Thomas Hood: 'Poetical Works' (3)

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THE EPPING HUNT.

"HUNT'S ROASTED——."
___________

"On Monday they began to hunt."—Chevy Chase.
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John Huggins was as bold a man
    As trade did ever know,
A warehouse good he had, that stood
    Hard by the church of Bow.

There people bought Dutch cheeses round,
    And single Glo'ster flat,—
And English butter in a lump,
    And Irish—in a pat.

Six days a week beheld him stand,
    His business next his heart,
At counter, with his apron tied
    About his counter-part.

The seventh, in a sluice-house box
    He took his pipe and pot;
On Sundays, for eel-piety,
    A very noted spot.

Ah, blest if he had never gone
    Beyond its rural shed!
One Easter-tide, some evil guide
    Put Epping in his head;

Epping, for butter justly famed,
    And pork in sausage popp'd;
Where, winter time or summer time,
    Pig's flesh is always chopp'd.

But famous more, as annals tell,
    Because of Easter Chase:
There ev'ry year, 'twixt dog and deer,
    There is a gallant race.

With Monday's sun John Huggins rose,
    And slapt his leather thigh,
And sang the burthen of the song,
    "This day a stag must die."

For all the livelong day before,
    And all the night in bed,
Like Beckford, he had nourished "Thoughts
    On Hunting" in his head.

Of horn and morn, and hark and bark,
    And echo's answering sounds,
All poets' wit hath ever writ
    In dog-rel verse of hounds.

Alas! there was no warning voice
    To whisper in his ear,
Thou art a fool in leaping Cheap
    To go and hunt the dear!

No thought he had of twisted spine,
    Or broken arms or legs;
Not chicken-hearted he, altho'
    T'was whispered of his eggs!

Ride out he would, and hunt he would,
    Nor dreamt of ending ill;
Mayhap with Dr. Ridout's fee,
    And Surgeon Hunter's bill.

So he drew on his Sunday boots,
    Of lustre superfine;
The liquid black they wore that day
    Was Warren-ted to shine.

His yellow buckskins fitted close,
    As once upon a stag;
Thus well equipt he gaily skipt,
    At once, upon his nag.

But first to him that held the rein
    A crown he nimbly flung:
For holding of the horse?—why, no—
    For holding of his tongue.

To say the horse was Huggins' own,
    Would only be a brag;
His neighbour Fig and he went halves,
    Like Centaurs, in a nag.

And he that day had got the gray,
    Unknown to brother cit;
The horse he knew would never tell,
    Altho' it was a tit.

A well-bred horse he was, I wis,
    As he began to show,
By quickly "rearing up within
    The way he ought to go."

But Huggins, like a wary man,
    Was ne'er from saddle cast;
Resolved, by going very slow,
    On sitting very fast.

And so he jogged to Tot'n'am Cross,
    An ancient town well known,
Where Edward wept for Eleanor
    In mortar and in stone.

A royal game of fox and goose,
    To play on such a loss;
Wherever she set down her orts,
    Thereby he put a cross.

Now Huggins had a crony here,
    That lived beside the way;
One that had promised sure to be
    His comrade for the day.

Whereas the man had changed his mind,
    Meanwhile upon the case!
And meaning not to hunt at all,
    Had gone to Enfield Chase.

For why, his spouse had made him vow
    To let a game alone,
Where folks that ride a bit of blood
    May break a bit of bone.

"Now, be his wife a plague for life!
    A coward sure is he!":
Then Huggins turned his horse's head,
    And crossed the bridge of Lea.

Thence slowly on thro' Laytonstone,
    Past many a Quaker's box,—
No friends to hunters after deer,
    Tho' followers of a Fox.

And many a score behind—before—
    The self-same route inclined,
And, minded all to march one way,
    Made one great march of mind.

Gentle and simple, he and she,
    And swell, and blood, and prig;
And some had carts, and some a chaise,
    According to their gig.

Some long-eared jacks, some knacker's hacks,
    (However odd it sounds),
Let out that day to hunt, instead
    Of going to the hounds!

And some had horses of their own,
    And some were forced to job it:
And some, while they inclined to Hunt,
    Betook themselves to Cob-it.

All sorts of vehicles and vans,
    Bad, middling, and the smart;
Here rolled along the gay barouche,
    And there a dirty cart!

And lo! a cart that held a squad
    Of costermonger line;
With one poor hack, like Pegasus,
    That slaved for all the Nine!

Yet marvel not at any load,
    That any horse might drag,
When all, that morn, at once were drawn
    Together by a stag!

Now when they saw John Huggins go
    At such a sober pace;
"Hallo!" cried they; "come, trot away,
    You'll never see the chase!"

But John, as grave as any judge,
    Made answer quite as blunt;
"It will be time enough to trot,
    When I begin to hunt!"

And so he paced to Woodford Wells,
    Where many a horseman met,
And letting go the reins, of course,
    Prepared for heavy wet.

And lo! within the crowded door,
    Stood Rounding, jovial elf;
Here shall the Muse frame no excuse,
    But frame the man himself.

A snow-white head, a merry eye,
    A cheek of jolly blush;
A claret tint laid on by health,
    With Master Reynard's brush;

A hearty frame, a courteous bow,
    The prince he learned it from;
His age about threescore and ten,
    And there you have Old Tom.

In merriest key I trow was he,
    So many guests to boast;
So certain congregations meet,
    And elevate the host.

"Now welcome lads," quoth he, "and prads,
    You're all in glorious luck:
Old Robin has a run to-day,
    A noted forest buck.

"Fair Mead's the place, where Bob and Tom
    In red already ride;
'Tis but a step, and on a horse
    You soon may go a-stride."

So off they scampered, man and horse,
    As time and temper pressed—
But Huggins, hitching on a tree,
    Branched off from all the rest.

Howbeit he tumbled down in time
    To join with Tom and Bob,
All in Fair Mead, which held that day
    Its own fair mead of mob.

Idlers to wit—no Guardians some,
    Of Tattlers in a squeeze;
Ramblers in heavy carts and vans,
    Spectators up in trees.

Butchers on backs of butchers' hacks,
    That shambled to and fro!
Bakers intent upon a buck,
    Neglectful of the dough!

Change Alley Bears to speculate,
    As usual, for a fall;
And green and scarlet runners, such
    As never climbed a wall!

'Twas strange to think what difference
    A single creature made;
A single stag had caused a whole
    Stagnation in their trade.

Now Huggins from his saddle rose,
    And in the stirrups stood:
And lo! a little cart that came
    Hard by a little wood.

In shape like half a hearse,—tho' not
    For corpses in the least;
For this contained the deer alive,
    And not the dear deceased!

And now began a sudden stir,
    And then a sudden shout,
The prison-doors were opened wide,
    And Robin bounded out!

His antlered head shone blue and red,
    Bedecked with ribbons fine;
Like other bucks that come to 'list
    The hawbucks in the line.

One curious gaze of mild amaze,
    He turned and shortly took;
Then gently ran adown the mead,
    And bounded o'er the brook.

Now Huggins, standing far aloof,
    Had never seen the deer,
Till all at once he saw the beast
    Come charging in his rear.

Away he went, and many a score
    Of riders did the same,
On horse and ass—like high and low
    And Jack pursuing game!

Good Lord! to see the riders now,
    Thrown off with sudden whirl,
A score within the purling brook,
    Enjoyed their "early purl."

A score were sprawling on the grass,
And beavers fell in showers;
There was another Floorer there
Beside the Queen of Flowers!

Some lost their stirrups, some their whips,
    Some had no caps to show;
But few, like Charles at Charing Cross,
    Rode on in Statue quo.

"O dear! O dear!" now might you hear,
    "I've surely broke a bone";
"My head is sore,"—with many more
    Such speeches from the Thrown.

Howbeit their wailings never moved
    The wide Satanic clan,
Who grinned, as once the Devil grinned,
    To see the fall of Man.

And hunters good, that understood,
    Their laughter knew no bounds,
To see the horses "throwing off,"
    So long before the hounds.

For deer must have due course of law,
    Like men the Courts among;
Before those Barristers the dogs
    Proceed to "giving tongue."

And now Old Robin's foes were set
    That fatal taint to find,
That always is scent after him,
    Yet always left behind.

And here observe how dog and man,
    A different temper shows,
What hound resents that he is sent
    To follow his own nose?

Towler and Jowler—howlers all,
    No single tongue was mute;
The stag had led a hart, and lo!
    The whole pack followed suit.

No spur he lacked, fear stuck a knife
    And fork in either haunch;
And every dog he knew had got
    An eye-tooth to his paunch!

Away, away! he scudded like
    A ship before the gale;
Now flew to "hills we know not of,"
    Now, nun-like, took the vale.

Another squadron charging now,
    Went off at furious pitch;—
A perfect Tam o' Shanter mob,
    Without a single witch.

But who was he with flying skirts,
    A hunter did endorse,
And like a poet seemed to ride
    Upon a wingèd horse,—

A whipper-in?—no whipper-in:
    A huntsman? no such soul.
A connoisseur, or amateur?
    Why yes,—a Horse Patrol.

A member of police, for whom
    The county found a nag,
And, like Acteon in the tale,
    He found himself in stag!

Away they went then, dog and deer,
    And hunters all away,—
The maddest horses never knew
    Mad staggers such as they!

Some gave a shout, some rolled about,
    And anticked as they rode,
And butchers whistled on their curs,
    And milkmen Tally-ho'd!

About two score there were, not more,
    That galloped in the race;
The rest, alas! lay on the grass,
    As once in Chevy Chase!

But even those that galloped on
    Were fewer every minute,—
The field kept getting more select,
    Each thicket served to thin it.

For some pulled up, and left the hunt,
    Some fell in miry bogs,
And vainly rose and "ran a muck,"
    To overtake the dogs.

And some, in charging hurdle stakes,
    Were left bereft of sense—
What else could be premised of blades
    That never learned to fence?

But Roundings, Tom and Bob, no gate,
    Nor hedge, nor ditch, could stay;
O'er all they went, and did the work
    Of leap years in a day.

And by their side see Huggins ride,
    As fast as he could speed;
For, like Mazeppa, he was quite
    At mercy of his steed.

No means he had, by timely check,
    The gallop to remit,
For firm and fast, between his teeth,
    The biter held the bit.

Trees raced along, all Essex fled
    Beneath him as he sate,—
He never saw a county go
    At such a county rate!

"Hold hard! hold hard! you'll lame the dogs,"
    Quoth Huggins, "So I do,—
I've got the saddle well in hand,
    And hold as hard as you!"

Good Lord! to see him ride along,
    And throw his arms about,
As if with stitches in the side,
    That he was drawing out!

And now he bounded up and down,
    Now like a jelly shook:
Till bumped and galled—yet not where Gall
    For bumps did ever look!

And rowing with his legs the while,
    As tars are apt to ride,
With every kick he gave a prick,
    Deep in the horse's side!

But soon the horse was well avenged
    For cruel smart of spurs,
For, riding through a moor, he pitched
    His master in a furze!

Where sharper set than hunger is
    He squatted all forlorn;
And like a bird was singing out
    While sitting on a thorn!

Right glad was he, as well might be,
    Such cushion to resign:
"Possession is nine points," but his
    Seemed more than ninety-nine.

Yet worse than all the prickly points
    That entered in his skin,
His nag was running off the while
    The thorns were running in!

Now had a Papist seen his sport,
    Thus laid upon the shelf,
Altho' no horse he had to cross,
    He might have crossed himself.

Yet surely still the wind is ill
    That none can say is fair;
A jolly wight there was, that rode
    Upon a sorry mare!

A sorry mare, that surely came
    Of pagan blood and bone;
For down upon her knees she went
    To many a stock and stone!

Now seeing Huggins' nag adrift,
    This farmer, shrewd and sage,
Resolved, by changing horses here,
    To hunt another stage!

Tho' felony, yet who would let
    Another's horse alone,
Whose neck is placed in jeopardy
    By riding on his own?

And yet the conduct of the man
    Seemed honest-like and fair;
For he seemed willing, horse and all,
    To go before the mare!

So up on Huggins' horse he got,
    And swiftly rode away,
While Hugging mounted on the mare,
    Done brown upon a bay!

And off they set, in double chase,
    For such was fortune's whim,
The farmer rode to hunt the stag,
    And Huggins hunted him!

Alas! with one that rode so well
    In vain it was to strive;
A dab was he, as dabs should be—
    All leaping and alive!

And here of Nature's kindly care
    Behold a curious proof,
As nags are meant to leap, she puts
    A frog in every hoof!

Whereas the mare, altho' her share
    She had of hoof and frog,
On coming to a gate stopped short
    As stiff as any log;

Whilst Huggins in the stirrup stood
    With neck like neck of crane,
As sings the Scottish song—"to see
    The gate his hart had gane."

And lo! the dim and distant hunt
    Diminished in a trice:
The steeds, like Cinderella's team,
    Seemed dwindling into mice;

And, far remote, each scarlet coat
    Soon flitted like a spark,—
Tho' still the forest murmured back
    An echo of the bark!

But sad at soul John Huggins turned:
    No comfort could he find;
While thus the "Hunting Chorus" sped,
    To stay five bars behind.

For tho' by dint of spur he got
    A leap in spite of fate—
Howbeit there was no toll at all,
    They could not clear the gate.

And, like Fitzjames, he cursed the hunt,
    And sorely cursed the day,
And mused a new Gray's elegy
    On his departed gray!

Now many a sign at Woodford town
    Its Inn-vitation tells:
But Huggins, full of ills, of course,
    Betook him to the Wells,

Where Rounding tried to cheer him up
    With many a merry laugh,
But Huggins thought of neighbour Fig,
    And called for half-and-half.

Yet, 'spite of drink, he could not blink
    Remembrance of his loss;
To drown a care like his, required
    Enough to drown a horse.

When thus forlorn, a merry horn
    Struck up without the door,—
The mounted mob were all returned;
    The Epping Hunt was o'er!

And many a horse was taken out
    Of saddle, and of shaft;
And men, by dint of drink, became
    The only "beasts of draught."

For now begun a harder run
    On wine, and gin, and beer;
And overtaken man discussed
    The overtaken deer.

How far he ran, and eke how fast,
    And how at bay he stood,
Deer-like, resolved to sell his life
    As dearly as he could;

And how the hunters stood aloof,
    Regardful of their lives,
And shunned a beast, whose very horns
    They knew could handle knives!

How Huggins stood when he was rubbed
    By help and ostler kind,
And when they cleaned the clay before,
    How worse "remained behind."

And one, how he had found a horse
    Adrift—a goodly gray!
And kindly rode the nag, for fear
    The nag should go astray.

Now Huggins, when he heard the tale,
    Jumped up with sudden glee;
"A goodly gray! why, then, I say
    That gray belongs to me!

"Let me endorse again my horse,
    Delivered safe and sound;
And, gladly, I will give the man
    A bottle and a pound!"

The wine was drunk,—the money paid,
    Tho' not without remorse,
To pay another man so much,
    For riding on his horse:—

And let the chase again take place,
    For many a long, long year—
John Huggins will not ride again
    To hunt the Epping Deer!


MORAL.


Thus pleasure oft eludes our grasp
    Just when we think to grip her;
And hunting after Happiness,
    We only hunt the slipper.

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JACK HALL.


‘Tis very hard when men forsake
This melancholy world, and make
A bed of turf, they cannot take
                        A quiet doze,
But certain rogues will come and break
                        Their “bone” repose.

'Tis hard we can't give up our breath,
And to the earth our earth bequeath,
Without Death-Fetches after death,
                        Who thus exhume us;
And snatch us from our homes beneath,
                        And hearths posthumous.

The tender lover comes to rear
The mournful urn, and shed his tear-
Her glorious dust, he cries, is here! 
                        Alack!  Alack!
The while his Sacharissa dear
                        Is a sack!

'Tis hard one cannot lie amid
The mould, beneath a coffin-lid,
But thus the Faculty will bid
                        Their rogues break through it,
If they don't want us there, why did
                        They send us to it?

One of these sacrilegious knaves,
Who crave as hungry vulture craves,
Behaving as the goul behaves,
                        'Neath church-yard wall—
Mayhap because he fed on graves,
                        Was nam'd Jack Hall.

By day it was his trade to go
Tending the black coach to and fro;
And sometimes at the door of woe,
                        With emblems suitable,
He stood with brother Mute, to show
                        That life is mutable.

But long before they pass'd the ferry,
The dead that he had help'd to bury,
He sack'd—(he had a sack to carry
                        The bodies off in)
In fact, he let them have a very
                        Short fit of coffin.

Night after night, with crow and spade,
He drove this dead but thriving trade,
Meanwhile his conscience never weigh'd
                        A single horsehair;
On corses of all kinds he prey'd,
                        A perfect corsair!

At last—it may be, Death took spite;
Or, jesting only, meant to fright-­
He sought for Jack night after night.
                        The churchyards round;
And soon they met, the man and sprite,
                        In Pancras' ground.

Jack, by the glimpses of the moon.
Perceiv'd the bony knacker soon,
An awful shape to meet at noon
                        Of night and lonely;
But Jack's tough courage did but swoon
                        A minute only.

Anon he gave his spade a swing
Aloft, and kept it brandishing,
Ready for what mishaps might spring
                        From this conjunction;
Funking indeed was quite a thing
                        Beside his function.

"Hollo!" cried Death, "d'ye wish your sands
Run out? the stoutest never stands
A chance with me,—to my commands
                        The strongest truckles;
But I'm your friend—so let's shake hands,
                        I should say—knuckles."

Jack, glad to see th' old sprite so sprightly
And meaning nothing but uprightly,
Shook hands at once, and, bowing slightly,
                        His mull did proffer:
But Death, who had no nose, politely
                        Declin'd the offer.

Then sitting down upon a bank,
Leg over leg, shank over shank,
Like friends for conversation frank,
                        That had no check on:
Quoth Jack unto the Lean and Lank,
                        "You're Death, I reckon.”

The jaw-bone grinn'd:— “I am that same,
You've hit exactly on my name;
In truth it has some little fame
                        Where burial sod is."
Quoth Jack, (and wink'd), "of course ye came
                        Here after bodies."

Death grinn'd again and shook his head:—
"I've little business with the dead;
When they are fairly sent to bed
                        I've done my turn:
Whether or not the worms are fed
                        Is your concern.

"My errand here, in meeting you,
Is nothing but a ‘how-d'ye-do;'
I've done what jobs I had—a few
                        Along this way;
If I can serve a crony too,
                        I beg you'll say."

Quoth Jack, "Your Honour's very kind:
And now I call the thing to mind,
This parish very strict I find;
                        But in the next 'an
There lives a very well-inclined
                        Old sort of sexton."

Death took the hint, and gave a wink
As well as eyelet holes can blink;
Then stretching out his arm to link
                        The other's arm,—
"Suppose," says he, "we have a drink
                        Of something warm."

Jack nothing loth, with friendly ease
Spoke up at once:—"Why, what ye please;
Hard by there is the Cheshire Cheese,
                        A famous tap."
But this suggestion seem'd to tease
                        The bony chap.

"No, no—your mortal drinks are heady,
And only make my hand unsteady,
I do not even care for Deady,
                        And loathe your rum;
But I've some glorious brewage ready.
                        My drink is—Mum!"

And off they set, each right content—
Who knows the dreary way they went?
But Jack felt rather faint and spent.
                        And out of breath;
At last he saw, quite evident,
                        The Door of Death.

All other men had been unmann'd
To see a coffin on each hand,
That served a skeleton to stand
                        By way of sentry;
In fact, Death has a very grand
                        And awful entry.

Throughout his dismal sign prevails,
His name is writ in coffin nails;
The mortal darts make area rails;
                        A skull that mocketh,
Grins on the gloomy gate, and quails
                        Whoever knocketh.

And lo! on either side, arise
Two monstrous pillars—bones of thighs,
A monumental slab supplies
                        The step of stone,
Where waiting for his master lies
                        A dog of bone.

The dog leapt up, but gave no yell,
The wire was pull'd, but woke no bell,
The ghastly knocker rose and fell,
                        But caused no riot;
The ways of Death, we all know well
                        Are very quiet.

Old Bones stept in; Jack stepp'd behind;
Quoth Death, "I really hope you'll find
The entertainment to your mind,
                        As I shall treat ye—
A friend or two of goblin kind,
                        I've asked to meet ye,"

And lo! a crowd of spectres tall,
Like jack-a-lanterns on a wall,
Were standing—every ghastly ball—
                        An eager watcher.
“My friend," says Death—"friends, Mr. Hall,
                        The body-snatcher."

Lord, what a tumult it produced.
When Mr. Hall was introduced!
Jack even, who had long been used
                        To frightful things,
Felt just as if his back was sluic'd
                        With freezing springs!

Each goblin face began to make
Some horrid mouth—ape—gorgon—snake;
And then a spectre-hag would shake
                        An airy thigh-bone;
And cried, (or seem'd to cry,) I'll break
                        Your bone, with my bone!

Some ground their teeth—some seem'd to spit—
(Nothing, but nothing came of it,)
A hundred awful brows were knit
                        In dreadful spite.
Thought Jack—"I'm sure I'd better quit
                        Without good-night."

One skip and hop and he was clear,
And running like a hunted deer,
As fleet as people run by fear
                        Well spurr'd and whipp'd,
Death, ghosts, and all in that career
                        Were quite outstripp'd.

But those who live by death must die;
Jack's soul at last prepared to fly;
And when his latter end drew nigh.
                        Oh! what a swarm
Of doctors came,—but not to try
                        To keep him warm.

No ravens ever scented prey
So early where a dead horse lay,
Nor vultures sniff'd so far away
                        A last convulse:
A dozen "guests" day after day
                        Were "at his pulse."

'Twas strange, altho' they got no fees,
How still they watch 'd by twos and threes.
But Jack a very little ease
                        Obtain'd from them;
In fact he did not find M. D.'s
                        Worth one D——M.

The passing bell with hollow toll
Was in his thought—the dreary hole!
Jack gave his eyes a horrid roll,
                        And then a cough:—
"There's something weighing on my soul
                        I wish was off;

"All night it roves about my brains,
All day it adds to all my pains,
It is concerning my remains
                        When I am dead:"
Twelve wigs and twelve gold-headed canes
                        Drew near his bed.

"Alas!" he sigh'd, "I'm sore afraid
A dozen pangs my heart invade;
But when I drove a certain trade
                        In flesh and bone,
There was a little bargain made
                        About my own."

Twelve suits of black began to close,
Twelve pair of sleek and sable hose,
Twelve flowing cambric frills in rows,
                        At once drew round;
Twelve noses turn'd against his nose,
                        Twelve snubs profound.

"Ten guineas did not quite suffice,
And so I sold my body twice;
Twice did not do—I sold it thrice,
                        Forgive my crimes!
In short I have received its price
                        A dozen times!

Twelve brows got very grim and black,
Twelve wishes stretched him on the rack,
Twelve pair of hands for fierce attack
                        Took up position,
Ready to share the dying Jack
                        By long division.

Twelve angry doctors wrangled so,
That twelve had struck an hour ago,
Before they had an eye to throw
                        On the departed;
Twelve heads turn'd round at once, and lo!
                        Twelve doctors started.

Whether some comrade of the dead,
Or Satan took it in his head
To steal the corpse—the corpse had fled!
                        'Tis only written,
That "there was nothing in the bed,
                        But twelve were bitten!"

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THE HAUNTED HOUSE.


A ROMANCE.

PART I.


Some dreams we have are nothing else but dreams,
Unnatural, and full of contradictions;
Yet others of our most romantic schemes
Are something more than fictions.

It might be only on enchanted ground;
It might be merely by a thought's expansion;
But, in the spirit or the flesh, I found
An old deserted Mansion.

A residence for woman, child, and man,
A dwelling place,—and yet no habitation;
A House,—but under some prodigious ban
Of excommunication.

Unhinged the iron gates half open hung,
Jarr'd by the gusty gales of many winters,
That from its crumbled pedestal had flung
One marble globe in splinters.

No dog was at the threshold, great or small;
No pigeon on the roof—no household creature—
No cat demurely dozing on the wall—
Not one domestic feature.

No human figure stirr'd, to go or come,
No face look'd forth from shut or open casement;
No chimney smoked—there was no sign of Home
From parapet to basement.

With shatter'd panes the grassy court was starr'd;
The time-worn coping-stone had tumbled after;
And thro' the ragged roof the sky shone, barr'd
With naked beam and rafter.

O'er all there hung a shadow and a fear;
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted!

The flow'r grew wild and rankly as the weed,
Roses with thistles struggled for espial,
And vagrant plants of parasitic breed
Had overgrown the Dial.

But gay or gloomy, steadfast or infirm,
No heart was there to heed the hour's duration;
All times and tides were lost in one long term
Of stagnant desolation.

The wren had built within the Porch, she found
Its quiet loneliness so sure and thorough;
And on the lawn,—within its turfy mound,—
The rabbit made his burrow.

The rabbit wild and gray, that flitted thro'
The shrubby clumps, and frisk'd, and sat, and
        vanish'd,
But leisurely and bold, as if he knew
His enemy was banish'd.

The wary crow,—the pheasant from the woods—
Lull'd by the still and everlasting sameness,
Close to the mansion, like domestic broods,
Fed with a "shocking tameness."

The coot was swimming in the reedy pond,
Beside the water-hen, so soon affrighted;
And in the weedy moat the heron, fond
Of solitude, alighted.

The moping heron, motionless and stiff,
That on a stone, as silently and stilly,
Stood, an apparent sentinel, as if
To guard the water-lily.

No sound was heard except, from far away,
The ringing of the witwall's shrilly laughter,
Or, now and then, the chatter of the jay,
That Echo murmur'd after.

But Echo never mock'd the human tongue;
Some weighty crime, that Heaven could not pardon,
A secret curse on that old Building hung,
And its deserted Garden.

The beds were all untouch'd by hand or tool;
No footstep marked the damp and mossy gravel,
Each walk as green as is the mantled pool,
For want of human travel.

The vine unpruned, and the neglected peach,
Droop'd from the wall with which they used to
        grapple;
And on the canker'd tree, in easy reach,
Rotted the golden apple.

But awfully the truant shunn'd the ground,
The vagrant kept aloof, and daring Poacher;
In spite of gaps that thro' the fences round
Invited the encroacher.

For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted!

The pear and quince lay squander'd on the grass;
The mould was purple with unheeded showers
Of bloomy plums—a Wilderness it was
Of fruits, and weeds, and flowers!

The marigold amidst the nettles blew,
The gourd embraced the rose bush in its ramble,
The thistle and the stock together grew,
The holly-hock and bramble.

The bear-bine with the lilac interlaced,
The sturdy bur-dock choked its slender neighbour,
The spicy pink. All tokens were effaced
Of human care and labour.

The very yew Formality had train'd
To such a rigid pyramidal stature,
For want of trimming had almost regain'd
The raggedness of nature.

The Fountain was a-dry—neglect and time
Had marr'd the work of artisan and mason,
And efts and croaking frogs, begot of slime,
Sprawl'd in the ruin'd bason.

The Statue, fallen from its marble base,
Amidst the refuse leaves, and herbage rotten,
Lay like the Idol of some bygone race,
Its name and rites forgotten.

On ev'ry side the aspect was the same,
All ruin'd, desolate, forlorn, and savage:
No hand or foot within the precinct came
To rectify or ravage.

For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted!


PART II.


O, very gloomy is the House of Woe,
Where tears are falling while the bell is knelling,
With all the dark solemnities which show
That Death is in the dwelling!

O very, very dreary is the room
Where Love, domestic Love, no longer nestles,
But, smitten by the common stroke of doom,
The Corpse lies on the trestles!

But House of Woe, and hearse, and sable pall,
The narrow home of the departed mortal,
Ne'er look'd so gloomy as that Ghostly Hall,
With its deserted portal!

The centipede along the threshold crept,
The cobweb hung across in mazy tangle,
And in its winding-sheet the maggot slept,
At every nook and angle.

The keyhole lodged the earwig and her brood,
The emmets of the steps had old possession,
And march'd in search of their diurnal food
In undisturb'd procession.

As undisturb'd as the prehensile cell
Of moth or maggot, or the spider's tissue,
For never foot upon that threshold fell,
To enter or to issue.

O'er all there hung the shadow of a fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted!

Howbeit, the door I push'd—or so I dream'd—
Which slowly, slowly gaped,—the hinges creaking
With such a rusty eloquence, it seem'd
That Time himself was speaking.

But Time was dumb within that Mansion old,
Or left his tale to the heraldic banners,
That hung from the corroded walls, and told
Of former men and manners:—

Those tatter'd flags, that with the open'd door,
Seem'd the old wave of battle to remember,
While fallen fragments danced upon the floor,
Like dead leaves in December.

The startled bats flew out,—bird after bird,—
The screech-owl overhead began to flutter,
And seem'd to mock the cry that she had heard
Some dying victim utter!

A shriek that echoed from the joisted roof,
And up the stair, and further still and further,
Till in some ringing chamber far aloof
It ceased its tale of murther!

Meanwhile the rusty armour rattled round,
The banner shudder'd, and the ragged streamer;
All things the horrid tenor of the sound
Acknowledged with a tremor.

The antlers, where the helmet hung, and belt,
Stirr'd as the tempest stirs the forest branches,
Or as the stag had trembled when he felt
The blood-hound at his haunches.

The window jingled in its crumbled frame,
And thro' its many gaps of destitution
Dolorous moans and hollow sighings came,
Like those of dissolution.

The wood-louse dropped, and rolled into a ball,
Touch'd by some impulse occult or mechanic;
And nameless beetles ran along the wall
In universal panic.

The subtle spider, that from overhead
Hung like a spy on human guilt and error,
Suddenly turn'd, and up its slender thread
Ran with a nimble terror.

The very stains and fractures on the wall,
Assuming features solemn and terrific,
Hinted some Tragedy of that old Hall,
Lock'd up in hieroglyphic.

Some tale that might, perchance, have solved the
        doubt,
Wherefore amongst those flags so dull and livid,
The banner of the Bloody Hand shone out
So ominously vivid.

Some key to that inscrutable appeal,
Which made the very frame of Nature quiver;
And ev'ry thrilling nerve and fibre feel
So ague-like a shiver.

For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted!

If but a rat had lingered in the house,
To lure the thought into a social channel!
But not a rat remain'd, or tiny mouse,
To squeak behind the panel.

Huge drops roll'd down the walls, as if they wept;
And where the cricket used to chirp so shrilly
The toad was squatting, and the lizard crept
On that damp hearth and chilly.

For years no cheerful blaze had sparkled there,
Or glanced on coat of buff or knightly metal;
The slug was crawling on the vacant chair,—
The snail upon the settle.

The floor was redolent of mould and must,
The fungus in the rotten seams had quicken'd;
While on the oaken table coats of dust
Perennially had thicken'd.

No mark of leathern jack or metal can,
No cup—no horn—no hospitable token,—
All social ties between that board and Man
Had long ago been broken.

There was so foul a rumour in the air,
The shadow of a Presence so atrocious;
No human creature could have feasted there,
Even the most ferocious.

For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted!


PART III.


'Tis hard for human actions to account,
Whether from reason or from impulse only—
But some internal prompting bade me mount
The gloomy stairs and lonely.

Those gloomy stairs, so dark, and damp, and cold,
With odours as from bones and relics carnal,
Deprived of rite, and consecrated mould,
The chapel vault, or charnel.

Those dreary stairs, where with the sounding stress
Of ev'ry step so many echoes blended,
The mind, with dark misgivings, fear'd to guess
How many feet ascended.

The tempest with its spoils had drifted in,
Till each unwholesome stone was darkly spotted,
As thickly as the leopard's dappled skin,
With leaves that rankly rotted.

The air was thick—and in the upper gloom
The bat—or something in its shape—was winging;
And on the wall, as chilly as a tomb,
The Death's-Head moth was clinging.

That mystic moth, which, with a sense profound
Of all unholy presence, augurs truly;
And with a grim significance flits round
The taper burning bluely.

Such omens in the place there seem'd to be,
At ev'ry crooked turn, or on the landing,
The straining eyeball was prepared to see
Some Apparition standing.

For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted!

Yet no portentous Shape the sight amazed;
Each object plain, and tangible, and valid;
But from their tarnish'd frames dark Figures gazed,
And Faces spectre-pallid.

Not merely with the mimic life that lies
Within the compass of Art's simulation;
Their souls were looking thro' their painted eyes
With awful speculation.

On ev'ry lip a speechless horror dwelt;
On ev'ry brow the burthen of affliction;
The old Ancestral Spirits knew and felt
The House's malediction.

Such earnest woe their features overcast,
They might have stirr'd, or sigh'd, or wept, or
        spoken;
But, save the hollow moaning of the blast,
The stillness was unbroken.

No other sound or stir of life was there,
Except my steps in solitary clamber,
From flight to flight, from humid stair to stair,
From chamber into chamber.

Deserted rooms of luxury and state,
That old magnificence had richly furnish'd
With pictures, cabinets of ancient date,
And carvings gilt and burnish'd.

Rich hangings, storied by the needle's art
With scripture history, or classic fable;
But all had faded, save one ragged part,
Where Cain was slaying Abel.

The silent waste of mildew and the moth
Had marr'd the tissue with a partial ravage;
But undecaying frown'd upon the cloth
Each feature stern and savage.

The sky was pale; the cloud a thing of doubt;
Some hues were fresh, and some decay'd and duller;
But still the Bloody Hand shone strangely out
With vehemence of colour!

The Bloody Hand that with a lurid stain
Shone on the dusty floor, a dismal token,
Projected from the casement's painted pane,
Where all beside was broken.

The Bloody Hand significant of crime,
That glaring on the old heraldic banner,
Had kept its crimson unimpair'd by time,
In such a wondrous manner!

O'er all there hung the shadow of a fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted!

The Death Watch tick'd behind the panel'd oak,
Inexplicable tremors shook the arras,
And echoes strange and mystical awoke,
The fancy to embarrass.

Prophetic hints that filled the soul with dread,
But thro' one gloomy entrance pointing mostly,
The while some secret inspiration said,
That Chamber is the Ghostly!

Across the door no gossamer festoon
Swung pendulous—no web—no dusty fringes,
No silky chrysalis or white cocoon
About its nooks and hinges.

The spider shunn'd the interdicted room,
The moth, the beetle, and the fly were banish'd,
And where the sunbeam fell athwart the gloom
The very midge had vanish'd.

One lonely ray that glanced upon a Bed,
As if with awful aim direct and certain
To show the Bloody Hand in burning red
Embroider'd on the curtain.

And yet no gory stain was on the quilt—
The pillow in its place had slowly rotted;
The floor alone retain'd the trace of guilt,
Those boards obscurely spotted.

Obscurely spotted to the door, and thence
With mazy doubles to the grated casement—
Oh what a tale they told of fear intense,
Of horror and amazement!

What human creature in the dead of night
Had coursed like hunted hare that cruel distance?
Had sought the door, the window in his flight,
Striving for dear existence?

What shrieking Spirit in that bloody room
Its mortal frame had violently quitted?—
Across the sunbeam, with a sudden gloom,
A ghostly Shadow flitted.

Across the sunbeam, and along the wall,
But painted on the air so very dimly,
It hardly veil'd the tapestry at all,
Or portrait frowning grimly.

O'er all there hung the shadow of a fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted!

________________

[Top of page]

MISS KILMANSEGG AND HER
PRECIOUS LEG.


A GOLDEN LEGEND.
________

HER PEDIGREE.

I.


To trace the Kilmansegg pedigree
To the very root of the family tree
    Were a task as rash as ridiculous:
Through antediluvian mists as thick
As London fog such a line to pick
Were enough, in truth, to puzzle old Nick,
    Not to name Sir Harris Nicolas.

It wouldn't require much verbal strain
To trace the Kill-man, perchance, to Cain;
    But, waiving all such digressions,
Suffice it, according to family lore,
A Patriarch Kilmansegg lived of yore,
    Who was famed for his great possessions.

Tradition said he feather'd his nest
Through an Agricultural Interest
    In the Golden Age of Farming;
When golden eggs were laid by the geese,
And Colehian sheep wore a golden fleece,
And golden pippins—the sterling kind
Of Hesperus—now so hard to find—
    Made Horticulture quite charming!

A Lord of Land, on his own estate,
He lived at a very lively rate,
    But his income would bear carousing;
Such acres he had of pastures and heath,
With herbage so rich from the ore beneath,
The very ewe's and lambkin's teeth
    Were turn'd into gold by browsing.

-5-


He gave, without any extra thrift,
A flock of sheep for a birthday gift
    To each son of his loins, or daughter:
And his debts—if debts he had—at will
He liquidated by giving each bill
    A dip in Pactolian water.

'Twas said that even his pigs of lead,
By crossing with some by Midas bred,
    Made a perfect mine of his piggery.
And as for cattle, one yearling bull
Was worth all Smithfield-market full
    Of the Golden Bulls of Pope Gregory.

The high-bred horses within his stud,
Like human creatures of birth and blood,
    Had their Golden Cups and flagons:
And as for the common husbandry nags,
Their noses were tied in money-bags,
    When they stopp'd with the carts and wagons.

Moreover, he had a Golden Ass,
Sometimes at stall, and sometimes at grass,
    That was worth his own weight in money
And a golden hive, on a Golden Bank,
Where golden bees, by alchemical prank,
    Gather'd gold instead of honey.

Gold! and gold! and gold without end!
He had gold to lay by, and gold to spend,
    Gold to give, and gold to lend,
And reversions of gold in futuro.
In wealth the family revell'd and roll'd,
Himself and wife and sons so bold;—
And his daughters sang to their harps of gold
    "O bella eta del'oro!"

-10-


Such was the tale of the Kilmansegg Kin,
In golden text on a vellum skin,
    Though certain people would wink and grin,
And declare the whole story a parable—
That the Ancestor rich was one Jacob Ghrimes,
Who held a long lease, in prosperous times,
    Of acres, pasture and arable.

That as money makes money, his golden bees
Were the Five per Cents, or which you please,
    When his cash was more than plenty—
That the golden cups were racing affairs;
And his daughters, who sang Italian airs,
    Had their golden harps of Clementi.

That the Golden Ass, or Golden Bull,
Was English John, with his pockets full,
    Then at war by land and water:
While beef, and mutton, and other meat,
Were almost as dear as money to eat,
And farmers reaped Golden Harvests of wheat
    At the Lord knows what per quarter!


________________

HER BIRTH.


What different dooms our birthdays bring!
For instance, one little manikin thing
    Survives to wear many a wrinkle;
While Death forbids another to wake,
And a son that it took nine moons to make
    Expires without even a twinkle!

Into this world we come like ships,
Launch'd from the docks, and stocks, and slips,
    For fortune fair or fatal;
And one little craft is cast away
In its very first trip in Babbicome Bay,
    While another rides safe at Port Natal.

-15-


What different lots our stars accord!
This babe to be hail'd and woo'd as a Lord!
    And that to be shunn'd like a leper!
One, to the world's wine, honey, and corn,
Another, like Colchester native, born
    To its vinegar, only, and pepper.

One is litter'd under a roof
Neither wind nor water proof—
    That's the prose of Love in a Cottage—
A puny, naked, shivering wretch,
The whole of whose birthright would not fetch,
Though Robins himself drew up the sketch,
    The bid of "a mess of pottage."

Born of Fortunatus's kin
Another comes tenderly ushered in
    To a prospect all bright and burnish'd:
No tenant he for life's back slums—
He comes to the world, as a gentleman comes
    To a lodging ready furnish'd.

And the other sex—the tender—the fair—
What wide reverses of fate are there!
    Whilst Margaret, charm'd by the Bulbul rare,
In a garden of Gul reposes—
Poor Peggy hawks nosegays from street to street
Till—think of that, who find life so sweet!—
    She hates the smell of roses!

Not so with the infant Kilmansegg!
She was not born to steal or beg,
    Or gather cresses in ditches;
To plait the straw, or bind the shoe,
Or sit all day to hem and sew,
As females must—and not a few—
    To fill their insides with stitches!

-20-


She was not doom'd, for bread to eat,
To be put to her hands as well as her feet—
    To carry home linen from mangles—
Or heavy-hearted, and weary-limb'd,
To dance on a rope in a jacket trimm'd
    With as many blows as spangles.

She was one of those who by Fortune's boon
Are born, as they say, with a silver spoon
    In her mouth, not a wooden ladle:
To speak according to poet's wont,
Plutus as sponsor stood at her font,
    And Midas rocked the cradle.

At her first début she found her head
On a pillow of down, in a downy bed,
    With a damask canopy over.
For although, by the vulgar popular saw,
All mothers are said to be "in the straw,"
    Some children are born in clover.

Her very first draught of vital air,
It was not the common chameleon fare
    Of plebeian lungs and noses,—
        No—her earliest sniff
        Of this world was a whiff
Of the genuine Otto of Roses!

When she saw the light, it was no mere ray
Of that light so common—so everyday—
    That the sun each morning launches—
But six wax tapers dazzled her eyes,
From a thing—a gooseberry bush for size—
    With a golden stem and branches.

-25-


She was born exactly at half-past two,
As witness'd a timepiece in ormolu
That stood on a marble table—
Showing at once the time of day,
And a team of Gildings running away
    As fast as they were able,
With a golden God, with a golden Star,
And a golden Spear, in a golden Car,
    According to Grecian fable.

Like other babes, at her birth she cried;
Which made a sensation far and wide—
    Ay, for twenty miles around her:
For though to the ear 'twas nothing more
Than an infant's squall, it was really the roar
    Of a Fifty-thousand Pounder!
        It shook the next heir
        In his library chair,
    And made him cry, "Confound her!"

Of signs and omens there was no dearth,
Any more than at Owen Glendower's birth,
    Or the advent of other great people
        Two bullocks dropp'd dead,
        As if knock'd on the head,
        And barrels of stout
        And ale ran about,
And the village bells such a peal rang out,
    That they crack'd the village steeple.

In no time at all, like mushroom spawn,
Tables sprang up all over the lawn;
    Not furnish'd scantly or shabbily,
        But on scale as vast
        As that huge repast,
        With its loads and cargoes
        Of drink and botargoes,
At the Birth of the Babe in Rabelais.

Hundreds of men were turn'd into beasts,
Like the guests at Circe's horrible feasts,
    By the magic of ale and cider:
And each country lass, and each country lad
Began to caper and dance like mad,
And ev'n some old ones appear'd to have had
    A bite from the Naples Spider.

-30-


    Then as night came on,
    It had scared King John
Who considered such signs not risible,
    To have seen the maroons,
    And the whirling moons,
    And the serpents of flame,
    And wheels of the same,
That according to some were "whizzable."

Oh, happy Hope of the Kilmanseggs!
Thrice happy in head, and body, and legs,
    That her parents had such full pockets!
For had she been born of Want and Thrift,
For care and nursing all adrift,
It's ten to one she had had to make shift
    With rickets instead of rockets!

And how was the precious baby drest?
In a robe of the East, with lace of the West,
    Like one of Croesus's issue—
        Her best bibs were made
        Of rich gold brocade,
    And the others of silver tissue.

And when the baby inclined to nap,
She was lull'd on a Gros de Naples lap,
By a nurse in a modish Paris cap,
    Of notions so exalted,
She drank nothing lower than Curaçoa
Maraschino, or pink Noyau,
    And on principle never malted.

From a golden boat, with a golden spoon,
The babe was fed night, morning, and noon;
    And altho' the tale seems fabulous,
'Tis said her tops and bottoms were gilt,
Like the oats in that Stable-yard Palace built
    For the horse of Heliogabalus.

-35-


And when she took to squall and kick—
For pain will wring, and pins will prick,
    E'en the wealthiest nabob's daughter—
They gave her no vulgar Dalby or gin,
But a liquor with leaf of gold therein,
    Videlicet,—Dantzic Water.

In short she was born, and bred, and nurst,
And drest in the best from the very first,
    To please the genteelest censor—
And then, as soon as strength would allow,
Was vaccinated, as babes are now,
With virus ta'en from the best-bred cow
    Of Lord Althorpe's—now Earl Spencer.

________________

HER CHRISTENING.


Though Shakspeare asks us, "What's in a name?"
(As if cognomens were much the same),
    There's really a very great scope in it.
A name?—why, wasn't there Doctor Dodd,
That servant at once of Mammon and God,
Who found four thousand pounds and odd,
    A prison—a cart—and a rope in it?

A name?—if the party had a voice,
What mortal would be a Bugg by choice?
    As a Hogg, a Grubb, or a Chubb rejoice?
Or any such nauseous blazon?
Not to mention many a vulgar name,
That would make a door-plate blush for shame,
    If door-plates were not so brazen!

A name?—it has more than nominal worth,
And belongs to good or bad luck at birth—
    As dames of a certain degree know.
In spite of his Page's hat and hose,
His Page's jacket, and buttons in rows,
Bob only sounds like a page in prose
    Till turn'd into Rupertino.


-40-


Now to christen the infant Kilmansegg,
For days and days it was quite a plague,
To hunt the list in the Lexicon:
And scores were tried, like coin, by the ring,
Ere names were found just the proper thing
For a minor rich as a Mexican.

Then cards were sent, the presence to beg
Of all the kin of Kilmansegg,
    White, yellow, and brown relations:
Brothers, Wardens of City Halls,
And Uncles—rich as three Golden Balls
    From taking pledges of nations.

Nephews, whom Fortune seem'd to bewitch,
    Rising in life like rockets—
Nieces, whose dowries knew no hitch—
Aunts, as certain of dying rich
    As candles in golden sockets—
Cousins German and Cousins' sons,
All thriving and opulent—some had tons
    Of Kentish hops in their pockets!

For money had stuck to the race through life
(As it did to the bushel when cash so rife
Posed Ali Baba's brother's wife)—
    And down to the Cousins and Coz-lings,
The fortunate brood of the Kilmanseggs,
As if they had come out of golden eggs,
    Were all as wealthy as "Goslings."

It would fill a Court Gazette to name
What East and West End people came
    To the rite of Christianity:
The lofty Lord, and the titled Dame,
    All di'monds, plumes, and urbanity:
His Lordship the May'r with his golden chain,
And two Gold Sticks, and the Sheriffs twain,
Nine foreign Counts, and other great men
With their orders and stars, to help "M. or N."
    To renounce all pomp and vanity.


-45-


To paint the maternal Kilmansegg
The pen of an Eastern Poet would beg,
    And need an elaborate sonnet;
How she sparkled with gems whenever she stirr'd,
And her head niddle-noddled at every word,
And seem'd so happy, a Paradise Bird
    Had nidificated upon it.

And Sir Jacob the Father strutted and bow'd,
And smiled to himself, and laugh'd aloud,
    To think of his heiress and daughter—
And then in his pockets he made a grope,
And then, in the fulness of joy and hope,
Seem'd washing his hands with invisible soap
    In imperceptible water.

He had roll'd in money like pigs in mud.
Till it scem'd to have entered into his blood
    By some occult projection:
And his cheeks instead of a healthy hue,
As yellow as any guinea grew,
Making the common phrase seem true,
    About a rich complexion.

And now came the nurse, and during a pause,
Her dead-leaf satin would fitly cause
    A very autumnal rustle—
So full of figure, so full of fuss,
As she carried about the babe to buss,
    She seem'd to be nothing but bustle.

A wealthy Nabob was Godpapa,
And an Indian Begum was Godmamma,
    Whose jewels a Queen might covet—
And the Priest was a Vicar, and Dean withal
Of that Temple we see with a Golden Ball,
    And a Golden Cross above it.


-50-


The Font was a bowl of American gold,
Won by Raleigh in days of old,
    In spite of Spanish bravado;
And the Book of Pray'r was so overrun
With gilt devices, it shone in the sun
Like a copy—a presentation one—
    Of Humboldt's "El Dorada."

Gold! and gold! and nothing but gold!
The same auriferous shine behold
    Wherever the eye could settle!
On the walls—the sideboard—the ceiling-sky—
On the gorgeous footmen standing by,
In coats to delight a miner's eye
    With seams of the precious metal.

Gold! and gold! and besides the gold,
The very robe of the infant told
A tale of wealth in every fold,
    It lapp'd her like a vapour!
So fine! so thin! the mind at a loss
Could compare it to nothing except a cross
    Of cobweb with bank-note paper.

Then her pearls—'twas a perfect sight, forsooth,
To see them, like "the dew of her youth,"
    In such a plentiful sprinkle.
Meanwhile, the Vicar read through the form,
And gave her another, not overwarm,
    That made her little eyes twinkle.

Then the babe was cross'd and bless'd amain!
But instead of the Kate, or Ann, or Jane,
    Which the humbler female endorses—
Instead of one name, as some people prefix,
Kilmansegg went at the tails of six,
    Like a carriage of state with its horses.


-55-


Oh, then the kisses she got and hugs!
The golden mugs and the golden jugs
    That lent fresh rays to the midges!
The golden knives, and the golden spoons,
The gems that sparkled like fairy boons,
It was one of the Kilmansegg's own saloons,
    But look'd like Rundell and Bridge's!

Gold! and gold! the new and the old!
The company ate and drank from gold,
    They revell'd, they sang, and were merry;
And one of the Gold Sticks rose from his chair,
And toasted "the Lass with the golden hair"
    In a bumper of Golden Sherry.

Gold! still gold! it rain'd on the nurse,
Who—un-like Danäe—was none the worse!
    There was nothing but guineas glistening!
    Fifty were given to Doctor James,
    For calling the little Baby names,
    And for saying, Amen!
    The Clerk had ten,
    And that was the end of the Christening.

________________


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