Графични страници
PDF файл

which is a part of the character of Englishmen (however the fastidious may call such sports brutal) Butchers' Boys are always foremost. What would be-I cannot check my rising triumph as I put this questionwhat would be a bull-bait, without Butchers' Boys and their dogs ? Without their gladdening assistance what would be the delight of seeing a badger drawn? Or where the pleasure of beholding Cribb's terrier Billy kill the hundred rats in five minutes ? Without Butchers' Boys what would a prize-fight be? Or a main of cocks? Or any other of those refined amusements, which, like the grave, level all distinctions? And where the exciting endeavour to cheat each other, which mingles peers and pickpockets in one common mass ? At all such assemblies Butchers' Boys are the very Sir Clement Cottrells of the etiquette : their presence of mind, ease, and adroitness, most admirably qualify them for the talk, and they execute it with the applause, and to the delight of all beholders. Their love of justice used to be displayed too, upon an occasion, which, by a recent act of the legislature, has become rare; for who could look upon the vengeful energy with which these young ministers of the laws hurled dead cats against the culprits who were condemned to the pillory, and not see that it proceeded from the purest love of virtue, and hatred of vice ? a very inborn inveteracy against all evil ?

Such are Butchers' Boys in London; but it is in the country that they lead the freest and happiest lives. Frank and boon as they are every where, it is when relieved from the irksomeness of cities that their souls seem to have the most elbow-room,' and to revel in the freedom of the blessed sunshine and the unchained wind. They are the best riders in the world; all the stories told of Arab horsemanship do not surpass-do not even approach—some of the feats achieved by Butchers' Boys. They can not only train a horse to do all that the skill of horses can accomplish, but they can make an old and a bad one forget his infirmities and vices; they seem, indeed, to infuse their own elastic spirits into the brutes they ride; and, as if by a spell, or some potent influence, surpassing the knowledge of ordinary mortals, the veriest jades emulate the fleetest and the best-bred coursers. There must be some magic in it, because, as soon as they quit the saddle, “the spell has lost its hold;' it is given to no other man to wake the slumbering energies of the steed, and any but a Butcher's Boy would be as vainly employed in trying to urge such a horse into a gallop as if he should essay that of the Statue in Il Don Giovanni,' or that masterpiece of bronze which bears the eloquent effigy of the martyred king, at Charing-Cross.

I have seen with delight one of these rural Butchers' Boys mount a horse, to purchase which twenty shillings would have been by far too large a sum, and with a basket on its withers, containing some two-hundred weight of meat and bone, gallop on through flood and field, turnpike-road, and greenlane, while the load seemed to rest as lightly upon the horse's back as the rider's bosom lord upon his throne. Every house that such a youth stops at seems the more happy from his visit; the servant maids are gladdened at his very sight, and he loves and rides away,' like any other young knight, exulting at his ' unhoused and free condition.' Storms may assail such an one, but all in vain. He heeds the rain no more than a duck; its torrents only give a fresher and more glossy hue to his recking horse's sides, and he goes careering on, with slackened bit and hoof of speed,' caring not a straw for all the showers that have fallen since the deluge. The wind blows not against him; it might as well strive to root up a mountain from its buried base, as to pluck him from his saddle. Who ever heard of a Butcher's Boy being thrown ? It were a thing impossible. The laws of gravitation, the very bond which holds together the atoms of this perishable globe, seem suspended for such riders; and if Sir Isaac Newton had not been, as the world knows he was, rather a rash and short-sighted man, he would have made an exception in favour of Butchers' Boys, from that which he thought an universal law.

We would fain avoid saying more than is thrust upon us of butchers, -full grown butchers. They are disagreeable people, and have little remains of the charms of their state of boyhood; they grow too fat to ride; they are too busy to court the servant maids; they get rich, and are not seen at fights; they smoke, and drink, and send their daughters to boarding schools, and their sons to academies ; who can never become happy or good, for they are butchers' sons, and not Butcher's Boys. So much do I envy and admire the lot of Butchers' Boys, that, if it were not opposed to the conditions of mortality, I can think of no greater felicity than that of enjoying a perpetual youth, and following their vocation. Talk of the Paradise of Mahomet ! it falls into insignificance compared with theirs ; not that I would be supposed to under-rate the value of the sparkling night-dark eyes of the Houris, nor the ever-blooming roses which are to form the couches of the Moslem heroes; but what is the luxurious inanity of this, compared with the ever-varying enterprise and spirit of the life of a BUTCHER'S Boy ?

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Yet knew not his country, that ominous hour,

Ere the loud matin-bell was rung,
That a trumpet of death on an English tower,

Had the dirge of her champion sung!
When his dungeon-light looked dim and red,

On the high-born blood of a martyr slain, No anthem was sung at his holy death-bed ; No weeping there was when his bosom bled

And his heart was rent in twain !

Oh, it was not thus when his oaken spear

Was true to that knight forlorn,
And hosts of a thousand were scattered like deer

At the blast of the hunter's horn;
When he strode on the wreck of each well-fought field

With the yellow-haired chiefs of his native land; For his lance was not shivered on helmet or shieldAnd the sword that seemed fit for archangel to wield,

Was light in his terrible hand !

Yet bleeding and bound, though the Wallace wight

For his long-loved country die,
The bugle ne'er sang to a braver knight

Than William of Elderslie!
But the day of his glory shall never depart;

His head unentombed shall with glory be palmed ; From its blood-streaming altar his spirit shall start ; Though the raven has fed on his mouldering heart,

A nobler was never embalmed !



Love, I've loved you passing well,

Loved you long, and loved sincerely ;
How I loved no tongue can tell,

'Twas so truly, 'twas so dearly;
But my fond delirium o'er,
Love, adieu ;-We'll meet no more.
When I owned your beauty's sway,

All my vows were gospel-true, love ;
That I'm changed, no doubt, you'll say ;

And believe me so are you, love ;
Bloom departing, youth removed,
You're no more the love I loved !
Can I still the casket prize,

When the gem by Time is plundered ?
Can the stalk delight mine eyes,

Whence the rose for aye is sundered ?

These possess no charms for me,
And, alas ! are types of thee!

Parting lip, and melting eye,

Teeth of pearl, and cheeks of roses,
Limbs that might with Paphia's vie;

Bosom where delight reposes ;
These the love I love must shew :
Say, can you, Love ? No, Love, no!

Now in Aura's blooming form

Charms once yours mine eyes discover ; Since my soul they still can warm,

Wherefore call me faithless lover ?
What you were, and she is now,
Still obtains my fervent vow.

Still my heart remains the same;

Still it doats on youth and beauty : Still (whate'er their owner's name)

"Tis to them I pay my duty : And where'er their charms I see, Still their charms have charms for me.

Chide no more then; for I vow,

If my heart adores a new Love, 'Tis because she gives me now

Joys like those I shared with you, Love. Loving her I still love you, Hark! she calls me!-Love, adieu !



'Twas eight o'clock, and near the fire

My ruddy little boy was seated, And with the titles of a sire

My ears expected to be greeted. But vain the thought! by sleep oppressed,

No father there the child descried; His head reclined upon his breast,

Or nodding rolled from side to side.

'Let this young rogue be sent to bed,'

More I had scarce had time to say, When the poor urchin raised his head,

To beg that he might longer stay. Refused ; away his steps he bent

With tearful eye and aching heart, But claimed his playthings ere he went,

And took up stairs his horse and cart.

Still for delay, though oft denied,

He pleaded,-wildly craved the boon ;-
Though past his usual hour, he cried

At being sent to bed so soon !
If stern to him, his grief I shared,

(Unmoved ho sees his offspring weep ?)
Of soothing him I half despaired;

When all his cares were lost in sleep.

'Alas, poor infant !' I exclaimed,

Thy father blushes now to scan,
In all that he so lately blamed,

The follies and the fears of man.
The vain regret—the anguish brief,

Which thou hast known, sent up to bed,
Pourtrayed of man the idle grief,

When doomed to slumber with the dead.

And more I thought, when up the stairs

With longing, lingering looks he crept,
To mark of man the childish cares,

His playthings carefully he kept.
Thus mortals on life's later stage,

When nature claims their perfect breath,
Still grasp at wealth, in pain and age,

And cling to golden toys in death.

'Tis morn, and see my smiling boy

Awakes to hail returning light;
To fearless laughter, boundless joy!

Forgot the tears of yesternight !
Thus shall not man forget his woe;

Survive of age and death the gloom ?
Smile at the cares he knew below,

And, renovated, burst the tomb ?*




His time was quick, his touch was fleet; our gold he nimbly fingered ;
Alike alert with hands and feet, his movements have not lingered.
Where lies the wonder of the case ?-a moment's thought detects it;
His practice has been thorough-bass,

,-a chord will be his exit!
Yet whilst we blame his hasty flights, our censure may be rash,
For sure in times like these 'tis right to change ones notes for cash !

This beautiful little poem report ascribes to the pen of the accomplished author of the Lollards.'

« ПредишнаНапред »