Poem – The Hand Of Glory,  The Nurse’s Story – Richard Harris Barham 

Richard Harris Barham  1788 - 1845 , England

Richard Harris Barham
1788 – 1845 , England


Malefica quaedam auguriatrix in Anglia fuit, quam demones horribiliter extraxerunt, et imponentes super equum terribilem, per aera rapuerunt; Clamoresque terribiles (ut ferunt) per quatuor ferme miliaria audiebantur. 
Nuremb. Chron. 
On the lone bleak moor, 

At the midnight hour, 

Beneath the Gallows Tree, 

Hand in hand 

The Murderers stand 

By one, by two, by three! 

And the Moon that night 

With a grey, cold light 

Each baleful object tips; 

One half of her form 

Is seen through the storm, 

The other half ‘s hid in Eclipse! 

And the cold Wind howls, 

And the Thunder growls, 

And the Lightning is broad and bright; 

And altogether 

It ‘s very bad weather, 

And an unpleasant sort of a night! 

‘Now mount who list, 

And close by the wrist 

Sever me quickly the Dead Man’s fist!– 

Now climb who dare 

Where he swings in air, 

And pluck me five locks of the Dead Man’s hair!’ 

There ‘s an old woman dwells upon Tappington Moor, 

She hath years on her back at the least fourscore, 

And some people fancy a great many more; 

Her nose it is hook’d, 

Her back it is crook’d, 

Her eyes blear and red: 

On the top of her head 

Is a mutch, and on that 

A shocking bad hat, 

Extinguisher-shaped, the brim narrow and flat! 

Then,– My Gracious!– her beard!– it would sadly perplex 

A spectator at first to distinguish her sex; 

Nor, I’ll venture to say, without scrutiny could be 

Pronounce her, off-handed, a Punch or a Judy. 

Did you see her, in short, that mud-hovel within, 

With her knees to her nose, and her nose to her chin, 

Leering up with that queer, indescribable grin, 

You’d lift up your hands in amazement, and cry, 

‘– Well!– I never did see such a regular Guy!’ 
And now before 

That old Woman’s door, 

Where nought that ‘s good may be, 

Hand in hand 

The Murderers stand 

By one, by two, by three! 
Oh! ’tis a horrible sight to view, 

In that horrible hovel, that horrible crew, 

By the pale blue glare of that flickering flame, 

Doing the deed that hath never a name! 

‘Tis awful to hear 

Those words of fear! 

The prayer mutter’d backwards, and said with a sneer! 

(Matthew Hopkins himself has assured us that when 

A witch says her prayers, she begins with ‘Amen.’) — 

–‘ Tis awful to see 

On that Old Woman’s knee 

The dead, shrivell’d hand, as she clasps it with glee!– 
And now, with care, 

The five locks of hair 

From the skull of the Gentleman dangling up there, 

With the grease and the fat 

Of a black Tom Cat 

She hastens to mix, 

And to twist into wicks, 

And one on the thumb, and each finger to fix.– 

(For another receipt the same charm to prepare, 

Consult Mr Ainsworth and Petit Albert.) 
‘Now open lock 

To the Dead Man’s knock! 

Fly bolt, and bar, and band! 

— Nor move, nor swerve 

Joint, muscle, or nerve, 

At the spell of the Dead Man’s hand! 

Sleep all who sleep!– Wake all who wake!– 

But be as the Dead for the Dead Man’s sake!!’ 

All is silent! all is still, 

Save the ceaseless moan of the bubbling rill 

As it wells from the bosom of Tappington Hill. 

And in Tappington Hall 

Great and Small, 

Gentle and Simple, Squire and Groom, 

Each one hath sought his separate room, 

And sleep her dark mantle hath o’er them cast, 

For the midnight hour hath long been past! 
All is darksome in earth and sky, 

Save, from yon casement, narrow and high, 

A quivering beam 

On the tiny stream 

Plays, like some taper’s fitful gleam 

By one that is watching wearily. 
Within that casement, narrow and high, 

In his secret lair, where none may spy, 

Sits one whose brow is wrinkled with care, 

And the thin grey locks of his failing hair 

Have left his little bald pate all bare; 

For his full-bottom’d wig 

Hangs, bushy and big, 

On the top of his old-fashion’d, high-back’d chair. 

Unbraced are his clothes, 

Ungarter’d his hose, 

His gown is bedizen’d with tulip and rose, 

Flowers of remarkable size and hue, 

Flowers such as Eden never knew; 

— And there, by many a sparkling heap 

Of the good red gold, 

The tale is told 

What powerful spell avails to keep 

That careworn man from his needful sleep! 
Haply, he deems no eye can see 

As he gloats on his treasure greedily,– 

The shining store 

Of glittering ore, 

The fair Rose-Noble, the bright Moidore, 

And the broad Double-Joe from beyond the sea,– 

But there’s one that watches as well as he; 

For, wakeful and sly, 

In a closet hard by 

On his truckle bed lieth a little Foot-page, 

A boy who ‘s uncommonly sharp of his age, 

Like young Master Horner, 

Who erst in a corner 

Sat eating a Christmas pie: 

And, while that Old Gentleman’s counting his hoards, 

Little Hugh peeps through a crack in the boards! 

There ‘s a voice in the air, 

There ‘s a step on the stair, 

The old man starts in his cane-back’d chair; 

At the first faint sound 

He gazes around, 

And holds up his dip of sixteen to the pound. 

Then half arose 

From beside his toes 

His little pug-dog with his little pug nose, 

But, ere he can vent one inquisitive sniff, 

That little pug-dog stands stark and stiff, 

For low, yet clear, 

Now fall on the ear, 

— Where once pronounced for ever they dwell,– 

The unholy words of the Dead Man’s spell! 

‘Open lock 

To the Dead Man’s knock! 

Fly bolt, and bar, and band!– 

Nor move, nor swerve, 

Joint, muscle, or nerve, 

At the spell of the Dead Man’s hand! 

Sleep all who sleep!– Wake all who wake!– 

But be as the Dead for the Dead Man’s sake!’Now lock, nor bolt, nor bar avails, 

Nor stout oak panel thick-studded with nails. 

Heavy and harsh the hinges creak, 

Though they had been oil’d in the course of the week, 

The door opens wide as wide may be, 

And there they stand, 

That murderous band, 

Lit by the light of the GLORIOUS HAND, 

By one!– by two!– by three! 
They have pass’d through the porch, they have pass’d through the hall, 

Where the Porter sat snoring against the wall; 

The very snore froze, 

In his very snub nose, 

You’d have verily deem’d he had snored his last 

When the Glorious HAND by the side of him pass’d! 

E’en the little wee mouse, as it ran o’er the mat 

At the top of its speed to escape from the cat, 

Though half dead with affright, 

Paused in its flight; 

And the cat that was chasing that little wee thing 

Lay crouch’d as a statue in act to spring! 

And now they are there, 

On the head of the stair, 

And the long crooked whittle is gleaming and bare, 

— I really don’t think any money would bribe 

Me the horrible scene that ensued to describe, 

Or the wild, wild glare 

Of that old man’s eye, 

His dumb despair, 

And deep agony. 

The kid from the pen, and the lamb from the fold, 

Unmoved may the blade of the butcher behold; 

They dream not — ah, happier they!– that the knife, 

Though uplifted, can menace their innocent life; 

It falls;– the frail thread of their being is riven, 

They dread not, suspect not, the blow till ’tis given.– 

But, oh! what a thing ’tis to see and to know 

That the bare knife is raised in the hand of the foe, 

Without hope to repel, or to ward off the blow!– 

— Enough!– let ‘s pass over as fast as we can 

The fate of that grey, that unhappy old man! 
But fancy poor Hugh, 

Aghast at the view, 

Powerless alike to speak or to do! 

In vain doth be try 

To open the eye 

That is shut, or close that which is clapt to the chink, 

Though he’d give all the world to be able to wink!– 

No!– for all that this world can give or refuse, 

I would not be now in that little boy’s shoes, 

Or indeed any garment at all that is Hugh’s! 

–‘ Tis lucky for him that the chink in the wall 

He has peep’d through so long, is so narrow and small.
Wailing voices, sounds of woe 

Such as follow departing friends, 

That fatal night round Tappington go, 

Its long-drawn roofs and its gable ends: 

Ethereal Spirits, gentle and good, 

Aye weep and lament o’er a deed of blood. 

‘Tis early dawn — the morn is grey, 

And the clouds and the tempest have pass’d away, 

And all things betoken a very fine day; 
But, while the lark her carol is singing, 

Shrieks and screams are through Tappington ringing! 

Upstarting all, 

Great and small 

Each one who ‘s found within Tappington Hall, 

Gentle and Simple, Squire or Groom, 

All seek at once that old Gentleman’s room; 

And there, on the floor, 

Drench’d in its gore, 

A ghastly corpse lies exposed to the view, 

Carotid and jugular both cut through! 

And there, by its side, 

‘Mid the crimson tide, 

Kneels a little Foot-page of tenderest years; 

Adown his pale cheek the fast-falling tears 

Are coursing each other round and big, 

And he ‘s staunching the blood with a full-bottom’d wig! 

Alas! and alack for his staunching!–’tis plain, 

As anatomists tell us, that never again 

Shall life revisit the foully slain, 

When once they’ve been cut through the jugular vein. 

There’s a hue and a cry through the County of Kent, 

And in chase of the cut-throats a Constable’s sent, 

But no one can tell the man which way they went: 

There’s a little Foot-page with that Constable goes, 

And a little pug-dog with a little pug nose. 
In Rochester town, 

At the sign of the Crown, 

Three shabby-genteel men are just sitting down 

To a fat stubble-goose, with potatoes done brown; 

When a little Foot-page 

Rushes in, in a rage, 

Upsetting the apple-sauce, onions, and sage. 

That little Foot-page takes the first by the throat, 

And a little pug-dog takes the next by the coat, 

And a Constable seizes the one more remote; 

And fair rose-nobles and broad moidores, 

The Waiter pulls out of their pockets by scores, 

And the Boots and the Chambermaids run in and stare;

And the Constable says, with a dignified air, 

‘You’re wanted, Gen’lemen, one and all, 

For that ‘ere precious lark at Tappington Hall!’ 
There ‘a a black gibbet frowns upon Tappington Moor, 

Where a former black gibbet has frown’d before: 

It is as black as black may be, 

And murderers there 

Are dangling in air, 

By one!– by two!– by three! 
There ‘s a horrid old hag in a steeple-crown’d hat, 

Round her neck they have tied to a hempen cravat 

A Dead Man’s hand, and a dead Tom Cat! 

They have tied up her thumbs, they have tied up her toes, 

They have tied up her eyes, they have tied up her limbs! 

Into Tappington mill-dam souse she goes, 

With a whoop and a halloo!–‘She swims!– She swims!’ 

They have dragg’d her to land, 

And every one’s hand 

Is grasping a faggot, a billet, or brand, 

When a queer-looking horseman, drest all in black, 

Snatches up that old harridan just like a sack 

To the crupper behind him, puts spurs to his hack, 

Makes a dash through the crowd, and is off in a crack! 

No one can tell, 

Though they guess pretty well, 

Which way that grim rider and old woman go, 

For all see he ‘s a sort of infernal Ducrow; 

And she scream’d so, and cried, 

We may fairly decide 

That the old woman did not much relish her ride

Poem – The Cynotaph – Richard Harris Barham 

Poor Tray charmant! Poor Tray de mon Ami! 

— Dog-bury, and Vergers. 

Oh! where shall I bury my poor dog Tray, 

Now his fleeting breath has pass’d away? 

Seventeen years, I can venture to say, 

Have I seen him gambol, and frolic, and play, 

Evermore happy, and frisky, and gay, 

As though every one of his months was May, 

And the whole of his life one long holiday — 

Now he’s a lifeless lump of clay, 

Oh! where shall I bury my faithful Tray? 
I am almost tempted to think it hard 

That it may not be there, in yon sunny churchyard, 

Where the green willows wave 

O’er the peaceful grave, 

Which holds all that once was honest and brave, 

Kind, and courteous, and faithful, and true; 

Qualities, Tray, that were found in you. 

But it may not be — you sacred ground, 

By holiest feelings fenced around, 

May ne’er within its hallow’d bound 

Receive the dust of a soul-less hound. 
I would not place him in yonder fane, 

Where the mid-day sun through the storied pane 

Throws on the pavement a crimson stain; 

Where the banners of chivalry heavily swing 

O’er the pinnacled tomb of the Warrior King, 

With helmet and shield, and all that sort of thing. 

No!– come what may, 

My gentle Tray 

Shan’t be an intruder on bluff Harry Tudor, 

Or panoplied monarchs yet earlier and ruder, 

Whom you see on their backs, 

In stone or in wax, 

Though the sacristans now are ‘forbidden to ax’ 

For what Mister Hume calls ‘a scandalous tax;’ 

While the Chartists insist they’ve a right to go snacks. 

No!– Tray’s humble tomb would look but shabby 

‘Mid the sculptured shrines of that gorgeous Abbey. 

Besides, in the place 

They say there’s not space 

To bury what wet-nurses call ‘a Babby.’ 

Even ‘Rare Ben Jonson,’ that famous wight, 

I am told, is interr’d there bolt upright, 

In just such a posture, beneath his bust, 

As Tray used to sit in to beg for a crust. 

The epitaph, too, 

Would scarcely do; 

For what could it say, but ‘Here lies Tray, 

A very good sort of a dog in his day?’ 

And satirical folks might be apt to imagine it 

Meant as a quiz on the House of Plantagenet. 
No! no!– The Abbey may do very well 

For a feudal ‘Nob’ or poetical ‘Swell,’ 

‘Crusaders,’ or ‘Poets,’ or ‘Knights of St. John,’ 

Or Knights of St. John’s Wood, who last year went on 

To the Castle of Goode Lorde Eglintonne. 

Count Fiddle-fumkin, and Lord Fiddle-faddle, 

‘Sir Craven,’ ‘Sir Gael,’ and ‘Sir Campbell of Saddell,’ 

(Who, as Mr. Hook said, when he heard of the feat, 

‘Was somehow knock’d out of his family-seat;’) 

The Esquires of the body 

To my Lord Tomnoddy; 

‘Sir Fairlie,’ ‘Sir Lamb,’ 

And the ‘Knight of the Ram,’ 

The ‘Knight of the Rose,’ and the ‘Knight of the Dragon,’

Who, save at the flagon, 

And prog in the waggon, 

The Newspapers tell us did little ‘to brag on;’ 
And more, though the Muse knows but little concerning ’em, 

‘Sir Hopkins,’ ‘Sir Popkins,’ ‘Sir Gage,’ and ‘Sir Jerningham.’ 

All Preux Chevaliers, in friendly rivalry 

Who should best bring back the glory of Chi-valry.– 

(Pray be so good, for the sake of my song, 

To pronounce here the ante-penultimate long; 

Or some hyper-critic will certainly cry, 

‘The word ‘Chivalry’ is but a ‘rhyme to the eye.” 

And I own it is clear 

A fastidious ear 

Will be, more or less, always annoy’d with you when you 

Insert any rhyme that’s not perfectly genuine. 

As to pleasing the ‘eye,’ 

‘Tisn’t worth while to try, 

Since Moore and Tom Campbell themselves admit ‘spinach’ 

Is perfectly antiphonetic to ‘Greenwich.) 

But stay!– I say!– 

Let me pause while I may — 

This digression is leading me sadly astray 

From my object — A grave for my poor dog Tray! 
I would not place him beneath thy walls, 

And proud o’ershadowing dome, St. Paul’s! 

Though I’ve always consider’d Sir Christopher Wren, 

As an architect, one of the greatest of men; 

And,– talking of Epitaphs,– much I admire his, 

‘Circumspice, si Monumentum requiris;’ 

Which an erudite Verger translated to me, 

‘If you ask for his Monument, Sir-come-spy-see!’ 

No!– I should not know where 

To place him there; 

I would not have him by surly Johnson be;– 

Or that Queer-looking horse that is rolling on Ponsonby;– 

Or those ugly minxes 

The sister Sphynxes, 

Mix’d creatures, half lady, half lioness, ergo 

(Denon says) the emblems of Leo and Virgo; 

On one of the backs of which singular jumble, 

Sir Ralph Abercrombie is going to tumble, 

With a thump which alone were enough to despatch him, 

If that Scotchman in front shouldn’t happen to catch him. 
No! I’d not have him there, nor nearer the door, 

Where the Man and the Angel have got Sir John Moore, 

And are quietly letting him down through the floor, 

Near Gillespie, the one who escaped, at Vellore, 

Alone from the row;– 

Neither he, nor Lord Howe 

Would like to be plagued with a little Bow-wow. 

No, Tray, we must yield, 

And go further a-field; 

To lay you by Nelson were downright effront’ry;– 

We’ll be off from the City, and look at the country. 
It shall not be there, 

In that sepulchred square, 

Where folks are interr’d for the sake of the air, 

(Though, pay but the dues, they could hardly refuse 

To Tray what they grant to Thuggs and Hindoos, 

Turks, Infidels, Heretics, Jumpers, and Jews,) 

Where the tombstones are placed 

In the very best taste, 

At the feet and the head 

Of the elegant Dead, 

And no one’s received who’s not ‘buried in lead:’ 

For, there lie the bones of Deputy Jones, 

Whom the widow’s tears and the orphan’s groans 

Affected as much as they do the stones 

His executors laid on the Deputy’s bones; 

Little rest, poor knave! 

Would he have in his grave; 

Since Spirits, ’tis plain, 

Are sent back again, 

To roam round their bodies,– the bad ones in pain,– 

Dragging after them sometimes a heavy jack-chain; 

Whenever they met, alarmed by its groans, his 

Ghost all night long would be barking at Jones’s. 
Nor shall he be laid 

By that cross Old Maid, 

Miss Penelope Bird, of whom it is said 

All the dogs in the Parish were always afraid. 

He must not be placed 

By one so strait-laced 

In her temper, her taste, and her morals, and waist. 

For, ’tis said, when she went up to heaven, and St. Peter, 

Who happened to meet her, 

Came forward to greet her, 

She pursed up with scorn every vinegar feature, 

And bade him ‘Get out for a horrid Male Creature!’ 

So, the Saint, after looking as if he could eat her, 

Not knowing, perhaps, very well how to treat her, 

And not being willing, or able, to beat her, 

Sent her back to her grave till her temper grew sweeter,

With an epithet — which I decline to repeat here. 

No, if Tray were interr’d 

By Penelope Bird, 

No dog would be e’er so be-‘whelp”d and be-‘cur’r’d. 

All the night long her cantankerous Sprite 

Would be running about in the pale moon-light, 

Chasing him round, and attempting to lick 

The ghost of poor Tray with the ghost of a stick. 
Stay!– let me see!– 

Ay — here it shall be 

At the root of this gnarl’d and time-worn tree, 

Where Tray and I 

Would often lie, 

And watch the light clouds as they floated by 

In the broad expanse of the clear blue sky, 

When the sun was bidding the world good b’ye; 

And the plaintive Nightingale, warbling nigh, 

Pour’d forth her mournful melody; 

While the tender Wood-pigeon’s cooing cry 

Has made me say to myself, with a sigh, 

‘How nice you would eat with a steak in a pie!’ 
Ay, here it shall be!– far, far from the view 

Of the noisy world and its maddening crew. 

Simple and few, 

Tender and true 

The lines o’er his grave.– They have, some of them, too, 

The advantage of being remarkably new