Slike strani
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

To which my soul made answer readily: “Trust me, in bliss I shall abide

In this great mansion, that is built for me, So royal-rich and wide."

"Yet pull not down my palace towers, that are So lightly, beautifully built;

Perchance I may return with others there
When I have purged my guilt."


I BUILT myself a high-art pleasure house
For my sick soul at peace therein to dwell.
I said, "I have the true æsthetic nous,
And can design it well."

'Twas dull red brick, with gables set galore,

And little light did through the windows pass, For 'twas shut out by thick lead frames that bore, Quarrels of grey green glass.

The dadoed walls, in green were stained, no tint Which common blue and yellow mingled make; But a green y-wrought-of sepia without stintWith indigo and lake.

Nor grained panel, nor enamelled slate

Was there to jar on my artistic sight;
Plain ebon wood-work framed the open grate,
And over,-blue and white.

Two lovely griffins, made of burnished brass,
I found, to guard the fireplace on each side,
With curling tails (though one was lost, alas !),
And mouths that gaped wide.

All round the rooms were shelves of black-dyed deal,
On which stood pots and plates of every hue;
Whilst far apart two lilied angels kneel

In Robbia white and blue.

One deep recess, serged-covered, like a lawn,
Held, on a brass-nailed shelf, its seat of state,
Apart from other pots and pans withdrawn,
An ancient kitchen-plate.

"Hence whilst the world runs round and round," I said,

"I will send forth my wits to gather wool;

With task or toil I will not vex my head ;

But on that plate feed full."

So day and night upon that plate I gazed,

And strove to fix thereon what thought I had;
Until my sight grew dim, and my sense dazed
And my digestion bad.

My brain shrunk like a nut adust and dried;
I felt that I was not at all myself,
And longed to lay my dwindled wits beside
That plate upon that shelf.

That ancient plate of willow-pattern blue,
Which so absorbed had my every thought,
I seemed to live thereon, and slowly grew
Confucian, clear of thought.

One year I gazed upon that much-loved plate,
Till at the last the sight began to pall.

I said, "How know I'tis of ancient date,
Or China-ware at all?"

So when one year was wholly finished,

I put that willow-pattern plate away.

"Now rather bring me Satsuma !" I said. "Or blue-green Cloisonnée.

"For I am sick of this pervading hue,

Steeped wherein this landscape, stream, and sky, To my heart-weary question, 'Is all blue?' 'Yea, all is blue,' reply.

"Yet do not smash the plate I so admired, When first my high æsthetic house I built; I may come back to it, of Dresden tired, And Sèvres gaily gilt."

Punch, February 15, 1879.

Although taken from Cruikshank's Comic Almanack, for 1846, the following parody of The May Queen is so fresh and so funny that it might have been written yesterday :

THE QUEEN OF the Fête.

By Alfred Tennyson,


[To be read with liveliness.]

IF you're waking, call me early, mother, fine, or wet, or bleak ;

To-morrow is the happiest day of all the Ascot week;
It is the Chiswick fête, mother, of flowers and people gay,
And I'll be queen, if I may, mother, I'll be queen, if I may.

There's many a bright barège, they say, but none so bright as mine,

And whiter gloves, that have been cleaned, and smell of turpentine ;

But none so nice as mine, I know, and so they all will say ; And I'll be queen, if I may, mother, I'll be queen, if I may.

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake, If you do not shout at my bedside, and give me a good shake; For I have got those gloves to trim with blonde and ribbons gay,

And I'm to be queen, if I may, mother; I'm to be queen, if I may.

As I came home to-day, mother, whom think you I should


But Harry-looking at a cab, upset in Oxford-street;

He thought of when we met, to learn the Polka of Miss RaeBut I'll be queen, if I may, mother; I'll be queen, if I may.

They say he wears moustachios, that my chosen he may be ;
They say he's left off raking, mother-what is that to me?
I shall meet all the Fusiliers upon the Chiswick day;
And I will be queen, if I may, mother; I will be queen if I

The night cabs come and go, mother, with panes of mended glass,

And all the things about us seem to clatter as they pass;
The roads are dry and dusty; it will be a fine, fine day,
And I'm to be queen, if I may, mother; I'm to be queen, if
I may.

The weather-glass hung in the hall has turned to "fair" from "showers."

The see-weed crackles and feels dry, that's hanging mid'st the flowers.

Vauxhall, too, is not open, so 'twill be a fine, fine day;
And I will be queen, if I may, mother; I will be queen, if I


So call me, if you're waking; call me, mother, from my


The Middle Horticultural" is sure to be the best.

Of all the three, this one will be the brightest, happiest day; And I will be queen, if I may, mother; I will be queen, if I



[Slow, and with sad expression.]

IF you're waking, call me early, call me early, mother dear;
The soaking rain of yesterday has spoilt my dress I fear;
I've caught a shocking cold, mamma, so make a cup for me,
Of what sly folks call blackthorn, and facetious grocers, tea.
I started forth in floss and flowers to have a pleasant day,
When all at once down came the wet, and hurried all away;
And now there's not a flower but is washed out by the rain :
I wonder if the colours, mother, will come round again.

I have been wild and wayward, but I am not wayward now,
I think of my allowance, and I'm sure I don't know how
I shall make both ends meet. Papa will be so very wild ;
He says, already mother, I'm his most expensive child.
Just say to Harry a kind word, and tell him not to fret;
Perhaps I was cross, but then he knows it was so very wet;
Had it been fine-I cannot tell-he might have had my arm;
But the bad weather ruin'd all, and spoilt my toilet's charm.
I'll wear the dress again, mother; I do not care a pin,—
Or, perhaps, 'twill do for Effie, but it must be taken in ;
But do not let her see it yet-she's not so very green,
And will not take it until washed and ironed it has been.

So, if you're waking, call me, when the day begins to dawn;
I dread to look at my barège-it must be so forlorn;
We'll put it in the rough-dried box: it may come out next

So, if your waking, call me, call me early, mother dear.


Light Green, a magazine published at Cambridge, in 1872, contained another parody of the same original, it is called "The May Exam." by Alfred Pennysong.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd it in his glowing hands;

Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.

Love took up the harp of life, and smote on all the chords with might;

Smote the chord of self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out of sight.

Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,

And our spirits rush'd together at the touching of the lips.

O my cousin, shallow hearted! O my Amy, mine no more !

O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the barren, barren shore !

Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung,

Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!

Is it well to wish thee happy? having known me-to decline

On a range of lower, feelings and a narrower heart than mine !

Yet it shall be; thou shall lower to his level day by day, What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathise with clay.

A; the husband is the wife is: thoi art mated with a clown,

And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.

He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,

Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.



COMRADES, you may pass the rosy. With permission of the chair,

I shall leave you for a little, for I'd like to take the air.

Whether 'twas the sauce at dinner, or that glass of ginger beer,

O: these strong cheroo's, I know not, but I feel a little queer,

Let me go. Nay, Chuckster, blow me, 'pon my soul, this is too bad!

When you want me, ask the waiter; he knows where I'm to be had.

Whew! This is a great relief now! Let me but undo my stock;

Resting here beneath the porch, my nerves will steady like a rock.

In my ears I hear the singing of a lot of favourite tunesBless my heart, how very odd! Why, surely there's a brace of moons!

See! the stars! how bright they twinkle, winking with a frosty glare;

Like my faithless cousin Any when she drove me to despair.

Oh, my cousin, spider hearted! Oh, my Amy! No, confound it!

I must wear the mournful willow-all around my heart I've bound it.

Falser than the Bank of Fancy, frailer than a shilling glove,

Puppet to a father's anger, minion to a nabob's love!

Is it well to wish thee happy? Having known me, could

you ever

Stoop to marry half a heart, and little more than half a liver?

Happy! Damme ! day, Changing from the best of china to the commonest of clay. As the husband is, the wife is-he is stomach-plagued and old;

Thou shalt lower to his level day by

And his curry soups will make thy cheek the colour of his gold.

When his feeble love is sated, he will hold thee surely then

Something lower than his hookah-something less than his cayenne.

What is this? His eyes are pinky. Was't the claret ? Oh, no, no

Bless your soul ! it was the salmon,-salmon always makes

him so.

Take him to thy dainty chamber-soothe him with thy lightest fancies;

He will understand thee, won't he?-pay thee with a lover's glances?

Louder than the loudest trumpet, harsh as harshest ophicleide,

Nasal respirations answer the endearments of his bride.

Sweet response, delightful music! Gaze upon thy noble charge,

Till the spirit fill thy bosom that inspired the meek Laffarge.

Better thou wert dead before me-better, better, that I stood,

Looking on thy murdered body, like the injured Daniel Good!

Better thou and I were lying cold and timber stiff and dead,

With a pan of burning charcoal underneath our nuptial bed.

[blocks in formation]

'Twill not do to pine for ever,-I am getting up in years. Can't I turn the honest penny, scribbling for the weekly press,

And in writing Sunday libels drown my private wretchedness?

Oh, to feel the wild pulsation that in manhood's dawn I knew

When my days were all before me, and my years were twenty-two!

When I smoked my independent pipe along the Quadrant wide

With the many larks of London flaring up on every side; When I went the pace so wildly, caring little what might come;

Coffee-milling care and sorrow, with a nose-adapted thumb; Felt the exquisite enjoyment, tossing nightly off, oh, heavens !

Brandy at the Cider Cellars, kidneys smoking hot at Evans'!

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

Saw Jack Sheppard, noble stripling, act his wond'rous feats again,

Snapping Newgate's 'bars of iron, like an infant's daisy


Might was right, and all the terrors which had held the world in awe,

Were despised, and prigging prospered, spite of Laurie, spite of law.

In such scenes as these I triumphed, ere my passions edge was rusted,

And my cousin's cold refusal left me very much disgusted! Since my heart is sere and withered, and I do not care a curse,

Whether worse shall be the better, or the better be the


Hark! my merry comrades call me, bawling for another jorum ;

They would mock me in derision should I thus appear before 'em.

Womankind no more shall vex me, such at least as go arrayed

In the most expensive satins, and the newest silk brocade. I'll to Afric, lion-haunted, where the giant forest yields

- robes and finer tissue than are sold at Spitalfields.

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

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

Never comes the trader thither, never o'er the purple main

Sounds the oath of British commerce, or the accents of Cockaigne.

There, methinks, would be enjoyment, where no envious rule prevents;

Sink the steamboats! cuss the railways! rot, O rot the Three per Cents!

There the passions, cramped no longer, shall have space to breathe, my cousin!

I will wed some savage woman-nay, I'll wed at least a dozen.

There I'll rear my young mulattoes, as no Bond Street brats are reared:

They shall dive for alligators, catch the wild goats by the beard

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


I myself, in far Timbuctoo, leopard's blood will daily quaff,

Ride a tiger hunting, mounted on a thorough-bred giraffe. Fiercely shall I shout the war-whoop, as some sullen stream be crosses,

Startling from their noonday slumbers iron-bound rhino


Fool! again the dream, the fancy! But I know my words are mad,

For I hold the grey barbarian lower than the Christian cad.

I the swell the city dandy! I to seek such horrid places

I to haunt with squalid negroes, blubber lips, and monkey-faces!

I to wed with Coromantees! I, who managed-very nearTo secure the heart and fortune of the widow Shillibeer! Stuff and nonsense! let me never fling a single chance away,

Maids ere now, I know, have loved me, and another maiden may.

Morning Post (The Times won't trust me) help me, as I know you can ;

I will pen an advertisement-that's a never-failing plan. WANTED, by a bard, in wedlock, some young interesting woman:

Looks are not so much an object if the shiners be forthcoming!

"Hymen's chains the advertiser vows shall be but silken fetters;

Please address to A. T., Chelsea. N. B.-You must pay the letters.'

[ocr errors]

That's the sort of thing to do it. Now I'll go and taste the balmy,

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

From The Book of Ballads, edited by Bon Gaultier. William Blackwood and Sons, London and Edinburgh.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »