivation;"--all I know
    Is that whene'er she spoke, or laughed, or romped, you
    Felt in each act the beauty of impromptu.

    The Lady was a nullity--a pale,
      Nerveless and pulseless quasi-invalid,
    Who, lest the ozone should in aught avail,
      Remained religiously indoors to read;
    So that, in wandering at her will, the Child
    Did, in reality, run "somewhat wild."

    At first but peering at the sanded floor
      And great shark jaw-bone in the cosy bar;
    Then watching idly from the dusky door,
      The noisy advent of a coach or car;
    Then stealing out to wonder at the fate
    Of blistered Ajax by the garden gate,--

    Some old ship's figure-head--until at last,
      Straying with each excursion more and more,
    She reached the limits of the road, and passed,
      Plucking the pansies, downward to the shore,
    And so, as you, respected Reader, showed,
    Came to the smith's "desirable abode."

    There by the cave the occupant she found,
      Weaving a crate; and, with a gladsome cry,
    The dog frisked out, although the Cyclops frowned
      With all the terrors of his single eye;
    Then from a mound came running, too, the goat,
    Uttering her plaintive, desultory note.

    The Child stood wondering at the silent man,
      Doubtful to go or stay, when presently
    She felt a plucking, for the goat began
      To crop the trail of twining briony
    She held behind her; so that, laughing, she
    Turned her light steps, retreating, to the sea.

    But the goat followed her on eager feet,
      And therewithal an air so grave and mild,
    Coupled with such a deprecatory bleat
      Of injured confidence, that soon the Child
    Filled the lone shore with louder merriment,
    And e'en the Cyclops' heavy brow unbent.

    Thus grew acquaintanceship between the pair,
      The girl and goat;--for thenceforth, day by day,
    The Child would bring her four-foot friend such fare
      As might be gathered on the downward way:--
    Foxglove, or broom, and "yellow cytisus,"
    Dear to all goats since Greek Theocritus.

    But, for the Cyclops, that misogynist
      Having, by stress of circumstances, smiled,
    Felt it at least incumbent to resist
      Further encroachment, and as one beguiled
    By adverse fortune, with the half-door shut,
    Dwelt in the dim seclusion of his hut.

    And yet not less from thence he still must see
      That daily coming, and must hear the goat
    Bleating her welcome; then, towards the sea,
      The happy voices of the playmates float;
    Until, at last, enduring it no more,
    He took his wonted station by the door.

    Here was, of course, a pitiful surrender;
      For soon the Child, on whom the Evil Eye
    Seemed to exert an influence but slender,
      Would run to question him, till, by and by,
    His moody humor like a cloud dispersing,
    He found himself uneasily conversing.

    That was a sow's-ear, that an egg of skate,
      And this an agate rounded by the wave.
    Then came inquiries still more intimate
      About himself, the anvil, and the cave;
    And then, at last, the Child, without alarm
    Would even spell the letters on his arm.

    "G--A--L--_Galatea_." So there grew
      On his part, like some half-remembered tale,
    The new-found memory of an ice-bound crew,
      And vague garrulities of spouting whale,--
    Of sea-cow basking upon berg and floe.
    And Polar light, and stunted Eskimo.

    Till, in his heart, which hitherto had been
      Locked as those frozen barriers of the North,
    There came once more the season of the green,--
      The tender bud-time and the putting forth,
    So that the man, before the new sensation,
    Felt for the child a kind of adoration;--

    Rising by night, to search for shell and flower,
      To lay in places where she found them first;
    Hoarding his cherished goat's milk for the hour
      When those young lips might feel the summer's thirst;
    Holding himself for all devotion paid
    By that clear laughter of the little maid.

    Dwelling, alas! in that fond Paradise
      Where no to-morrow quivers in suspense,--
    Where scarce the changes of the sky suffice
      To break the soft forgetfulness of sense,--
    Where dreams become realities; and where
    I willingly would leave him--did I dare.

    Yet for a little space it still endured,
      Until, upon a day when least of all
    The softened Cyclops, by his hopes assured,
      Dreamed the inevitable blow could fall,
    Came the stern moment that should all destroy,
    Bringing a pert young cockerel of a Boy.

    Middy, I think,--he'd "_Acis_" on his box:--
      A black-eyed, sun-burnt, mischief-making imp,
    Pet of the mess,--a Puck with curling locks,
      Who straightway travestied the Cyclops' limp,
    And marveled how his cousin so could care
    For such a "one-eyed, melancholy Bear."

    Thus there was war at once; not overt yet,
      For still the Child, unwilling, would not break
    The new acquaintanceship, nor quite forget
      The pleasant past; while, for his treasure's sake,
    The boding smith with clumsy efforts tried
    To win the laughing scorner to his side.

    There are some sights pathetic; none I know
      More sad than this: to watch a slow-wrought mind
    Humbling itself, for love, to come and go
      Before some petty tyrant of its kind;
    Saddest, ah!--saddest far,--when it can do
    Naught to advance the end it has in view.

    This was at least the Cyclops' case, until,
      Whether the boy beguiled the Child away,
    Or whether that limp Matron on the Hill
      Woke from her novel-reading trance, one day
    He waited long and wearily in vain,--
    But, from that hour, they never came again.

    Yet still he waited, hoping--wondering if
      They still might come, or dreaming that he heard
    The sound of far-off voices on the cliff,
      Or starting strangely when the she-goat stirred;
    But nothing broke the silence of the shore,
    And, from that hour, the Child returned no more.

    Therefore our Cyclops sorrowed,--not as one
      Who can command the gamut of despair;
    But as a man who feels his days are done,
      So dead they seem,--so desolately bare;
    For, though he'd lived a hermit, 'twas but only
    Now he discovered that his life was lonely.

    The very sea seemed altered, and the shore;
      The very voices of the air were dumb;
    Time was an emptiness that o'er and o'er
      Ticked with the dull pulsation "Will she come?"
    So that he sat "consuming in a dream,"
    Much like his old forerunner, Polypheme.

    Until there came the question, "Is she gone?"
      With such sad sick persistence that at last,
    Urged by the hungry thought which drove him on,
       Along the steep declivity he passed,
    And by the summit panting stood, and still,
    Just as the horn was sounding on the hill.

    Then, in a dream, beside the "Dragon" door,
      The smith saw travellers standing in the sun;
    Then came the horn again, and three or four
      Looked idly at him from the roof, but One,--
    A Child within,--suffused with sudden shame,
    Thrust forth a hand, and called to him by name.

    Thus the coach vanished from his sight, but he
      Limped back with bitter pleasure in his pain;
    He was not all forgotten--could it be?
      And yet the knowledge made the memory vain;
    And then--he felt a pressure in his throat,
    So, for that night, forgot to milk his goat.

    What then might come of silent misery,
      What new resolvings then might intervene,
    I know not. Only, with the morning sky,
      The goat stood tethered on the "Dragon" green,
    And those who, wondering, questioned thereupon,
    Found the hut empty,--for the man was gone.



A STORY FROM A DICTIONARY.

    "Sic visum Veneri: cui placet impares
    Formas atque animos sub juga aënea
      Saevo mittere cum joco."
                                --Hor. i. 33.


    "Love mocks us all"--as Horace said of old:
      From sheer perversity, that arch-offender
    Still yokes unequally the hot and cold,
      The short and tall, the hardened and the tender;
    He bids a Socrates espouse a scold,
      And makes a Hercules forget his gender:--
    _Sic visum Veneri!_ Lest samples fail,
    I add a fresh one from the page of BAYLE.

    It was in Athens that the thing occurred,
      In the last days of Alexander's rule,
    While yet in Grove or Portico was heard
      The studious murmur of its learned school;--
    Nay, 'tis one favoured of Minerva's bird
      Who plays therein the hero (or the fool)
    With a Megarian, who must then have been
    A maid, and beautiful, and just eighteen.

    I shan't describe her. Beauty is the same
      In Anno Domini as erst B.C.;
    The type is still that witching One who came,
      Between the furrows, from the bitter sea;
    'Tis but to shift accessories and frame,
    And this our heroine in a trice would be,
      Save that she wore a _peplum_ and a _chiton_,
    Like any modern on the beach at Brighton.

    Stay, I forget! Of course the sequel shows
      She had some qualities of disposition,
    To which, in general, her sex are foes,--
      As strange proclivities to erudition,
    And lore unfeminine, reserved for those
      Who now-a-days descant on "Woman's Mission,"
    Or tread instead that "primrose path" to knowledge,
    That milder Academe--the Girton College.

    The truth is, she admired ... a learned man.
      There were no curates in that sunny Greece,
    For whom the mind emotional could plan
      Fine-art habiliments in gold and fleece;
    (This was ere chasuble or cope began
      To shake the centres of domestic peace;)
    So that "admiring," such as maids give way to,
    Turned to the ranks of Zeno and of Plato.

    The "object" here was mildly prepossessing,
      At least, regarded in a woman's sense;
    His _forte_, it seems, lay chiefly in expressing
      Disputed fact in Attic eloquence;
    His ways were primitive; and as to dressing,
      His toilet was a negative pretence;
    He kept, besides, the _régime_ of the Stoic;--
    In short, was not, by any means, "heroic."

    _Sic visum Veneri!_--The thing is clear.
      Her friends were furious, her lovers nettled;
    'Twas much as though the Lady Vere de Vere
      On some hedge-schoolmaster her heart had settled.
    Unheard! Intolerable!--a lumbering steer
      To plod the upland with a mare high-mettled!--
    They would, no doubt, with far more pleasure hand her
    To curled Euphorion or Anaximander.

    And so they used due discipline, of course,
      To lead to reason this most erring daughter,
    Proceeding even to extremes of force,--
      Confinement (solitary), and bread and water;
    Then, having lectured her till they were hoarse,
      Finding that this to no submission brought her,
    At last, (unwisely[1]) to the man they sent,
    That he might combat her by argument.

    Being, they fancied, but a bloodless thing;
      Or else too well forewarned of that commotion
    Which poets feign inseparable from Spring
      To suffer danger from a school-girl notion;
    Also they hoped that she might find her king,
      On close inspection, clumsy and Boeotian:--
    This was acute enough, and yet, between us,
    I think they thought too little about Venus.

    Something, I know, of this sort is related
      In Garrick's life. However, the man came,
    And taking first his mission's end as stated,
      Began at once her sentiments to tame,
    Working discreetly to the point debated
      By steps rhetorical I spare to name;
    In other words,--he broke the matter gently.
    Meanwhile, the lady looked at him intently,

    Wistfully, sadly,--and it put him out,
      Although he went on steadily, but faster.
    There were some maladies he'd read about
      Which seemed, at first, most difficult to master;
    They looked intractable at times, no doubt,
      But all they needed was a little plaster;
    This was a thing physicians long had pondered,
    Considered, weighed ... and then ... and then he wandered.

    ('Tis so embarrassing to have before you
      A silent auditor, with candid eyes;
    With lips that speak no sentence to restore you,
      And aspect, generally, of pained surprise;
    Then, if we add that all these things adore you,
      'Tis really difficult to syllogise:--
    Of course it mattered not to him a feather,
    But still he wished ... they'd not been left together.)

    "Of one," he said, continuing, "of these
      The young especially should be suspicious;
    Seeing no ailment in Hippocrates
      Could be at once so tedious and capricious;
    No seeming apple of Hesperides
      More fatal, deadlier, and more delicious--
    Pernicious,--he should say,--for all its seeming...."
    It seemed to him he simply was blaspheming.

    If she had only turned askance, or uttered
      Word in reply, or trifled with her brooch,
    Or sighed, or cried, grown petulant, or fluttered,
      He might (in metaphor) have "called his coach";
    Yet still, while patiently he hemmed and stuttered,
      She wore her look of wondering reproach;
    (And those who read the "Shakespeare of Romances"
    Know of what stuff a girl's "dynamic glance" is.)

    "But there was still a cure, the wise insisted,
      In Love,--or rather, in Philosophy.
    Philosophy--no, Love--at best existed
      But as an ill for that to remedy:
    There was no knot so intricately twisted,
      There was no riddle but at last should be
    By Love--he meant Philosophy--resolved...."
    The truth is, he was getting quite involved.

    O sovran Love! how far thy power surpasses
      Aught that is taught of Logic or the Schools!
    Here was a man, "far seen" in all the classes,
      Strengthened of precept, fortified of rules,
    Mute as the least articulate of asses;
      Nay, at an age when every passion cools,
    Conscious of nothing but a sudden yearning
    Stronger by far than any force of learning!

    Therefore he changed his tone, flung down his wallet,
      Described his lot, how pitiable and poor;
    The hut of mud,--the miserable pallet,--
      The alms solicited from door to door;
    The scanty fare of bitter bread and sallet,--
      Could she this shame,--this poverty endure?
    I scarcely think he knew what he was doing,
    But that last line had quite a touch of wooing.

    And so she answered him,--those early Greeks
      Took little care to keep concealment preying
    At any length upon their damask cheeks,--
      She answered him by very simply saying,
    She could and would:--and said it as one speaks
      Who takes no course without much careful weighing....
    Was this, perchance, the answer that he hoped?
    It might, or might not be. But they eloped.

    Sought the free pine-wood and the larger air,--
      The leafy sanctuaries, remote and inner,
    Where the great heart of nature, beating bare,
      Receives benignantly both saint and sinner;--
    Leaving propriety to gasp and stare,
      And shake its head, like Burleigh, after dinner,
    From pure incompetence to mar or mend them:
    They fled and wed;--though, mind, I don't defend them.

    I don't defend them. 'Twas a serious act,
      No doubt too much determined by the senses;
    (Alas! when these affinities attract,
      We lose the future in the present tenses!)
    Besides, the least establishment's a fact
      Involving nice adjustment of expenses;
    Moreover, too, reflection should reveal
    That not remote contingent--_la famille_.

    Yet these, maybe, were happy in their lot.
      Milton has said (and surely Milton knows)
    That after all, philosophy is "not,--
      _Not_ harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose;"
    And some, no doubt, for Love's sake have forgot
      Much that is needful in this world of prose:--
    Perchance 'twas so with these. But who shall say?
    Time has long since swept them and theirs away.

[1] "Unwisely," surely. But 'tis well to mention
     That this particular is _not_ invention.



THE WATER-CURE.

A TALE: IN THE MANNER OF PRIOR.

    "--_portentaque Thessala rides?_"
                                   --Hor.
    "--_Thessalian portents do you flout?_"
                                     *   *


    CARDENIO'S fortunes ne'er miscarried
    Until the day CARDENIO married.
    What then? the Nymph no doubt was young?
    She was: but yet--she had a tongue!
    Most women have, you seem to say.
    I grant it--in a different way.

      'Twas not that organ half-divine,
    With which, Dear Friend, your spouse or mine,
    What time we seek our nightly pillows,
    Rebukes our easy peccadilloes:
    'Twas not so tuneful, so composing;
    'Twas louder and less often dozing;
    At _Ombre_, _Basset_, _Loo_, _Quadrille_,
    You heard it resonant and shrill;
    You heard it rising, rising yet
    Beyond SELINDA'S parroquet;
    You heard it rival and outdo
    The chair-men and the link-boy too;
    In short, wherever lungs perform,
    Like MARLBOROUGH, it rode the storm.

      So uncontrolled it came to be,
    CARDENIO feared his _chère amie_
    (Like ECHO by _Cephissus_ shore)
    Would turn to voice and nothing more.

      That ('tis conceded) must be cured
    Which can't by practice be endured.
    CARDENIO, though he loved the maid,
    Grew daily more and more afraid;
    And since advice could not prevail
    (Reproof but seemed to fan the gale),
    A prudent man, he cast about
    To find some fitting nostrum out.
    What need to say that priceless drug
    Had not in any mine been dug?
    What need to say no skilful leech
    Could check that plethora of speech?
    Suffice it, that one lucky day
    CARDENIO tried--another way.

      A Hermit (there were hermits then;
    The most accessible of men!)
    Near _Vauxhall's_ sacred shade resided;
    In him, at length, our friend confided.
    (Simples, for show, he used to sell;
    But cast _Nativities_ as well.)
    Consulted, he looked wondrous wise;
    Then undertook the enterprise.

      What that might be, the Muse must spare:
    To tell the truth, she was not there.
    She scorns to patch what she ignores
    With _Similes_ and _Metaphors_;
    And so, in short, to change the scene,
    She slips a fortnight in between.

      Behold our pair then (quite by chance!)
    In _Vauxhall's_ garden of romance,--
    That paradise of nymphs and grottoes,
    Of fans, and fiddles, and ridottoes!
    What wonder if, the lamps reviewed,
    The song encored, the maze pursued,
    No further feat could seem more pat
    Than seek the Hermit after that?
    Who then more keen her fate to see
    Than this, the new LEUCONOË,
    On fire to learn the lore forbidden
    In Babylonian numbers hidden?
    Forthwith they took the darkling road
    To ALBUMAZAR his abode.

      Arriving, they beheld the sage
    Intent on hieroglyphic page,
    In high _Armenian_ cap arrayed
    And girt with engines of his trade;
    (As _Skeletons_, and _Spheres_, and _Cubes_;
    As _Amulets_ and _Optic Tubes_;)
    With dusky depths behind revealing
    Strange shapes that dangled from the ceiling,
    While more to palsy the beholder
    A Black Cat sat upon his shoulder.

      The Hermit eyed the Lady o'er
    As one whose face he'd seen before;
    And then, with agitated looks,
    He fell to fumbling at his books.

      CARDENIO felt his spouse was frightened,
    Her grasp upon his arm had tightened;
    Judge then her horror and her dread
    When "Vox Stellarum" shook his head;
    Then darkly spake in phrase forlorn
    Of _Taurus_ and of _Capricorn_;
    Of stars averse, and stars ascendant,
    And stars entirely independent;
    In fact, it seemed that all the Heavens
    Were set at sixes and at sevens,
    Portending, in her case, some fate
    Too fearful to prognosticate.

      Meanwhile the Dame was well-nigh dead.
    "But is there naught," CARDENIO said,
    "No sign or token, Sage, to show
    From whence, or what, this dismal woe?"

      The Sage, with circle and with plane,
    Betook him to his charts again.
    "It vaguely seems to threaten Speech:
    No more (he said) the signs can teach."

      But still CARDENIO tried once more:
    "Is there no potion in your store,
    No charm by _Chaldee_ mage concerted
    By which this doom can be averted?"

      The Sage, with motion doubly mystic,
    Resumed his juggling cabalistic.
    The aspects here again were various;
    But seemed to indicate _Aquarius_.
    Thereat portentously he frowned;
    Then frowned again, then smiled:--'twas found!
    But 'twas too simple to be tried.
    "What is it, then?" at once they cried.

      "Whene'er by chance you feel incited
    To speak at length, or uninvited;
    Whene'er you feel your tones grow shrill
    (At times, we know, the softest will!),
    This word oracular, my daughter,
    Bids you to fill your mouth with water:
    Further, to hold it firm and fast,
    Until the danger be o'erpast."

      The Dame, by this in part relieved
    The prospect of escape perceived,
    Rebelled a little at the diet.
    CARDENIO said discreetly, "Try it,
    Try it, my Own. You have no choice,
    What if you lose your charming voice!"
    She tried, it seems. And whether then
    Some god stepped in, benign to men;
    Or Modesty, too long outlawed,
    Contrived to aid the pious fraud,
    I know not:--but from that same day
    She talked in quite a different way.



THE NOBLE PATRON.

    "_Ce sont les amours
    Qui font les beaux jours._"


    What is a _Patron_? JOHNSON knew,
    And well that lifelike portrait drew.
    _He is a Patron who looks down
    With careless eye on men who drown;
    But if they chance to reach the land,
    Encumbers them with helping hand._
    Ah! happy we whose artless rhyme
    No longer now must creep to climb!
    Ah! happy we of later days,
    Who 'scape those _Caudine Forks_ of praise!
    Whose votive page may dare commend
    A Brother, or a private Friend!
    Not so it fared with scribbling man,
    As POPE says, "under my Queen ANNE."

    DICK DOVECOT (this was long, be sure,
    Ere he attained his _Wiltshire_ cure,
    And settled down, like humbler folks,
    To cowslip wine and country jokes)
    Once hoped--as who will not?--for fame,
    And dreamed of honours and a Name.

    A fresh-cheek'd lad, he came to Town
    In homespun hose and russet brown,
    But armed at point with every view
    Enforced in RAPIN and BOSSU.
    Besides a stout portfolio ripe
    For LINTOT'S or for TONSON'S type.
    He went the rounds, saw all the sights,
    Dropped in at _Wills_ and _Tom's_ o' nights;
    Heard BURNET preach, saw BICKNELL dance,
    E'en gained from ADDISON a glance;
    Nay, once, to make his bliss complete,
    He supp'd with STEELE in _Bury Street_.
    ('Tis true the feast was half by stealth:
    PRUE was in bed: they drank her health.)

    By this his purse was running low,
    And he must either print or go.
    He went to TONSON. TONSON said--
    Well! TONSON hummed and shook his head;
    Deplor'd the times; abus'd the Town;
    But thought--at length--it might go down;
    With aid, of course, of _Elzevir_,
    And _Prologue_ to a Prince, or Peer.
    Dick winced at this, for adulation
    Was scarce that candid youth's vocation:
    Nor did he deem his rustic lays
    Required a _Coronet_ for _Bays_.

    But there--the choice was that, or none.
    The Lord was found; the thing was done.
    With HORACE and with TOOKE'S _Pantheon_,
    He penn'd his tributary pæan;
    Despatched his gift, nor waited long
    The meed of his ingenuous song.

    Ere two days pass'd, a hackney chair
    Brought a pert spark with languid air,
    A lace cravat about his throat,--
    Brocaded gown,--en _papillotes_.
    ("My Lord himself," quoth DICK, "at least!"
    But no, 'twas that "inferior priest,"
    His Lordship's man.) He held a card:
    My Lord (it said) would see the Bard.

    The day arrived; DICK went, was shown
    Into an anteroom, alone--
    A great gilt room with mirrored door,
    Festoons of flowers and marble floor,
    Whose lavish splendours made him look
    More shabby than a sheepskin book.
    (His own book--by the way--he spied
    On a far table, toss'd aside.)

    DICK waited, as they only wait
    Who haunt the chambers of the Great.
    He heard the chairmen come and go;
    He heard the Porter yawn below;
    Beyond him, in the Grand Saloon,
    He heard the silver stroke of noon,
    And thought how at this very time
    The old church clock at home would chime.
    Dear heart, how plain he saw it all!
    The lich-gate and the crumbling wall,
    The stream, the pathway to the wood,
    The bridge where they so oft had stood.
    Then, in a trice, both church and clock
    Vanish'd before ... a shuttlecock.

    A shuttlecock! And following slow
    The zigzag of its to-and-fro,
    And so intent upon its flight
    She neither look'd to left nor right,
    Came a tall girl with floating hair,
    Light as a wood-nymph, and as fair.

    _O Dea certé!_--thought poor Dick,
    And thereupon his memories quick
    Ran back to her who flung the ball
    In HOMER'S page, and next to all
    The dancing maids that bards have sung;
    Lastly to One at home, as young,
    As fresh, as light of foot, and glad,
    Who, when he went, had seem'd so sad.
    _O Dea certé!_ (Still, he stirred
    Nor hand nor foot, nor uttered word.)

    Meanwhile the shuttlecock in air
    Went darting gaily here and there;
    Now crossed a mirror's face, and next
    Shot up amidst the sprawl'd, perplex'd
    Olympus overhead. At last,
    Jerk'd sidelong by a random cast,
    The striker miss'd it, and it fell
    Full on the book DICK knew so well.

    (If he had thought to speak or bow,
    Judge if he moved a muscle now!)

    The player paused, bent down to look,
    Lifted a cover of the book;
    Pished at the Prologue, passed it o'er,
    Went forward for a page or more
    (_Asem and Asa_: DICK could trace
    Almost the passage and the place);
    Then for a moment with bent head
    Rested upon her hand and read.

    (DICK thought once more how cousin CIS
    Used when she read to lean like this;--
    "Used when she _read_,"--why, CIS could _say_
    All he had written,--any day!)

    Sudden was heard a hurrying tread;
    The great doors creaked. The reader fled.
    Forth came a crowd with muffled laughter,
    A waft of Bergamot, and after,
    His Chaplain smirking at his side,
    My Lord himself in all his pride--
    A portly shape in stars and lace,
    With wine-bag cheeks and vacant face.

    DICK bowed and smiled. The Great Man stared,
    With look half puzzled and half scared;
    Then seemed to recollect, turned round,
    And mumbled some imperfect sound:
    A moment more, his coach of state
    Dipped on its springs beneath his weight;
    And DICK, who followed at his heels,
    Heard but the din of rolling wheels.

    Away, too, all his dreams had rolled;
    And yet they left him half consoled:
    Fame, after all, he thought might wait.
    Would CIS? Suppose he were too late!
    Ten months he'd lost in Town--an age!

    Next day he took the _Wiltshire_ Stage.



VERS DE SOCIETE.



INCOGNITA.


    Just for a space that I met her--
      Just for a day in the train!
    It began when she feared it would wet her,
      That tiniest spurtle of rain:
    So we tucked a great rug in the sashes,
      And carefully padded the pane;
    And I sorrow in sackcloth and ashes,
      Longing to do it again!

    Then it grew when she begged me to reach her
      A dressing-case under the seat;
    She was "really so tiny a creature,
      That she needed a stool for her feet!"
    Which was promptly arranged to her order
      With a care that was even minute,
    And a glimpse--of an open-work border,
      And a glance--of the fairyest boot.

    Then it drooped, and revived at some hovels--
      "Were they houses for men or for pigs?"
    Then it shifted to muscular novels,
      With a little digression on prigs:
    She thought "Wives and Daughters" "so jolly;"
      "Had I read it?" She knew when I had,
    Like the rest, I should dote upon "Molly;"
      And "poor Mrs. Gaskell--how sad!"

    "Like Browning?" "But so-so." His proof lay
      Too deep for her frivolous mood.
    That preferred your mere metrical _soufflé_
      To the stronger poetical food;
    Yet at times he was good--"as a tonic:"
      Was Tennyson writing just now?
    And was this new poet Byronic,
      And clever, and naughty, or how?

    Then we trifled with concerts and croquêt,
      Then she daintily dusted her face;
    Then she sprinkled herself with "Ess Bouquet,"
      Fished out from the foregoing case;
    And we chattered of Gassier and Grisi,
      And voted Aunt Sally a bore;
    Discussed if the tight rope were easy,
      Or Chopin much harder than Spohr.

    And oh! the odd things that she quoted,
      With the prettiest possible look,
    And the price of two buns that she noted
      In the prettiest possible book;
    While her talk like a musical rillet
      Flashed on with the hours that flew,
    And the carriage, her smile seemed to fill it
      With just enough summer--for Two.

    Till at last in her corner, peeping
      From a nest of rugs and of furs,
    With the white shut eyelids sleeping
      On those dangerous looks of hers,
    She seemed like a snow-drop breaking,
      Not wholly alive nor dead,
    But with one blind impulse making
      To the sounds of the spring overhead;

    And I watched in the lamplight's swerving
      The shade of the down-dropt lid,
    And the lip-line's delicate curving,
      Where a slumbering smile lay hid,
    Till I longed that, rather than sever,
      The train should shriek into space,
    And carry us onward--for ever,--
      Me and that beautiful face.

    But she suddenly woke in a fidget,
      With fears she was "nearly at home,"
    And talk of a certain Aunt Bridget,
      Whom I mentally wished--well, at Rome;
    Got out at the very next station,
      Looking back with a merry _Bon Soir_,
    Adding, too, to my utter vexation,
      A surplus, unkind _Au Revoir_.

    So left me to muse on her graces,
      To dose and to muse, till I dreamed
    That we sailed through the sunniest places
      In a glorified galley, it seemed;
    But the cabin was made of a carriage,
      And the ocean was Eau-de-Cologne,
    And we split on a rock labelled MARRIAGE,
      And I woke,--as cold as a stone.

    And that's how I lost her--a jewel,
      _Incognita_--one in a crowd,
    Nor prudent enough to be cruel,
      Nor worldly enough to be proud.
    It was just a shut lid and its lashes,
      Just a few hours in a train,
    And I sorrow in sackcloth and ashes
      Longing to see her again.



DORA VERSUS ROSE.

    "_The Case is proceeding._"


    From the tragic-est novels at Mudie's--
      At least, on a practical plan--
    To the tales of mere Hodges and Judys,
      One love is enough for a man.
    But no case that I ever yet met is
      Like mine: I am equally fond
    Of Rose, who a charming brunette is,
                      And Dora, a blonde.

    Each rivals the other in powers--
      Each waltzes, each warbles, each paints--
    Miss Rose, chiefly tumble-down towers;
      Miss Do., perpendicular saints.
    In short, to distinguish is folly;
      'Twixt the pair I am come to the pass
    Of Macheath, between Lucy and Polly,--
                     Or Buridan's ass.

    If it happens that Rosa I've singled
      For a soft celebration in rhyme,
    Then the ringlets of Dora get mingled
      Somehow with the tune and the time;
    Or I painfully pen me a sonnet
      To an eyebrow intended for Do.'s,
    And behold I am writing upon it
                     The legend "To Rose."

    Or I try to draw Dora (my blotter
      Is all overscrawled with her head),
    If I fancy at last that I've got her,
      It turns to her rival instead;
    Or I find myself placidly adding
      To the rapturous tresses of Rose
    Miss Dora's bud-mouth, and her madding,
                     Ineffable nose.

    Was there ever so sad a dilemma?
      For Rose I would perish (_pro tem._);
    For Dora I'd willingly stem a--
      (Whatever might offer to stem);
    But to make the invidious election,--
      To declare that on either one's side
    I've a scruple,--a grain, more affection,
                     I _cannot_ decide.

    And, as either so hopelessly nice is,
      My sole and my final resource
    Is to wait some indefinite crisis,--
      Some feat of molecular force,
    To solve me this riddle conducive
      By no means to peace or repose,
    Since the issue can scarce be inclusive
                     Of Dora _and_ Rose.

    (_Afterthought._)

    But, perhaps, if a third (say a Norah),
      Not quite so delightful as Rose,--
    Not wholly so charming as Dora,--
      Should appear, is it wrong to suppose,--
    As the claims of the others are equal,--
      And flight--in the main--is the best,--
    That I might ... But no matter,--the sequel
                     Is easily guessed.



AD ROSAM.

    "_Mitte sectari ROSA quo locorum
    Sera moretur._"
                          --Hor. i. 38.


    I had a vacant dwelling--
      Where situated, I,
    As naught can serve the telling,
      Decline to specify;--
    Enough 'twas neither haunted,
      Entailed, nor out of date;
    I put up "Tenant Wanted,"
      And left the rest to Fate.

    Then, Rose, you passed the window,--
      I see you passing yet,--
    Ah, what could I within do,
      When, Rose, our glances met!
    You snared me, Rose, with ribbons,
      Your rose-mouth made me thrall,
    Brief--briefer far than Gibbon's,
      Was my "Decline and Fall."

    I heard the summons spoken
      That all hear--king and clown:
    You smiled--the ice was broken;
      You stopped--the bill was down.
    How blind we are! It never
      Occurred to me to seek
    If you had come for ever,
      Or only for a week.

    The words your voice neglected,
      Seemed written in your eyes;
    The thought your heart protected,
      Your cheek told, missal-wise;--
    I read the rubric plainly
      As any Expert could;
    In short, we dreamed,--insanely,
      As only lovers should.

    I broke the tall Oenone,
      That then my chambers graced,
    Because she seemed "too bony,"
      To suit your purist taste;
    And you, without vexation,
      May certainly confess
    Some graceful approbation,
     Designed _à mon adresse_.

    You liked me then, carina,--
      You liked me then, I think;
    For your sake gall had been a
      Mere tonic-cup to drink;
    For your sake, bonds were trivial,
      The rack, a _tour-de-force_;
    And banishment, convivial,--
      You coming too, of course.

    Then, Rose, a word in jest meant
      Would throw you in a state
    That no well-timed investment
      Could quite alleviate;
    Beyond a Paris trousseau
      You prized my smile, I know,
    I, yours--ah, more than Rousseau
      The lip of d'Houdetot.

    Then, Rose,--But why pursue it?
      When Fate begins to frown
    Best write the final "_fuit_,"
      And gulp the physic down.
    And yet,--and yet, that only,
      The song should end with this:--
    You left me,--left me lonely,
      _Rosa mutabilis_!

    Left me, with Time for Mentor,
      (A dreary _tête-à-tête_!)
    To pen my "Last Lament," or
      Extemporize to Fate,
    In blankest verse disclosing
      My bitterness of mind,--
    Which is, I learn, composing
      In cases of the kind.

    No, Rose. Though you refuse me,
      Culture the pang prevents;
    "I am not made"--excuse me--
      "Of so slight elements;"
    I leave to common lovers
      The hemlock or the hood;
    My rarer soul recovers
      In dreams of public good.

    The Roses of this nation--
      Or so I understand
    From careful computation--
      Exceed the gross demand;
    And, therefore, in civility
      To maids that can't be matched,
    No man of sensibility
      Should linger unattached.

    So, without further fashion--
      A modern Curtius,
    Plunging, from pure compassion,
      To aid the overplus,--
    I sit down, sad--not daunted,
      And, in my weeds, begin
    A new card--"Tenant Wanted;
      Particulars within."



OUTWARD BOUND.

(HORACE, III. 7.)

    "_Quid fles, Asterie, quem tibi candidi
    Primo restituent vere Favonii--
    Gygen?_"


    Come, Laura, patience. Time and Spring
    Your absent Arthur back shall bring,
    Enriched with many an Indian thing
          Once more to woo you;
    Him neither wind nor wave can check,
    Who, cramped beneath the "Simla's" deck,
    Still constant, though with stiffened neck,
          Makes verses to you.

    Would it were wave and wind alone!
    The terrors of the torrid zone,
    The indiscriminate cyclone,
          A man might parry;
    But only faith, or "triple brass,"
    Can help the "outward-bound" to pass
    Safe through that eastward-faring class
          Who sail to marry.

    For him fond mothers, stout and fair,
    Ascend the tortuous cabin stair
    Only to hold around his chair
          Insidious sessions;
    For him the eyes of daughters droop
    Across the plate of handed soup,
    Suggesting seats upon the poop,
          And soft confessions.

    Nor are these all his pains, nor most.
    Romancing captains cease to boast--
    Loud majors leave their whist--to roast
          The youthful griffin;
    All, all with pleased persistence show
    His fate,--"remote, unfriended, slow,"--
    His "melancholy" bungalow,--
          His lonely tiffin.

    In vain. Let doubts assail the weak;
    Unmoved and calm as "Adam's Peak,"
    Your "blameless Arthur" hears them speak
          Of woes that wait him;
    Naught can subdue his soul secure;
    "Arthur will come again," be sure,
    Though matron shrewd and maid mature
          Conspire to mate him.

    But, Laura, on your side, forbear
    To greet with too impressed an air
    A certain youth with chestnut hair,--
          A youth unstable;
    Albeit none more skilled can guide
    The frail canoe on Thamis tide,
    Or, trimmer-footed, lighter glide
          Through "Guards" or "Mabel."

    Be warned in time. Without a trace
    Of acquiescence on your face,
    Hear, in the waltz's breathing-space,
          His airy patter;
    Avoid the confidential nook;
    If, when you sing, you find his look
    Grow tender, close your music-book,
          And end the matter.



IN THE ROYAL ACADEMY.

    HUGH (_on furlough_).
    HELEN (_his cousin_).


    HELEN.

    They have not come! And ten is past,--
    Unless, by chance, my watch is fast;
    --Aunt Mabel surely told us "ten."

    HUGH.

    I doubt if she can do it, then.
    In fact, their train....

    HELEN.

                              That is,--you knew.
    How could you be so treacherous, Hugh?

    HUGH.

    Nay;--it is scarcely mine, the crime,
    One can't account for railway-time!
    Where shall we sit? Not here, I vote;--
    At least, there's nothing here of note.

    HELEN.

    Then _here_ we'll stay, please. Once for all,
    I bar all artists,--great and small!
    From now until we go in June
    I shall hear nothing but this tune:--
    Whether I like Long's "Vashti," or
    Like Leslie's "Naughty Kitty" more;
    With all that critics, right or wrong,
    Have said of Leslie and of Long....
    No. If you value my esteem,
    I beg you'll take another theme;
    Paint me some pictures, if you will,
    But spare me these, for good and ill....

    HUGH.

    "Paint you some pictures!" Come, that's kind!
    You know I'm nearly colour-blind.

    HELEN.

    Paint then, in words. You did before;
    Scenes at--where was it? Dustypoor?
    You know....

    HUGH (_with an inspiration_).

                  I'll try.

    HELEN.

                            But mind they're pretty
    Not "hog hunts." ...

    HUGH.

                        You shall be Committee,
    And say if they are "out" or "in."

    HELEN.

    I shall reject them all. Begin.

    HUGH.

    Here is the first. An antique Hall
    (Like Chanticlere) with panelled wall.
    A boy, or rather lad. A girl,
    Laughing with all her rows of pearl
    Before a portrait in a ruff.
    He meanwhile watches....

    HELEN.

                              That's enough,
    It wants "_verve_," "_brio_," "breadth," "design," ...
    Besides, it's English. I decline.

    HUGH.

    This is the next. 'Tis finer far:
    A foaming torrent (say Braemar).
    A pony, grazing by a boulder,
    Then the same pair, a little older,
    Left by some lucky chance together.
    He begs her for a sprig of heather....

    HELEN.

    --"Which she accords with smile seraphic."
    I know it,--it was in the "Graphic."
    Declined.

    HUGH.

                Once more, and I forego
    All hopes of hanging, high or low:
    Behold the hero of the scene,
    In bungalow and palankeen....

    HELEN.

    What!--all at once! But that's absurd;--
    Unless he's Sir Boyle Roche's bird!

    HUGH.

    Permit me--'Tis a Panorama,
    In which the person of the drama,
    Mid orientals dusk and tawny,
    Mid warriors drinking brandy pawnee,
    Mid scorpions, dowagers, and griffins,
    In morning rides, at noon-day tiffins,
    In every kind of place and weather,
    Is solaced ... by a sprig of heather.

    (_More seriously._)

    He puts that faded scrap before
    The "Rajah," or the "Koh-i-noor"....
    He would not barter it for all
    Benares, or the Taj-Mahal....
    It guides,--directs his every act,
    And word, and thought--In short--in fact--
    I mean ...

    (_Opening his locket._)

                Look, Helen, that's the heather!
    (Too late! Here come both Aunts together.)

    HELEN.

    What heather, Sir?

    (_After a pause._)

                        And why ... "too late?"
    --Aunt Dora, how you've made us wait!
    Don't you agree that it's a pity
    Portraits are hung by the Committee?



THE LAST DESPATCH.


    Hurrah! the Season's past at last;
        At length we've "done" our pleasure.
    Dear "Pater," if you _only_ knew
    How much I've _longed_ for home and you,--
        Our own green lawn and leisure!

    And then the pets! One half forgets
        The dear dumb friends--in Babel.
    I hope my special fish is fed;--
    I long to see poor Nigra's head
        Pushed at me from the stable!

    I long to see the cob and "Rob,"--
        Old Bevis and the Collie;
    And _won't_ we read in "Traveller's Rest"!
    Home readings after all are best;--
        None else seem half so "jolly!"

    One misses your dear kindly store
        Of fancies quaint and funny;
    One misses, too, your kind _bon-mot_;--
    The Mayfair wit I mostly know
        Has more of gall than honey!

    How tired one grows of "calls and balls!"
        This "_toujours perdrix_" wearies;
    I'm longing, quite, for "Notes on Knox";
    (_Apropos_, I've the loveliest box
        For holding _Notes and Queries_!)

    A change of place would suit my case.
        You'll take me?--on probation?
    As "Lady-help," then, let it be;
    I feel (as Lavender shall see),
        That Jams are _my_ vocation!

    How's Lavender? My love to her.
        Does Briggs still flirt with Flowers?--
    Has Hawthorn stubbed the common clear?--
    You'll let me give _some_ picnics, Dear,
        And ask the Vanes and Towers?

    I met Belle Vane. "HE'S" still in Spain!
        Sir John won't let them marry.
    Aunt drove the boys to Brompton Rink;
    And Charley,--changing Charley,--think,
        Is now _au mieux_ with Carry!

    And NO. You know what "_No_" I mean--
        There's no one yet at present:
    The Benedick I have in view
    Must be a something wholly new,--
        One's father's _far_ too pleasant.

    So hey, I say, for home and you!
        Good-by to Piccadilly;
    Balls, beaux, and Bolton-row, adieu!
    Expect me, Dear, at half-past two;
        Till then,--your Own Fond--MILLY.



"PREMIERS AMOURS."

    _Old Loves and old dreams,--_
      _"Requiescant in pace."_
    _How strange now it seems,--_
    _"Old" Loves and "old" dreams!_
    _Yet we once wrote you reams
      _Maude, Alice, and Gracie!_
    _Old Loves and old dreams,--_
      _"Requiescant in pace."_


    When I called at the "Hollies" to-day,
      In the room with the cedar-wood presses,
    Aunt Deb. was just folding away
      What she calls her "memorial dresses."

    She'd the frock that she wore at fifteen,--
      Short-waisted, of course--my abhorrence;
    She'd "the loveliest"--something in "een"
      That she wears in her portrait by Lawrence;

    She'd the "jelick" she used--"as a Greek," (!)
      She'd the habit she got her bad fall in;
    She had e'en the blue _moiré antique_
      That she opened Squire Grasshopper's ball in:--

    New and old they were all of them there:--
      Sleek velvet and bombazine stately,--
    She had hung them each over a chair
      To the "_paniers_" she's taken to lately

    (Which she showed me, I think, by mistake).
      And I conned o'er the forms and the fashions,
    Till the faded old shapes seemed to wake
      All the ghosts of my passed-away "passions;"--

    From the days of love's youthfullest dream,
      When the height of my shooting idea
    Was to burn, like a young Polypheme,
      For a somewhat mature Galatea.

    There was Lucy, who "tiffed" with her first,
      And who threw me as soon as her third came;
    There was Norah, whose cut was the worst,
      For she told me to wait till my "berd" came;

    Pale Blanche, who subsisted on salts;
      Blonde Bertha, who doted on Schiller;
    Poor Amy, who taught me to waltz;
      Plain Ann, that I wooed for the "siller;"--

    All danced round my head in a ring,
      Like "The Zephyrs" that somebody painted,
    All shapes of the feminine thing--
      Shy, scornful, seductive, and sainted,--

    To my Wife, in the days she was young....
      "How, Sir," says that lady, disgusted,
    "Do you dare to include ME among
      Your loves that have faded and rusted?"

    "Not at all!"--I benignly retort.
      (I was just the least bit in a temper!)
    "Those, alas! were the fugitive sort,
      But you are my--_eadem semper_!"

    Full stop,--and a Sermon. Yet think,--
      There was surely good ground for a quarrel,--
    She had checked me when just on the brink
      Of--I feel--a remarkable MORAL.



THE SCREEN IN THE LUMBER ROOM.


    Yes, here it is, behind the box,
      That puzzle wrought so neatly--
    That paradise of paradox--
      We once knew so completely;
    You see it? 'Tis the same, I swear,
      Which stood, that chill September,
    Beside your aunt Lavinia's chair
      The year when ... You remember?

    Look, Laura, look! You must recall
      This florid "Fairy's Bower,"
    This wonderful Swiss waterfall,
      And this old "Leaning Tower;"
    And here's the "Maiden of Cashmere,"
      And here is Bewick's "Starling,"
    And here the dandy cuirassier
      You thought was "such a Darling!"

    Your poor dear Aunt! you know her way,
      She used to say this figure
    Reminded her of Count D'Orsay
      "In all his youthful vigour;"
    And here's the "cot beside the hill"
      We chose for habitation,
    The day that ... But I doubt if still
      You'd like the situation!

    Too damp--by far! She little knew,
      Your guileless Aunt Lavinia,
    Those evenings when she slumbered through
      "The Prince of Abyssinia,"
    That there were two beside her chair
      Who both had quite decided
    To see things in a rosier air
      Than Rasselas provided!

    Ah! men wore stocks in Britain's land,
      And maids short waists and tippets,
    When this old-fashioned screen was planned
      From hoarded scraps and snippets;
    But more--far more, I think--to me
      Than those who first designed it,
    Is this--in Eighteen Seventy-Three
      I kissed you first behind it.



DAISY'S VALENTINES.


    All night through Daisy's sleep, it seems,
      Have ceaseless "rat-tats" thundered;
    All night through Daisy's rosy dreams
      Have devious Postmen blundered,
    Delivering letters round her bed,--
    Mysterious missives, sealed with red,
    And franked of course with due Queen's-head,--
      While Daisy lay and wondered.

    But now, when chirping birds begin,
      And Day puts off the Quaker,--
    When Cook renews her morning din,
      And rates the cheerful baker,--
    She dreams her dream no dream at all,
    For, just as pigeons come at call,
    Winged letters flutter down, and fall
      Around her head, and wake her.

    Yes, there they are! With quirk and twist,
      And fraudful arts directed;
    (Save Grandpapa's dear stiff old "fist,"
      Through all disguise detected;)
    But which is his,--her young Lothair's,--
    Who wooed her on the school-room stairs
    With three sweet cakes, and two ripe pears,
      In one neat pile collected?

    'Tis there, be sure. Though truth to speak,
      (If truth may be permitted),
    I doubt that young "gift-bearing Greek"
      Is scarce for fealty fitted;
    For has he not (I grieve to say),
    To two loves more, on this same day,
    In just this same emblazoned way,
      His transient vows transmitted?

    He _may_ be true. Yet, Daisy dear,
      That even youth grows colder
    You'll find is no new thing, I fear;
      And when you're somewhat older,
    You'll read of one Dardanian boy
    Who "wooed with gifts" a maiden coy,--
    Then took the morning train to Troy,
      In spite of all he'd told her.

    But wait. Your time will come. And then,
      Obliging Fates, please send her
    The bravest thing you have in men,
      Sound-hearted, strong, and tender;--
    The kind of man, dear Fates, you know,
    That feels how shyly Daisies grow,
    And what soft things they are, and so
      Will spare to spoil or mend her.



IN TOWN.

    "_The blue fly sung in the pane._"--Tennyson.


    Toiling in Town now is "horrid,"
      (There is that woman again!)--
    June in the zenith is torrid,
      Thought gets dry in the brain.

    There is that woman again:
      "Strawberries! fourpence a pottle!"
    Thought gets dry in the brain;
      Ink gets dry in the bottle.

    "Strawberries! fourpence a pottle!"
      Oh for the green of a lane!--
    Ink gets dry in the bottle;
      "Buzz" goes a fly in the pane!

    Oh for the green of a lane,
      Where one might lie and be lazy!
    "Buzz" goes a fly in the pane;
      Bluebottles drive me crazy!

    Where one might lie and be lazy,
      Careless of Town and all in it!--
    Bluebottles drive me crazy:
      I shall go mad in a minute!

    Careless of Town and all in it,
      With some one to soothe and to still you;--
    I shall go mad in a minute;
      Bluebottle, then I shall kill you!

    With some one to soothe and to still you,
      As only one's feminine kin do,--
    Bluebottle, then I shall kill you:
      There now! I've broken the window!

    As only one's feminine kin do,--
      Some muslin-clad Mabel or May!--
    There now! I've broken the window!
      Bluebottle's off and away!

    Some muslin-clad Mabel or May,
      To dash one with eau de Cologne;--
    Bluebottle's off and away;
      And why should I stay here alone!

    To dash one with eau de Cologne,
      All over one's eminent forehead;--
    And why should I stay here alone!
      Toiling in Town now is "horrid."



A SONNET IN DIALOGUE.


    FRANK (_on the Lawn_).
    Come to the Terrace, May,--the sun is low.

    MAY (_in the House_).
    Thanks, I prefer my Browning here instead.

    FRANK.
    There are two peaches by the strawberry bed.

    MAY.
    They will be riper if we let them grow.

    FRANK.
    Then the Park-aloe is in bloom, you know.

    MAY.
    Also, her Majesty Queen Anne is dead.

    FRANK.
    But surely, May, your pony must be fed.

    MAY.
    And was, and is. I fed him hours ago.
    'Tis useless, Frank, you see I shall not stir.

    FRANK.
    Still, I had something you would like to hear.

    MAY.
    No doubt some new frivolity of men.

    FRANK.
    Nay,--'tis a thing the gentler sex deplores
    Chiefly, I think....

    MAY (_coming to the window_).
                         What is this secret, then?

    FRANK (_mysteriously_).
    There are no eyes more beautiful than yours!



GROWING GRAY.

    "_On a l'âge de son coeur._"--A. d'Houdetot.


    A little more toward the light;--
    Me miserable! Here's one that's white;
          And one that's turning;
    Adieu to song and "salad days;"
    My Muse, let's go at once to Jay's,
          And order mourning.

    We must reform our rhymes, my Dear,--
    Renounce the gay for the severe,--
          Be grave, not witty;
    We have, no more, the right to find
    That Pyrrha's hair is neatly twined,--
          That Chloe's pretty.

    Young Love's for us a farce that's played;
    Light canzonet and serenade
          No more may tempt us;
    Gray hairs but ill accord with dreams;
    From aught but sour didactic themes
          Our years exempt us.

    Indeed! you really fancy so?
    You think for one white streak we grow
          At once satiric?
    A fiddlestick! Each hair's a string
    To which our ancient Muse shall sing
          A younger lyric.

    The heart's still sound. Shall "cakes and ale"
    Grow rare to youth because _we_ rail
          At schoolboy dishes?
    Perish the thought! 'Tis ours to chant
    When neither Time nor Tide can grant
          Belief with wishes.



VARIA.



THE MALTWORM'S MADRIGAL.


    I drink of the Ale of Southwark, I drink of the Ale of Chepe;
    At noon I dream on the settle; at night I cannot sleep;
    For my love, my love it groweth; I waste me all the day;
    And when I see sweet Alison, I know not what to say.

    The sparrow when he spieth his Dear upon the tree,
    He beateth-to his little wing; he chirketh lustily;
    But when I see sweet Alison, the words begin to fail;
    I wot that I shall die of Love--an I die not of Ale.

    Her lips are like the muscadel; her brows are black as ink;
    Her eyes are bright as beryl stones that in the tankard wink;
    But when she sees me coming, she shrilleth out--"Te-Hee!
    Fye on thy ruddy nose, Cousin, what lackest thou of me?"

    "Fye on thy ruddy nose, Cousin! Why be thine eyes so small?
    Why go thy legs tap-lappetty like men that fear to fall?
    Why is thy leathern doublet besmeared with stain and spot?
    Go to. Thou art no man (she saith)--thou art a Pottle-pot!"

    "No man," i'faith. "No man!" she saith. And "Pottle-pot" thereto!
    "Thou sleepest like our dog all day; thou drink'st as fishes do."
    I would that I were Tibb the dog; he wags at her his tail;
    Or would that I were fish, in truth, and all the sea were Ale!

    So I drink of the Ale of Southwark, I drink of the Ale of Chepe;
    All day I dream in the sunlight; I dream and eke I weep,
    But little lore of loving can any flagon teach,
    For when my tongue is looséd most, then most I lose my speech.



AN APRIL PASTORAL.


    _He._ Whither away, fair Neat-herdess?
    _She._ Shepherd, I go to tend my kine.
    _He._ Stay thou, and watch this flock of mine.
    _She._ With thee? Nay, that were idleness.
    _He._ Thy kine will pasture none the less.
    _She._ Not so: they wait me and my sign.
    _He._ I'll pipe to thee beneath the pine.
    _She._ Thy pipe will soothe not their distress.
    _He._ Dost thou not hear beside the spring
          How the gay birds are carolling?
    _She._ I hear them. But it may not be.
    _He._ Farewell then, Sweetheart! Farewell now.
    _She._ Shepherd, farewell----Where goest thou?
    _He._ I go ... to tend thy kine for thee!



A NEW SONG OF THE SPRING GARDENS.

    _To the Burden of "Rogues All."_


    Come hither ye gallants, come hither ye maids,
    To the trim gravelled walks, to the shady arcades;
    Come hither, come hither, the nightingales call;--
    Sing _Tantarara_,--Vauxhall! Vauxhall!

    Come hither, ye cits, from your Lothbury hives!
    Come hither, ye husbands, and look to your wives!
    For the sparks are as thick as the leaves in the Mall;--
    Sing _Tantarara_,--Vauxhall! Vauxhall!

    Here the 'prentice from Aldgate may ogle a Toast!
    Here his Worship must elbow the Knight of the Post!
    For the wicket is free to the great and the small;--
    Sing _Tantarara_,--Vauxhall! Vauxhall!

    Here Betty may flaunt in her mistress's sack!
    Here Trip wear his master's brocade on his back!
    Here a hussy may ride, and a rogue take the wall;--
    Sing _Tantarara_,--Vauxhall! Vauxhall!

    Here Beauty may grant, and here Valour may ask!
    Here the plainest may pass for a Belle (in a mask)!
    Here a domino covers the short and the tall;--
    Sing _Tantarara_,--Vauxhall! Vauxhall!

    'Tis a type of the world, with its drums and its din;
    'Tis a type of the world, for when once you come in
    You are loth to go out; like the world 'tis a ball;--
    Sing _Tantarara_,--Vauxhall! Vauxhall!



A LOVE-SONG.

(XVIII. CENT.)


    When first in CELIA'S ear I poured
      A yet unpractised pray'r,
    My trembling tongue sincere ignored
      The aids of "sweet" and "fair."
    I only said, as in me lay,
      I'd strive her "worth" to reach;
    She frowned, and turned her eyes away,--
      So much for truth in speech.

    Then DELIA came. I changed my plan;
      I praised her to her face;
    I praised her features,--praised her fan,
      Her lap-dog and her lace;
    I swore that not till Time were dead
      My passion should decay;
    She, smiling, gave her hand, and said
      'Twill last then--for a DAY.



OF HIS MISTRESS.

    (_After Anthony Hamilton._)

    To G. S.


    She that I love is neither brown nor fair,
      And, in a word her worth to say,
      There is no maid that with her may
                Compare.

    Yet of her charms the count is clear, I ween:
      There are five hundred things we see,
      And then five hundred too there be,
                Not seen.

    Her wit, her wisdom are direct from Heaven:
      But the sweet Graces from their store
      A thousand finer touches more
                Have given.

    Her cheek's warm dye what painter's brush could note?
      Beside her Flora would be wan
      And white as whiteness of the swan
                Her throat.

    Her supple waist, her arm from Venus came,
      Hebe her nose and lip confess,
      And, looking in her eyes, you guess
                Her name.



THE NAMELESS CHARM.

    (_Expanded from an Epigram of Piron._)


    Stella, 'tis not your dainty head,
      Your artless look, I own;
    'Tis not your dear coquettish tread,
      Or this, or that, alone;

    Nor is it all your gifts combined;
      'Tis something in your face,--
    The untranslated, undefined,
      Uncertainty of grace,

    That taught the Boy on Ida's hill
      To whom the meed was due;
    _All three have equal charms--but still
      This one I give it to!_



TO PHIDYLE.

(HOR. III., 23.)


    Incense, and flesh of swine, and this year's grain,
    At the new moon, with suppliant hands, bestow,
    O rustic Phidyle! So naught shall know
    Thy crops of blight, thy vine of Afric bane,
    And hale the nurslings of thy flock remain
    Through the sick apple-tide. Fit victims grow
    'Twixt holm and oak upon the Algid snow,
    Or Alban grass, that with their necks must stain
    The Pontiff's axe: to thee can scarce avail
    Thy modest gods with much slain to assail,
    Whom myrtle crowns and rosemary can please.
    Lay on the altar a hand pure of fault;
    More than rich gifts the Powers it shall appease,
    Though pious but with meal and crackling salt.



TO HIS BOOK.

(HOR. EP. I., 20.)


    For mart and street you seem to pine
    With restless glances, Book of mine!
    Still craving on some stall to stand,
    Fresh pumiced from the binder's hand.
    You chafe at locks, and burn to quit
    Your modest haunt and audience fit
    For hearers less discriminate.
    I reared you up for no such fate.
    Still, if you _must_ be published, go;
    But mind, you can't come back, you know!

    "What have I done?" I hear you cry,
    And writhe beneath some critic's eye;
    "What did I want?"--when, scarce polite,
    They do but yawn, and roll you tight.
    And yet methinks, if I may guess
    (Putting aside your heartlessness
    In leaving me and this your home),
    You should find favour, too, at Rome.
    That is, they'll like you while you're young,
    When you are old, you'll pass among
    The Great Unwashed,--then thumbed and sped,
    Be fretted of slow moths, unread,
    Or to Ilerda you'll be sent,
    Or Utica, for banishment!
    And I, whose counsel you disdain,
    At that your lot shall laugh amain,
    Wryly, as he who, like a fool,
    Thrust o'er the cliff his restive mule.
    Nay! there is worse behind. In age
    They e'en may take your babbling page
    In some remotest "slum" to teach
    Mere boys their rudiments of speech!

    But go. When on warm days you see
    A chance of listeners, speak of me.
    Tell them I soared from low estate,
    A freedman's son, to higher fate
    (That is, make up to me in worth
    What you must take in point of birth);
    Then tell them that I won renown
    In peace and war, and pleased the town;
    Paint me as early gray, and one
    Little of stature, fond of sun,
    Quick-tempered, too,--but nothing more.
    Add (if they ask) I'm forty-four,
    Or was, the year that over us
    Both Lollius ruled and Lepidus.



FOR A COPY OF HERRICK.


    Many days have come and gone,
    Many suns have set and shone,
    HERRICK, since thou sang'st of Wake,
    Morris-dance and Barley-break;--
    Many men have ceased from care,
    Many maidens have been fair,
    Since thou sang'st of JULIA'S eyes,
    JULIA'S lawns and tiffanies;--
    Many things are past: but thou,
    GOLDEN-MOUTH, art singing now,
    Singing clearly as of old,
    And thy numbers are of gold!



WITH A VOLUME OF VERSE.


    About the ending of the Ramadán,
    When leanest grows the famished Mussulman,
    A haggard ne'er-do-well, Mahmoud by name,
    At the tenth hour to Caliph OMAR came.
    "Lord of the Faithful (quoth he), at the last
    The long moon waneth, and men cease to fast;
    Hard then, O hard! the lot of him must be,
    Who spares to eat ... but not for piety!"
    "Hast thou no calling, Friend?"--the Caliph said.
    "Sir, I make verses for my daily bread."
    "Verse!"--answered OMAR. "'Tis a dish, indeed,
    Whereof but scantily a man may feed.
    Go. Learn the Tenter's or the Potter's Art,--
    Verse is a drug not sold in any mart."

    _I know not if that hungry Mahmoud died;
    But this I know--he must have versified,
    For, with his race, from better still to worse,
    The plague of writing follows like a curse;
    And men will scribble though they fail to dine,
    Which is the Moral of more Books than mine._



FOR THE AVERY "KNICKERBOCKER."

(WITH ORIGINAL DRAWINGS BY G. H. BOUGHTON.)


    Shade of Herrick, Muse of Locker,
    Help me sing of Knickerbocker!

    BOUGHTON, had you bid me chant
    Hymns to Peter Stuyvesant!
    Had you bid me sing of Wouter,
    (He! the Onion-head! the Doubter!)
    But to rhyme of this one,--Mocker!
    Who shall rhyme to Knickerbocker?

    Nay, but where my hand must fail
    There the more shall yours avail;
    You shall take your brush and paint
    All that ring of figures quaint,--
    All those Rip-van-Winkle jokers,--
    All those solid-looking smokers,
    Pulling at their pipes of amber
    In the dark-beamed Council-Chamber.

    Only art like yours can touch
    Shapes so dignified ... and Dutch;
    Only art like yours can show
    How the pine-logs gleam and glow,
    Till the fire-light laughs and passes
    'Twixt the tankards and the glasses,
    Touching with responsive graces
    All those grave Batavian faces,--
    Making bland and beatific
    All that session soporific.

    Then I come and write beneath,
    BOUGHTON, he deserves the wreath;
    He can give us form and hue--
    This the Muse can never do!



TO A PASTORAL POET.

(H. E. B.)


    Among my best I put your Book,
    O Poet of the breeze and brook!
    (That breeze and brook which blows and falls
    More soft to those in city walls)
    Among my best: and keep it still
    Till down the fair grass-girdled hill,
    Where slopes my garden-slip, there goes
    The wandering wind that wakes the rose,
    And scares the cohort that explore
    The broad-faced sun-flower o'er and o'er,
    Or starts the restless bees that fret
    The bindweed and the mignonette.

    Then I shall take your Book, and dream
    I lie beside some haunted stream;
    And watch the crisping waves that pass,
    And watch the flicker in the grass;
    And wait--and wait--and wait to see
    The Nymph ... that never comes to me!



"SAT EST SCRIPSISSE."

    (TO E. G., WITH A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS.)


    When You and I have wandered beyond the reach of call,
    And all our Works immortal lie scattered on the Stall,
    It may be some new Reader, in that remoter age,
    Will find the present volume and listless turn the page.

    For him I speak these verses. And, Sir (I say to him),
    This Book you see before you,--this masterpiece of Whim
    Of Wisdom, Learning, Fancy (if you will, please, attend),--
    Was written by its Author, who gave it to his Friend.

    For they had worked together, been Comrades of the Pen;
    They had their points at issue, they differed now and then;
    But both loved Song and Letters, and each had close at heart
    The hopes, the aspirations, the "dear delays" of Art.

    And much they talked of Measures, and more they talked of Style,
    Of Form and "lucid Order," of "labour of the File;"
    And he who wrote the writing, as sheet by sheet was penned
    (This all was long ago, Sir!), would read it to his Friend.

    They knew not, nor cared greatly, if they were spark or star;
    They knew to move is somewhat, although the goal be far;
    And larger light or lesser, this thing at least is clear,
    They served the Muses truly,--their service was sincere.

    This tattered page you see, Sir, this page alone remains
    (Yes,--fourpence is the lowest!) of all those pleasant pains;
    And as for him that read it, and as for him that wrote,
    No Golden Book enrolls them among its "Names of Note."

    And yet they had their office. Though they to-day are passed,
    They marched in that procession where is no first or last;
    Though cold is now their hoping, though they no more aspire,
    They too had once their ardour--they handed on the fire.



PROLOGUES AND EPILOGUES.



PROLOGUE TO ABBEY'S EDITION OF "SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER."


    In the year Seventeen Hundred and Seventy and Three,
    When the GEORGES were ruling o'er Britain the free,
    There was played a new play, on a new-fashioned plan,
    By the GOLDSMITH who brought out the _Good-Natur'd Man_.
    New-fashioned, in truth--for this play, it appears,
    Dealt largely in laughter, and nothing in tears,
    While the type of those days, as the learnèd will tell ye,
    Was the CUMBERLAND whine or the whimper of KELLY.
    So the Critics pooh-poohed, and the Actresses pouted,
    And the Public were cold, and the Manager doubted;
    But the Author had friends, and they all went to see it.
    Shall we join them in fancy? You answer, So be it!
    Imagine yourself then, good Sir, in a wig,
    Either grizzle or bob--never mind, you look big.
    You've a sword at your side, in your shoes there are buckles,
    And the folds of fine linen flap over your knuckles.
    You have come with light heart, and with eyes that are brighter,
    From a pint of red Port, and a steak at the Mitre;
    You have strolled from the Bar and the purlieus of Fleet,
    And you turn from the Strand into Catherine Street;
    Thence climb to the law-loving summits of Bow,
    Till you stand at the Portal all play-goers know.
    See, here are the 'prentice lads laughing and pushing,
    And here are the seamstresses shrinking and blushing,
    And here are the urchins who, just as to-day, Sir,
    Buzz at you like flies with their "Bill o' the Play, Sir?"
    Yet you take one, no less, and you squeeze by the Chairs,
    With their freights of fine ladies, and mount up the stairs;
    So issue at last on the House in its pride,
    And pack yourself snug in a box at the side.
    Here awhile let us pause to take breath as we sit,
    Surveying the humours and pranks of the Pit,--
    With its Babel of chatterers buzzing and humming,
    With its impudent orange-girls going and coming,
    With its endless surprises of face and of feature,
    All grinning as one in a gust of good-nature.
    Then we turn to the Boxes where TRIP in his lace
    Is aping his master, and keeping his place.
    Do but note how the Puppy flings back with a yawn,
    Like a Duke at the least, or a Bishop in lawn!
    Then sniffs at his bouquet, whips round with a smirk,
    And ogles the ladies at large--like a Turk.
    But the music comes in, and the blanks are all filling,
    And TRIP must trip up to the seats at a shilling;
    And spite of the mourning that most of us wear
    The House takes a gay and a holiday air;
    For the fair sex are clever at turning the tables,
    And seem to catch coquetry even in sables.
    Moreover, your mourning has ribbons and stars,
    And is sprinkled about with the red coats of Mars.

    Look, look, there is WILKES! You may tell by the squint;
    But he grows every day more and more like the print
    (Ah! HOGARTH _could_ draw!); and behind at the back
    HUGH KELLY, who looks all the blacker in black.
    That is CUMBERLAND next, and the prim-looking person
    In the corner, I take it, is _Ossian_ MACPHERSON.
    And rolling and blinking, here, too, with the rest,
    Comes sturdy old JOHNSON, dressed out in his best;
    How he shakes his old noddle! I'll wager a crown,
    Whatever the law is _he's_ laying it down!
    Beside him is REYNOLDS, who's deaf; and the hale
    Fresh, farmer-like fellow, I fancy, is THRALE.
    There is BURKE with GEORGE STEEVENS. And somewhere, no doubt,
    Is the AUTHOR--too nervous just now to come out;
    He's a queer little fellow, grave-featured, pock-pitten,
    Tho' they say, in his cups, he's as gay as a kitten.

    But where is our play-bill? _Mistakes of a Night!_
    If the title's prophetic, I pity his plight!
    _She Stoops._ Let us hope she won't fall at full length,
    For the piece--so 'tis whispered--is wanting in strength.
    And the humour is "low!"--you are doubtless aware
    There's a character, even, that "dances a bear!"
    Then the cast is so poor,--neither marrow nor pith!
    Why can't they get WOODWARD or Gentleman SMITH!
    "LEE LEWES!" Who's LEWES? The fellow has played
    Nothing better, they tell me, than harlequinade!
    "DUBELLAMY"--"QUICK,"--these are nobodies. Stay, I
    Believe I saw QUICK once in _Beau Mordecai_.
    Yes, QUICK is not bad. Mrs. GREEN, too, is funny;
    But SHUTER, ah! SHUTER'S the man for my money!
    He's the quaintest, the oddest of mortals, is SHUTER,
    And he has but one fault--he's too fond of the pewter.
    Then there's little BULKELY....

                                        But here in the middle,
    From the orchestra comes the first squeak of a fiddle.
    Then the bass gives a growl, and the horn makes a dash,
    And the music begins with a flourish and crash,
    And away to the zenith goes swelling and swaying,
    While we tap on the box to keep time to the playing.
    And we hear the old tunes as they follow and mingle,
    Till at last from the stage comes a ting-a-ting tingle;
    And the fans cease to whirr, and the House for a minute
    Grows still as if naught but wax figures were in it.
    Then an actor steps out, and the eyes of all glisten.
    Who is it? _The Prologue._ He's sobbing. Hush! listen.

    [_Thereupon enters Mr. Woodward in black, with a
    handkerchief to his eyes, to speak Garrick's Prologue,
    after which comes the play. In the volume for which the
    foregoing additional Prologue was written the following
    Envoi was added._]



L'ENVOI.


    Good-bye to you, KELLY, your fetters are broken!
    Good-bye to you, CUMBERLAND, GOLDSMITH has spoken!
    Good-bye to sham Sentiment, moping and mumming,
    For GOLDSMITH has spoken and SHERIDAN'S coming;
    And the frank Muse of Comedy laughs in free air
    As she laughed with the Great Ones, with SHAKESPEARE, MOLIÈRE!



PROLOGUE TO ABBEY'S "QUIET LIFE."


    Even as one in city pent,
      Dazed with the stir and din of town,
    Drums on the pane in discontent,
      And sees the dreary rain come down,
    Yet, through the dimmed and dripping glass,
    Beholds, in fancy, visions pass,
    Of Spring that breaks with all her leaves,
    Of birds that build in thatch and eaves,
    Of woodlands where the throstle calls,
    Of girls that gather cowslip balls,
    Of kine that low, and lambs that cry,
    Of wains that jolt and rumble by,
    Of brooks that sing by brambly ways,
    Of sunburned folk that stand at gaze,
    Of all the dreams with which men cheat
    The stony sermons of the street,
    So, in its hour, the artist brain
      Weary of human ills and woes,
    Weary of passion, and of pain,
      And vaguely craving for repose,
    Deserts awhile the stage of strife
    To draw the even, ordered life,
    The easeful days, the dreamless nights,
    The homely round of plain delights,
    The calm, the unambitioned mind,
    Which all men seek, and few men find.


    EPILOGUE.

    Let the dream pass, the fancy fade!
    We clutch a shape, and hold a shade.
    Is Peace _so_ peaceful? Nay,--who knows!
    There are volcanoes under snows.



    _In after days when grasses high
    O'er-top the stone where I shall lie,
      Though ill or well the world adjust
      My slender claim to honoured dust,
    I shall not question or reply._

    _I shall not see the morning sky;
    I shall not hear the night-wind sigh;
      I shall be mute, as all men must
        In after days!_

    _But yet, now living, fain were I
    That some one then should testify,
      Saying--"He held his pen in trust
      To Art, not serving shame or lust."
    Will none?--Then let my memory die
        In after days!_



NOTES.



NOTES.


"_To brandish the poles of that old Sedan Chair!_"--Page 7.

A friendly critic, whose versatile pen it is not easy to mistake,
recalls, _à-propos_ of the above, the following passage from Molière,
which shows that Chairmen are much the same all the world over:--

1 Porteur (prenant un des bâtons de sa chaise). _Çà, payez-nous
vitement!_

Mascarille. _Quoi!_

1 Porteur. _Je dis que je veux avoir de l'argent tout à l'heure._

Mascarille. _Il est raisonnable, celui-là,_ etc.
                         _Les Précieuses Ridicules_, Sc. vii.


"_It has waited by portals where Garrick has played._"--Page 8.

According to Mrs. Carter (Smith's _Nollekens_, 1828, i. 211), when
Garrick acted, the hackney-chairs often stood "all round the Piazzas
[Covent Garden], down Southampton-Street, and extended more than
half-way along Maiden-Lane."


"_A skill Préville could not disown._"--Page 23.

Préville was the French Foote, _circa_ 1760. His gifts as a comedian
were of the highest order; and he had an extraordinary faculty for
identifying himself with the parts he played. Sterne, in a letter to
Garrick from Paris, in 1762, calls him "Mercury himself."


MOLLY TREFUSIS.--Page 32.

The epigram here quoted from "an old magazine" is to be found in the
late Lord Neaves's admirable little volume, _The Greek Anthology_
(_Blackwood's Ancient Classics for English Readers_). Those familiar
with eighteenth-century literature will recognize in the succeeding
verses but another echo of those lively stanzas of John Gay to "Molly
Mogg of the Rose," which found so many imitators in his own day. Whether
my heroine is to be identified with a certain "Miss Trefusis," whose
_Poems_ are sometimes to be found in the second-hand booksellers'
catalogues, I know not. But if she is, I trust I have done her
accomplished shade no wrong.


AN EASTERN APOLOGUE.--Page 43.

The initials "E. H. P." are those of the late eminent (and ill-fated)
Orientalist, Professor Palmer. As my lines entirely owed their origin to
his translations of Zoheir, I sent them to him. He was indulgent enough
to praise them warmly. It is true he found anachronisms; but as he said
these would cause no disturbance to orthodox Persians, I concluded I had
succeeded in my little _pastiche_, and, with his permission, inscribed
it to him. I wish now that it had been a more worthy tribute to one of
the most erudite and versatile scholars this age has seen.


A REVOLUTIONARY RELIC.--Page 48.

"373. St. Pierre (Bernardin de), _Paul et Virginie_, 12mo, old calf.
Paris, 1787. This copy is pierced throughout by a bullet-hole, and bears
on one of the covers the words: '_à Lucile St. A.... chez M. Batemans, à
Edmonds-Bury, en Angleterre_,' very faintly written in pencil." (Extract
from Catalogue.)


"_Did she wander like that other?_"--Page 50.

Lucile Desmoulins. See Carlyle's _French Revolution_, Vol. iii. Book vi.
Chap. ii.


"_And its tender rain shall lave it._"--Page 52.

It is by no means uncommon for an editor to interrupt some of these
revolutionary letters by a "Here there are traces of tears."


"_By 'Bysshe,' his epithet._"--Page 81.

i.e. _The Art of English Poetry_, by Edward Bysshe, 1702.


THE BOOK-PLATE'S PETITION.--Page 87.

These lines were reprinted from _Notes and Queries_ in Mr. Andrew Lang's
instructive volume _The Library_, 1881, where the curious will find full
information as to the enormities of the book-mutilators.


"_Have I not writ thy Laws?_"--Page 93.

The lines in italic type which follow, are freely paraphrased from the
ancient _Code d' Amour_ of the XIIth Century, as given by André le
Chapelain himself.


A DIALOGUE, ETC.--Page 107.

This dialogue, first printed in _Scribner's Magazine_ for May, 1888, was
afterwards read by Professor Henry Morley at the opening of the Pope
Loan Museum at Twickenham (July 31st), to the Catalogue of which
exhibition it was prefixed.


"_The 'crooked Body with a crooked Mind.'_"--Page 108.

    "Mens curva in corpore curvo."
              Said of Pope by Lord Orrery.


"_Neither as Locke was, nor as Blake._"--Page 115.

The Shire Hall at Taunton, where these verses were read at the
unveiling, by Mr. James Russell Lowell, of Miss Margaret Thomas's bust
of Fielding, September 4th, 1883, also contains busts of Admiral Blake
and John Locke.


"_The Journal of his middle-age._"--Page 118.

It is, perhaps, needless to say that the reference here is to the
_Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon_, published posthumously in February,
1755,--a record which for its intrinsic pathos and dignity may be
compared with the letter and dedication which Fielding's predecessor and
model, Cervantes, prefixed to his last romance of _Persiles and
Sigismunda_.


CHARLES GEORGE GORDON.--Page 120.

These verses appeared in the _Saturday Review_ for February 14th, 1885.


ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON.--Page 122.

These verses appeared in the _Athenæum_ for October 8th, 1892.


"_With that he made a Leg._"--Page 137.

    "JOVE made his Leg and kiss'd the Dame,
    Obsequious HERMES did the Same."
                                          Prior.


"_So took his Virtú off to Cock's._"--Page 137.

Cock, the auctioneer of Covent Garden, was the Christie and Manson of
the last century. The leading idea of this fable, it should be added, is
taken from one by Gellert.


"_Of Van's 'Goose-Pie.'_"--Page 139.

    "At length they in the Rubbish spy
    A Thing resembling a Goose Py."
       SWIFT'S verses on _Vanbrugh's House_, 1706.


"_The Oaf preferred the_ 'Tongs and Bones.'"--Page 145.

"I have a reasonable good ear in music; let us have the tongs and the
bones."

_Midsummer-Night's Dream_, Act iv., Sc. i.


"_And sighed o'er Chaos wine for Stingo._"--Page 145.

Squire Homespun probably meant Cahors.


THE WATER-CURE.--Page 178.

These verses were suggested by the recollection of an anecdote in Madame
de Genlis, which seemed to lend itself to eighteenth-century treatment.
It was therefore somewhat depressing, not long after they were written,
to find that the subject had already been annexed in the _Tatler_ by an
actual eighteenth-century writer, who, moreover, claimed to have founded
his story on a contemporary incident. Burton, nevertheless, had told it
before him, as early as 1621, in the _Anatomy of Melancholy_.


"_In Babylonian numbers hidden._"--Page 180.

            "--nec Babylonios
    Tentaris numeros."
                  Hor. i., 11.


"_And spite of the mourning that most of us wear._"--Page 259.

In March, 1773, when _She Stoops to Conquer_ was first played, there
was a court-mourning for the King of Sardinia (Forster's _Goldsmith_,
Book iv. Chap. 15).


"_But he grows every day more and more like the print._--Page 259.

"Mr. _Wilkes_, with his usual good humour, has been heard to observe,
that he is every day growing more and more like his portrait by
_Hogarth_ (i.e. the print of May 16th, 1763)."

_Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth_, 1782, pp. 305-6.



Transcriber's Notes:

Ah, Postumus, we all must go:
'Postumus' unchanged. 'Posthumous' is current spelling.

Hyphenation of the following unchanged:
  chairmen chair-men
  Masterpiece Master-piece
  recall re-call





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Collected Poems - In Two Volumes, Vol. II" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home