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  • 02/1876
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“Be off!” said irritated BOB.
“Why come you here to bother one?
You pharisaical old snob,
You’re wuss almost than t’other one!

“I takes my pipe–I takes my pot,
And drunk I’m never seen to be:
I’m no teetotaller or sot,
And as I am I mean to be!”


Strike the concertina’s melancholy string! Blow the spirit-stirring harp like anything! Let the piano’s martial blast
Rouse the Echoes of the Past,

Of AGIB, who, amid Tartaric scenes,
Wrote a lot of ballet music in his teens: His gentle spirit rolls
In the melody of souls –
Which is pretty, but I don’t know what it means.

Of AGIB, who could readily, at sight, Strum a march upon the loud Theodolite.
He would diligently play
On the Zoetrope all day,
And blow the gay Pantechnicon all night.

One winter–I am shaky in my dates –
Came two starving Tartar minstrels to his gates; Oh, ALLAH be obeyed,
How infernally they played!
I remember that they called themselves the “Ouaits.”

Oh! that day of sorrow, misery, and rage, I shall carry to the Catacombs of Age,
Photographically lined
On the tablet of my mind,
When a yesterday has faded from its page!

Alas! PRINCE AGIB went and asked them in; Gave them beer, and eggs, and sweets, and scent, and tin. And when (as snobs would say)
They had “put it all away,”
He requested them to tune up and begin.

Though its icy horror chill you to the core, I will tell you what I never told before, – The consequences true
Of that awful interview,

They played him a sonata–let me see! “Medulla oblongata”–key of G.
Then they began to sing
That extremely lovely thing,
Scherzando! ma non troppo, ppp.”

He gave them money, more than they could count, Scent from a most ingenious little fount, More beer, in little kegs,
Many dozen hard-boiled eggs,
And goodies to a fabulous amount.

Now follows the dim horror of my tale, And I feel I’m growing gradually pale,
For, even at this day,
Though its sting has passed away,
When I venture to remember it, I quail!

The elder of the brothers gave a squeal, All-overish it made me for to feel;
“Oh, PRINCE,” he says, says he,
I’ve a mystery I’m going to reveal!

“Oh, listen, if you’d shun a horrid death, To what the gent who’s speaking to you saith: No ‘Ouaits’ in truth are we,
As you fancy that we be,
For (ter-remble!) I am ALECK–this is BETH!”

Said AGIB, “Oh! accursed of your kind, I have heard that ye are men of evil mind!” BETH gave a dreadful shriek –
But before he’d time to speak
I was mercilessly collared from behind.

In number ten or twelve, or even more, They fastened me full length upon the floor. On my face extended flat,
I was walloped with a cat
For listening at the keyhole of a door.

Oh! the horror of that agonizing thrill! (I can feel the place in frosty weather still). For a week from ten to four
I was fastened to the floor,
While a mercenary wopped me with a will

They branded me and broke me on a wheel, And they left me in an hospital to heal; And, upon my solemn word,
I have never never heard
What those Tartars had determined to reveal.

But that day of sorrow, misery, and rage, I shall carry to the Catacombs of Age,
Photographically lined
On the tablet of my mind,
When a yesterday has faded from its page


MACPHAIRSON CLONGLOCKETTY ANGUS McCLAN Was the son of an elderly labouring man; You’ve guessed him a Scotchman, shrewd reader, at sight, And p’r’aps altogether, shrewd reader, you’re right.

From the bonnie blue Forth to the lovely Deeside, Round by Dingwall and Wrath to the mouth of the Clyde, There wasn’t a child or a woman or man

No other could wake such detestable groans, With reed and with chaunter–with bag and with drones: All day and ill night he delighted the chiels With sniggering pibrochs and jiggety reels.

He’d clamber a mountain and squat on the ground, And the neighbouring maidens would gather around To list to the pipes and to gaze in his een, Especially ELLEN McJONES ABERDEEN.

All loved their McCLAN, save a Sassenach brute, Who came to the Highlands to fish and to shoot; He dressed himself up in a Highlander way, Tho’ his name it was PATTISON CORBY TORBAY.

TORBAY had incurred a good deal of expense To make him a Scotchman in every sense;
But this is a matter, you’ll readily own, That isn’t a question of tailors alone.

A Sassenach chief may be bonily built, He may purchase a sporran, a bonnet, and kilt; Stick a skean in his hose–wear an acre of stripes – But he cannot assume an affection for pipes.

CLONGLOCKETY’S pipings all night and all day Quite frenzied poor PATTISON CORBY TORBAY; The girls were amused at his singular spleen, Especially ELLEN McJONES ABERDEEN,

“MACPHAIRSON CLONGLOCKETTY ANGUS, my lad, With pibrochs and reels you are driving me mad. If you really must play on that cursed affair, My goodness! play something resembling an air.”

Boiled over the blood of MACPHAIRSON McCLAN – The Clan of Clonglocketty rose as one man; For all were enraged at the insult, I ween – Especially ELLEN McJONES ABERDEEN.

“Let’s show,” said McCLAN, “to this Sassenach loon That the bagpipes CAN play him a regular tune. Let’s see,” said McCLAN, as he thoughtfully sat, “‘IN MY COTTAGE’ is easy–I’ll practise at that.”

He blew at his “Cottage,” and blew with a will, For a year, seven months, and a fortnight, until (You’ll hardly believe it) McCLAN, I declare, Elicited something resembling an air.

It was wild–it was fitful–as wild as the breeze – It wandered about into several keys;
It was jerky, spasmodic, and harsh, I’m aware; But still it distinctly suggested an air.

The Sassenach screamed, and the Sassenach danced; He shrieked in his agony–bellowed and pranced; And the maidens who gathered rejoiced at the scene – Especially ELLEN McJONES ABERDEEN.

“Hech gather, hech gather, hech gather around; And fill a’ ye lugs wi’ the exquisite sound. An air fra’ the bagpipes–beat that if ye can! Hurrah for CLONGLOCKETTY ANGUS McCLAN!”

The fame of his piping spread over the land: Respectable widows proposed for his hand, And maidens came flocking to sit on the green – Especially ELLEN McJONES ABERDEEN.

One morning the fidgety Sassenach swore He’d stand it no longer–he drew his claymore, And (this was, I think, in extremely bad taste) Divided CLONGLOCKETTY close to the waist.

Oh! loud were the wailings for ANGUS McCLAN, Oh! deep was the grief for that excellent man; The maids stood aghast at the horrible scene – Especially ELLEN McJONES ABERDEEN.

It sorrowed poor PATTISON CORBY TORBAY To find them “take on” in this serious way; He pitied the poor little fluttering birds, And solaced their souls with the following words:

“Oh, maidens,” said PATTISON, touching his hat, “Don’t blubber, my dears, for a fellow like that; Observe, I’m a very superior man,
A much better fellow than ANGUS McCLAN.”

They smiled when he winked and addressed them as “dears,” And they all of them vowed, as they dried up their tears, A pleasanter gentleman never was seen –


Policeman PETER FORTH I drag
From his obscure retreat:
He was a merry genial wag,
Who loved a mad conceit.
If he were asked the time of day,
By country bumpkins green,
He not unfrequently would say,
“A quarter past thirteen.”

If ever you by word of mouth
Inquired of MISTER FORTH
The way to somewhere in the South,
He always sent you North.
With little boys his beat along
He loved to stop and play;
He loved to send old ladies wrong,
And teach their feet to stray.

He would in frolic moments, when
Such mischief bent upon,
Take Bishops up as betting men –
Bid Ministers move on.
Then all the worthy boys he knew
He regularly licked,
And always collared people who
Had had their pockets picked.

He was not naturally bad,
Or viciously inclined,
But from his early youth he had
A waggish turn of mind.
The Men of London grimly scowled
With indignation wild;
The Men of London gruffly growled,
But PETER calmly smiled.

Against this minion of the Crown
The swelling murmurs grew –
From Camberwell to Kentish Town –
From Rotherhithe to Kew.
Still humoured he his wagsome turn, And fed in various ways
The coward rage that dared to burn, But did not dare to blaze.

Still, Retribution has her day,
Although her flight is slow:
The haughty boy, too proud to ask,
To find his way resolved,
And in the tangle of his task
Got more and more involved.

The Men of London, overjoyed,
Came there to jeer their foe,
And flocking crowds completely cloyed The mazes of Soho.
The news on telegraphic wires
Sped swiftly o’er the lea,
Excursion trains from distant shires Brought myriads to see.

For weeks he trod his self-made beats Through Newport- Gerrard- Bear-
Greek- Rupert- Frith- Dean- Poland- Streets, And into Golden Square.
But all, alas! in vain, for when
He tried to learn the way
Of little boys or grown-up men,
They none of them would say.

Their eyes would flash–their teeth would grind – Their lips would tightly curl –
They’d say, “Thy way thyself must find, Thou misdirecting churl!”
And, similarly, also, when
He tried a foreign friend;
Italians answered, “Il balen” –
The French, “No comprehend.”

The Russ would say with gleaming eye
” Sevastopol!” and groan.
The Greek said, [Greek text which cannot be reproduced].”
To wander thus for many a year
That Crusher never ceased –
The Men of London dropped a tear,
Their anger was appeased

At length exploring gangs were sent
To find poor FORTH’S remains –
A handsome grant by Parliament
Was voted for their pains.
To seek the poor policeman out
Bold spirits volunteered,
And when they swore they’d solve the doubt, The Men of London cheered.

And in a yard, dark, dank, and drear, They found him, on the floor –
It leads from Richmond Buildings–near The Royalty stage-door.
With brandy cold and brandy hot
They plied him, starved and wet,
And made him sergeant on the spot – The Men of London’s pet!


Roll on, thou ball, roll on!
Through pathless realms of Space
Roll on!
What though I’m in a sorry case?
What though I cannot meet my bills? What though I suffer toothache’s ills?
What though I swallow countless pills? Never YOU mind!
Roll on!

Roll on, thou ball, roll on!
Through seas of inky air
Roll on!
It’s true I’ve got no shirts to wear; It’s true my butcher’s bill is due;
It’s true my prospects all look blue – But don’t let that unsettle you!
Never YOU mind!
Roll on!



It was a robber’s daughter, and her name was ALICE BROWN, Her father was the terror of a small Italian town; Her mother was a foolish, weak, but amiable old thing; But it isn’t of her parents that I’m going for to sing.

As ALICE was a-sitting at her window-sill one day, A beautiful young gentleman he chanced to pass that way; She cast her eyes upon him, and he looked so good and true, That she thought, “I could be happy with a gentleman like you!”

And every morning passed her house that cream of gentlemen, She knew she might expect him at a quarter unto ten; A sorter in the Custom-house, it was his daily road (The Custom-house was fifteen minutes’ walk from her abode).

But ALICE was a pious girl, who knew it wasn’t wise To look at strange young sorters with expressive purple eyes; So she sought the village priest to whom her family confessed, The priest by whom their little sins were carefully assessed.

“Oh, holy father,” ALICE said, “‘t would grieve you, would it not, To discover that I was a most disreputable lot? Of all unhappy sinners I’m the most unhappy one!” The padre said, “Whatever have you been and gone and done?”

“I have helped mamma to steal a little kiddy from its dad, I’ve assisted dear papa in cutting up a little lad, I’ve planned a little burglary and forged a little cheque, And slain a little baby for the coral on its neck!”

The worthy pastor heaved a sigh, and dropped a silent tear, And said, “You mustn’t judge yourself too heavily, my dear: It’s wrong to murder babies, little corals for to fleece; But sins like these one expiates at half-a-crown apiece.

“Girls will be girls–you’re very young, and flighty in your mind; Old heads upon young shoulders we must not expect to find: We mustn’t be too hard upon these little girlish tricks – Let’s see–five crimes at half-a-crown–exactly twelve-and-six.”

“Oh, father,” little Alice cried, “your kindness makes me weep, You do these little things for me so singularly cheap – Your thoughtful liberality I never can forget; But, oh! there is another crime I haven’t mentioned yet!

“A pleasant-looking gentleman, with pretty purple eyes, I’ve noticed at my window, as I’ve sat a-catching flies; He passes by it every day as certain as can be – I blush to say I’ve winked at him, and he has winked at me!”

“For shame!” said FATHER PAUL, “my erring daughter! On my word This is the most distressing news that I have ever heard. Why, naughty girl, your excellent papa has pledged your hand To a promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band!

“This dreadful piece of news will pain your worthy parents so! They are the most remunerative customers I know; For many many years they’ve kept starvation from my doors: I never knew so criminal a family as yours!

“The common country folk in this insipid neighbourhood Have nothing to confess, they’re so ridiculously good; And if you marry any one respectable at all, Why, you’ll reform, and what will then become of FATHER PAUL?”

The worthy priest, he up and drew his cowl upon his crown, And started off in haste to tell the news to ROBBER BROWN – To tell him how his daughter, who was now for marriage fit, Had winked upon a sorter, who reciprocated it.

Good ROBBER BROWN he muffled up his anger pretty well: He said, “I have a notion, and that notion I will tell; I will nab this gay young sorter, terrify him into fits, And get my gentle wife to chop him into little bits.

“I’ve studied human nature, and I know a thing or two: Though a girl may fondly love a living gent, as many do – A feeling of disgust upon her senses there will fall When she looks upon his body chopped particularly small.”

He traced that gallant sorter to a still suburban square; He watched his opportunity, and seized him unaware; He took a life-preserver and he hit him on the head, And MRS. BROWN dissected him before she went to bed.

And pretty little ALICE grew more settled in her mind, She never more was guilty of a weakness of the kind, Until at length good ROBBER BROWN bestowed her pretty hand On the promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band.


Oh, listen to the tale of MISTER WILLIAM, if you please, Whom naughty, naughty judges sent away beyond the seas. He forged a party’s will, which caused anxiety and strife, Resulting in his getting penal servitude for life.

He was a kindly goodly man, and naturally prone, Instead of taking others’ gold, to give away his own. But he had heard of Vice, and longed for only once to strike – To plan ONE little wickedness–to see what it was like.

He argued with himself, and said, “A spotless man am I; I can’t be more respectable, however hard I try! For six and thirty years I’ve always been as good as gold, And now for half an hour I’ll plan infamy untold!

“A baby who is wicked at the early age of one, And then reforms–and dies at thirty-six a spotless son, Is never, never saddled with his babyhood’s defect, But earns from worthy men consideration and respect.

“So one who never revelled in discreditable tricks Until he reached the comfortable age of thirty-six, May then for half an hour perpetrate a deed of shame, Without incurring permanent disgrace, or even blame.

“That babies don’t commit such crimes as forgery is true, But little sins develop, if you leave ’em to accrue; And he who shuns all vices as successive seasons roll, Should reap at length the benefit of so much self-control.

“The common sin of babyhood–objecting to be drest – If you leave it to accumulate at compound interest, For anything you know, may represent, if you’re alive, A burglary or murder at the age of thirty-five.

“Still, I wouldn’t take advantage of this fact, but be content With some pardonable folly–it’s a mere experiment. The greater the temptation to go wrong, the less the sin; So with something that’s particularly tempting I’ll begin.

“I would not steal a penny, for my income’s very fair – I do not want a penny–I have pennies and to spare – And if I stole a penny from a money-bag or till, The sin would be enormous–the temptation being nil.

“But if I broke asunder all such pettifogging bounds, And forged a party’s Will for (say) Five Hundred Thousand Pounds, With such an irresistible temptation to a haul, Of course the sin must be infinitesimally small.

“There’s WILSON who is dying–he has wealth from Stock and rent – If I divert his riches from their natural descent, I’m placed in a position to indulge each little whim.” So he diverted them–and they, in turn, diverted him.

Unfortunately, though, by some unpardonable flaw, Temptation isn’t recognized by Britain’s Common Law; Men found him out by some peculiarity of touch, And WILLIAM got a “lifer,” which annoyed him very much.

For, ah! he never reconciled himself to life in gaol, He fretted and he pined, and grew dispirited and pale; He was numbered like a cabman, too, which told upon him so That his spirits, once so buoyant, grew uncomfortably low.

And sympathetic gaolers would remark, “It’s very true, He ain’t been brought up common, like the likes of me and you.” So they took him into hospital, and gave him mutton chops, And chocolate, and arrowroot, and buns, and malt and hops.

Kind Clergymen, besides, grew interested in his fate, Affected by the details of his pitiable state. They waited on the Secretary, somewhere in Whitehall, Who said he would receive them any day they liked to call.

“Consider, sir, the hardship of this interesting case: A prison life brings with it something very like disgrace; It’s telling on young WILLIAM, who’s reduced to skin and bone – Remember he’s a gentleman, with money of his own.

“He had an ample income, and of course he stands in need Of sherry with his dinner, and his customary weed; No delicacies now can pass his gentlemanly lips – He misses his sea-bathing and his continental trips.

“He says the other prisoners are commonplace and rude; He says he cannot relish uncongenial prison food. When quite a boy they taught him to distinguish Good from Bad, And other educational advantages he’s had.

“A burglar or garotter, or, indeed, a common thief Is very glad to batten on potatoes and on beef, Or anything, in short, that prison kitchens can afford, – A cut above the diet in a common workhouse ward.

“But beef and mutton-broth don’t seem to suit our WILLIAM’S whim, A boon to other prisoners–a punishment to him. It never was intended that the discipline of gaol Should dash a convict’s spirits, sir, or make him thin or pale.”

“Good Gracious Me!” that sympathetic Secretary cried, “Suppose in prison fetters MISTER WILLIAM should have died! Dear me, of course! Imprisonment for LIFE his sentence saith: I’m very glad you mentioned it–it might have been For Death!

“Release him with a ticket–he’ll be better then, no doubt, And tell him I apologize.” So MISTER WILLIAM’S out. I hope he will be careful in his manuscripts, I’m sure, And not begin experimentalizing any more.


I’m old, my dears, and shrivelled with age, and work, and grief, My eyes are gone, and my teeth have been drawn by Time, the Thief! For terrible sights I’ve seen, and dangers great I’ve run – I’m nearly seventy now, and my work is almost done!

Ah! I’ve been young in my time, and I’ve played the deuce with men!
I’m speaking of ten years past–I was barely sixty then: My cheeks were mellow and soft, and my eyes were large and sweet, POLL PINEAPPLE’S eyes were the standing toast of the Royal Fleet!

A bumboat woman was I, and I faithfully served the ships With apples and cakes, and fowls, and beer, and halfpenny dips, And beef for the generous mess, where the officers dine at nights, And fine fresh peppermint drops for the rollicking midshipmites.

Of all the kind commanders who anchored in Portsmouth Bay, By far the sweetest of all was kind LIEUTENANT BELAYE.’ LIEUTENANT BELAYE commanded the gunboat Hot Cross Bun, She was seven and thirty feet in length, and she carried a gun.

With a laudable view of enhancing his country’s naval pride, When people inquired her size, LIEUTENANT BELAYE replied, “Oh, my ship, my ship is the first of the Hundred and Seventy- ones!”
Which meant her tonnage, but people imagined it meant her guns.

Whenever I went on board he would beckon me down below, “Come down, Little Buttercup, come” (for he loved to call me so), And he’d tell of the fights at sea in which he’d taken a part, And so LIEUTENANT BELAYE won poor POLL PINEAPPLE’S heart!

But at length his orders came, and he said one day, said he, “I’m ordered to sail with the Hot Cross Bun to the German Sea.” And the Portsmouth maidens wept when they learnt the evil day, For every Portsmouth maid loved good LIEUTENANT BELAYE.

And I went to a back back street, with plenty of cheap cheap shops, And I bought an oilskin hat and a second-hand suit of slops, And I went to LIEUTENANT BELAYE (and he never suspected ME!) And I entered myself as a chap as wanted to go to sea.

We sailed that afternoon at the mystic hour of one, – Remarkably nice young men were the crew of the Hot Cross Bun, I’m sorry to say that I’ve heard that sailors sometimes swear, But I never yet heard a Bun say anything wrong, I declare.

When Jack Tars meet, they meet with a “Messmate, ho! What cheer?” But here, on the Hot Cross Bun, it was “How do you do, my dear?” When Jack Tars growl, I believe they growl with a big big D- But the strongest oath of the Hot Cross Buns was a mild “Dear me!”

Yet, though they were all well-bred, you could scarcely call them slick:
Whenever a sea was on, they were all extremely sick; And whenever the weather was calm, and the wind was light and fair, They spent more time than a sailor should on his back back hair.

They certainly shivered and shook when ordered aloft to run, And they screamed when LIEUTENANT BELAYE discharged his only gun. And as he was proud of his gun–such pride is hardly wrong – The Lieutenant was blazing away at intervals all day long.

They all agreed very well, though at times you heard it said That BILL had a way of his own of making his lips look red – That JOE looked quite his age–or somebody might declare That BARNACLE’S long pig-tail was never his own own hair.

BELAYE would admit that his men were of no great use to him, “But, then,” he would say, “there is little to do on a gunboat trim I can hand, and reef, and steer, and fire my big gun too – And it IS such a treat to sail with a gentle well-bred crew.”

I saw him every day. How the happy moments sped! Reef topsails! Make all taut! There’s dirty weather ahead! (I do not mean that tempests threatened the Hot Cross Bun: In THAT case, I don’t know whatever we SHOULD have done!)

After a fortnight’s cruise, we put into port one day, And off on leave for a week went kind LIEUTENANT BELAYE, And after a long long week had passed (and it seemed like a life), LIEUTENANT BELAYE returned to his ship with a fair young wife!

He up, and he says, says he, “O crew of the Hot Cross Bun, Here is the wife of my heart, for the Church has made us one!” And as he uttered the word, the crew went out of their wits, And all fell down in so many separate fainting-fits.

And then their hair came down, or off, as the case might be, And lo! the rest of the crew were simple girls, like me, Who all had fled from their homes in a sailor’s blue array, To follow the shifting fate of kind LIEUTENANT BELAYE.

* * * * * * * *

It’s strange to think that _I_ should ever have loved young men, But I’m speaking of ten years past–I was barely sixty then, And now my cheeks are furrowed with grief and age, I trow! And poor POLL PINEAPPLE’S eyes have lost their lustre now!


MR. BLAKE was a regular out-and-out hardened sinner, Who was quite out of the pale of Christianity, so to speak, He was in the habit of smoking a long pipe and drinking a glass of grog on a Sunday after dinner,
And seldom thought of going to church more than twice or–if Good Friday or Christmas Day happened to come in it–three times a week.

He was quite indifferent as to the particular kinds of dresses That the clergyman wore at church where he used to go to pray, And whatever he did in the way of relieving a chap’s distresses, He always did in a nasty, sneaking, underhanded, hole-and-corner sort of way.

I have known him indulge in profane, ungentlemanly emphatics, When the Protestant Church has been divided on the subject of the proper width of a chasuble’s hem;
I have even known him to sneer at albs–and as for dalmatics, Words can’t convey an idea of the contempt he expressed for THEM.

He didn’t believe in persons who, not being well off themselves, are obliged to confine their charitable exertions to collecting money from wealthier people,
And looked upon individuals of the former class as ecclesiastical hawks;
He used to say that he would no more think of interfering with his priest’s robes than with his church or his steeple, And that he did not consider his soul imperilled because somebody over whom he had no influence whatever, chose to dress himself up like an exaggerated GUY FAWKES.

This shocking old vagabond was so unutterably shameless That he actually went a-courting a very respectable and pious middle-aged sister, by the name of BIGGS. She was a rather attractive widow, whose life as such had always been particularly blameless;
Her first husband had left her a secure but moderate competence, owing to some fortunate speculations in the matter of figs.

She was an excellent person in every way–and won the respect even of MRS. GRUNDY,
She was a good housewife, too, and wouldn’t have wasted a penny if she had owned the Koh-i-noor.
She was just as strict as he was lax in her observance of Sunday, And being a good economist, and charitable besides, she took all the bones and cold potatoes and broken pie-crusts and candle-ends (when she had quite done with them), and made them into an excellent soup for the deserving poor.

I am sorry to say that she rather took to BLAKE–that outcast of society,
And when respectable brothers who were fond of her began to look dubious and to cough,
She would say, “Oh, my friends, it’s because I hope to bring this poor benighted soul back to virtue and propriety, And besides, the poor benighted soul, with all his faults, was uncommonly well off.

And when MR. BLAKE’S dissipated friends called his attention to the frown or the pout of her,
Whenever he did anything which appeared to her to savour of an unmentionable place,
He would say that “she would be a very decent old girl when all that nonsense was knocked out of her,”
And his method of knocking it out of her is one that covered him with disgrace.

She was fond of going to church services four times every Sunday, and, four or five times in the week, and never seemed to pall of them,
So he hunted out all the churches within a convenient distance that had services at different hours, so to speak; And when he had married her he positively insisted upon their going to all of them,
So they contrived to do about twelve churches every Sunday, and, if they had luck, from twenty-two to twenty-three in the course of the week.

She was fond of dropping his sovereigns ostentatiously into the plate, and she liked to see them stand out rather conspicuously against the commonplace half-crowns and shillings, So he took her to all the charity sermons, and if by any extraordinary chance there wasn’t a charity sermon anywhere, he would drop a couple of sovereigns (one for him and one for her) into the poor-box at the door;
And as he always deducted the sums thus given in charity from the housekeeping money, and the money he allowed her for her bonnets and frillings,
She soon began to find that even charity, if you allow it to interfere with your personal luxuries, becomes an intolerable bore.

On Sundays she was always melancholy and anything but good society, For that day in her household was a day of sighings and sobbings and wringing of hands and shaking of heads: She wouldn’t hear of a button being sewn on a glove, because it was a work neither of necessity nor of piety, And strictly prohibited her servants from amusing themselves, or indeed doing anything at all except dusting the drawing-rooms, cleaning the boots and shoes, cooking the parlour dinner, waiting generally on the family, and making the beds. But BLAKE even went further than that, and said that people should do their own works of necessity, and not delegate them to persons in a menial situation,
So he wouldn’t allow his servants to do so much as even answer a bell.
Here he is making his wife carry up the water for her bath to the second floor, much against her inclination, – And why in the world the gentleman who illustrates these ballads has put him in a cocked hat is more than I can tell.

After about three months of this sort of thing, taking the smooth with the rough of it,
(Blacking her own boots and peeling her own potatoes was not her notion of connubial bliss),
MRS. BLAKE began to find that she had pretty nearly had enough of it,
And came, in course of time, to think that BLAKE’S own original line of conduct wasn’t so much amiss.

And now that wicked person–that detestable sinner (“BELIAL BLAKE” his friends and well-wishers call him for his atrocities), And his poor deluded victim, whom all her Christian brothers dislike and pity so,
Go to the parish church only on Sunday morning and afternoon and occasionally on a week-day, and spend their evenings in connubial fondlings and affectionate reciprocities, And I should like to know where in the world (or rather, out of it) they expect to go!


Weary at heart and extremely ill
Was PALEY VOLLAIRE of Bromptonville, In a dirty lodging, with fever down,
Close to the Polygon, Somers Town.

PALEY VOLLAIRE was an only son
(For why? His mother had had but one), And PALEY inherited gold and grounds
Worth several hundred thousand pounds.

But he, like many a rich young man,
Through this magnificent fortune ran, And nothing was left for his daily needs But duplicate copies of mortgage-deeds.

Shabby and sorry and sorely sick,
He slept, and dreamt that the clock’s “tick, tick,” Was one of the Fates, with a long sharp knife, Snicking off bits of his shortened life.

He woke and counted the pips on the walls, The outdoor passengers’ loud footfalls,
And reckoned all over, and reckoned again, The little white tufts on his counterpane.

A medical man to his bedside came.
(I can’t remember that doctor’s name), And said, “You’ll die in a very short while If you don’t set sail for Madeira’s isle.”

“Go to Madeira? goodness me!
I haven’t the money to pay your fee!” “Then, PALEY VOLLAIRE,” said the leech, “good bye; I’ll come no more, for your’re sure to die.”

He sighed and he groaned and smote his breast; “Oh, send,” said he, “for FREDERICK WEST, Ere senses fade or my eyes grow dim:
I’ve a terrible tale to whisper him!”

Poor was FREDERICK’S lot in life, –
A dustman he with a fair young wife, A worthy man with a hard-earned store,
A hundred and seventy pounds–or more.

FREDERICK came, and he said, “Maybe
You’ll say what you happened to want with me?” “Wronged boy,” said PALEY VOLLAIRE, “I will, But don’t you fidget yourself–sit still.”


“‘Tis now some thirty-seven years ago Since first began the plot that I’m revealing, A fine young woman, whom you ought to know, Lived with her husband down in Drum Lane, Ealing. Herself by means of mangling reimbursing, And now and then (at intervals) wet-nursing.

“Two little babes dwelt in their humble cot: One was her own–the other only lent to her: HER OWN SHE SLIGHTED. Tempted by a lot
Of gold and silver regularly sent to her, She ministered unto the little other
In the capacity of foster-mother.

“I WAS HER OWN. Oh! how I lay and sobbed In my poor cradle–deeply, deeply cursing The rich man’s pampered bantling, who had robbed My only birthright–an attentive nursing! Sometimes in hatred of my foster-brother, I gnashed my gums–which terrified my mother.

“One day–it was quite early in the week – I IN MY CRADLE HAVING PLACED THE BANTLING – Crept into his! He had not learnt to speak, But I could see his face with anger mantling. It was imprudent–well, disgraceful maybe, For, oh! I was a bad, blackhearted baby!

“So great a luxury was food, I think
No wickedness but I was game to try for it. NOW if I wanted anything to drink
At any time, I only had to cry for it! ONCE, if I dared to weep, the bottle lacking, My blubbering involved a serious smacking!

“We grew up in the usual way–my friend, My foster-brother, daily growing thinner, While gradually I began to mend,
And thrived amazingly on double dinner. And every one, besides my foster-mother, Believed that either of us was the other.

“I came into HIS wealth–I bore HIS name, I bear it still–HIS property I squandered – I mortgaged everything–and now (oh, shame!) Into a Somers Town shake-down I’ve wandered! I am no PALEY–no, VOLLAIRE–it’s true, my boy! The only rightful PALEY V. is YOU, my boy!

“And all I have is yours–and yours is mine. I still may place you in your true position: Give me the pounds you’ve saved, and I’ll resign My noble name, my rank, and my condition. So far my wickedness in falsely owning
Your vasty wealth, I am at last atoning!”

* * * * * * *

FREDERICK he was a simple soul,
He pulled from his pocket a bulky roll, And gave to PALEY his hard-earned store, A hundred and seventy pounds or more.

PALEY VOLLAIRE, with many a groan,
Gave FREDERICK all that he called his own, – Two shirts and a sock, and a vest of jean, A Wellington boot and a bamboo cane.

And FRED (entitled to all things there) He took the fever from MR. VOLLAIRE,
Which killed poor FREDERICK WEST. Meanwhile VOLLAIRE sailed off to Madeira’s isle.


I sing a legend of the sea,
So hard-a-port upon your lee!
A ship on starboard tack!
She’s bound upon a private cruise – (This is the kind of spice I use
To give a salt-sea smack).

Behold, on every afternoon
(Save in a gale or strong Monsoon)
(Great morally, though rather short) Sat at an open weather-port
And aired his shapely legs.

And Mermaids hung around in flocks,
On cable chains and distant rocks,
To gaze upon those limbs;
For legs like those, of flesh and bone, Are things “not generally known”
To any Merman TIMBS.

But Mermen didn’t seem to care
Much time (as far as I’m aware)
With CLEGGS’S legs to spend;
Though Mermaids swam around all day And gazed, exclaiming, “THAT’S the way
A gentleman should end!

“A pair of legs with well-cut knees,
And calves and ankles such as these Which we in rapture hail,
Are far more eloquent, it’s clear
(When clothed in silk and kerseymere), Than any nasty tail.”

And CLEGGS–a worthy kind old boy –
Rejoiced to add to others’ joy,
And, when the day was dry,
Because it pleased the lookers-on,
He sat from morn till night–though con- Stitutionally shy.

At first the Mermen laughed, “Pooh! pooh!” But finally they jealous grew,
And sounded loud recalls;
But vainly. So these fishy males
Declared they too would clothe their tails In silken hose and smalls.

They set to work, these water-men,
And made their nether robes–but when They drew with dainty touch
The kerseymere upon their tails,
They found it scraped against their scales, And hurt them very much.

The silk, besides, with which they chose To deck their tails by way of hose
(They never thought of shoon),
For such a use was much too thin, – It tore against the caudal fin,
And “went in ladders” soon.

So they designed another plan:
They sent their most seductive man
This note to him to show –
“Our Monarch sends to CAPTAIN CLEGGS His humble compliments, and begs
He’ll join him down below;

“We’ve pleasant homes below the sea – Besides, if CAPTAIN CLEGGS should be
(As our advices say)
A judge of Mermaids, he will find
Our lady-fish of every kind
Inspection will repay.”

Good CAPEL sent a kind reply,
For CAPEL thought he could descry
An admirable plan
To study all their ways and laws –
(But not their lady-fish, because
He was a married man).

The Merman sank–the Captain too
Jumped overboard, and dropped from view Like stone from catapult;
And when he reached the Merman’s lair, He certainly was welcomed there,
But, ah! with what result?

They didn’t let him learn their law,
Or make a note of what he saw,
Or interesting mem.:
The lady-fish he couldn’t find,
But that, of course, he didn’t mind – He didn’t come for them.

For though, when CAPTAIN CAPEL sank,
The Mermen drawn in double rank
Gave him a hearty hail,
Yet when secure of CAPTAIN CLEGGS,
They cut off both his lovely legs,
And gave him SUCH a tail!

When CAPTAIN CLEGGS returned aboard,
His blithesome crew convulsive roar’d, To see him altered so.
The Admiralty did insist
That he upon the Half-pay List
Immediately should go.

In vain declared the poor old salt,
“It’s my misfortune–not my fault,” With tear and trembling lip –
In vain poor CAPEL begged and begged. “A man must be completely legged
Who rules a British ship.”

So spake the stern First Lord aloud – He was a wag, though very proud,
And much rejoiced to say,
“You’re only half a captain now –
And so, my worthy friend, I vow
You’ll only get half-pay!”


Oh! listen to the tale of little ANNIE PROTHEROE. She kept a small post-office in the neighbourhood of BOW; She loved a skilled mechanic, who was famous in his day – A gentle executioner whose name was GILBERT CLAY.

I think I hear you say, “A dreadful subject for your rhymes!” O reader, do not shrink–he didn’t live in modern times! He lived so long ago (the sketch will show it at a glance) That all his actions glitter with the lime-light of Romance.

In busy times he laboured at his gentle craft all day – “No doubt you mean his Cal-craft,” you amusingly will say – But, no–he didn’t operate with common bits of string, He was a Public Headsman, which is quite another thing.

And when his work was over, they would ramble o’er the lea, And sit beneath the frondage of an elderberry tree, And ANNIE’S simple prattle entertained him on his walk, For public executions formed the subject of her talk.

And sometimes he’d explain to her, which charmed her very much, How famous operators vary very much in touch, And then, perhaps, he’d show how he himself performed the trick, And illustrate his meaning with a poppy and a stick.

Or, if it rained, the little maid would stop at home, and look At his favourable notices, all pasted in a book, And then her cheek would flush–her swimming eyes would dance with joy
In a glow of admiration at the prowess of her boy.

One summer eve, at supper-time, the gentle GILBERT said (As he helped his pretty ANNIE to a slice of collared head), “This reminds me I must settle on the next ensuing day The hash of that unmitigated villain PETER GRAY.”

He saw his ANNIE tremble and he saw his ANNIE start, Her changing colour trumpeted the flutter at her heart; Young GILBERT’S manly bosom rose and sank with jealous fear, And he said, “O gentle ANNIE, what’s the meaning of this here?”

And ANNIE answered, blushing in an interesting way, “You think, no doubt, I’m sighing for that felon PETER GRAY: That I was his young woman is unquestionably true, But not since I began a-keeping company with you.”

Then GILBERT, who was irritable, rose and loudly swore He’d know the reason why if she refused to tell him more; And she answered (all the woman in her flashing from her eyes) “You mustn’t ask no questions, and you won’t be told no lies!

“Few lovers have the privilege enjoyed, my dear, by you, Of chopping off a rival’s head and quartering him too! Of vengeance, dear, to-morrow you will surely take your fill!” And GILBERT ground his molars as he answered her, “I will!”

Young GILBERT rose from table with a stern determined look, And, frowning, took an inexpensive hatchet from its hook; And ANNIE watched his movements with an interested air – For the morrow–for the morrow he was going to prepare!

He chipped it with a hammer and he chopped it with a bill, He poured sulphuric acid on the edge of it, until This terrible Avenger of the Majesty of Law Was far less like a hatchet than a dissipated saw.

And ANNIE said, “O GILBERT, dear, I do not understand Why ever you are injuring that hatchet in your hand?’ He said, “It is intended for to lacerate and flay The neck of that unmitigated villain PETER GRAY!”

“Now, GILBERT,” ANNIE answered, “wicked headsman, just beware – I won’t have PETER tortured with that horrible affair; If you appear with that, you may depend you’ll rue the day.” But GILBERT said, “Oh, shall I?” which was just his nasty way.

He saw a look of anger from her eyes distinctly dart, For ANNIE was a woman, and had pity in her heart! She wished him a good evening–he answered with a glare; She only said, “Remember, for your ANNIE will be there!”

* * * * * * * *

The morrow GILBERT boldly on the scaffold took his stand, With a vizor on his face and with a hatchet in his hand, And all the people noticed that the Engine of the Law Was far less like a hatchet than a dissipated saw.

The felon very coolly loosed his collar and his stock, And placed his wicked head upon the handy little block. The hatchet was uplifted for to settle PETER GRAY, When GILBERT plainly heard a woman’s voice exclaiming, “Stay!”

‘Twas ANNIE, gentle ANNIE, as you’ll easily believe. “O GILBERT, you must spare him, for I bring him a reprieve, It came from our Home Secretary many weeks ago, And passed through that post-office which I used to keep at Bow.

“I loved you, loved you madly, and you know it, GILBERT CLAY, And as I’d quite surrendered all idea of PETER GRAY, I quietly suppressed it, as you’ll clearly understand, For I thought it might be awkward if he came and claimed my hand.

“In anger at my secret (which I could not tell before), To lacerate poor PETER GRAY vindictively you swore; I told you if you used that blunted axe you’d rue the day, And so you will, young GILBERT, for I’ll marry PETER GRAY!”



I’ve painted SHAKESPEARE all my life – “An infant” (even then at “play”!)
“A boy,” with stage-ambition rife,
Then “Married to ANN HATHAWAY.”

“The bard’s first ticket night” (or “ben.”), His “First appearance on the stage,”
His “Call before the curtain”–then “Rejoicings when he came of age.”

The bard play-writing in his room,
The bard a humble lawyer’s clerk.
The bard a lawyer {3}–parson {4}–groom {5} – The bard deer-stealing, after dark.

The bard a tradesman {6}–and a Jew {7} – The bard a botanist {8}–a beak {9} –
The bard a skilled musician {10} too – A sheriff {11} and a surgeon {12} eke!

Yet critics say (a friendly stock)
That, though it’s evident I try,
Yet even _I_ can barely mock
The glimmer of his wondrous eye!

One morning as a work I framed,
There passed a person, walking hard: “My gracious goodness,” I exclaimed,
“How very like my dear old bard!

“Oh, what a model he would make!”
I rushed outside–impulsive me! –
“Forgive the liberty I take,
But you’re so very”–“Stop!” said he.

“You needn’t waste your breath or time, – I know what you are going to say, –
That you’re an artist, and that I’m Remarkably like SHAKESPEARE. Eh?

“You wish that I would sit to you?”
I clasped him madly round the waist, And breathlessly replied, “I do!”
“All right,” said he, “but please make haste.”

I led him by his hallowed sleeve,
And worked away at him apace,
I painted him till dewy eve, –
There never was a nobler face!

“Oh, sir,” I said, “a fortune grand
Is yours, by dint of merest chance, – To sport HIS brow at second-hand,
To wear HIS cast-off countenance!

“To rub HIS eyes whene’er they ache – To wear HIS baldness ere you’re old –
To clean HIS teeth when you awake – To blow HIS nose when you’ve a cold!”

His eyeballs glistened in his eyes –
I sat and watched and smoked my pipe; “Bravo!” I said, “I recognize
The phrensy of your prototype!”

His scanty hair he wildly tore:
“That’s right,” said I, “it shows your breed.” He danced–he stamped–he wildly swore – “Bless me, that’s very fine indeed!”

“Sir,” said the grand Shakesperian boy (Continuing to blaze away),
“You think my face a source of joy; That shows you know not what you say.

“Forgive these yells and cellar-flaps: I’m always thrown in some such state
When on his face well-meaning chaps This wretched man congratulate.

“For, oh! this face–this pointed chin – This nose–this brow–these eyeballs too, Have always been the origin
Of all the woes I ever knew!

“If to the play my way I find,
To see a grand Shakesperian piece,
I have no rest, no ease of mind
Until the author’s puppets cease.

“Men nudge each other–thus–and say, ‘This certainly is SHAKESPEARE’S son,’
And merry wags (of course in play)
Cry ‘Author!’ when the piece is done.

“In church the people stare at me,
Their soul the sermon never binds;
I catch them looking round to see,
And thoughts of SHAKESPEARE fill their minds.

“And sculptors, fraught with cunning wile, Who find it difficult to crown
A bust with BROWN’S insipid smile,
Or TOMKINS’S unmannered frown,

“Yet boldly make my face their own,
When (oh, presumption!) they require To animate a paving-stone
With SHAKESPEARE’S intellectual fire.

“At parties where young ladies gaze,
And I attempt to speak my joy,
‘Hush, pray,’ some lovely creature says, ‘The fond illusion don’t destroy!’

“Whene’er I speak, my soul is wrung
With these or some such whisperings: ”Tis pity that a SHAKESPEARE’S tongue
Should say such un-Shakesperian things!’

“I should not thus be criticised
Had I a face of common wont:
Don’t envy me–now, be advised!”
And, now I think of it, I don’t!


A mariner of the sea,
Who quitted his ship, the Howler,
A-sailing in Caribbee.
For many a day he wandered,
Till he met in a state of rum
The King of Canoodle-Dum.

That monarch addressed him gaily,
“Hum! Golly de do to-day?
Hum! Lily-white Buckra Sailee” –
(You notice his playful way?) –
“What dickens you doin’ here, sar?
Why debbil you want to come?
Hum! Picaninnee, dere isn’t no sea
In City Canoodle-Dum!”

And GOWLER he answered sadly,
“Oh, mine is a doleful tale!
They’ve treated me werry badly
In Lunnon, from where I hail.
I’m one of the Family Royal –
No common Jack Tar you see;
I’m WILLIAM THE FOURTH, far up in the North, A King in my own countree!”

Bang-bang! How the tom-toms thundered! Bang-bang! How they thumped this gongs!
Bang-bang! How the people wondered! Bang-bang! At it hammer and tongs!
Alliance with Kings of Europe
Is an honour Canoodlers seek,
Her monarchs don’t stop with PEPPERMINT DROP Every day in the week!

FRED told them that he was undone,
For his people all went insane,
And fired the Tower of London,
And Grinnidge’s Naval Fane.
And some of them racked St. James’s, And vented their rage upon
The Church of St. Paul, the Fishmongers’ Hall, And the Angel at Islington.

CALAMITY POP implored him
In his capital to remain
Till those people of his restored him To power and rank again.
CALAMITY POP he made him
A Prince of Canoodle-Dum,
With a couple of caves, some beautiful slaves, And the run of the royal rum.

Pop gave him his only daughter,
FRED vowed that if over the water
He went, in an English ship,
He’d make her his Queen,–though truly It is an unusual thing
For a Caribbee brat who’s as black as your hat To be wife of an English King.

And all the Canoodle-Dummers
They copied his rolling walk,
His method of draining rummers,
His emblematical talk.
For his dress and his graceful breeding, His delicate taste in rum,
And his nautical way, were the talk of the day In the Court of Canoodle-Dum.

CALAMITY POP most wisely
Determined in everything
To model his Court precisely
On that of the English King;
And ordered that every lady
And every lady’s lord
Should masticate jacky (a kind of tobaccy), And scatter its juice abroad.

They signified wonder roundly
At any astounding yarn,
By darning their dear eyes roundly
(‘T was all they had to darn).
They “hoisted their slacks,” adjusting Garments of plantain-leaves
With nautical twitches (as if they wore breeches, Instead of a dress like EVE’S!)

They shivered their timbers proudly,
At a phantom forelock dragged,
And called for a hornpipe loudly
Whenever amusement flagged.
“Hum! Golly! him POP resemble,
Him Britisher sov’reign, hum!
De King of Canoodle-Dum!”

The mariner’s lively “Hollo!”
Enlivened Canoodle’s plain
(For blessings unnumbered follow
In Civilization’s train).
But Fortune, who loves a bathos,
A terrible ending planned,
Placed foot on Canoodle land!

That rebel, he seized KING GOWLER,
He threatened his royal brains,
And put him aboard the Howler,
And fastened him down with chains.
The Howler she weighed her anchor,
With FREDERICK nicely nailed,
And off to the North with WILLIAM THE FOURTH These horrible pirates sailed.

CALAMITY said (with folly),
“Hum! nebber want him again –
Him civilize all of us, golly!
CALAMITY suck him brain!”
The people, however, were pained when They saw him aboard his ship,
But none of them wept for their FREDDY, except HUM PICKETY WIMPLE TIP.


Some time ago, in simple verse
I sang the story true
Of CAPTAIN REECE, the Mantelpiece,
And all her happy crew.

I showed how any captain may
Attach his men to him,
If he but heeds their smallest needs, And studies every whim.

Now mark how, by Draconic rule
And hauteur ill-advised,
The noblest crew upon the Blue
May be demoralized.

When his ungrateful country placed
Kind REECE upon half-pay,
Without much claim SIR BERKELY came, And took command one day.

SIR BERKELY was a martinet –
A stern unyielding soul –
Who ruled his ship by dint of whip
And horrible black-hole.

A sailor who was overcome
From having freely dined,
And chanced to reel when at the wheel, He instantly confined!

And tars who, when an action raged,
Appeared alarmed or scared,
And those below who wished to go,
He very seldom spared.

E’en he who smote his officer
For punishment was booked,
And mutinies upon the seas
He rarely overlooked.

In short, the happy Mantelpiece,
Where all had gone so well,
Beneath that fool SIR BERKELY’S rule Became a floating hell.

When first SIR BERKELY came aboard
He read a speech to all,
And told them how he’d made a vow
To act on duty’s call.

Then WILLIAM LEE, he up and said
(The Captain’s coxswain he),
“We’ve heard the speech your honour’s made, And werry pleased we be.

“We won’t pretend, my lad, as how
We’re glad to lose our REECE;
Urbane, polite, he suited quite
The saucy Mantelpiece.

“But if your honour gives your mind
To study all our ways,
With dance and song we’ll jog along As in those happy days.

“I like your honour’s looks, and feel You’re worthy of your sword.
Your hand, my lad–I’m doosid glad
To welcome you aboard!”

SIR BERKELY looked amazed, as though
He didn’t understand.
“Don’t shake your head,” good WILLIAM said, “It is an honest hand.

“It’s grasped a better hand than yourn – Come, gov’nor, I insist!”
The Captain stared–the coxswain glared – The hand became a fist!

“Down, upstart!” said the hardy salt; But BERKELY dodged his aim,
And made him go in chains below:
The seamen murmured “Shame!”

He stopped all songs at 12 p.m.,
Stopped hornpipes when at sea,
And swore his cot (or bunk) should not Be used by aught than he.

He never joined their daily mess,
Nor asked them to his own,
But chaffed in gay and social way
The officers alone.

His First Lieutenant, PETER, was
As useless as could be,
A helpless stick, and always sick
When there was any sea.

This First Lieutenant proved to be
His foster-sister MAY,
Who went to sea for love of he
In masculine array.

And when he learnt the curious fact,
Did he emotion show,
Or dry her tears or end her fears
By marrying her? No!

Or did he even try to soothe
This maiden in her teens?
Oh, no!–instead he made her wed
The Sergeant of Marines!

Of course such Spartan discipline
Would make an angel fret;
They drew a lot, and WILLIAM shot
This fearful martinet.

The Admiralty saw how ill
They’d treated CAPTAIN REECE;
He was restored once more aboard
The saucy Mantelpiece.


I go away this blessed day,
To sail across the sea, MATILDA!
My vessel starts for various parts
At twenty after three, MATILDA.
I hardly know where we may go,
Or if it’s near or far, MATILDA,
For CAPTAIN HYDE does not confide
In any ‘fore-mast tar, MATILDA!

Beneath my ban that mystic man
Shall suffer, coute qui coute, MATILDA! What right has he to keep from me
The Admiralty route, MATILDA?
Because, forsooth! I am a youth
Of common sailors’ lot, MATILDA!
Am I a man on human plan
Designed, or am I not, MATILDA?

But there, my lass, we’ll let that pass! With anxious love I burn, MATILDA.
I want to know if we shall go
To church when I return, MATILDA?
Your eyes are red, you bow your head; It’s pretty clear you thirst, MATILDA,
To name the day–What’s that you say? – “You’ll see me further first,” MATILDA?

I can’t mistake the signs you make,
Although you barely speak, MATILDA; Though pure and young, you thrust your tongue Right in your pretty cheek, MATILDA!
My dear, I fear I hear you sneer –
I do–I’m sure I do, MATILDA!
With simple grace you make a face,
Ejaculating, “Ugh!” MATILDA.

Oh, pause to think before you drink
The dregs of Lethe’s cup, MATILDA!
Remember, do, what I’ve gone through, Before you give me up, MATILDA!
Recall again the mental pain
Of what I’ve had to do, MATILDA!
And be assured that I’ve endured
It, all along of you, MATILDA!

Do you forget, my blithesome pet,
How once with jealous rage, MATILDA, I watched you walk and gaily talk
With some one thrice your age, MATILDA? You squatted free upon his knee,
A sight that made me sad, MATILDA!
You pinched his cheek with friendly tweak, Which almost drove me mad, MATILDA!

I knew him not, but hoped to spot
Some man you thought to wed, MATILDA! I took a gun, my darling one,
And shot him through the head, MATILDA! I’m made of stuff that’s rough and gruff Enough, I own; but, ah, MATILDA!
It DID annoy your sailor boy
To find it was your pa, MATILDA!

I’ve passed a life of toil and strife, And disappointments deep, MATILDA;
I’ve lain awake with dental ache
Until I fell asleep, MATILDA!
At times again I’ve missed a train, Or p’rhaps run short of tin, MATILDA,
And worn a boot on corns that shoot, Or, shaving, cut my chin, MATILDA.

But, oh! no trains–no dental pains – Believe me when I say, MATILDA,
No corns that shoot–no pinching boot Upon a summer day, MATILDA –
It’s my belief, could cause such grief As that I’ve suffered for, MATILDA,
My having shot in vital spot
Your old progenitor, MATILDA.

Bethink you how I’ve kept the vow
I made one winter day, MATILDA –
That, come what could, I never would Remain too long away, MATILDA.
And, oh! the crimes with which, at times, I’ve charged my gentle mind, MATILDA,
To keep the vow I made–and now
You treat me so unkind, MATILDA!

For when at sea, off Caribbee,
I felt my passion burn, MATILDA,
By passion egged, I went and begged The captain to return, MATILDA.
And when, my pet, I couldn’t get
That captain to agree, MATILDA,
Right through a sort of open port
I pitched him in the sea, MATILDA!

Remember, too, how all the crew
With indignation blind, MATILDA,
Distinctly swore they ne’er before
Had thought me so unkind, MATILDA.
And how they’d shun me one by one – An unforgiving group, MATILDA –
I stopped their howls and sulky scowls By pizening their soup, MATILDA!

So pause to think, before you drink
The dregs of Lethe’s cup, MATILDA;
Remember, do, what I’ve gone through, Before you give me up, MATILDA.
Recall again the mental pain
Of what I’ve had to do, MATILDA,
And be assured that I’ve endured
It, all along of you, MATILDA!


A rich advowson, highly prized,
For private sale was advertised;
And many a parson made a bid;

He sought the agent’s: “Agent, I
Have come prepared at once to buy
(If your demand is not too big)
The Cure of Otium-cum-Digge.”

“Ah!” said the agent, “THERE’S a berth – The snuggest vicarage on earth;
No sort of duty (so I hear),
And fifteen hundred pounds a year!

“If on the price we should agree,
The living soon will vacant be;
The good incumbent’s ninety five,
And cannot very long survive.

See–here’s his photograph–you see,
He’s in his dotage.” “Ah, dear me!
Poor soul!” said SIMON. “His decease Would be a merciful release!”

The agent laughed–the agent blinked – The agent blew his nose and winked –
And poked the parson’s ribs in play – It was that agent’s vulgar way.

The REVEREND SIMON frowned: “I grieve This light demeanour to perceive;
It’s scarcely comme il faut, I think: Now–pray oblige me–do not wink.

“Don’t dig my waistcoat into holes –
Your mission is to sell the souls
Of human sheep and human kids
To that divine who highest bids.

“Do well in this, and on your head
Unnumbered honours will be shed.”
The agent said, “Well, truth to tell, I HAVE been doing very well.”

“You should,” said SIMON, “at your age; But now about the parsonage.
How many rooms does it contain?
Show me the photograph again.

“A poor apostle’s humble house
Must not be too luxurious;
No stately halls with oaken floor – It should be decent and no more.

” No billiard-rooms–no stately trees – No croquet-grounds or pineries.”
“Ah!” sighed the agent, “very true: This property won’t do for you.”

“All these about the house you’ll find.” – “Well,” said the parson, “never mind;
I’ll manage to submit to these
Luxurious superfluities.

“A clergyman who does not shirk
The various calls of Christian work, Will have no leisure to employ
These ‘common forms’ of worldly joy.

“To preach three times on Sabbath days – To wean the lost from wicked ways –
The sick to soothe–the sane to wed – The poor to feed with meat and bread;

“These are the various wholesome ways In which I’ll spend my nights and days:
My zeal will have no time to cool
At croquet, archery, or pool.”

The agent said, “From what I hear,
This living will not suit, I fear – There are no poor, no sick at all;
For services there is no call.”

The reverend gent looked grave, “Dear me! Then there is NO ‘society’? –
I mean, of course, no sinners there Whose souls will be my special care?”

The cunning agent shook his head,
“No, none–except”–(the agent said) – “The DUKE OF A., the EARL OF B.,

“But you will not be quite alone,
For though they’ve chaplains of their own, Of course this noble well-bred clan
Receive the parish clergyman.”

“Oh, silence, sir!” said SIMON M.,
“Dukes–Earls! What should I care for them? These worldly ranks I scorn and flout!”
“Of course,” the agent said, “no doubt!”

“Yet I might show these men of birth
The hollowness of rank on earth.”
The agent answered, “Very true –
But I should not, if I were you.”

“Who sells this rich advowson, pray?” The agent winked–it was his way –
“His name is HART; ‘twixt me and you, He is, I’m grieved to say, a Jew!”

“A Jew?” said SIMON, “happy find!
I purchase this advowson, mind.
My life shall be devoted to
Converting that unhappy Jew!”

Ballad: MY DREAM.

The other night, from cares exempt,
I slept–and what d’you think I dreamt? I dreamt that somehow I had come
To dwell in Topsy-Turveydom –

Where vice is virtue–virtue, vice:
Where nice is nasty–nasty, nice:
Where right is wrong and wrong is right – Where white is black and black is white.

Where babies, much to their surprise, Are born astonishingly wise;
With every Science on their lips,
And Art at all their finger-tips.

For, as their nurses dandle them
They crow binomial theorem,
With views (it seems absurd to us)
On differential calculus.

But though a babe, as I have said,
Is born with learning in his head,
He must forget it, if he can,
Before he calls himself a man.

For that which we call folly here,
Is wisdom in that favoured sphere;
The wisdom we so highly prize
Is blatant folly in their eyes.

A boy, if he would push his way,
Must learn some nonsense every day; And cut, to carry out this view,
His wisdom teeth and wisdom too.

Historians burn their midnight oils,
Intent on giant-killers’ toils;
And sages close their aged eyes
To other sages’ lullabies.

Our magistrates, in duty bound,
Commit all robbers who are found;
But there the Beaks (so people said) Commit all robberies instead.

Our Judges, pure and wise in tone,
Know crime from theory alone,
And glean the motives of a thief
From books and popular belief.

But there, a Judge who wants to prime His mind with true ideas of crime,
Derives them from the common sense
Of practical experience.

Policemen march all folks away
Who practise virtue every day –
Of course, I mean to say, you know, What we call virtue here below.

For only scoundrels dare to do
What we consider just and true,
And only good men do, in fact,
What we should think a dirty act.

But strangest of these social twirls, The girls are boys–the boys are girls!
The men are women, too–but then,
Per contra, women all are men.

To one who to tradition clings
This seems an awkward state of things, But if to think it out you try,
It doesn’t really signify.

With them, as surely as can be,
A sailor should be sick at sea,
And not a passenger may sail
Who cannot smoke right through a gale.

A soldier (save by rarest luck)
Is always shot for showing pluck
(That is, if others can be found
With pluck enough to fire a round).

“How strange!” I said to one I saw;
“You quite upset our every law.
However can you get along
So systematically wrong?”

“Dear me!” my mad informant said,
“Have you no eyes within your head? You sneer when you your hat should doff: Why, we begin where you leave off!

“Your wisest men are very far
Less learned than our babies are!”
I mused awhile–and then, oh me!
I framed this brilliant repartee:

“Although your babes are wiser far
Than our most valued sages are,
Your sages, with their toys and cots, Are duller than our idiots!”

But this remark, I grieve to state,
Came just a little bit too late
For as I framed it in my head,
I woke and found myself in bed.

Still I could wish that, ‘stead of here, My lot were in that favoured sphere! –
Where greatest fools bear off the bell I ought to do extremely well.


I often wonder whether you
Think sometimes of that Bishop, who From black but balmy Rum-ti-Foo
Last summer twelvemonth came.
Unto your mind I p’r’aps may bring
Remembrance of the man I sing
To-day, by simply mentioning
That PETER was his name.

Remember how that holy man
Came with the great Colonial clan
To Synod, called Pan-Anglican;
And kindly recollect
How, having crossed the ocean wide, To please his flock all means he tried
Consistent with a proper pride
And manly self-respect.

He only, of the reverend pack
Who minister to Christians black,
Brought any useful knowledge back
To his Colonial fold.
In consequence a place I claim
For “PETER” on the scroll of Fame
(For PETER was that Bishop’s name,