To Late – Richard Harris Barham

Too late! though flowerets round me blow,

 And clearing skies shine bright and fair; 

Their genial warmth avails not now — 

Thou art not here the beam to share. 
Through many a dark and dreary day, 

We journeyed on ‘midst grief and gloom; 

And now at length the cheering ray 

Breaks forth, it only gilds thy tomb. 
Our days of hope and youth are past, 

Our short-lived joys for ever flown; 

And now when Fortune smiles at last, 

She finds me cheerless, chilled — alone! 
Ah! no; too late the boon is given, 

Alike the frowns and smiles of Fate; 

The broken heart by sorrow riv’n, 

But murmurs now, ‘Too late! Too late!’ 

The Two MP’S – Richard Harris Barham

MAGAZINE PUBLISHER AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT) 
BEING A TRUE AND PARTICULAR ACCOUNT OF THE GRAND MILLING MATCH THAT DIDN’T TAKE PLACE 
SAYS Tom D– to F–r 

T’other morning, ‘I say, Sir, 

You’ve call’d me a Roué, a Dicer, and Racer, 

Now I’d have you to know, Sir, 

Such names are “No Go,” Sir; 

By Jove, Sir, I never knew anything grosser. 
‘And then Madame — 

Extremely distrest is 

At your calling her Lais — she’s more like Thalestris, 

As you’ll find, my fine joker, 

If once you provoke her, 

She’s a d–l if once she gets hold of a poker. 
‘For myself, to be candid, 

And not underhanded, 

I write thus to say I’ll be hang’d if I stand it. 

So give up the name 

Of the man or the dame 

Who has made this infernal attack on my fame, 

And recall what you’ve said of 

A man you’re afraid of, 

Or turn out, my Trump, and let’s see what you’re made of. 
‘I have “barkers” by Nock, Sir, 

With percussion locks, Sir, 

Will give you your gruel — hang me if I box, Sir, 

And I’ve sent my old Pal in, 

My “noble friend Allen,” 

To give you this here, and to stop your caballing!’ 
Then says F–r, says he, 

‘What a spoon you must be, 

Tommy D–, to send this here message to me: 

Why if I was to fight about 

What my friends write about, 

My life I should be in continual fright about! 
‘As to telling you, who 

Wrote that thing about you, 

One word’s worth a thousand — Blow me if I do! 

If you will be so gay, Sir, 

The people will say, Sir, 

That you are a Roué, and I’m 

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

Poem – The Merchant Of Venice,: A Legend Of Italy – Richard Harris Barham

Richard Harris Barham  1788 - 1845 , England

Richard Harris Barham
1788 – 1845 , England


I believe there are few 

But have heard of a Jew, 

Named Shylock, of Venice, as arrant a ‘screw’ 

In money transactions as ever you knew; 

An exorbitant miser, who never yet lent 

A ducat at less than three hundred per cent., 

Insomuch that the veriest spendthrift in Venice, 

Who’d take no more care of his pounds than his pennies, 

When press’d for a loan, at the very first sight 

Of his terms, would back out, and take refuge in Flight. 

It is not my purpose to pause and inquire 

If he might not, in managing thus to retire, 

Jump out of the frying-pan into the fire; 

Suffice it, that folks would have nothing to do, 

Who could possibly help it, with Shylock the Jew. 
But, however discreetly one cuts and contrives, 

We’ve been most of us taught in the course of our lives,

That ‘Needs must when the Elderly Gentleman drives!’ 

In proof of this rule, 

A thoughtless young fool, 

Bassanio, a Lord of the Tomnoddy school, 

Who, by showing at Operas, Balls, Plays, and Court, 

A ‘swelling’ (Payne Collier would read ‘swilling’) ‘port,’ 

And inviting his friends to dine, breakfast, and sup, 

Had shrunk his ‘weak means,’ and was ‘stump’d,’ and ‘hard up,’ 

Took occasion to send 

To his very good friend 

Antonio, a merchant whose wealth had no end, 

And who’d often before had the kindness to lend 

Him large sums, on his note, which he’d managed to spend. 
‘Antonio,’ said he, ‘Now listen to me; 

I’ve just hit on a scheme which, I think you’ll agree, 

All matters consider’d, is no bad design, 

And which, if it succeeds, will suit your book and mine. 

‘In the first place, you know all the money I’ve got, 

Time and often, from you has been long gone to pot, 

And in making those loans you have made a bad shot; 

Now do as the boys do when, shooting at sparrows 

And tom-tits, they chance to lose one of their arrows, 

— Shoot another the same way — I’ll watch well its track, 

And, turtle to tripe, I’ll bring both of them back! 

So list to my plan, 

And do what you can, 

To attend to and second it, that’s a good man! 
‘There’s a Lady, young, handsome, beyond all compare, at 

A place they call Belmont, whom, when I was there, at 

The suppers and parties my friend Lord Mountferrat 

Was giving last season, we all used to stare at, 

Then, as to her wealth, her solicitor told mine, 

Besides vast estates, a pearl fishery, and gold mine, 

Her iron strong box 

Seems bursting its locks, 

It’s stuffed so with shares in ‘Grand Junctions,’ and ‘Docks,’ 

Not to speak of the money’s she’s got in the stocks, 

French, Dutch, and Brazilian, Columbian, and Chilian, 

In English Exchequer-bills full half a million, 

Not ‘kites,’ manufactured to cheat and inveigle, 

But the right sort of ‘flimsy,’ all signed by Monteagle. 

Then I know not how much in Canal-shares and Railways 

And more speculations I need not detail, ways 

Of vesting which, if not so safe as some think’em, 

Contribute a deal to improving one’s income; 

In short, she’s a Mint! 

— Now I say, deuce is in’t 

If with all my experience, I can’t take a hint, 

And her ‘eye’s speechless messages,’ plainer than print

At the time that I told you of, know from a squint, 

In short, my dear Tony, 

My trusty old crony, 

Do stump up three thousand once more as a loan — I 

Am sure of my game — though, of course there are brutes, 

Of all sorts and sizes, preferring their suits 

To her you may call the Italian Miss Coutts, 

Yet Portia — she’s named from that daughter of Cato’s–

Is not to be snapp’d up like little potatoes, 

And I have not a doubt I shall rout every lout 

Ere you’ll whisper Jack Robinson — cut them all out — 

Surmount every barrier, Carry her, marry her! 

— Then hey! my old Tony, when once fairly noosed, 

For her Three-and-a-half per cents — New and Reduced!’ 
With a wink of his eye His friend made reply 

In his jocular manner, sly, caustic, and dry. 

‘Still the same boy, Bassanio — never say ‘die’! 

— Well — I hardly know how I shall do’t, but I’ll try.– 

Don’t suppose my affairs are at all in a hash, 

But the fact is, at present I’m quite out of cash; 

The bulk of my property, merged in rich cargoes, is 

Tossing about, as you know, in my Argosies, 

Tending, of course, my resources to cripple,– I 

‘ve one bound to England,– another to Tripoli– 

Cyprus — Masulipatam — and Bombay;– 

A sixth, by the way, I consigned t’other day 

To Sir Gregor M’Gregor, Cacique of Poyais, 

A country where silver’s as common as clay. 

Meantime, till they tack, And come, some of them, back, 

What with Custom-house duties, and bills falling due, 

My account with Jones Loyd and Co. looks rather blue; 

While, as for the ‘ready,’ I’m like a Church-mouse,– 

I really don’t think there’s five pounds in the house. 

But, no matter for that, 

Let me just get my hat, 

And my new silk umbrella that stands on the mat, 

And we’ll go forth at once to the market — we two,– 

And try what my credit in Venice can do; 

I stand well on ‘Change, and, when all’s said and done, I 

Don’t doubt I shall get it for love or for money.’ 
They were going to go, 

When, lo! down below, 

In the street, they heard somebody crying, ‘Old Clo’!’ 

–‘By the Pope, there’s the man for our purpose!– I knew 

We should not have to search long. Salanio, run you, 

— Salarino,– quick!– haste! ere he get out of view, 

And call in that scoundrel, old Shylock the Jew!’ 
With a pack, 

Like a sack 

Of old clothes at his back, 

And three hats on his head, Shylock came in a crack, 

Saying, ‘Rest you fair, Signior Antonio!– vat, pray, 

Might your vorship be pleashed for to vant in ma vay!’ 
–‘Why, Shylock, although, As you very well know, 

I am what they call ‘warm,’– pay my way as I go, 

And, as to myself, neither borrow nor lend, 

I can break through a rule to oblige an old friend; 

And that’s the case now — Lord Bassanio would raise 

Some three thousand ducats — well,– knowing your ways, 

And that nought’s to be got from you, say what one will,

Unless you’ve a couple of names to the bill, 

Why, for once, I’ll put mine to it, 

Yea, seal and sign to it — 

Now, then, old Sinner, let’s hear what you’ll say 

As to ‘doing’ a bill at three months from to-day? 

Three thousand gold ducats, mind — all in good bags 

Of hard money — no sealing-wax, slippers, or rags?’ 
‘– Vell, ma tear,’ says the Jew, ‘I’ll see vat I can do! 

But Mishter Antonio, hark you, ’tish funny 

You say to me, ‘Shylock, ma tear, ve’d have money!’ 

Ven you very vell knows, How you shpit on ma clothes, 

And use naughty vords — call me Dog — and avouch 

Dat I put too much int’resht py half in ma pouch, 

And vhile I, like de resht of ma tribe, shrug and crouch, 

You find fault mit ma pargains, and say I’m a Smouch. 

— Vell!–n o matters, ma tear,– Von vord in your ear! 

I’d be friends mit you bote — and to make dat appear, 

Vy, I’ll find you de monies as soon as you vill, 

Only von littel joke musht be put in de pill; 

Ma tear, you musht say, 

If on such and such day 

Such sum or such sums, you shall fail to repay, 

I shall cut vere I like, as de pargain is proke, 

A fair pound of your flesh — chest by vay of a joke.’ 
So novel a clause Caused Bassanio to pause; 

But Antonio, like most of those sage ‘Johnny Raws’ 

Who care not three straws 

About Lawyers or Laws, 

And think cheaply of ‘Old Father Antic,’ because 

They have never experienced a gripe from his claws, 

‘Pooh pooh’d’ the whole thing.–‘Let the Smouch have his way, 

Why, what care I, pray, 

For his penalty?– Nay, 

It’s a forfeit he’d never expect me to pay: 

And, come what come may, I hardly need say 

My ships will be back a full month ere the day.’ 

So, anxious to see his friend off on his journey, 

And thinking the whole but a paltry concern, he 

Affixed with all speed 

His name to a deed, 

Duly stamp’d and drawn up by a sharp Jew attorney. 

Thus again furnish’d forth, Lord Bassanio, instead 

Of squandering the cash, after giving one spread, 

With fiddling and masques, at the Saracen’s Head, 

In the morning ‘made play,’ And without more delay, 

Started off in the steam-boat for Belmont next day. 

But scarcely had he 

From the harbour got free, 

And left the Lagunes for the broad open sea, 

Ere the ‘Change and Rialto both rung with the news 

That he’d carried off more than mere cash from the Jew’s. 
Though Shylock was old, 

And, if rolling in gold, 

Was as ugly a dog as you’ wish to behold, 

For few in his tribe ‘mongst their Levis and Moseses, 

Sported so Jewish an eye, beard, and nose as his, 

Still, whate’er the opinion of Horace and some be, 

Your aquilæ generate sometimes Columbæ, 

Like Jephthah, as Hamlet says, he’d ‘one fair daughter,’

And every gallant, who caught sight of her, thought her,

A jewel — a gem of the very first water; 

A great many sought her, 

Till one at last caught her, 

And, upsetting all that the Rabbis had taught her, 

To feelings so truly reciprocal brought her, 

That the very same night Bassanio thought right 

To give all his old friends that farewell ‘invite,’ 

And while Shylock was gone there to feed out of spite, 

On ‘wings made by a tailor’ the damsel took flight. 
By these ‘wings’ I’d express 

A grey duffle dress, 

With brass badge and muffin cap, made, as by rule, 

For an upper-class boy in the National School. 

Jessy ransack’d the house, popp’d her breeks on, and when so 

Disguised, bolted off with her beau — one Lorenzo, 

An ‘Unthrift,’ who lost not a moment in whisking 

Her into the boat, 

And was fairly afloat 

Ere her Pa had got rid of the smell of the griskin. 

Next day, while old Shylock was making a racket, 

And threatening how well he’d dust every man’s jacket 

Who’d help’d her in getting aboard of the packet, 

Bassanio at Belmont was capering and prancing, 

And bowing, and scraping, and singing, and dancing, 

Making eyes at Miss Portia, and doing his best 

To perform the polite, and to cut out the rest; 

And, if left to herself, he, no doubt, had succeeded, 

For none of them waltz’d so genteelly as he did; 

But an obstacle lay, Of some weight, in his way, 

The defunct Mr. P. who was now turned to clay, 

Had been an odd man, and, though all for the best he meant, 

Left but a queer sort of ‘Last will and testament,’– 

Bequeathing her hand, 

With her houses and land, 

&c., from motives one don’t understand, 

As she rev’renced his memory, and valued his blessing,

To him who should turn out the best hand at guessing! 
Like a good girl, she did 

Just what she was bid, 

In one of three caskets her picture she hid, 

And clapp’d a conundrum a-top of each lid. 
A couple of Princes, a black and a white one, 

Tried first, but they both fail’d in choosing the right one. 

Another from Naples, who shoe’d his own horses; 

A French Lord, whose graces might vie with Count D’Orsay’s;– 

A young English Baron;– a Scotch Peer his neighbour;– 

A dull drunken Saxon, all moustache and sabre; 

All follow’d, and all had their pains for their labour. 

Bassanio came last — happy man be his dole! 

Put his conjuring cap on,– considered the whole,– 

The gold put aside as 

Mere ‘hard food for Midas,’ 

The silver bade trudge 

As a ‘pale common drudge;’ 

Then choosing the little lead box in the middle, 

Came plump on the picture, and found out the riddle. 
Now, you’re not such a goose as to think, I dare say, 

Gentle Reader, that all this was done in a day, 

Any more than the dome Of St. Peter’s at Rome 

Was built in the same space of time; and, in fact, 

Whilst Bassanio was doing 

His billing and cooing, 

Three months had gone by ere he reach’d the fifth act; 

Meanwhile that unfortunate bill became due, 

Which his Lordship had almost forgot, to the Jew, 

And Antonio grew In a deuce of a stew, 

For he could not cash up, spite of all he could do; 

(The bitter old Israelite would not renew,) 

What with contrary winds, storms, wrecks, and embargoes, his 

Funds were all stopp’d, or gone down in his argosies, 

None of the set having come into port, 

And Shylock’s attorney was moving the Court 

For the forfeit supposed to be set down in sport. 
The serious news 

Of this step of the Jew’s, 

And his fix’d resolution all terms to refuse, 

Gave the newly-made Bridegroom a fit of ‘the Blues,’ 

Especially, too, as it came from the pen 

Of his poor friend himself on the wedding-day,– then, 

When the Parson had scarce shut his book up, and when 

The Clerk was yet uttering the final Amen. 
‘Dear Friend,’ it continued, ‘all’s up with me — I 

Have nothing on earth now to do but to die! 

And, as death clears all scores, you’re no longer my debtor; 

I should take it as kind 

Could you come — never mind — 

If your love don’t persaude you, why,– don’t let this letter!’ 
I hardly need say this was scarcely read o’er 

Ere a post-chaise and four 

Was brought round to the door 

And Bassanio, though, doubtless, he thought it a bore, 

Gave his Lady one kiss, and then started at score. 

But scarce in his flight 

Had he got out of sight 

Ere Portia, addressing a groom, said, ‘My lad, you a 

Journey must take on the instant to Padua; 

Find out there Bellario,a Doctor of Laws, 

Who, like Follett, is never left out of a cause, 

And give him this note, 

Which I’ve hastily wrote, 

Take the papers he’ll give you — then push for the ferry 

Below, where I’ll meet you, you’ll do’t in a wherry, 

If you can’t find a boat on the Brenta with sails to it 

— Stay, bring his gown too, and wig with three tails to it.’
Giovanni (that’s Jack) 

Brought out his hack, 

Made a bow to his mistress, then jump’d on its back, 

Put his hand to his hat, and was off in a crack. 

The Signora soon follow’d herself, taking as her 

Own escort Nerissa her maid, and Balthasar. 

‘The Court is prepared, the Lawyers are met, 

The Judges all ranged, a terrible show!’ 

As Captain Macheath says,– and when one’s in debt, 

The sight’s as unpleasant a one as I know, 

Yet still not so bad after all, I suppose, 

As if, when one cannot discharge what one owes, 

They should bid people cut off one’s toes or one’s nose; 

Yet here, a worse fate, 

Stands Antonio, of late 

A Merchant, might vie e’en with Princes in state, 

With his waistcoat unbutton’d, prepared for the knife, 

Which, in taking a pound of flesh, must take his life; 

— On the other side Shylock, his bag on the floor, 

And three shocking bad hats on his head, as before, 

Imperturbable stands, 

As he waits their commands 

With his scales and his great snicker-snee in his hands:

— Between them, equipt in a wig, gown and bands, 

With a very smooth face, a young dandified Lawyer, 

Whose air, ne’ertheless, speaks him quite a top-sawyer, 

Though his hopes are but feeble, 

Does his possible 

To make the hard Hebrew to mercy incline, 

And in lieu of his three thousand ducats take nine, 

Which Bassanio, for reasons we well may divine, 

Shows in so many bags all drawn up in a line. 

But vain are all efforts to soften him — still 

He points to the bond He so often has conn’d, 

And says in plain terms he’ll be shot if he will. 

So the dandified Lawyer, with talking grown hoarse, 

Says, ‘I can say no more — let the law take its course.’ 
Just fancy the gleam of the eye of the Jew, 

As he sharpen’d his knife on the sole of his shoe 

From the toe to the heel, And grasping the steel, 

With a business-like air was beginning to feel 

Whereabouts he should cut, as a butcher would veal, 

When the dandified Judge puts a spoke in his wheel. 

‘Stay, Shylock,’ says he, Here’s one thing — you see 

This bond of yours gives you here no jot of blood! 

— The words are ‘A pound of flesh,’– that’s clear as mud — 

Slice away, then, old fellow — but mind!– if you spill 

One drop of his claret that’s not in your bill, 

I’ll hang you, like Haman?– By Jingo I will!’ 
When apprised of this flaw, You never yet saw 

Such an awfully mark’d elongation of jaw 

As in Shylock, who cried, ‘Plesh ma heart! ish dat law?’– 

Off went his three hats, 

And he look’d as the cats 

Do, whenever a mouse has escaped from their claw. 

‘– Ish’t the law?’– why the thing won’t admit of a query — 

‘No doubt of the fact, 

Only look at the act; 

Acto quinto, cap. tertio, Dogi Falieri — 

Nay, if, rather than cut, you’d relinquish the debt, 

The Law, Master Shy, has a hold on you yet. 

See Foscari’s ‘Statutes at large’–‘If a Stranger 

A Citizen’s life shall, with malice, endanger, 

The whole of his property, little or great, 

Shall go, on conviction, one half to the State, 

And one to the person pursued by his hate; 

And, not to create 

Any farther debate, 

The Doge, if he pleases, may cut off his pate.’ 

So down on your marrowbones, Jew, and ask mercy! 

Defendant and Plaintiff are now wisy wersy.’ 
What need to declare 

How pleased they all were 

At so joyful an end to so sad an affair? 

Or Bassanio’s delight at the turn things had taken, 

His friend having saved, to the letter, his bacon?– 

How Shylock got shaved, and turn’d Christian, though late, 

To save a life-int’rest in half his estate? 

How the dandified Lawyer, who’d managed the thing, 

Would not take any fee for his pains but a ring 

Which Mrs. Bassanio had given to her spouse, 

With injunctions to keep it on leaving the house?– 

How when he, and the spark 

Who appeared as his clerk, 

Had thrown off their wigs, and their gowns, and their jetty coats, 

There stood Nerissa and Portia in petticoats?– 

How they pouted, and flouted, and acted the cruel, 

Because Lord Bassanio had not kept his jewel?– 

How they scolded and broke out, 

Till having their joke out, 

They kissed, and were friends, and, all blessing and blessed, 

Drove home by the light 

Of a moonshiny night, 

Like the one in which Troilus, the brave Trojan knight, 

Sat astride on a wall, and sigh’d after his Cressid?– 
All this, if ’twere meet, 

I’d go on to repeat, 

But a story spun out so’s by no means a treat, 

So, I’ll merely relate what, in spite of the pains 

I have taken to rummage among his remains, 

No edition of Shakspeare, I’ve met with, contains; 

But, if the account which I’ve heard be the true one, 

We shall have it, no doubt, before long, in a new one. 
In an MS., then sold 

For its full weight in gold, 

And knock’d down to my friend, Lord Tomnoddy, I’m told 

It’s recorded that Jessy, coquettish and vain, 

Gave her husband, Lorenzo, a good deal of pain; 

Being mildly rebuked, she levanted again, 

Ran away with a Scotchman, and, crossing the main, 

Became known by the name of the ‘Flower of Dumblane.’ 
That Antonio, whose piety caused, as we’ve seen, 

Him to spit upon every old Jew’s gaberdine, 

And whose goodness to paint 

All colours were faint, 

Acquired the well-merited prefix of ‘Saint,’ 

And the Doge, his admirer, of honour the fount, 

Having given him a patent, and made him a Count, 

He went over to England, got nat’ralis’d there, 

And espous’d a rich heiress in Hanover Square. 
That Shylock came with him; no longer a Jew, 

But converted, I think may be possibly true, 

But that Walpole, as these self-same papers aver, 

By changing the y in his name into er, 

Should allow him a fictitious surname to dish up, 

And in Seventeen-twenty-eight make him a Bishop, 

I cannot believe–but shall still think them two men 

Till some Sage proves the fact ‘with his usual acumen.’ 

MORAL. 
From this tale of the Bard 

It’s uncommonly hard 

If an editor can’t draw a moral.–‘Tis clear, 

Then,– In ev’ry young wife-seeking Bachelor’s ear 

A maxim, ‘bove all other stories, this one drums, 

‘PITCH GREEK TO OLD HARRY, AND STICK TO CONUNDRUMS!!’ 
To new-married ladies this lesson it teaches, 

‘You’re “no that far wrong” in assuming the breeches!’ 
Monied men upon ‘Change, and rich Merchants it schools 

To look well to assets — nor play with edge tools! 

Last of all, this remarkable History shows men, 

What caution they need when they deal with old-clothesmen! 

So bid John and Mary 

To mind and be wary, 

And never let one of them come down the are’

Poem – The Tragedy – Richard Harris Barham 

Richard Harris Barham  1788 - 1845 , England

Richard Harris Barham
1788 – 1845 , England


Quæque ipse miserrima vidi.– VIRGIL. 

Catherine of Cleves was a Lady of rank, 

She had lands and fine houses, and cash in the Bank; 

She had jewels and rings, 

And a thousand smart things; 

Was lovely and young, 

With a rather sharp tongue, 

And she wedded a Noble of high degree 

With the star of the order of St. Esprit; 

But the Duke de Guise 

Was, by many degrees, 

Her senior, and not very easy to please; 

He’d a sneer on his lip, and a scowl with his eye, 

And a frown on his brow,– and he look’d like a Guy,– 

So she took to intriguing 

With Monsieur St. Megrin, 

A young man of fashion, and figure, and worth, 

But with no great pretensions to fortune or birth; 

He would sing, fence, and dance 

With the best man in France, 

And took his rappee with genteel nonchalance; 

He smiled, and he flatter’d, and flirted with ease, 

And was very superior to Monseigneur de Guise. 
Now Monsieur St. Megrin was curious to know 

If the Lady approved of his passion or no; 

So without more ado, 

He put on his surtout, 

And went to a man with a beard like a Jew. 

One Signor Ruggieri, 

A Cunning-man near, he 

Could conjure, tell fortunes, and calculate tides, 

Perform tricks on the cards, and Heaven knows what besides, 

Bring back a stray’d cow, silver ladle, or spoon, 

And was thought to be thick with the Man in the Moon. 

The Sage took his stand 

With his wand in his hand, 

Drew a circle, then gave the dread word of command, 

Saying solemnly –‘ Presto!– Hey, quick!– Cock-alorum!!’ 

When the Duchess immediately popped up before ’em. 
Just then a Conjunction of Venus and Mars, 

Or something peculiar above in the stars, 

Attracted the notice of Signor Ruggieri, 

Who ‘bolted,’ and left him alone with his deary.– 

Monsieur St. Megrin went down on his knees, 

And the Duchess shed tears large as marrow-fat peas, 

When,– fancy the shock,– 

A loud double-knock, 

Made the Lady cry ‘Get up, you fool!– there’s De Guise!’– 

‘Twas his Grace, sure enough; 

So Monsieur, looking bluff, 

Strutted by, with his hat on, and fingering his ruff, 

While, unseen by either, away flew the Dame 

Through the opposite key-hole, the same way she came; 

But, alack! and alas! 

A mishap came to pass, 

In her hurry she, somehow or other, let fall 

A new silk Bandana she’d worn as a shawl; 

She had used it for drying 

Her bright eyes while crying, 

And blowing her nose, as her Beau talk’d of ‘dying!’ 
Now the Duke, who had seen it so lately adorn her, 

And knew the great C with the Crown in the corner; 

The instant he spied it smoked something amiss, 

And said with some energy, ‘D– it! what’s this?’ 

He went home in a fume, 

And bounced into her room, 

Crying, ‘So, Ma’am, I find I’ve some cause to be jealous; 

Look here!– here’s a proof you run after the fellows! 

— Now take up that pen,– if it’s bad choose a better,– 

And write, as I dictate, this moment a letter 

To Monsieur — you know who!’ 

The Lady look’d blue; 

But replied with much firmness –‘ Hang me if I do!’ 

De Guise grasped her wrist 

With his great bony fist, 

And pinch’d it, and gave it so painful a twist, 

That his hard, iron gauntlet the flesh went an inch in,– 

She did not mind death, but she could not stand pinching; 

So she sat down and wrote 

This polite little note:– 

‘Dear Mister St. Megrin, 

The Chiefs of the League in 

Our house mean to dine 

This evening at nine; 

I shall, soon after ten, 

Slip away from the men, 

And you’ll find me up stairs in the drawing-room then; 

Come up the back way, or those impudent thieves 

Of Servants will see you; Yours, 

Catherine of Cleves.’ 

She directed and sealed it, all pale as a ghost, 

And De Guise put it into the Twopenny Post. 
St. Megrin had almost jumped out of his skin 

For joy that day when the post came in; 

He read the note through, 

Then began it anew, 

And thought it almost too good news to be true.– 

He clapped on his hat, 

And a hood over that, 

With a cloak to disguise him, and make him look fat; 

So great his impatience, from half after four 

He was waiting till Ten at De Guise’s back-door. 

When he heard the great clock of St. Genevieve chime 

He ran up the back staircase six steps at a time; 

He had scare made his bow, 

He hardly knew how, 

When alas! and alack! 

There was no getting back, 

For the drawing-room door was bang’d to with a whack;– 

In vain he applied 

To the handle and tried, 

Somebody or other had locked it outside! 

And the Duchess in agony mourn’d her mishap, 

‘We are caught like a couple of rats in a trap.’ 
Now the Duchess’s Page, 

About twelve years of age, 

For so little a boy was remarkably sage; 

And, just in the nick, to their joy and amazement, 

Popp’d the Gas-lighter’s ladder close under the casement. 

But all would not do,– 

Though St. Megrin got through 

The window,– below stood De Guise and his crew, 

And though never man was more brave than St. Megrin, 

Yet fighting a score is extremely fatiguing; 

He thrust carte and tierce 

Uncommonly fierce, 

But not Beelzebub’s self could their cuirasses pierce, 

While his doublet and hose, 

Being holiday clothes, 

Were soon cut through and through from his knees to his nose. 

Still an old crooked sixpence the Conjuror gave him 

From pistol and sword was sufficient to save him, 

But, when beat on his knees, 

That confounded De Guise 

Came behind with the ‘fogle’ that caused all this breeze, 

Whipp’d it tight round his neck, and, when backward he’d jerk’d him, 

The rest of the rascals jump’d on him and Burk’d him. 

The poor little Page too himself got no quarter, but 

Was served the same way, 

And was found the next day 

With his heels in the air and his head in the water-butt. 

Catherine of Cleves 

Roar’d ‘Murder!’ and ‘Thieves!’ 

From the window above 

While they murder’d her love; 

Till, finding the rogues had accomplish’d his slaughter, 

She drank Prussic acid without any water, 

And died like a Duke and a Duchess’s daughter! 

Moral. 

Take warning, ye Fair, from this tale of the Bard’s, 

And don’t go where fortunes are told on the cards! 

But steer clear of Conjurors,– never put query 

To ‘Wise Mrs. Williams,’ or folks like Ruggieri. 

When alone in your room shut the door close, and lock it; 

Above all,– keep your handkerchief safe in your pocket! 

Lest you too should stumble, and Lord Leveson Gower, he 

Be call’d on,– sad poet!– to tell your sad story

Poem – The Ghost – Richard Harris Barham 

Richard Harris Barham  1788 - 1845 , England

Richard Harris Barham
1788 – 1845 , England


There stands a City,– neither large nor small, 

Its air and situation sweet and pretty; 

It matters very little — if at all — 

Whether its denizens are dull or witty, 

Whether the ladies there are short or tall, 

Brunettes or blondes, only, there stands a city!– 

Perhaps ’tis also requisite to minute 

That there’s a Castle and a Cobbler in it. 
A fair Cathedral, too, the story goes, 

And kings and heroes lie entomb’d within her; 

There pious Saints, in marble pomp repose, 

Whose shrines are worn by knees of many a Sinner; 

There, too, full many an Aldermanic nose 

Roll’d its loud diapason after dinner; 

And there stood high the holy sconce of Becket, 

— Till four assassins came from France to crack it. 
The Castle was a huge and antique mound, 

Proof against all th’ artillery of the quiver, 

Ere those abominable guns were found 

To send cold lead through gallant warrior’s liver. 

It stands upon a gently rising ground, 

Sloping down gradually to the river, 

Resembling (to compare great things with smaller), 

A well-scooped, mouldy Stilton cheese,– but taller. 
The Keep, I find, ‘s been sadly alter’d lately, 

And, ‘stead of mail-clad knights, of honour jealous, 

In martial panoply so grand and stately, 

Its walls are fill’d with money-making fellows, 

And stuff’d, unless I’m misinformed greatly, 

With leaden pipes, and coke, and coals, and bellows; 

In short, so great a change has come to pass, 

‘Tis now a manufactory of Gas. 
But to my tale.– Before this profanation, 

And ere its ancient glories were cut short all, 

A poor hard-working Cobbler took his station 

In a small house, just opposite the portal; 

His birth, his parentage, and education, 

I know but little of — a strange, odd mortal; 

His aspect, air, and gait, were all ridiculous; 

His name was Mason — he’d been christen’d Nicholas. 
Nick had a wife possessed of many a charm, 

And of the Lady Huntingdon persuasion; 

But, spite of all her piety, her arm 

She’d sometimes exercise when in a passion; 

And, being of a temper somewhat warm, 

Would now and then seize, upon small occasion, 

A stick, or stool, or anything that round did lie, 

And baste her lord and master most confoundedly. 
No matter!–’tis a thing that’s not uncommon, 

‘Tis what we have all heard, and most have read of,– 

I mean, a bruizing, pugilistic woman, 

Such as I own I entertain a dread of, 

— And so did Nick, whom sometimes there would come on 

A sort of fear his spouse might knock his head off, 

Demolish half his teeth, or drive a rib in, 

She shone so much in ‘facers’ and in ‘fibbing.’ 
‘There’s time and place for all things,’ said a sage, 

(King Solomon, I think,) and this I can say, 

Within a well-roped ring, or on a stage, 

Boxing may be a very pretty Fancy, 

When Messrs. Burke or Bendigo engage; 

–‘ Tis not so well in Susan, Jane, or Nancy;– 

To get well mill’d by any one’s an evil, 

But by a lady –‘ tis the very Devil. 
And so thought Nicholas, whose only trouble 

(At least his worst) was this his rib’s propensity, 

For sometimes from the alehouse he would hobble, 

His senses lost in a sublime immensity 

Of cogitation — then he couldn’t cobble — 

And then his wife would often try the density 

Of his poor skull, and strike with all her might, 

As fast as kitchen wenches strike a light. 
Mason, meek soul, who ever hated strife, 

Of this same striking had the utmost dread, 

He hated it like poison — or his wife — 

A vast antipathy!– but so he said — 

And very often for a quiet life 

On these occasions he’d sneak up to bed, 

Grope darkling in, and, soon as at the door 

He heard his lady — he’d pretend to snore. 
One night, then, ever partial to society, 

Nick, with a friend (another jovial fellow), 

Went to a Club — I should have said Society — 

At the ‘City Arms,’ once called the Porto Bello; 

A Spouting party, which, though some decry it, I 

Consider no bad lounge when one is mellow; 

There they discuss the tax on salt, and leather, 

And change of ministers, and change of weather. 
In short, it was a kind of British Forum, 

Like John Gale Jones’s, erst in Piccadilly, 

Only they managed things with more decorum, 

And the Orations were not quite so silly; 

Far different questions, too, would come before ’em, 

Not always Politics, which, will ye nill ye, 

Their London prototypes were always willing, 

To give one quantum suff. of — for a shilling. 
It more resembled one of later date, 

And tenfold talent, as I’m told, in Bow Street, 

Where kindlier natured souls do congregate, 

And, though there are who deem that same a low street, 

Yet, I’m assured, for frolicsome debate 

And genuine humour it’s surpaass’d by no street, 

When the ‘Chief Baron’ enters, and assumes 

To ‘rule’ o’er mimic ‘Thesigers’ and ‘Broughams.’ 
Here they would oft forget their Rulers’ faults, 

And waste in ancient lore the midnight taper, 

Inquire if Orpheus first produced the Waltz, 

How Gas-lights differ from the Delphic Vapour, 

Whether Hippocrates gave Glauber’s Salts, 

And what the Romans wrote on ere they’d paper; 

This night the subject of their disquisitions 

Was Ghosts, Hobgoblins, Sprites, and Apparitions. 
One learned gentleman, ‘a sage grave man,’ 

Talk’d of the Ghost in Hamlet, ‘sheath’d in steel;’– 

His well-read friend, who next to speak began, 

Said, ‘That was Poetry, and nothing real;’ 

A third, of more extensive learning, ran 

To Sir George Villiers’ Ghost, and Mrs. Veal; 

Of sheeted Spectres spoke with shorten’d breath, 

And thrice he quoted ‘Drelincourt on Death.’ 
Nick smoked, and smoked, and trembled as he heard 

The point discuss’d, and all they said upon it, 

How, frequently, some murder’d man appear’d, 

To tell his wife and children who had done it; 

Or how a Miser’s ghost, with grisly beard, 

And pale lean visage, in an old Scotch bonnet, 

Wander’d about, to watch his buried money! 

When all at once Nick heard the clock strike one,– he 
Sprang from his seat, not doubting but a lecture 

Impended from his fond and faithful she; 

Nor could he well to pardon him expect her, 

For he had promised to ‘be home to tea;’ 

But having luckily the key o’ the back door, 

He fondly hoped that, unperceived, he 

Might creep up stairs again, pretend to doze, 

And hoax his spouse with music from his nose. 
Vain, fruitless hope!– The weary sentinel 

At eve may overlook the crouching foe, 

Till, ere his hand can sound the alarum-bell, 

He sinks beneath the unexpected blow; 

Before the whiskers of Grimalkin fell, 

When slumb’ring on her post, the mouse may go;– 

But woman, wakeful woman, ‘s never weary, 

— Above all, when she waits to thump her deary. 
Soon Mrs. Mason heard the well known tread, 

She heard the key slow creaking in the door, 

Spied, through the gloom obscure, towards the bed 

Nick creeping soft, as oft he had crept before; 

When bang, she threw a something at his head, 

And Nick at once lay prostrate on the floor; 

While she exclaim’d, with her indignant face on,– 

‘How dare you use your wife so, Mr. Mason?’ 
Spare we to tell how fiercely she debated, 

Especially the length of her oration,– 

Spare we to tell how Nick expostulated, 

Roused by the bump into a good set passion, 

So great, that more than once he execrated, 

Ere he crawl’d into bed in his usual fashion; 

The Muses hate brawls; suffice it then to say, 

He duck’d below the clothes — and there he lay! 
‘Twas now the very witching time of night, 

When churchyards groan, and graves give up their dead, 

And many a mischievous enfranchised Sprite 

Had long since burst his bonds of stone or lead, 

And hurried off, with schoolboy-like delight, 

To play his pranks near some poor wretch’s bed, 

Sleeping perhaps serenely as a porpoise, 

Nor dreaming of this fiendish Habeas Corpus. 
Not so our Nicholas, his meditations 

Still to the same tremendous theme recurr’d, 

The same dread subject of the dark narrations, 

Which, back’d with such authority, he’d heard; 

Lost in his own horrific contemplations, 

He ponder’d o’er each well-remember’d word; 

When at the bed’s foot, close beside the post, 

He verily believed he saw — a Ghost! 
Plain, and more plain, the unsubstantial Sprite 

To his astonish’d gaze each moment grew; 

Ghastly and gaunt, it rear’d its shadowy height, 

Of more than mortal seeming to the view, 

And round its long, thin, bony fingers drew 

A tatter’d winding-sheet, of course all white; 

The moon that moment peeping through a cloud, 

Nick very plainly saw it through the shroud! 
And now those matted locks, which never yet 

Had yielded to the comb’s unkind divorce, 

Their long-contracted amity forget, 

And spring asunder with elastic force; 

Nay, e’en the very cap, of texture coarse, 

Whose ruby cincture crown’d that brow of jet, 

Uprose in agony — the Gorgon’s head 

Was but a type of Nick’s up-squatting in the bed. 
From every pore distill’d a clammy dew, 

Quaked every limb,– the candle, too, no doubt, 

En règle, would have burnt extremely blue, 

But Nick unluckily had put it out; 

And he, though naturally bold and stout, 

In short, was in a most tremendous stew;– 

The room was filled with a sulphureous smell, 

But where that came from Mason could not tell. 
All motionless the Spectre stood, and now 

Its rev’rend form more clearly shone confest; 

From the pale cheek a beard of purest snow 

Descended o’er its venerable breast; 

The thin grey hairs, that crown’d its furrow’d brow, 

Told of years long gone by.– An awful guest 

It stood, and with an action of command, 

Beckon’d the Cobbler with its wan right hand. 
‘Whence, and what art thou, Execrable Shape?’ 

Nick might have cried, could he have found a tongue, 

But his distended jaws could only gape, 

And not a sound upon the welkin rung; 

His gooseberry orbs seem’d as they would have sprung

Forth from their sockets,– like a frighten’d Ape, 

He sat upon his haunches, bolt upright, 

And shook, and grinn’d, and chatter’d with affright. 
And still the shadowy finger, long and lean, 

Now beckon’d Nick, now pointed to the door; 

And many an ireful glance, and frown, between, 

The angry visage of the Phantom wore, 

As if quite vex’d that Nick would do no more 

Than stare, without e’en asking, ‘What d’ye mean?’ 

Because, as we are told,– a sad old joke too,– 

Ghosts, like the ladies, never speak till spoke to. 
Cowards, ’tis said, in certain situations, 

Derive a sort of courage from despair, 

And then perform, from downright desperation, 

Much more than many a bolder man would dare. 

Nick saw the Ghost was getting in a passion, 

And therefore, groping till he found the chair, 

Seized on his awl, crept softly out of bed, 

And follow’d quaking where the Spectre led. 
And down the winding-stair, with noiseless tread, 

The tenant of the tomb pass’d slowly on, 

Each mazy turning of the humble shed 

Seem’d to his step at once familiar grown, 

So safe and sure the labyrinth did he tread 

As though the domicile had been his own, 

Though Nick himself, in passing through the shop, 

Had almost broke his nose against the mop. 
Despite its wooden bolt, with jarring sound, 

The door upon its hinges open flew; 

And forth the Spirit issued,– yet around 

It turn’d as if its follower’s fears it knew, 

And, once more beckoning, pointed to the mound, 

The antique Keep, on which the bright moon threw 

With such effulgence her mild silvery gleam, 

The visionary form seem’d melting in her beam. 
Beneath a pond’rous archway’s sombre shade, 

Where once the huge portcullis swung sublime, 

Mid ivied battlements in ruin laid, 

Sole, sad memorials of the olden time, 

The Phantom held its way,– and though afraid 

Even of the owls that sung their vesper chime, 

Pale Nicholas pursued, its steps attending, 

And wondering what on earth it all would end in. 
Within the mouldering fabric’s deep recess 

At length they reach a court obscure and lone;– 

It seem’d a drear and desolate wilderness, 

The blacken’d walls with ivy all o’ergrown; 

The night-bird shriek’d her note of wild distress, 

Disturb’d upon her solitary throne, 

As though indignant mortal step should dare, 

So led, at such an hour, to venture there! 
— The Apparition paused, and would have spoke, 

Pointing to what Nick thought an iron ring, 

But then a neighbouring chaunticleer awoke, 

And loudly ‘gan his early matins sing; 

And then ‘it started like a guilty thing,’ 

As his shrill clarion the silence broke. 

— We know how much dead gentlefolks eschew 

The appalling sound of ‘Cock-a-doodle-do!’ 
The Vision was no more — and Nick alone — 

‘His streamers waving’ in the midnight wind, 

Which through the ruins ceased not to groan; 

— His garment, too, was somewhat short behind,– 

And, worst of all, he knew not where to find 

The ring, which made him most his fate bemoan.– 

The iron ring,– no doubt of some trap door, 

‘Neath which the old dead Miser kept his store. 
‘What’s to be done?’ he cried; ”Twere vain to stay 

Here in the dark without a single clue — 

Oh for a candle now, or moonlight ray! 

‘Fore George, I’m vastly puzzled what to do.’ 

(Then clapp’d his hand behind) –‘ ‘Tis chilly too — 

I’ll mark the spot, and come again by day. 

What can I mark it by?– Oh, here’s the wall — 

The mortar’s yielding — here I’ll stick my awl!’ 
Then rose from earth to sky a withering shriek, 

A loud, a long-protracted note of woe, 

Such as when tempests roar, and timbers creak, 

And o’er the side the masts in thunder go; 

While on the deck resistless billows break, 

And drag their victims to the gulfs below;– 

Such was the scream when, for the want of candle, 

Nick Mason drove his awl in up to the handle. 
Scared by his Lady’s heart-appalling cry, 

Vanish’d at once poor Mason’s golden dream — 

For dream it was;– and all his visions high, 

Of wealth and grandeur, fled before that scream — 

And still he listens with averted eye, 

When gibing neighbours make ‘the Ghost’ their theme; 

While ever from that hour they all declare 

That Mrs. Mason used a cushion in her chair

Poem – To Late –  Richard Harris Barham

To LateToo late! though flowerets round me blow, 

And clearing skies shine bright and fair; 

Their genial warmth avails not now — 

Thou art not here the beam to share. 
Through many a dark and dreary day, 

We journeyed on ‘midst grief and gloom; 

And now at length the cheering ray 

Breaks forth, it only gilds thy tomb. 
Our days of hope and youth are past, 

Our short-lived joys for ever flown; 

And now when Fortune smiles at last, 

She finds me cheerless, chilled — alone! 
Ah! no; too late the boon is given, 

Alike the frowns and smiles of Fate; 

The broken heart by sorrow riv’n, 

But murmurs now, ‘Too late! Too late!’

Poem – Manipulation – Richard  Harris Barham 

Oh, my head! my head! my head! 

Lack! for my poor unfortunate head! 

Mister de Ville 

Has been to feel, 

And what do you think he said? 

He felt it up, and he felt it down, 

Behind the ears, and across the crown, 

Sinciput, occiput, great and small, 

Bumps and organs, he tickled ’em all; 

And he shook his own, as he gravely said, 

‘Sir, you really have got a most singular head! 
‘Why here’s a bump, 

Only feel what a lump; 

Why the organ of “Sound” is an absolute hump; 

And only feel here, 

Why, behind each ear, 

There’s a bump for a butcher or a bombardier; 

Such organs of slaughter 

Would spill blood like water; 

Such “lopping and topping” of heads and of tails, 

Why, you’ll cut up a jackass with Alderman S–.’ 

[Caetera desunt.]

Poem – The Witch’s Frolic – Richard Harris Barham

[Scene, the ‘Snuggery’ at Tappington.– Grandpapa in a high-backed cane-bottomed elbow-chair of carved walnut-tree, dozing; his nose at an angle of forty-five degrees,–his thumbs slowly perform the rotatory motion described by lexicographers as ‘twiddling.’–The ‘Hope of the family’ astride on a walking-stick, with burnt-cork mustachios, and a pheasant’s tail pinned in his cap, solaceth himself with martial music.– Roused by a strain of surpassing dissonance, Grandpapa Loquitur. ] 

Come hither, come hither, my little boy Ned! 

Come hither unto my knee– 

I cannot away with that horrible din, 

That sixpenny drum, and that trumpet of tin. 

Oh, better to wander frank and free 

Through the Fair of good Saint Bartlemy, 

Than list to such awful minstrelsie. 

Now lay, little Ned, those nuisances by, 

And I’ll rede ye a lay of Grammarye. 
[Grandpapa riseth, yawneth like the crater of an extinct volcano, proceedeth slowly to the window, and apostrophizeth the Abbey in the distance.] 
I love thy tower, Grey Ruin, 

I joy thy form to see, 

Though reft of all, 

Cell, cloister, and hall, 

Nothing is left save a tottering wall, 

That, awfully grand and darkly dull, 

Threaten’d to fall and demolish my skull, 

As, ages ago, I wander’d along 

Careless thy grass-grown courts among, 

In sky-blue jacket and trowsers laced, 

The latter uncommonly short in the waist. 

Thou art dearer to me, thou Ruin grey, 

Than the Squire’s verandah over the way; 

And fairer, I ween, 

The ivy sheen 

That thy mouldering turret binds, 

Than the Alderman’s house about half a mile off, 

With the green Venetian blinds. 
Full many a tale would my Grandam tell, 

In many a bygone day, 

Of darksome deeds, which of old befell 

In thee, thou Ruin grey! 

And I the readiest ear would lend, 

And stare like frighten’d pig; 

While my Grandfather’s hair would have stood up an end, 

Had he not worn a wig. 
One tale I remember of mickle dread– 

Now lithe and listen, my little boy Ned! 
Thou mayest have read, my little boy Ned, 

Though thy mother thine idlesse blames, 

In Doctor Goldsmith’s history book, 

Of a gentleman called King James, 

In quilted doublet, and great trunk breeches, 

Who held in abhorrence tobacco and witches. 
Well,– in King James’s golden days,– 

For the days were golden then,– 

They could not be less, for good Queen Bess 

Had died aged threescore and ten, 

And her days, we know, 

Were all of them so; 

While the Court poets sung, and the Court gallants swore 

That the days were as golden still as before. 
Some people, ’tis true, a troublesome few, 

Who historical points would unsettle, 

Have lately thrown out a sort of a doubt 

Of the genuine ring of the metal; 

But who can believe to a monarch so wise 

People would dare tell a parcel of lies? 
— Well, then, in good King James’s days,– 

Golden or not does not matter a jot,– 

Yon ruin a sort of a roof had got; 

For though, repairs lacking, its walls had been cracking 

Since Harry the Eighth sent its friars a-packing, 

Though joists, and floors, 

And windows, and doors 

Had all disappear’d, yet pillars by scores 

Remain’d, and still propp’d up a ceiling or two, 

While the belfry was almost as good as new; 

You are not to suppose matters look’d just so 

In the Ruin some two hundred years ago. 
Just in that farthermost angle, where 

You see the remains of a winding-stair, 

One turret especially high in air 

Uprear’d its tall gaunt form; 

As if defying the power of Fate, or 

The hand of ‘Time the Innovator;’ 

And though to the pitiless storm 

Its weaker brethren all around 

Bowing, in ruin had strew’d the ground, 

Alone it stood, while its fellows lay strew’d, 

Like a four-bottle man in a company ‘screw’d,’ 

Not firm on his legs, but by no means subdued. 
One night –‘ twas in Sixteen hundred and six — 

I like when I can, Ned, the date to fix,– 

The month was May, 

Though I can’t well say 

At this distance of time the particular day — 

But oh! that night, that horrible night! 

Folks ever afterwards said with affright 

That they never had seen such a terrible sight. 
The Sun had gone down fiery red; 

And if that evening he laid his head 

In Thetis’s lap beneath the seas, 

He must have scalded the goddess’s knees. 

He left behind him a lurid track 

Of blood-red light upon clouds so black, 

That Warren and Hunt, with the whole of their crew, 

Could scarcely have given them a darker hue. 
There came a shrill and a whistling sound, 

Above, beneath, beside, and around, 

Yet leaf ne’er moved on tree! 

So that some people thought old Beelzebub must 

Have been lock’d out of doors, and was blowing the dust 

From the pipe of his street-door key. 
And then a hollow moaning blast 

Came, sounding more dismally still than the last, 

And the lightning flash’d, and the thunder growl’d, 

And louder and louder the tempest howl’d, 

And the rain came down in such sheets as would stagger a 

Bard for a simile short of Niagara. 
Rob Gilpin ‘was a citizen;’ 

But, though of some ‘renown,’ 

Of no great ‘credit’ in his own, 

Or any other town. 
He was a wild and roving lad, 

For ever in the alehouse boozing; 

Or romping,– which is quite as bad,– 

With female friends of his own choosing. 
And Rob this very day had made, 

Not dreaming such a storm was brewing, 

An assignation with Miss Slade,– 

Their trysting-place this same grey Ruin. 
But Gertrude Slade became afraid, 

And to keep her appointment unwilling, 

When she spied the rain on her window-pane 

In drops as big as a shilling; 

She put off her hat and her mantle again,– 

‘He’ll never expect me in all this rain!’ 
But little he recks of the fears of the sex, 

Or that maiden false to her tryst could be, 

He had stood there a good half hour 

Ere yet commenced that perilous shower, 

Alone by the trysting-tree! 
Robin looks east, Robin looks west, 

But he sees not her whom he loves the best; 

Robin looks up, and Robin looks down, 

But no one comes from the neighbouring town. 
The storm came at last, loud roar’d the blast, 

And the shades of evening fell thick and fast; 

The tempest grew; and the straggling yew, 

His leafy umbrella, was wet through and through; 

Rob was half dead with cold and with fright, 

When he spies in the ruins a twinkling light — 

A hop, two skips, and a jump, and straight 

Rob stands within that postern gate. 
And there were gossips sitting there, 

By one, by two, by three: 

Two were an old ill-favour’d pair; 

But the third was young, and passing fair, 

With laughing eyes and with coal-black hair; 

A daintie quean was she! 

Rob would have given his ears to sip 

But a single salute from her cherry lip. 
As they sat in that old and haunted room, 

In each one’s hand was a huge birch broom, 

On each one’s head was a steeple-crown’d hat, 

On each one’s knee was a coal-black cat; 

Each had a kirtle of Lincoln green — 

It was, I trow, a fearsome scene. 
‘Now riddle me, riddle me right, Madge Gray, 

What foot unhallow’d wends this way? 

Goody Price, Goody Price, now areed me aright, 

Who roams the old ruins this drearysome night?’ 
Then up and spake that sonsie quean, 

And she spake both loud and clear: 

‘Oh, be it for weal, or be it for woe, 

Enter friend, or enter foe, 

Rob Gilpin is welcome here!– 
‘Now tread we a measure! a hall! a hall! 

Now tread we a measure,’ quoth she — 

The heart of Robin 

Beat thick and throbbing — 

‘Roving Rob, tread a measure with me!’– 

‘Ay, lassie!’ quoth Rob, as her hand he gripes, 

‘Though Satan himself were blowing the pipes!’ 
Now around they go, and around, and around, 

With hop-skip-and-jump, and frolicsome bound, 

Such sailing and gilding, 

Such sinking and sliding, 

Such lofty curvetting, 

And grand pirouetting; 

Ned, you would swear that Monsieur Gilbert 

And Miss Taglioni were capering there! 
And oh! such awful music!– ne’er 

Fell sounds so uncanny on mortal ear, 

There were the tones of a dying man’s groans 

Mix’d with the rattling of dead men’s bones: 

Had you heard the shrieks, and the squeals, and the squeaks, 

You’d not have forgotten the sound for weeks. 
And around, and around, and around they go, 

Heel to heel, and toe to toe, 

Prance and caper, curvet and wheel, 

Toe to toe, and heel to heel. 

”Tis merry, ’tis merry, Cummers, I trow, 

To dance thus beneath the nightshade bough!’– 
‘Goody Price, Goody Price, now riddle me right, 

Where may we sup this frolicsome night?’– 

‘Mine Host of the Dragon hath mutton and veal! 

The Squire hath partridge, and widgeon, and teal; 

But old Sir Thopas hath daintier cheer, 

A pasty made of the good red deer, 

A huge grouse pie, and a fine Florentine, 

A fat roast goose, and a turkey and chine.’– 

–‘Madge Gray, Madge Gray, 

Now tell me, I pray, 

Where’s the best wassail bowl to our roundelay?’ 
‘– There is ale in the cellars of Tappington Hall, 

But the Squire is a churl, and his drink is small; 

Mine host of the Dragon 

Hath many a flaggon 

Of double ale, lamb’s-wool, and eau de vie, 

But Sir Thopas, the Vicar, 

Hath costlier liquor,– 

A butt of the choicest Malvoisie. 

He doth not lack 

Canary or Sack; 

And a good pint stoup of Clary wine 

Smacks merrily off with a Turkey and Chine!’ 
‘Now away! and away! without delay, 

Hey Cockalorum! my Broomstick gay, 

We must be back ere the dawn of the day: 

Hey up the chimney! away! away!’– 

Old Goody Price 

Mounts in a trice, 

In showing her legs she is not over nice; 

Old Goody Jones, 

All skin and bones, 

Follows ‘like winking.’ Away go the crones, 

Knees and nose in a line with the toes, 

Sitting their brooms like so many Ducrows; 

Latest and last 

The damsel pass’d, 

One glance of her coal-black eye she cast; 

She laugh’d with glee loud laughters three, 

‘Dost fear, Rob Gilpin, to ride with me!’– 

Oh, never might man unscath’d espy 

One single glance from that coal-black eye. 

— Away she flew!– 

Without more ado 

Rob seizes and mounts on a broomstick too, 

‘Hey! up the chimney, lass! Hey after you!’ 
It’s a very fine thing on a fine day in June 

To ride through the air in a Nassau Balloon; 

But you’ll find very soon, if you aim at the Moon 

In a carriage like that you’re a bit of a ‘Spoon,’ 

For the largest can’t fly 

Above twenty miles high, 

And you’re not half way then on your journey, nor nigh; 

While no man alive 

Could ever contrive, 

Mr. Green has declared, to get higher than five. 

And the soundest Philosophers hold that, perhaps, 

If you reach’d twenty miles your balloon would collapse,

Or pass by such action 

The sphere of attraction, 

Getting into the track of some comet — Good-lack! 

‘Tis a thousand to one that you’d never come back; 

And the boldest of mortals a danger like that must fear, 

And be cautious of getting beyond our own atmosphere. 

No, no; when I try 

A trip to the sky, 

I shan’t go in that thing of yours, Mr. Gye, 

Though Messieurs Monk Mason, and Spencer, and Beazly, 

All join in saying it travels so easily. 

No; there’s nothing so good 

As a pony of wood — 

Not like that which, of late, they stuck up on the gate 

At the end of the Park, which caused so much debate, 

And gave so much trouble to make it stand straight,– 

But a regular Broomstick — you’ll find that the favourite,– 

Above all, when, like Robin, you haven’t to pay for it. 

— Stay — really I dread 

I am losing the thread 

Of my tale; and it’s time you should be in your bed, 

So lithe now, and listen, my little boy Ned! 
The Vicarage walls are lofty and thick, 

And the copings are stone, and the sides are brick, 

The casements are narrow, and bolted and barr’d, 

And the stout oak door is heavy and hard; 

Moreover, by way of additional guard, 

A great big dog runs loose in the yard, 

And a horse-shoe is nail’d on the threshold sill,– 

To keep out aught that savours of ill,– 

But, alack! the chimney-pot’s open still! 

— That great big dog begins to quail, 

Between his hind-legs he drops his tail, 

Crouch’d on the ground, the terrified hound 

Gives vent to a very odd sort of a sound; 

It is not a bark, loud, open, and free, 

As an honest old watch-dog’s bark should be; 

It is not a yelp, it is not a growl, 

But a something between a whine and a howl; 

And, hark!–a sound from the window high 

Responds to the watch-dog’s pitiful cry: 

It is not a moan, 

It is not a groan; 

It comes from a nose,– but is not what a nose 

Produces in healthy and sound repose. 

Yet Sir Thopas the Vicar is fast asleep, 

And his respirations are heavy and deep! 
He snores, ’tis true, but he snores no more 

As he’s aye been accustom’d to snore before, 

And as men of his kidney are wont to snore;– 

(Sir Thopas’s weight is sixteen stone four 

He draws his breath like a man distress’d 

By pain or grief, or like one oppress’d 

By some ugly old Incubus perch’d on his breast. 

A something seems 

To disturb his dreams, 

And thrice on his ear, distinct and clear, 

Falls a voice as of somebody whispering near 

In still small accents, faint and few, 

‘Hey down the chimney-pot!–Hey after you!’ 
Throughout the Vicarage, near and far, 

There is no lack of bolt or of bar, 

Plenty of locks 

To closet and box, 

Yet the pantry wicket is standing ajar! 

And the little low door, through which you must go, 

Down some half-dozen steps, to the cellar below, 

Is also unfasten’d, though no one may know, 

By so much as a guess, how it comes to be so; 

For wicket and door, 

The evening before, 

Were both of them lock’d, and the key safely placed 

On the bunch that hangs down from the Housekeeper’s waist. 
Oh! ’twas a jovial sight to view 

In that snug little cellar that frolicsome crew!– 

Old Goody Price 

Had got something nice, 

A turkey-poult larded with bacon and spice;– 

Old Goody Jones 

Would touch nought that had bones,– 

She might just as well mumble a parcel of stones. 

Goody Jones, in sooth, had got never a tooth, 

And a New-College pudding of marrow and plums 

Is the dish of all others that suiteth her gums. 
Madge Gray was picking 

The breast of a chicken, 

Her coal-black eye, with its glance so sly, 

Was fixed on Rob Gilpin himself, sitting by 

With his heart full of love, and his mouth full of pie; 

Grouse pie, with hare 

In the middle, is fare 

Which, duly concocted with science and care, 

Doctor Kitchener says, is beyond all compare; 

And a tenderer leveret 

Robin had never ate; 

So, in after times, oft he was wont to asseverate. 

‘Now pledge we the wine-cup!–a health! a health! 

Sweet are the pleasures obtain’d by stealth! 

Fill up! fill up!– the brim of the cup 

Is the part that aye holdeth the toothsomest sup! 

Here’s to thee, Goody Price! Goody Jones, to thee! 

To thee, Roving Rob! and again to me! 

Many a sip, never a slip 

Come to us four ‘twixt the cup and the lip!’ 
The cups pass quick, 

The toasts fly thick, 

Rob tries in vain out their meaning to pick, 

But hears the words ‘Scratch,’ and ‘Old Bogey,’ and ‘Nick.’ 

More familiar grown, 

Now he stands up alone, 

Volunteering to give them a toast of his own. 

‘A bumper of wine! 

Fill thine! Fill mine! 

Here’s a health to old Noah who planted the Vine!’ 

Oh then what sneezing, 

What coughing and wheezing, 

Ensued in a way that was not over pleasing! 

Goody Price, Goody Jones, and the pretty Madge Gray,

All seem’d as their liquor had gone the wrong way. 
But the best of the joke was, the moment he spoke 

Those words which the party seem’d almost to choke, 

As by mentioning Noah some spell had been broke, 

Every soul in the house at that instant awoke! 

And, hearing the din from barrel and bin, 

Drew at once the conclusion that thieves had got in. 

Up jump’d the Cook and caught hold of her spit; 

Up jump’d the Groom and took bridle and bit; 

Up jump’d the Gardener and shoulder’d his spade; 

Up jump’d the Scullion,– the Footman,– the Maid; 

(The two last, by the way, occasion’d some scandal, 

By appearing together with only one candle, 

Which gave for unpleasant surmises some handle 

Up jump’d the Swineherd,– and up jump’d the big boy, 

A nondescript under him, acting as pig boy; 

Butler, Housekeeper, Coachman — from bottom to top 

Everybody jump’d up without parley or stop, 

With the weapon which first in their way chanced to drop,– 

Whip, warming-pan, wig-block, mug, musket and mop. 
Last of all doth appear, 

With some symptoms of fear, 

Sir Thopas in person to bring up the rear, 

In a mix’d kind of costume, half Pontificalibus, 

Half what scholars denominate Pure Naturalibus; 

Nay, the truth to express, 

As you’ll easily guess, 

They have none of them time to attend much to dress; 

But He or She, 

As the case may be, 

He or She seizes what He or She pleases, 

Trunk-hosen or kirtles, and shirts or chemises. 

And thus one and all, great and small, short and tall, 

Muster at once in the Vicarage-hall, 

With upstanding locks, starting eyes, shorten’d breath, 

Like the folks in the Gallery Scene in Macbeth, 

When Macduff is announcing their Sovereign’s death. 
And hark! what accents clear and strong, 

To the listening throng come floating along! 

‘Tis Robin encoring himself in a song– 

‘Very good song! very well sung! 

Jolly companions every one!’– 
On, on to the cellar! away! away! 

On, on, to the cellar without more delay! 

The whole posse rush onwards in battle array. 

Conceive the dismay of the party so gay, 

Old Goody Jones, Goody Price, and Madge Gray, 

When the door bursting wide, they descried the allied 

Troops, prepared for the onslaught, roll in like a tide, 

And the spits, and the tongs, and the pokers beside!– 

‘Boot and saddle’s the word! mount, Cummers, and ride!’– 

Alarm was ne’er caused more strong and indigenous 

By cats among rats, or a hawk in a pigeon-house; 

Quick from the view 

Away they all flew, 

With a yell, and a screech, and a halliballoo, 

‘Hey up the chimney! Hey after you!’ 

The Volscians themselves made an exit less speedy 

From Corioli, ‘flutter’d like doves’ by Macready. 
They are gone, save one, 

Robin alone! 

Robin, whose high state of civilization 

Precludes all idea of aërostation, 

And who now has no notion 

Of more locomotion 

Than suffices to kick, with much zeal and devotion, 

Right and left at the party, who pounced on their victim, 

And maul’d him, and kick’d him, and lick’d him, and prick’d him, 

As they bore him away scarce aware what was done, 

And believing it all but a part of the fun, 

Hic — hiccoughing out the same strain he’d begun, 

‘Jol — jolly companions every one!’ 
Morning grey 

Scarce bursts into day 

Ere at Tappington Hall there’s the deuce to pay; 

The tables and chairs are all placed in array 

In the old oak-parlour, and in and out 

Domestics and neighbours, a motley rout, 

Are walking, and whispering, and standing about; 

And the Squire is there 

In his large arm-chair, 

Leaning back with a grave magisterial air; 

In the front of his seat a 

Huge volume, called Fleta, 

And Bracton, both tomes of an old-fashion’d look, 

And Coke upon Lyttleton, then a new book; 

And he moistens his lips 

With occasional sips 

From a luscious sack-posset that smiles in a tankard 

Close by on a side-table — not that he drank hard, 

But because at that day, 

I hardly need say, 

The Hong Merchants had not yet invented How Qua, 

Nor as yet would you see Souchong or Bohea 

At the tables of persons of any degree: 

How our ancestors managed to do without tea 

I must fairly confess is a mystery to me; 

Yet your Lydgates and Chaucers 

Had no cups and saucers; 

Their breakfast, in fact, and the best they could get, 

Was a sort of a déjeûner à la fourchette; 

Instead of our slops 

They had cutlets and chops, 

And sack-possets, and ale in stoups, tankards, and pots; 

And they wound up the meal with rumpsteaks and ‘schalots. 
Now the Squire lifts his hand 

With an air of command, 

And gives them a sign, which they all understand, 

To bring in the culprit; and straightway the carter 

And huntsman drag in that unfortunate martyr, 

Still kicking, and crying, ‘Come,– what are you arter?’ 

The charge is prepared, and the evidence clear, 

‘He was caught in the cellar a-drinking the beer! 

And came there, there’s very great reason to fear, 

With companions,– to say but the least of them,– queer; 

Such as Witches, and creatures 

With horrible features, 

And horrible grins, 

And hook’d noses and chins, 

Who’d been playing the deuce with his Reverence’s binns.’ 
The face of his worship grows graver and graver, 

As the parties detail Robin’s shameful behaviour; 

Mister Buzzard, the clerk, while the tale is reciting, 

Sits down to reduce the affair into writing, 

With all proper diction, 

And due ‘legal fiction;’ 

Viz: ‘That he, the said prisoner, as clearly was shown, 

Conspiring with folks to deponents unknown, 

With divers, that is to say, two thousand, people, 

In two thousand hats, each hat peak’d like a steeple, 

With force and with arms, 

And with sorcery and charms, 

Upon two thousand brooms 

Enter’d four thousand rooms; 

To wit, two thousand pantries, and two thousand cellars, 

Put in bodily fear twenty-thousand in-dwellers, 

And with sundry,– that is to say, two thousand,– forks, 

Drew divers,– that is to say, ten thousand,– corks, 

And, with malice prepense, down their two thousand throttles, 

Emptied various,–that is to say, ten thousand,– bottles;

All in breach of the peace, moved by Satan’s malignity, 

And in spite of King James, and his Crown, and his Dignity.’ 
At words so profound 

Rob gazes around, 

But no glance sympathetic to cheer him is found. 

— No glance, did I say? 

Yes, one!– Madge Gray!– 

She is there in the midst of the crowd standing by, 

And she gives him one glance from her coal-black eye, 

One touch to his hand, and one word to his ear,– 

(That’s a line which I’ve stolen from Sir Walter, I fear,)– 

While nobody near 

Seems to see her or hear; 

As his worship takes up, and surveys with a strict eye 

The broom now produced as the corpus delicti, 

Ere his fingers can clasp, 

It is snatch’d from his grasp, 

The end poked in his chest with a force makes him gasp, 

And, despite the decorum so due to the Quorum, 

His worship’s upset, and so too is his jorum; 

And Madge is astride on the broomstick before’em. 

‘Hocus Pocus! Quick, Presto! and Hey Cockalorum! 

Mount, mount for your life, Rob!– Sir Justice, adieu!– 

— Hey up the chimney-pot! hey after you!’ 
Through the mystified group, 

With a halloo and whoop, 

Madge on the pommel, and Robin en croupe, 

The pair through the air ride as if in a chair, 

While the party below stand mouth open and stare! 

‘Clean bumbaized’ and amazed, and fix’d, all the room stick, 

‘Oh! what’s gone with Robin,– and Madge,– and the broomstick?’ 

Ay, ‘what’s gone’ indeed, Ned?– of what befell 

Madge Gray, and the broomstick I never heard tell; 

But Robin was found, that morn, on the ground, 

In yon old grey Ruin again, safe and sound, 

Except that at first he complain’d much of thirst, 

And a shocking bad headach, of all ills the worst, 

And close by his knee 

A flask you might see, 

But an empty one, smelling of eau de vie. 
Rob from this hour is an alter’d man; 

He runs home to his lodgings as fast as he can, 

Sticks to his trade, 

Marries Miss Slade, 

Becomes a Te-totaller — that is the same 

As Te-totallers now, one in all but the name; 

Grows fond of Small-beer, which is always a steady sign, 

Never drinks spirits except as a medicine; 

Learns to despise 

Coal-black eyes, 

Minds pretty girls no more than so many Guys; 

Has a family, lives to be sixty, and dies! 
Now my little boy Ned, 

Brush off to your bed, 

Tie your night-cap on safe, or a napkin instead, 

Or these terrible nights you’ll catch cold in your head; 

And remember my tale, and the moral it teaches, 

Which you’ll find much the same as what Solomon preaches. 

Don’t flirt with young ladies! don’t practise soft speeches; 

Avoid waltzes, quadrilles, pumps, silk hose, and kneebreeches;– 

Frequent not grey ruins,–shun riot and revelry, 

Hocus Pocus, and Conjuring, and all sorts of devilry;– 

Don’t meddle with broomsticks,–they’re Beelzebub’s switches; 

Of cellars keep clear,–they’re the devil’s own ditches; 

And beware of balls, banquettings, brandy, and — witches! 

Above all! don’t run after black eyes,– if you do,– 

Depend on’t you’ll find what I say will come true,– 

Old Nick, some fine morning, will ‘hey after you!