Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

STANZAS.

FORGIVE the words of wildness, dearest !

In pain conceived,--and passion breathed ;-
I know thee all that thou appearest,

-
That with thine inmost soul is wreathed
Deep dreams of me--a tender chain
The world can never 'rend in twain.
Forgive the doubts, though urged unkindly,

Which said, 'Thou too art like the rest;'
For oh! the heart discerns but blindly,

When by a weight of woes opprest; Else had I never deemed that thou Couldst look on me with altered brow ! No; this may never be !--Around me

Still Hate's black shafts in showers may fly; Still reptile tongues may strive to wound me,

And brand my name with infamy;
But come what will, there shall not be
A thought of strife 'twixt thee and me:
Then let the paltry few defame me,-
The
many

echo back their tale ;
I heed not if they praise or blame me;

The slanderous lie may yet prevail
With fools who cannot feel or see,
Though light will be its weight with thee!
Yet oft perchance, when deeper sadness

Than fools could probe or understand ;
Hath wrung my bosom half to madness,

And petulance to passion fanned;
My lips in bitterer taunts have dealt
Than suited with the scorn I felt.
But there are those, too oft appealing

To custom-and the colder soul,
Would rudely check each loftier feeling,

And all they cannot share, controul ;
Spurning the vine, its flowers, and fruits,
Because the tree hath idle shoots.
Thou art not one of such ; and never,

Whate'er may be my future lot,
Though climes divide, and oceans sever

Our weary hearts, shall be forgot
The coy but fond fidelity,
Thy more than woman's truth to me!
And though the hand of wrath may pour

Its cup on my devoted head,
Though storm and gloom above me lower,
And desart wastes be round me spread,

--
In silence, solitude, and grief,
Those thoughts shall minister relief.

Farewell! This dreary, cheerless dwelling

By me so long miscalled, 'my home,'
I leave, with bosom proudly swelling

From many a recent wrong, to roam,-
What recks it where,-80 I may be
From heartless, vulgar insult, free!
And for the iron chain that galled me,

I break its sole remaining link;
Its weight hath long-too long enthralled me,

I'll now resolve, as well as think.
And for the ties I can't undo,
Could they be broke, I'd break them too!

Farewell! Though stern delight is rushing

Through every pulse, that thus I leave
Those who, when sorrow's tears were gushing,

Could give me added cause to grieve;
And when my heart in secret bled,
Heap wanton insult on my head,
Not thus I part from thee,-ungrateful

And cold, and callous were my soul,
If thoughts like these, however hateful,

Could e'er one single thought controul,
That bids my deepest heart repine
In sighs that can be only thine !

C.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A MISPLACED COMMA.

STRANGE as it may seem, it is certainly a fact, that the unfortunate King Edward the Second lost his life by means of a misplaced comma ; for his savage queen, with whom he was at variance, sent to the keeper of the prison in which he was confined, the following lines :

To shed King Edward's blood

Refuse to fear, I count it good.
Had the comma been placed after the word refuse, thus

To shed King Edward's blood

Refuse, the sense would have implied that the keeper was commanded not to harm the king, and the remainder of the line

To fear I count it good, would have signified that it was deemed improper to spill his blood : but the comma being wickedly placed after the word fear, thus

To shed King Edward's blood

Refuse to fear, the murder seems commanded, together with a kind of indemnification to the keeper: nay, after this mode of not pointing, the remainder of the line seems to deem the action meritorious

I count it good. According to the punctuation, the keeper took the lines in their worst sense, and the king's life was the sacrifice.

BUTCHERS' BOYS.

Oh! it is the bonny butcher-lad
That wears the sleeves of blue.

HEART OF MID-LOTHIAN.

is no

BU FCHERS' Boys are a race of a peculiar and highly original character: they are not only like no other boys, but they are like no other beings in the whole world. All their habits and propensities are singular, and isolated—they have no brothers.' The youthful aspirants to every other trade present certain points of resemblance to each other ; there is an approximation in all apprentices besides. In the eléve of a shoemaker you may discover, more or less, the germ which experience shall mature into a professor of the gentle craft. A tailor's boy is only a small edition of a tailor ; but nothing is less like a full grown butcher than a Butcher's Boy.

Of all the outward insignia which distinguish the trades of England, none are so picturesque, so striking, or have so irresistible a touch of elegance in their appearance, as those which decorate Butchers' Boys. They wear no hat, but seem to court the breezes, and even the storm, with bare heads; that their nerves may be gladdened by the inspiring and invigorating effect of the free air. Lord Bacon, it is said, used to walk without his hat in the showers, that he might feel this bountiful influence of Nature descending upon him as well as upon the silent flowers.

Who shall doubt then, that it is for as profound and as refined a reason that the youthful slaughterers of beef and mutton pursue the same practice ? They are always scrupulously clean,- shedders of blood as they are, there

• damned spot upon them; there is no “filthy witness' upon their hands, which are as pure as those of a sacrificing priest at the unsullied altars of the ancient temples. They wear little, or oftener, no cravats, like Raffaelle, and Leigh Hunt, and other great men, who have a keen sentiment du beau, and, like them, are lovers of out-of-door enjoyments. Their coats are the colour of Hotspur's horse, a strawberry roan;' and this colour is worn by none but them. Their blue sleeves and blue aprons give a lightness and gaiety to their appearance, which has at once the dashing look of a soldier, and the simplicity of a citizen. I have heard much of the singular beauty, and picturesque costumes of the Swiss peasantry ; I do not deny that they are beautiful; I have seen them all, and admired the greater part of them; but I never thought of comparing them with the habiliments of a Butcher's Boy. No! for that graceful independent appearance which at once announces and partakes of zeal and freedom, commend me to a well-dressed Butcher's Boy! Their loosened girdles and depending steels give one the idea of a ready weapon, and a no less ready hand : and well recal to one's memory the champions of the feudal times. Another, and a singular characteristic feature of Butchers' Boys, is their crisp curling hair : and oh! it gladdens my heart to see a lusty, rosy stripling, all redolent of joy and youth,' in the conscious pride of his strength and privileges, walking erect beneath a well-filled tray, while his black curled head drops gracefully against the immaculate white fat of a sirloin of beef, which seems to arise on each side, courting the touch, and suing to be pressed.'

In all the round of those manly amusements which are known to have had no small influence in producing that spirit of inflexibility and endurance

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 surpassado 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 Box ?

THE ALBUM.

THE DIRGE OF WALLACE.

BY THOMAS CAMPBELL, ESQ.

They lighted a taper at dead of night,

And chaunted their holiest hymn;
But her brow and her bosom were damp with affright,

Her eye was all sleepless and dim !
And the lady of Elderslie wept for her lord,

When a death-watch beat in her lonely room,
When her curtain had shook of its own accord,
And the raven had flapped at her window board,

To tell of her warrior's doom !

Now sing ye the death song, and loudly pray

For the soul of my knight so dear;
And call me a widow this wretched day,

Since the warning of God is here !
For a nightmare rides on my strangled sleep :

The lord of my bosom is doomed to die;
His valorous heart they have wounded deep,
And the blood-red tears shall his country weep,

For Wallace of Elderslie!

« ПредишнаНапред »