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 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 – 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.]