For still their eyes were dimmer than with tears And dizzier u'om diviner sounds their ears Than though irom choral thunders of the quiring spheres. They heard not how the landward waters rang, Nor saw where high into the morning sprang, Riven irom the shore and bastioned with the sea, Toward summits where the north wind's nest might be, A wave-walled palace with its eastern gate Full ot the sunrise now and wide at wait, And on the mighty-moulded stairs that clomb Sheer from the fierce lip of the lapping foam The knights of Mark that stood before the wall.
And severed from the sea-rock's base, where stand Some worn walls yet, they saw the broken strand, The beachless cliff that in the sheer sea dips, The sleepless shore inexorable to ships, And the straight causeway's bare gaunt spine between The sea-spanned walls and naked mainland's green. On the mid stairs, between the light and dark, Before the main tower's portal stood King Mark, Crowned : and his face was as the face of one Long time athirst and hungering for the sun In barren thrall of bitter bonds, who now Thinks here to feel its blessing on his brow.
A swart lean man, but kinglike, still of guise, With black streaked beard and cold unquiet eyes, Close-mouthed, gaunt-cheeked, wan as a morning moon, Though hardly time on his worn hair had strewn The thin first ashes from a sparing hand : Yet little fire there burnt upon the brand, And way-worn seemed he with life's wayfaring.
So between shade and sunlight stood the king, And his face changed nor yearned not toward his bride; But fixed between mild hope and patient pride Abode what gift of rare or lesser worth This day might bring to all his days on earth. But at the glory of her when she came His heart endured not : very fear and shame Smote him, to take her by the hand and kiss, Till both were molten in the burning bliss, And with a thin flame flushing his cold face He led her silent to the bridal place.
There were they wed and hallowed of the priest ; And all the loud time of the marriage feast One thought within three hearts was as a fire, Where craft and faith took counsel with desire. For when the feast had made a glorious end They gave the new queen for her maids to tend At dawn of bride-night, and thereafter bring With marriage music to the bridegroom king. Then by device of craft between them laid To him went Brangwain delicately, and prayed That this thing even for love's sake might not be, But without sound or light or eye to see She might come in to bride-bed : and he laughed, As one that wist not well of wise love's craft, And bade all bridal things be as she would.
Yet of his gentleness he gat not good ; For clothed and covered with the nuptial dark Soft like a bride came Brangwain to King Mark, And to the queen came Tristram ; and the night Fled, and ere danger of detective light From the king sleeping Brangwain slid away, And where had lain her handmaid Iseult lay. And the king marvelled, seeing with sudden start Her very glory, and said out of his heart ; ' What have I done of good for God to bless That all this he should give me, tress on tress, All this great wealth and wondrous?
Was it this That in mine arms I had all night to kiss, And mix with me this beauty? Doth God make Such things so godlike for man's mortal sake? Have I not sinned, that in this fleshly life Have made of her a mere man's very wife? And many a dawn to many a fiery noon Blew prelude, when the horn's heart-kindling tune Lit the live woods with sovereign sound of mirth Before the mightiest huntsman hailed on earth Lord of its lordliest pleasure, where he rode Hard by her rein whose peerless presence glowed Not as that white queen's of the virgin hunt Once, whose crown- crescent braves the night-wind's brunt, But with the sun for frontlet of a qiieenlier front.
For where the flashing of her face was turned As lightning was the fiery light that burned From eyes and brows enkindled more with speed And rapture of the rushing of her steed Than once with only beauty ; and her mouth Was as a rose athirst that pants for drouth Even while it laughs for pleasure of desire, And all her heart was as a leaping fire. Yet once more joy they took of woodland ways Than came of all those flushed and fiery days When the loud air was mad with life and sound, Through many a dense green mile, of horn and hound Before the king's hunt going along the wind, And ere the timely leaves were changed or thinned, Even in mid maze of summer.
Nor was there man could sound so sweet a string, Save Tristram only, of all held best on earth. And one loud eve, being full of wine and mirth, Ere sunset left the walls and waters dark, To that strange minstrel strongly swore King Mark, By all that makes a knight's faith firm and strong, That he for guerdon of his harp and song Might crave and have his liking. Straight there came Up the swart cheek a flash of swarthier flame, And the deep eyes fulfilled of glittering night Laughed out in lightnings of triumphant light As the grim harper spake : ' O king, I crave No gift of man that king may give to slave, But this thy crowned queen only, this thy wife, Whom yet unseen I loved, and set my life On this poor chance to compass, even as here, Being fairer famed than all save Guenevere.
And they went forth into the dawn of night. Long by wild ways and clouded light they rode, Silent ; and fear less keen at heart abode With Iseult than with Palamede : for awe Constrained him, and the might of love's high law, That can make lewd men loyal ; and his heart Yearned on her, if perchance with amorous art And soothfast skill of very love he might For courtesy find favour in her sight And comfort of her mercies : for he wist More grace might come of that sweet mouth unkissed Than joy for violence done it, that should make His name abhorred for phame's disloyal sake.
But ere its gloom from aught but foam had light They halted, being aweary : and the knight As reverently forbore her where she lay As one that watched his sister's sleep till day. Nor durst he kiss or touch her hand or hair For love and shamefast pity, seeing how fair She slept, and fenceless from the fitful air. And shame at heart stung nigh to death desire, But grief at heart burned in him like a fire For hers and his own sorrowing sake, that had Such grace for guerdon as makes glad men sad, To have their will and want it. And the day Sprang : and afar along the wild waste way They heard the pulse and press of hurrying horse- hoofs play : And like the rushing of a ravenous flame Whose wings make tempest of the darkness, came Upon them headlong as in thunder borne Forth of the darkness of the labouring morn Tristram : and up forthright upon his steed Leapt, as one blithe of battle, Palamede, And mightily with shock of horse and man They lashed together : and fair that fight began As fair came up that sunrise : to and fro, With knees nigh staggered and stout heads bent low 50 THE QUEEN'S PLEASANCE.
From each quick shock of spears on either side, Reeled the strong steeds heavily, haggard-eyed And heartened high with passion of their pride As sheer the stout spears shocked again, and flew Sharp-splintering : then, his sword as each knight drew, They flashed and foined full royally, so long That but to see so fair a strife and strong A man might well have given out of his life One year's void space forlorn of love or strife. As when a bright north-easter, great of heart, Scattering the strengths of squadrons, hurls apart Ship from ship labouring violently, in such toil As earns but ruin with even so strong recoil Back were the steeds hurled from the spear-shock, fain And foiled of triumph : then with tightened rein And stroke of spur, inveterate, either knight Bore in again upon his foe with might, Heart-hungry for the hot-mouthed feast of fight And all athirst of mastery : but full soon The jarring notes of that tempestuous tune Fell, and its mighty music made of hands Contending, clamorous through the loud waste lands, Broke at once off; and shattered from his steed Fell, as a mainmast ruining, Palamede, Stunned : and those lovers left him where he lay, And lightly through green lawns they rode away.
And thither, ere sweet night had slain sweet day, Iseult and Tristram took their wandering way, And rested, and refreshed their hearts with cheer In hunters' fashion of the woods ; and here More sweet it seemed, while this might be, to dwell And take of all world's weariness farewell Than reign of all world's lordship queen and king. Nor here would time for three moons' changes bring Sorrow nor thought of sorrow ; but sweet earth Fostered them like her babes of eldest birth, Reared warm in pathless woods and cherished well.
And under change of sun and star and moon Flourished and fell the chaplets woven of June, And fair through fervours of the deepening sky Panted and passed the hours that lit July, And each day blessed them out of heaven above, And each night crowned them with the crown of love. Nor till the might of August overhead Weighed on the world was yet one roseleaf shed Of all their joy's warm coronal, nor aught Touched them in passing ever with a thought That ever this might end on any day Or any night not love them where they lay ; But like a babbling tale of barren breath Seemed all report and rumour held of death, And a false bruit the legend tear-impearled That such a thing as change was in the world.
And each bright song upon his lips that came, Mocking the powers of change and death by name, Blasphemed their bitter godhead, and defied Time, though clothed round with ruin as kings with pride, To blot the glad life out of love : and she Drank lightly deep of his philosophy In that warm wine of amorous words which is Sweet with all truths of all philosophies. So fared they night and day as queen and king Crowned of a kingdom wide as day and night.
Nor ever cloudlet swept or swam in sight Across the darkling depths of their delight Whose stars no skill might number, nor man's art Sound the deep stories of its heavenly heart. Till, even for wonder that such life should live, Desires and dreams of what death's self might give Would touch with tears and laughter and wild speech The lips and eyes of passion, fain to reach, Beyond all bourne of time or trembling sense, The verge of love's last possible eminence.
Out of the heaven that storm nor shadow mars, Deep from the starry depth beyond the stars, A yearning ardour without scope or name Fell on them, and the bright night's breath of flame Shot fire into their kisses ; and like fire The lit dews lightened on the leaves, as higher Night's heart beat on toward midnight Far and fain Somewhiles the soft rush of rejoicing rain Solaced the darkness, and from steep to steep Of heaven they saw the sweet sheet lightning leap And laugh its heart out in a thousand smiles, When the clear sea for miles on glimmering miles Burned as though dawn were strewn abroad astray, Or, showering out of heaven, all heaven's array Had paven instead the waters : fain and far Somewhiles the burning love of star for star 54 THE QUEEN'S PLEASANCE.
Spake words that love might wellnigh seem to hear In such deep hours as turn delight to fear Sweet as delight's self ever. So they lay Tranced once, nor watched along the fiery bay The shine of summer darkness palpitate and play. She had nor sight nor voice ; her swooning eyes Knew not if night or light were in the skies ; Across her beauty sheer the moondawn shed Its light as on a thing as white and dead ; Only with stress of soft fierce hands she prest Between the throbbing blossoms of her breast His ardent face, and through his hair her breath Went quivering as when life is hard on death ; And with strong trembling fingers she strained fast His head into her bosom ; till at last, Satiate with sweetness of that burning bed, His eyes afire with tears, he raised his head And laughed into her lips ; and all his heart Filled hers ; then face from face fell, and apart Each hung on each with panting lips, and felt Sense into sense and spirit in spirit melt.
I would not live till day ; O love, this night and we must pass away, It must die soon, and let not us die late. Slay me here ; Let me die not when love lies dead, but now Strike through my heart : nay, sweet, what heart hast thou? Is it so much I ask thee, and spend my breath In asking? Hadst thou true heart to love me, thou wouldst give This : but for hate's sake thou wilt let me live. Or earth beneath were moved at heart and root To burn as they, to burn and bring forth fruit Unseasonable for love's sake ; if tall trees Bowed, and close flowers yearned open, and the breeze Failed and fell silent as a flame that fails : And all that hour unheard the nightingales Clamoured, and all the woodland soul was stirred, ' And depth and height were one great song unheard, As though the world caught music and took fire From the instant heart alone of their desire.
So sped their night of nights between them : so, For all fears past and shadows, shine and snow, That one pure hour all-golden where they lay Made their life perfect and their darkness day. And warmer waved its harvest yet to reap, Till in the lovely fight of love and sleep At length had sleep the mastery ; and the dark Was lit with soft live gleams they might not mark, Fleet butterflies, each like a dead flower's ghost, White, blue, and sere leaf-coloured ; but the most White as the sparkle of snow-flowers in the sun Ere with his breath they lie at noon undone Whose kiss devours their tender beauty, and leaves But raindrops on the grass and sere thin leaves That.
Nor woke they till the perfect night was past, And the soft sea thrilled with blind hope of light But ere the dusk had well the sun in sight He turned and kissed her eyes awake and said, Seeing earth and water neither quick nor dead And twilight hungering toward the day to be, 'As the dawn loves the sunlight I love thee. And all the sea lay subject to the sun. And dies of loving ; as the worn-out noon Loves twilight, and as twilight loves the moon That on its grave a silver seal shall set We have loved and slain each other, and love yet.
Slain ; for we live not surely, being in twain : In her I lived, and in me she is slain, Who loved me that I brought her to her doom, Who loved her that her love might be my tomb. As all the streams on earth and all fresh springs And sweetest waters, every brook that sings, Each fountain where the young year dips its wings First, and the first-fledged branches of it wave, Even with one heart's love seek one bitter grave.
All tend but toward the sea, all born most high Strive downward, passing all things joyous by, Seek to it and cast their lives in it and die. So strive all lives for death which all lives win ; So sought her soul to my soul, and therein Was poured and perished : O my love, and mine Sought to thee and died of thee and died as thine. As the dawn loves the sunlight that must cease Ere dawn again may rise and pass in peace ; Must die that she being dead may live again, To be by his new rising nearly slain.
So rolls the great wheel of the great world round, And no change in it and no fault is found, And no true life of perdurable breath, And surely no irrevocable death. Day after day night comes that day may break, And day comes back for night's reiterate sake. Each into each dies, each of each is born : Day past is night, shall night past not be morn? Out of this moonless and faint-hearted night That love yet lives in, shall there not be light?
Light strong as love, that love may live in yet? Alas, but how shall foolish hope forget How all these loving things that kill and die Meet not but for a breath's space and pass by? Night is kissed once of dawn and dies, and day But touches twilight and is rapt away. So may my love and her love meet once more, And meeting be divided as of yore. Would God yet dawn might see the sun and die!
Yet, for his heart was mighty, and his might Through all the world as a great sound and light, The mood was rare upon him ; save that here In the low sundawn of the lightening year With all last year's toil and its triumph done He could not choose but yearn for that set sun Which at this season saw the firstborn kiss That made his lady's mouth one fire with his.
Should make a man's soul wholly break and die, Sapped as weak sand by water? How shall I Be less than all less things are that endure And strive and yield when time is? Nay, full sure All these and we are parts of one same end ; And if through fire or water we twain tend To that sure life where both must be made one, If one we be, what matter? O sun, that when we are dead wilt rise as bright, Air deepening up toward heaven, and nameless light, And heaven immeasurable, and faint clouds blown Between us and the lowest aerial zone And each least skirt of their imperial state- Forgive us that we held ourselves so great!
What should I do to curse you? I indeed Am a thing meaner than this least wild seed That my foot bruises and I know not yet Would not be mean enough for worms to fret Before their time and mine was. And this dim dusty heather that I tread, These half-born blossoms, born at once and dead, Sere brown as funeral cloths, and purple as pall, What if some life and grief be in them all?
I bid not you, divine things! And though ye had mercy, I think I would not pray That ye should change your counsel or your way To make our life less bitter : if such power Be given the stars on one deciduous hour, And such might be in planets to destroy Grief and rebuild, and break and build up joy, What man would stretch forth hand on them to make Fate mutable, God foolish, for his sake?
Some spirit of impulse and some sense of will That steers them through the seas of good and ill To some incognizable and actual end, Be it just or unjust, foe to man or friend, How should we make the stable spirit to swerve, How teach the strong soul of the world to serve, The imperious will in time and sense in space That gives man life turn back to give man place The conscious law lose conscience of its way, The rule and reason fail from night and day, The streams flow back toward whence the springs began, That less of thirst might sear the lips of man?
Let that which is be, and sure strengths stand sure, And evil or good and death or life endure, Not alterable and rootless, but indeed A very stem born of a very seed That brings forth fruit in season : how should this Die that was sown, and that not be which is, And the old fruit change that came of the ancient root, And he that planted bid it not bear fruit, And he that watered smite his vine with drouth Because its grapes are bitter in our mouth, And he that kindled quench the sun with night Because its beams are fire against our sight, And he that tuned untune the sounding spheres Because their song is thunder in our ears?
How should the law that knows not soon or late, For whom no time nor space is how should fate, That is not good nor evil, wise nor mad, Nor just nor unjust, neither glad nor sad How should the one thing that hath being, the one That moves not as the stars move or the sun Or any shadow or shape that lives or dies In likeness of dead earth or living skies, But its own darkness and its proper light Clothe it with other names than day.
Why should the waters of the sea be cleft, The hills be molten to his right and left, That he from deep to deep might pass dry-shod, Or look between the viewless heights on God? Hath he such eyes as, when the shadows flee, The sun looks out with to salute the sea? Is his hand bounteous as the morning's hand? Or where the night stands hath he feet to stand? Will the storm cry not when he bids it cease? Is it his voice that saith to the east wind, Peace?
Is his breath mightier than the west wind's breath? Doth his heart know the things of life and death? Can his face bring forth sunshine and give rain, Or his weak will that dies and lives again Make one thing certain or bind one thing fast, That as he willed it shall be at the last? How should the storms of heaven and kindled lights And all the depths of things and topless heights And air and earth and fire and water change Their likeness, and the natural world grow strange, And all the limits of their life undone Lose count of time and conscience of the sun, And that fall under which was fixed above, That man might have a larger hour for love?
So with no sense abashed nor sunless look, But with exalted eyes and heart, he took His part of sun or storm-wind, and was glad, For all things lost, of these good things he had. And the spring loved him surely, being from birth One made out of the better part of earth, A man born as at sunrise ; one that saw Not without reverence and sweet sense of awe But wholly without fear or fitful breath The face of life watched by the face of death ; And living took his fill of rest and strife, Of love and change, and fruit and seed of life, And when his time to live in light was done With unbent head would pass out of the sun : A spirit as morning, fair and clear and strong, Whose thought and work were as one harp and song Heard through the world as in a strange king's hall Some great guest's voice that sings of festival.
So seemed all things to love him, and his heart In all their joy of life to take such part, That with the live earth and the living sea He was as one that communed mutually With naked heart to heart of friend to friend : And the star deepening at the sunset's end, And the moon fallen before the gate of day As one sore wearied with vain length of way, And the winds wandering, and the streams and skies, As faces of his fellows in his eyes.
And now that after many a season spent In barren ways and works of banishment, Toil of strange fights and many a fruitless field, Ventures of quest and vigils under shield, He came back to the strait of sundering sea That parts green Cornwall from grey Brittany, Where dwelt the high king's daughter of the lands, Iseult, named alway from her fair white hands, She looked on him and loved him ; but being young Made shamefastness a seal upon her tongue, And on her heart, that none might hear its cry, Set the sweet signet of humility.
Yet when he came a stranger in her sight, A banished man and weary, no such knight As when the Swallow dipped her bows in foam Steered singing that imperial Iseult home, This maiden with her sinless sixteen years Full of sweet thoughts and hopes that played at fears Cast her eyes on him but in courteous wise, And lo, the man's face burned upon her eyes As though she had turned them on the naked sun : And through her limbs she felt sweet passion run As fire that flowed down from her face, and beat Soft through stirred veins on even to her hands and feet 70 TRISTRAM IN BRITTANY.
As all her body were one heart on flame, Athrob with love and wonder and sweet shame. And when he spake there sounded in her ears As 'twere a song out of the graves of years Heard, and again forgotten, and again Remembered with a rapturous pulse of pain. But as the maiden mountain snow sublime Takes the first sense of April's trembling time Soft on a brow that burns not though it blush To feel the sunrise hardly half aflush, So took her soul the sense of change, nor thought That more than maiden love was more than nought.
Her eyes went hardly after him, her cheek Grew scarce a goodlier flower to hear him speak, Her bright mouth no more trembled than a rose May for the least wind's breathless sake that blows Too soft to sue save for a sister's kiss, And if she sighed in sleep she knew not this. Yet in her heart hovered the thoughts of things Past, that with lighter or with heavier wings Beat round about her memory, till it burned With grief that brightened and with hope that yearned, Seeing him so great and sad, nor knowing what fate Had bowed and crowned a head so sad and great.
And when between strange words her name would fall Suddenly straightway to that lure's recall Back would his heart bound as the falconer's bird And tremble and bow down before the word. And alway through the rhymes reverberate came The virginal soft burden of her name.
And ere the full song failed upon her ear Joy strove within her till it cast out fear, And all her heart was. In many a name of man his name soared high And song shone round it soaring, till the sky Rang rapture, and the world's fast-founded- frame Trembled with sense of triumph, even as I, Iseult, with sense of worship at thy name.
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And ere the strife took truce of white with red, Or joy for soft shame's sake durst lift up head, Something she would and would not fain have said, And wist not what the fluttering word would be, But rose and reached forth to him her hand : and he, Heart-stricken, bowed his head and dropped his knee, And on her fragrant hand his lips were fire ; And their two hearts were as one trembling lyre Touched by the keen wind's kiss with brief desire And music shuddering at its own delight So dawned the inoonrise of their marriage night. And on her snowbright hand the ring was set While in the maiden's ear the song's word yet Hovered, that hailed as love's own queen by name Iseult : and in her heart the word was flame ; A pulse of light, a breath of tender fire, Too dear for doubt, too driftless for desire.
Between her father's hand and brother's led From hall to shrine, from shrine to marriage-bed, She saw not how by hap at home-coming Fell from her new lord's hand a royal ring, Whereon he looked, and felt the pulse astart Speak passion in his faith-forsaken heart. Struck all his mounting spirit abashed, and fear Fell cold for shame's sake on his changing cheer. Yea, shame's own fire that burned upon his brow To bear the brand there of a broken vow Was frozen again for very fear thereof That wrung his heart with keener pangs than love.
And harder seemed the passage now to pass, Though smoother-seeming than the still sea's glass, More fit for very manhood's heart to fear, Than all straits past of peril. So quailed his heart before the star whose light Put out the torches of his bridal night, So quailed and shrank with sense of faith's keen star That burned as fire beheld by night afar Deep in the darkness of his dreams ; for all The bride-house now seemed hung with heavier pall Than clothes the house of mourning.
Yet at last, Soul sick with trembling at the heart, he passed Into the sweet light of the maiden bower Where lay the lonely lily-featured flower That, lying within his hand to gather, yet Might not be gathered of it. Fierce regret And bitter loyalty strove hard at strife With amorous pity toward the tender wife That wife indeed might never be, to wear The very crown of wedlock ; never bear Children, to watch and worship her white hair When time should change, with hand more soft than snow, The fashion of its glory ; never know The loveliness of laughing love that lives On little lips of children : all that gives Glory and grace and reverence and delight To wedded woman by her bridal right, All praise and pride that flowers too fair to fall, Love that should give had stripped her of them all And left her bare for ever.
So in her bride-bed lay the bride : and he Drew nigh, and all the high sad heart in him Yearned on her, seeing the twilight meek and dim Through all the soft alcove tremblingly lit With hovering silver, as a heart in it Beating, that burned from one deep lamp above, Fainter than fire of torches, as the love Within him fainter than a bridegroom's fire, No marriage-torch red with the heart's desire, But silver-soft, a flameless light that glowx d Stariike along night's dark and starry road G 82 THE MAIDEN MARRIAGE.
Wherein his soul was traveller. So had she all her heart's will, all she would, For love's sake that sufficed her, glad and good, All night safe sleeping in her maidenhood. BUT that same night in Cornwall oversea Couched at Queen Iseult's hand, against her knee, With keen kind eyes that read her whole heart's pain Fast at wide watch lay Tristram's hound Hodain, The goodliest and the mightiest born on earth, That many a forest day of fiery mirth Had plied his craft before them ; and the queen Cherished him, even for those dim years between, More than of old in those bright months far flown When ere a blast of Tristram's horn was blown Each morning as the woods rekindled, ere Day gat full empire of the glimmering air, Delight of dawn would quicken him, and fire Spring and pant in his breath with bright desire To be among the dewy ways on quest : But now perforce at restless-hearted rest He chafed through days more barren than the sand, Soothed hardly but soothed only with her hand, Though fain to fawn thereon and follow, still With all his heart and all his loving will 86 ISEULT AT TINTAGEL.
Desiring one divided from his sight, For whose lost sake dawn was as dawn of night And noon as night's noon in his eyes was dark. But in the halls far under sat King Mark, Feasting, and full of cheer, with heart uplift, As on the night that harper gat his gift : And music revelled on the fitful air, And songs came floated up the festal stair, And muffled roar of wassail, where the king Took heart from wine- cups and the quiring string Till all his cold thin veins rejoiced and ran Strong as with lifeblood of a kinglier man. To maidenhood of heart and holiness? Shall I more love thee, Lord, or love him less Ah miserable!
Nay, though thou slay me! Blest am I beyond women even herein, That beyond all born women is my sin, And perfect my transgression : that above All offerings of all others is my love, Who have chosen it only, and put away for this Thee, and my soul's hope, Saviour, of the kiss Wherewith thy lips make welcome all thine own When in them life and death are overthrown ; The sinless lips that seal the death of sin, The kiss wherewith their dumb lips touched begin Singing in heaven.
Dear, dost thou see now, dost thou hear to-night, Sleeping, my waste wild speech, my face worn white, Speech once heard soft by thee, face once kissed red! In such a dream as when men see their dead And know not if they know if dead these be? Nay, thou art Man, with man's strength and praise and pride of life, No bondwoman, no queen, no loveless wife That would be shamed albeit she had not sinned.
Turn his heart from me, lest my love too lose Thee as I lose thee, and his fair soul refuse For my sake thy fair heaven, and as I fell Fall, and be mixed with my soul and with hell. Let me die rather, and only ; let me be Hated of him so he be loved of thee, Lord : for I would not have him with me there Out of thy light and love in the unlit air, Out of thy sight in the unseen hell where I Go gladly, going alone, so thou on high Lift up his soul and love him Ah, Lord, Lord, Shalt thou love as I love him?
Couldst thou being holy and God, and sinful she, Love her indeed as surely she loved thee? Nay, but if not, then as we sinners can Let us love still in the old sad wise of man. For with less love than my love, having had Mine, though God love him he shall not be glad. And with such love as my love, I wot well, He shall not lie disconsolate in hell : Sad only as souls for utter love's sake be Here, and a little sad, perchance, for me Me happy, me more glad than God above, In the utmost hell whose fires consume not love!
Should I not answer " O love, be well content ; Look on me, and behold if I repent. Yea, many men pray God for many things, But I pray that this only thing may be. I am he indeed, thou knowest, and he is I. Not man and woman several as we were, But one thing with one life and death to bear. How should one love his own soul overmuch? And time is long since last I felt the touch, The sweet touch of my lover, hand and breath, In such delight as puts delight to death, Burn my soul through, till spirit and soul and sense, In the sharp grasp of the hour, with violence Died, and again through pangs of violent birth Lived, and laughed out with refluent might of mirth ; Laughed each on other and shuddered into one, As a cloud shuddering dies into the sun.
Ah, sense is that or spirit, soul or flesh, That only love lulls or awakes afresh? Ah, sweet is that or bitter, evil or good, That very love allays not as he would? Nay, truth is this or vanity, that gives No love assurance when love dies or lives? This that my spirit is wrung withal, and yet No surelier knows if haply thine forget, Thou that my spirit is wrung for, nor can say Love is not in thee dead as yesterday? Dost thou feel, thou, this heartbeat whence my heart Would send thee word what life is mine apart, And know by keen response what life is thine?
Dost thou not hear one cry of all of mine? O Tristram's heart, have I no part in thee? And all her heart anhungered as the wind. Dost thou repent thee of the days and nights That kindled and that quenched for us their lights, The months that feasted us with all their hours, The ways that breathed of us in all their flowers, The dells that sang of us with all their doves? Dost thou repent thee of the wildwood loves?
Is thine heart changed, and hallowed? Yet, though my heart make moan, Fain would my soul give thanks for thine, if thou Be saved yea, fain praise God, and knows not how. How should it know thanksgiving? Ah, what years Would I endure not, filled up full with tears, Bitter like blood and dark as dread of death, To win one amorous hour of mingling breath, One fire-eyed hour and sunnier than the sun, For all these nights and days like nights but one? One hour of heaven born once, a stormless birth, For all these windy weary hours of earth?
One, but one hour from birth of joy to death, For all these hungering hours of feverish breath? And I should lose this, having died and sinned.
Dost thou think How lips whose thirst hath only tears to drink Grow grey for grief untimely? Yea, for their wrong's sake that thine hand hath done Come even to hate thy semblance in the sun? Turn back from dawn and noon and all thy light To make their souls one with the soul of night? Christ, if thou hear yet or have eyes to see, Thou that hadst pity, and hast no pity on me. Know'st thou no more, as in this life's sharp span, What pain thou hadst on earth, what pain hath man?
Hast thou no care, that all we suffer yet? What help is ours of thee if thou forget? What profit have we though thy blood were given, If we that sin bleed and be not forgiven? Not love but hate, thou bitter God and strange, Whose heart as man's heart hath grown cold with change, Not love but hate thou showest us that have sinned. Thou knowest us, Lord, thou knowest us. There lies none other nightly by his side : He hath not sought, he shall not seek a bride.
Far as God sunders earth from heaven above, So far was my love born beneath his love. I loved him as the sea-wind loves the sea, To rend and ruin it only and waste : but he, As the sea loves a sea-bird loved he me, To foster and uphold my tired life's wing, And bounteously beneath me spread forth spring, A springtide space whereon to float or fly, A world of happy water, whence the sky Glowed goodlier, lightening from so glad a glass, Than with its own light only. Now, alas! Not sin more strange than all sins past, and worse Evil, that cries upon thee for a curse, To pray such prayers from such a heart, do thou Hear, and make wide thine hearing toward me now ; Let not my soul and his for ever dwell Sundered : though doom keep always heaven and hell Irreconcilable, infinitely apart, Keep not in twain for ever heart and heart That once, albeit by not thy law, were one ; Let this be not thy will, that this be done.
And Iseult, worn with watch long held on pain, Turned, and her eye lit on the hound Hodain, And all her heart went out in tears : and he Laid his kind head along her bended knee, Till round his neck her arms went hard, and all The night past from her as a chain might fall : But yet the heart within her, half undone, Wailed, and was loth to let her see the sun.
And ere full day brought heaven and earth to flower, Far thence, a maiden in a marriage bower, That moment, hard by Tristram, oversea, Woke with glad eyes Iseult of Brittany. Sweet Love, that art so bitter ; foolish Love, Whom wise men know for wiser, and thy dove More subtle than the serpent ; for thy sake These pray thee for a little beam to break, A little grace to help them, lest men think Thy servants have but hours like tears to drink.
O Love, a little comfort, lest they fear To serve as these have served thee who stand here. For these are thine, thy servants these, that stand Here nigh the limit of the wild north land, At margin of the grey great eastern sea, Dense-islanded with peaks and reefs, that see No life but of the fleet wings fair and free Which cleave the mist and sunlight all day long With sleepless flight and cries more glad than song.
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With armistice from sorrow ; strange and sweet Ways trodden by forlorn and casual feet Till kindlier chance woke toward them kindly will In happier hearts of lovers, and their ill Found rest, as healing surely might it not, By gift and kingly grace of Launcelot At gracious bidding given of Guenevere. For in the trembling twilight of this year Ere April sprang from hope to certitude Two hearts of friends fast linked had fallen at feud As they rode forth on hawking, by the sign Which gave his new bride's brother Ganhardine To know the truth of Tristram's dealing, how- Faith kept of him against his marriage vow Kept virginal his bride-bed night and morn ; Whereat, as wroth his blood should suffer scorn, Came Ganhardine to Tristram, saying, ' Behold, We have loved thee, and for love we have shown of old Scorn hast thou shown us : wherefore is thy bride Not thine indeed, a stranger at thy side, Contemned?
Nay, behold ; See'st thou no light more golden than of gold Shine where she moves in midst of all, above All, past all price or praise or prayer of love? Lo, this is she. And the knight Bade him, being known of none that stood in sight, Bear to Brangwain his ring, that she unseen Might give in token privily to the queen And send swift word where under moon or sun They twain might yet be no more twain but one. And in some passionate soft interspace Between two swells of passion, when their lips Breathed, and made room for such brief speech as slips From tongaes athirst with draughts of amorous wine That leaves them thirstier than the salt sea's brine, Was counsel taken how to fly, and where Find covert from the wild world's ravening air That hunts with storm the feet of nights and days Through strange thwart lines of life and flowerless ways.
Far by wild ways and many days they rode, Till clear across June's kingliest sunset glowed The great round girth of goodly wall that showed Where for one clear sweet season's length should be Their place of strength to rest in, fain and free, By the utmost margin of the loud lone sea. And now, O Love, what comfort?
God most high, Whose life is as a flower's to live and die, Whose light is everlasting : Lord, whose breath Speaks music through the deathless lips of death Whereto time's heart rings answer : Bard, whom time Hears, and is vanquished with a wandering rhyme That once thy lips made fragrant : Seer, whose sooth Joy knows not well, but sorrow knows for truth, Being priestess of thy soothsayings : Love, what grace Shall these twain find at last before thy face? These shall not live till time or change may chill Or doubt divide or shame subdue their will, Or fear or slow repentance work them wrong, Or love die first : these shall not live so long.
Death shall not take them drained of dear true life Already, sick or stagnant from the strife, Quenched : not with dry- drawn veins and lingering breath Shall these through crumbling hours crouch down to death. Sheer death shall bound upon them : one pang past, The first keen sense of him shall be their last, Their last shall be no sense of any fear, More than their life had sense of anguish here.
Weeks and light months had fled at swallow's speed Since here their first hour sowed for them the seed Of many sweet as rest or hope could be ; Since on the blown beach of a glad new sea Wherein strange rocks like fighting men stand scarred They saw the strength and help of Joyous Card. Within the full deep glorious tower that stands Between the wild sea and the broad wild lands Love led and gave them quiet : and they drew Life like a God's life in each wind that blew, And took their rest, and triumphed.
Day by day The mighty moorlands and the sea-walls grey, The brown bright waters of green fells that sing One song to rocks and flowers and birds on wing, Beheld the joy and glory that they had, Passing, and how the whole world made them glad, And their great love was mixed with all things great, As life being lovely, and yet being strong like fate. For when the sun sprang on the sudden sea Their eyes sprang eastward, and the day to be Was lit in them untimely : such delight They took yet of the clear cold breath and light That goes before the morning, and such grace Was deathless in them through their whole life's space JOYOUS CARD.
Yea, this old grace and height of joy they had, To lose no jot of all that made them glad And filled their springs of spirit with such fire That all delight fed in them all desire ; And no whit less than in their first keen prime The spring's breath blew through all their summer time, And in their skies would sunlike Love confuse Clear April colours with hot August hues, And in their hearts one light of sun and moon Reigned, and the morning died not of the noon : Such might of life was in them, and so high Their heart of love rose higher than fate could fly.
And many a large delight of hawk and hound The great glad land that knows no bourne or bound, Save the wind's own and the outer sea-bank's, gave Their days for comfort ; many a long blithe wave Buoyed their blithe bark between the bare bald rocks, Deep, steep, and still, save for the swift free flocks Unshepherded, uncompassed, unconfined, That when blown foam keeps all the loud air blind Mix with the wind's their triumph, and partake The joy of blasts that ravin, waves that break, All round and all below their mustering wings, A clanging cloud that round the cliff's edge clings JOYOUS CARD.
On each bleak bluff breaking the strenuous tides That rings reverberate mirth when storm bestrides The subject night in thunder : many a noon They took the moorland's or the bright sea's boon With all their hearts into their spirit of sense, Rejoicing, where the sudden dells grew dense With sharp thick flight of hillside birds, or where On some strait rock's ledge in the intense mute air Erect against the cliff's sheer sunlit white Blue as the clear north heaven, clothed warm with light, Stood neck to bended neck and wing to wing With heads fast hidden under, close as cling Flowers on one flowering almond-branch in spring, Three herons deep asleep against the sun, Each with one bright foot downward poised, and one Wing-hidden hard by the bright head, and all Still as fair shapes fixed on some wondrous wall Of minster-aisle or cloister-close or hall To take even time's eye prisoner with delight.
Or, satisfied with joy of sound and sight, They sat and communed of things past : what state King Arthur, yet unwarred upon by fate, Held high in hall at Camelot, like one Whose lordly life was as the mounting sun That climbs and pauses on the point of noon, Sovereign : how royal rang the tourney's tune Through Tristram's three days' triumph, spear to spear 7 When Iseult shone enthroned by Guenevere, yOYOUS CARD.
So was that amorous glorious lady born, A fiery memory for all storied years : Nor might men call her sisters crowned her peers, Her sister queens, put all by her to scorn : She had such eyes as are not made to mourn ; But in her own a gleaming ghost of tears Shone, and their glance was slower than Guenevere's, And fitfuller with fancies grown of grief; Shamed as a Mayflower shames an autumn leaf Full well she wist it could not choose but be If in that other's eyeshot standing she Should lift her looks up ever : wherewithal Like fires whose light fills heaven with festival io8 JOYOUS GARD.
Or how shall I trust more than ouphe or elf Thy truth to me-ward, who beliest thyself? Though thou keep somewise troth with me, God wot, When thou didst wed, I doubt, thou thoughtest not So charily to keep it. And sweep and song of winds, and fruitful light Of sunbeams, and the far faint breath of night, And waves and woods at morning : and in all, Soft as at noon the slow sea's rise and fall, He hears in spirit a song that none but he Hears from the mystic mouth of Nimue Shed like a consecration ; and his heart, Hearing, is made for love's sake as a part Of that far singing, and the life thereof Part of that life that feeds the world with love : Yea, heart in heart is molten, hers and his, Into the world's heart and the soul that is Beyond or sense or vision ; and their breath Stirs the soft springs of deathless life and death, Death that bears life, and change that brings forth seed Of life to death and death to life indeed, As blood recircling through the unsounded veins Of earth and heaven with all their joys and pains.
Ah, that when love shall laugh no more nor weep We too, we too might hear that song and sleep! Think thou not much to die one earthly day, Being made not in their mould who pass away Nor who shall pass for ever. What profit have the flowers of all men's praise? What pleasure of our pleasure have the days That pour on us delight of life and mirth? What fruit of all our joy on earth has earth? Nor am I nay, my lover, am I one To take such part in heaven's enkindling sun And in the inviolate air and sacred sea As clothes with grace that wondrous Nimue?
For all her works are bounties, all her deeds Blessings ; her days are scrolls wherein love reads The record of his mercies ; heaven above Hath not more heavenly holiness of love Than earth beneath, wherever pass or pause Her feet that move not save by love's own laws, In gentleness of godlike wayfaring To heal men's hearts as earth is healed by spring ii2 JOYOUS CARD.
Of all such woes as winter : what am I, Love, that have strength but to desire and die, That have but grace to love and do thee wrong, What am I that my name should live so long, Save as the star that crossed thy star-struck lot, With hers whose light was life to Launcelot? Life gave she him, and strength, and fame to be For ever : I, what gift can I give thee? Peril and sleepless watches, fearful breath Of dread more bitter for my sake than death When death came nigh to call me by my name, Exile, rebuke, remorse, and O, not shame.
Shame only, this I gave thee not, whom none May give that worst thing ever no, not one. Of all that hate, all hateful hearts that see Darkness for light and hate where love should be, None for my shame's sake may speak shame of thee. For all this wild sweet waste of sweet vain breath, Thou knowest I know thou hast given me life, not death. The shadow of death, informed with shows of strife, Was ere I won thee all I had of life. Light war, light love, light living, dreams in sleep, Joy slight and light, not glad enough to weep, Filled up my foolish days with sound and shine, Vision and gleam from strange men's cast on mine, Reverberate light from eyes presaging thine JOYOUS CARD.
For how should I, signed sorrow's from my birth, Kiss dumb the loud red laughing lips of mirth? Or how, sealed thine to be, love less than heaven on earth? My heart in me was held at restless rest, Presageful of some prize beyond its quest, Prophetic still with promise, fain to find the best For one was fond and one was blithe and one Fairer than all save twain whose peers are none ; For third on earth is none that heaven hath seen To stand with Guenevere beside my queen.
Not Nimue, girt with blessing as a guard : Not the soft lures and laughters of Ettarde : Not she, that splendour girdled round with gloom, Crowned as with iron darkness of the tomb, And clothed with clouding conscience of a monstrous doom, Whose blind incestuous love brought forth a fire To burn her ere it burn its darkling sire, Her mother's son, King Arthur : yet but late We saw pass by that fair live shadow of fate, The queen Morgause of Orkney, like a dream That scares the night when moon and starry beam Sicken and swoon before some sorcerer's eyes Whose wordless charms defile the saintly skies, Bright still with fire and pulse of blood and breath, Whom her own sons have doomed for shame to death.
Death, and again death, and for each that saith Ten tongues chime answer to the sound of death. E—— taking the portrait of a lady, perceived that when he was working at her mouth she was trying to render it smaller by contracting her lips. During the long French war, two old ladies in Stranraer [Pg 39] were going to the kirk, the one said to the other, "Was it no a wonderfu' thing that the Breetish were aye victorious ower the French in battle? Whilst the celebrated Mr. Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashburton, was at the bar, he by his conduct did much to support the character and dignity of a barrister, which was frequently disregarded by Lord Mansfield, at that time Chief Justice.
The attempts of the Chief Justice to brow-beat the counsel were on many occasions kept in check by the manly and dignified conduct of Mr. Lord Mansfield possessed great quickness in discovering the gist of a cause, and having done so, used to amuse himself by taking up a book or a newspaper, whilst counsel was addressing the court. Whenever Mr. Dunning was speaking, and his Lordship seemed thus to hold his argument as of no consequence, the advocate would stop suddenly in his address, and on his Lordship observing, "Pray go on, Mr. Dunning," he would reply, "I beg your pardon, my Lord, but I fear I shall interrupt your Lordship's more important occupations.
I will wait until your Lordship has leisure to attend to my client and his humble advocate. A gentleman , inquiring of Jack Bannister respecting a [Pg 40] man who had been hanged, was told that he was dead. At an evening party, Jerrold was looking at the dancers. Seeing a very tall gentleman waltzing with a remarkably short lady, he said to a friend at hand, "Humph!
Sir William B—— being at a parish meeting, made some proposals, which were objected to by a farmer. Highly enraged, "Sir," says he to the farmer, "do you know, sir, that I have been at the two universities, and at two colleges in each university? I had a calf that sucked two cows, and the observation I made was, the more he sucked, the greater calf he grew. It was said of one that remembered everything that he lent, but nothing that he borrowed, "that he had lost half of his memory. Justice Abbott observed, when a cause was called on in the Bench, "I thought, Mr. Brougham, that Mr. Campbell was in this case?
The copiousness of the English language perhaps was never more apparent than in the following character, by a lady, of her own husband:—. A medical student under examination, being asked the different effects of heat and cold, replied: "Heat expands and cold contracts. Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers' gardens. It was said of a work which had been inspected by a severe critic , in terms which at first appeared very flattering, "There is a great deal in this book which is new, and a great deal that is true.
A gentleman waited upon Jerrold one morning to enlist his sympathies in behalf of a mutual friend, who was constantly in want of a round sum of money. An old man of ninety having recovered from a very dangerous illness, his friends congratulated him, and encouraged him to get up. At Hawick, the people used to wear wooden clogs, which made a clanking noise on the pavement.
A dying old woman had some friends by her bedside, who said to her, "Weel, Jenny, ye are gaun to Heeven, an' gin you should see our folks, ye can tell them that we're a weel. Sir Fletcher Norton was noted for his want of courtesy. When pleading before Lord Mansfield on some question of manorial right, he chanced unfortunately to say, "My lord, I can illustrate the point in an instant in my own person: I myself have two little manors.
The author of "Alexander the Great," whilst confined in a madhouse, was visited by Sir Roger L'Estrange, of whose political abilities Lee entertained no very high opinion. Upon the knight inquiring whether the poet knew him, Lee answered:—. Women are all alike. When they're maids they're mild as milk: once make 'em wives, and they lean their backs against their marriage certificates, and defy you. Liston , seeing a parcel lying on the table in the entrance-hall of Drury Lane Theatre, one side of which, from its having travelled to town by the side of some game, was smeared with blood, observed, "That parcel contains a manuscript tragedy.
The paucity of some persons' good actions reminds one [Pg 44] of Jonathan Wild, who was once induced to be guilty of a good action, after fully satisfying himself, upon the maturest deliberation, that he could gain nothing by refraining from it. A coxcomb in a coffee-house boasted that he had written a certain popular song, just as the true author entered the room. A friend of his pointed to the coxcomb: "See, sir, the real author of your favorite song. Lord Cockburn , the proprietor of Bonaly, was sitting on the hillside with a shepherd, and, observing the sheep reposing in the coldest situation, he remarked to him, "John, if I were a sheep, I would lie on the other side of the hill.
Sir Richard Jebb being called to see a patient who fancied himself very ill, told him ingenuously what he thought, and declined prescribing for him. You must not eat the poker, shovel, or tongs, for they are hard of digestion; nor the bellows, because they are windy ; but eat anything else you please! An opulent farmer applied to an attorney about a lawsuit, but was told he could not undertake it, being already engaged on the other side; at the same time he gave him a letter of recommendation to a professional friend.
The farmer, out of curiosity, opened it, and read as follows: [Pg 45] —. An actor played a season at Richmond theatre for the privilege only of having a benefit. When his night came, and having to sustain a principal part in the piece, the whole of his audience thirty in number , hissed him whenever he appeared. When the piece ended, he came forward and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I return you my sincere thanks for your kindness, but when you mean to hiss me again on my benefit night, I hope you will be at least six times as many as are here to-night.
Cooke and Dibdin went, at a tolerably steady quick-step, as far as the middle of Greek Street, when Cooke, who had passed his hand along all the palisades and shutters as he marched, came in contact with the recently-painted new front of a coachmaker's shop, from which he obtained a complete handful of wet color. Without any explanation as to the cause of his anger, he rushed suddenly into the middle of the street, and raised a stone to hurl against the unoffending windows; but Dibdin was in time to save them from destruction, and him from the watch-house. On being asked the cause of his hostility to the premises of a man who could not have offended him, he replied, with a hiccup, "what!
A —— ignorant coachmaker, to leave his house out , new-painted, at this time of night! A browbeating counsel asked a witness how far he had been from a certain place. It has been said that a lady once asked Lord B—g—m who was the best debater in the House of Lords. His lordship modestly replied, "Lord Stanley is the second , madam. A stupid fellow employed in blowing a cathedral organ, said after the performance of a fine anthem, "I think we performed very well to-day. In the middle of the anthem the organ stopped; the organist cried out in a passion, "Why don't you blow?
An editor at a dinner-table being asked if he would take some pudding, replied, in a fit of abstraction, "Owing to a crowd of other matter, we are unable to find room for it. A rich peer resolved to make his will; and having remembered all his domestics except his steward, the omission was respectfully pointed out to him by the lawyer.
After witnessing the first representation of a dog-piece by Reynolds, called the "Caravan," Sheridan suddenly came into the green-room, on purpose, it was imagined, to wish the author joy. The Bristol magistrates were at the time of the great riots scattered through the town. They argued that under the circumstances it was impossible they could have been collected.
This gentleman, travelling in a stage-coach, was interrupted [Pg 48] by the frequent impertinence of a companion, who was constantly teazing him with questions and asking him how he did.
George, in order to get rid of his importunity, replied, "Very well; and I intend to continue so all the rest of the journey. Sir G. Staunton related a curious anecdote of old Kien Long, Emperor of China. He was inquiring of Sir George the manner in which physicians were paid in England. When, after some difficulty, his majesty was made to comprehend the system, he exclaimed, "Is any man well in England, that can afford to be ill? Now, I will inform you," said he, "how I manage my physicians. I have four, to whom the care of my health is committed: a certain weekly salary is allowed them, but the moment I am ill, the salary stops till I am well again.
I need not inform you my illnesses are usually short. Jerrold had a favorite dog that followed him everywhere. One day in the country, a lady who was passing turned round and said, audibly, "What an ugly little brute! I wonder what he thinks about us at this moment! Mathews being invited by D'Egville to dine one day with him at Brighton, D'Egville inquired what was Mathews's favorite dish? A roasted leg of pork, with sage and onions. This was provided; and D'Egville, carving, [Pg 49] could not find the stuffing. He turned the joint about, but in vain. Poole was at table, and, in his quiet way, said, "Don't make yourself unhappy, D'Egville; perhaps it is in the other leg.
It was customary in some parish churches for the men to be placed on one side, and the women on the other. A clergyman, in the midst of his sermon, found himself interrupted by the talking of some of the congregation, of which he was obliged to take notice. A woman immediately rose, and wishing to clear her own sex from the aspersion, said: "Observe, at least, your reverence, it is not on our side. The usual place of resort for Dublin duellists was called the Fifteen Acres. An attorney of that city, in penning a challenge, thought most likely he was drawing a lease, and invited his antagonist to meet him at "the place called Fifteen Acres—'be the same more or less.
Jacob Johnson , the publisher, having refused to advance Dryden a sum of money for a work upon which he was engaged, the incensed bard sent a message to him, and the following lines, adding, "Tell the dog that he who wrote these can write more": [Pg 50] —. Johnson felt the force of the description; and, to avoid, a completion of the portrait, immediately sent the money.
Jerrold was in France, and with a Frenchman who was enthusiastic on the subject of the Anglo-French alliance. He said that he was proud to see the English and French such good friends at last. On the 30th of January the martyrdom of King Charles the First , Quin used to say, "Every king in Europe would rise with a crick in his neck. A certain minister going to visit one of his sick parishioners, asked him how he had rested during the night. Sheridan pleaded in court his own cause, and that of the Drury Lane Theatre, an Irish laborer, known amongst the actors by the name of Billy Brown, was called upon to give his evidence.
Previous to his going into court, the counsellor, shocked at the shabby dress of the witness, began to remonstrate with him on this point: "You should have put on your Sunday clothes, and not think of coming into court covered with lime and brick-dust; it detracts from the credit of your evidence. Counsellor ," said Billy, " only be cool, you're in your working-dress, and I am in mine; and that's that. A drunken witness leaving the box, blurted out, "My Lord, I never cared for anything but women and horseflesh!
Justice Maule: "Oh, you never cared for anything but women and horseflesh? Then I advise you to go home and make your will, or, if you have made it, put a codicil to it, and direct your executors, as soon as you are dead, to have you flayed, and to have your skin made into side-saddles, and then, whatever happens, you will have the satisfaction of reflecting that, after death, some part of you will be constantly in contact with what, in life, were the dearest objects of your affections. A gentleman who was on a tour, attended by an Irish servant-man, who drove the vehicle, was several times puzzled with the appearance of a charge in the man's daily account, entered as "Refreshment for the horse, 2d.
A remarkably ugly and disagreeable man sat opposite Jerrold at a dinner-party. Before the cloth was removed, Jerrold accidentally broke a glass. Whereupon the ugly gentleman, thinking to twit his opposite neighbor with great effect, said slily, "What, already, Jerrold! Now I never break a glass. A kind-hearted , but somewhat weak-headed, parishioner in the far north got into the pulpit of the parish church one Sunday before the minister, who happened on that day to be rather behind time.
The late Mr. An attorney being informed by his cook that there was not dinner enough provided, upon one occasion when company were expected, he asked if she had brothed the clerks. She replied that she had done so. Bubb Doddington was very lethargic. Falling asleep one day, after dinner with Sir Richard Temple and Lord Cobham, the latter reproached Doddington with his drowsiness.
Doddington denied having been asleep; and to prove he had not, offered to repeat all Lord Cobham had been saying. Cobham challenged him to do so. Doddington repeated a story; and Lord Cobham owned he had been telling it. A critic one day talked to Jerrold about the humor of a celebrated novelist, dramatist, and poet, who was certainly no humorist. Some one was praising our public schools to Charles Landseer, and said, "All our best men were public school men. Look at our poets. There's Byron, he was a Harrow boy—"—"Yes," interrupted Charles, "and there's Burns,—he was a ploughboy.
An illiterate person, who always volunteered to "go round with the hat," but was suspected of sparing his own pocket, overhearing once a hint to that effect, replied, "Other gentlemen puts down what they thinks proper, and so do I. Charity's a private concern, and what I give is nothing to nobody. At a duel the parties discharged their pistols without effect, whereupon one of the seconds interfered, and proposed that the combatants should shake hands. To this the other second objected, as unnecessary,—"For," said he, "their hands have been shaking this half-hour.
Milton was asked by a friend whether he would instruct his daughters in the different languages: to which he replied, "No, sir; one tongue is sufficient for a woman. Beware of falling in love with a pair of moustaches, till you have ascertained whether their wearer is the original proprietor. When Sir Richard Steele was made a member of the Commons, it was expected from his writings that he would have been an admirable orator; but not proving so, De Foe said, "He had better have continued the Spectator than the Tatler. At the time of the threatened invasion, the laird of Logan had been taunted at a meeting at Ayr with want of a loyal spirit at Cumnock, as at that place no volunteer corps had been raised to meet the coming danger; Cumnock, it should be recollected, being on a high situation, and ten or twelve miles from the coast.
Lord Erskine and Dr. Parr, who were both remarkably [Pg 55] conceited, were in the habit of conversing together, and complimenting each other on their respective abilities. On one of these occasions, Parr promised that he would write Erskine's epitaph; to which the other replied, that "such an intention on the doctor's part was almost a temptation to commit suicide. The other day, a certain bishop lost his portmanteau. The circumstance has given rise to the following:—. S——'s head appears to be placed in most accurate conformity with the law of nature, in obedience to which that which is most empty is generally uppermost.
Sir William Chere had a very long nose, and was playing at backgammon with old General Brown. During this time, Sir William, who was a snuff-taker, was continually using his snuff-box. Observing him leaning continually over the table, and being at the same time in a very bad humor with the game, the general said, "Sir William, blow your nose! Macklin one night sitting at the back of the front boxes, with a gentleman of his acquaintance, an underbred lounger stood up immediately before him, and covered the sight of the stage entirely from him.
Macklin patted him gently on the shoulder with his cane, and, with much seeming civility, requested "that when he saw or heard anything that was entertaining on the stage, to let him and the gentleman with him know of it, as at present we must [Pg 56] totally depend on your kindness. A certain anti-illuminating marquis, since the memorable night of the passing of the Reform Bill, has constantly kept open house , at least, so we are informed by a person who lately looked in at his windows. Lord Braxfield a Scotch judge once said to an eloquent culprit at the bar, "You're a vera clever chiel, mon, but I'm thinking ye wad be nane the waur o' a hanging.
Justice P—— , a well-meaning but particularly prosing judge, on one of his country circuits had to try a man for stealing a quantity of copper. In his charge he had frequent occasion to mention the "copper," which he uniformly called "lead," adding, "I beg your pardon, gentlemen,— copper ; but I can't get the lead out of my head! Sir Thomas Overbury says, that the man who has not anything to boast of but his illustrious ancestors, is like a potato,—the only good belonging to him is underground. On one occasion Lord Alvanley had promised a person l.
On that person's application for the money, his lordship wrote a check for 25l. Now you must [Pg 57] see, Mr. When Brummell was the great oracle on coats, the Duke of Leinster was very anxious to bespeak the approbation of the "Emperor of the Dandies" for a "cut" which he had just patronized. The Duke, in the course of his eulogy on his Schneider, had frequent occasion to use the words "my coat. A very worthy, though not particularly erudite, under-writer at Lloyd's was conversing one day with a friend on the subject of a ship they had mutually insured.
His friend observed, "Do you know that I suspect our ship is in jeopardy? When Brennan, the noted highwayman, was taken in the south of Ireland, a banker, whose notes at that time were not held in the highest estimation, assured the prisoner that he was very glad to see him there at last. Brennan, looking up, replied, "Ah! I did not expect that from you : for you know that, when all the country refused your notes, I took them.
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George IV. Moore has murdered Sheridan, but he has certainly attempted his life. After a long drought, there fell a torrent of rain; and a country gentleman observed to Sir John Hamilton, "This is a most delightful rain; I hope it will bring up everything out of the ground. Daniel Purcell , who was a non-juror, was telling a friend, when King George the First landed at Greenwich, that he had a full view of him: "Then," said his friend, "you know him by sight.
A worthy alderman, captain of a volunteer corps, was ordering his company to fall back, in order to dress with the line, and gave the word, " Advance three paces back-wards! An officer in full regimentals, apprehensive lest he [Pg 59] should come in contact with a chimney-sweep that was pressing towards him, exclaimed, "Keep off, you black rascal. A lawyer , upon a circuit in Ireland, who was pleading the cause of an infant plaintiff, took the child up in his arms, and presented it to the jury, suffused with tears. This had a great effect, until the opposite lawyer asked the child, "What made him cry?
The whole court was convulsed with laughter. An Irish gardener seeing a boy stealing some fruit, swore, if he caught him there again, he'd lock him up in the ice-house and warm his jacket. An Irish gentleman was relating in company that he saw a terrible wind the other night. But, pray, what was it like! An old woman received a letter, and, supposing it to be from one of her absent sons, she called on a person near to read it to her.
He accordingly began and read, "Charleston, June 23, Dear mother," then making a stop to find out what followed as the writing was rather bad , the old lady exclaimed, " Oh, 'tis my poor Jerry; he always stuttered! Henniker , being engaged in private conversation with the great Earl of Chatham, his lordship asked him how he defined wit. The house of Mr. Dundas, late President of the Court of Session in Scotland, having after his death been converted into a blacksmith's shop, a gentleman wrote upon its door the following impromptu:—.
A Quaker was examined before the Board of Excise, respecting certain duties; the commissioners thinking themselves disrespectfully treated by his theeing and thouing , one of them with a stern countenance asked him, "Pray, sir, do you know what we sit here for? A man having been capitally convicted at the Old Bailey, was, as usual, asked what he had to say why judgment of death should not pass against him? A judge asked a man what age he was. It being remarked of a picture of "The Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen," in the Shakespeare Gallery, that the varnish was chilled and the figures rather sunk, the proprietors directed one of their assistants to give it a fresh coat of varnish.
George Colman being once told that a man whose character was not very immaculate had grossly abused him, pointedly remarked, that "the scandal and ill report of some persons that might be mentioned was like fuller's earth, it daubs your coat a little for a time, but when it is rubbed off your coat is so much the cleaner. Thackeray once designated a certain noisy tragedian "Macready and onions. During the rage of republican principles in England, and whilst the Corresponding Society was in full vigor, Mr.
Selwyn one May-day met a troop of chimney-sweepers, dressed out in all their gaudy trappings; and observed [Pg 62] to Mr. Fox, who was walking with him, "I say, Charles, I have often heard you and others talk of the majesty of the people; but I never saw any of the young princes and princesses till now.
An avaricious fenman, who kept a very scanty table, dining one Saturday with his son at an ordinary in Cambridge, whispered in his ear, "Tom, you must eat for to-day and to-morrow. Anger may sometimes make dull men witty, but it keeps them poor. Queen Elizabeth seeing a disappointed courtier walking with a melancholy face in one of her gardens, asked him, "What does a man think of when he thinks of nothing? Sarah , Duchess of Marlborough, once pressing the duke to take a medicine, with her usual warmth said, "I'll be hanged if it do not prove serviceable.
Garth, who was present, exclaimed, "Do take it, then, my lord duke, for it must be of service one way or the other. A low fellow boasted in very hyperbolical terms that the king had spoken to him; and being asked what his Majesty had said, replied, "He bade me stand out of the way. An old offender being asked whether he had committed all the crimes laid to his charge, answered, "I have done still worse! I suffered myself to be apprehended. Byron , of Manchester, eminent for his promptitude at an epigram, being once asked how it could happen that a lady rather stricken in years looked so much better in an evening than a morning, thus replied:—.
A young man, boasting of his health and constitutional [Pg 64] stamina, was asked to what he chiefly attributed so great a happiness. I make a point, sir, to eat a great deal every morning. A captain in the navy, meeting a friend as he landed at Portsmouth, boasted that he had left his whole ship's company the happiest fellows in the world. A fellow stole Lord Chatham's large gouty shoes: his servant, not finding them, began to curse the thief.
A spendthrift , who had nearly wasted all his patrimony, seeing an acquaintance in a coat not of the newest cut, told him that he thought it had been his great-grandfather's coat. Pope once dined at Lord Chesterfield's, some one observed that he should have known Pope was a great poet by his very shape; for it was in and out , like the lines of a Pindaric ode. A sailor meeting an old acquaintance, whom the world had frowned upon a little, asked him where he lived? A lady reproving a gentleman during a hard frost for swearing, advised him to leave it off, saying it was a very bad habit.
Lord Norbury asking the reason of the delay that happened in a cause, was told that Mr. Serjeant Joy , who was to lead, was absent, but Mr. Hope , the solicitor, had said that he would return immediately. His lordship humorously repeated the well-known lines:—. A gentleman on circuit narrating to Lord Norbury some extravagant feat in sporting, mentioned that he had lately shot thirty-three hares before breakfast. A noble lord, not over courageous, was once so far [Pg 66] engaged in an affair of honor, as to be drawn to Hyde Park to fight a duel. But just as he arrived at the Porter's Lodge, an empty hearse came by; on which his lordship's antagonist called out to the driver, "Stop here, my good fellow, a few minutes, and I'll send you a fare.
Though your estate is less than mine, I could not afford to live at the rate you do. Theophilus Cibber , who was very extravagant, one day asked his father for a hundred pounds. When I was your age, I never spent a farthing of my father's money. This retort had the desired effect. A person was boasting that he had never spoken the truth. A lady asked a very silly Scotch nobleman, how it happened that the Scots who came out of their own country were, generally speaking, men of more abilities than those who remained at home.
At every outlet there are persons stationed to examine all who pass, that, for the honor of the country, no one be permitted to leave it who is not a man of understanding.
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The attachment of some ladies to their lap-dogs amounts, in some instances, to infatuation. An ill-tempered lap-dog biting a piece out of a male visitor's leg, his mistress thus expressed her compassion : "Poor little dear creature! I hope it will not make him sick! An alderman of London once requested an author to write a speech for him to speak at Guildhall.
A person was complimenting Mrs. Canning was about giving up Gloucester Lodge, Brompton, he said to his gardener, as he took a farewell look of the grounds, "I am sorry, Fraser, to leave this old place. A gentleman , who did not live very happily with his [Pg 68] wife, on the maid telling him that she was about to give her mistress warning, as she kept scolding her from morning till night. A common-councilman's lady paying her daughter a visit at school, and inquiring what progress she had made in her education, the governess answered, "pretty good, madam, she is very attentive: if she wants anything it is a capacity : but for that deficiency you know we must not blame her.
Her father can afford his daughter a capacity ; and I beg she may have one immediately, cost what it may. Lord Stanley came plainly dressed to request a private audience of King James I. James hearing the altercation between the two, came out and inquired the cause. Shall I send him to the Tower? Lord Willoughby de Broke was a very singular character, [Pg 69] and had more peculiarities than any nobleman of his day.
Coming once out of the House of Peers, and not seeing his servant among those who were waiting at the door, he called out in a very loud voice, "Where can my fellow be? One of Cromwell's granddaughters was remarkable for her vivacity and humor. One summer, being in company at Tunbridge Wells, a gentleman having taken great offence at some sarcastic observation she made, intending to insult her, said, "You need not give yourself such airs, madam; you know your grandfather was hanged. At a grand review by George III. The king particularly noticed it, and said to Lord Lothian, "Lothian, I have heard much of your agility; let us see you run up after that boy.
Sheridan inquiring of his son what side of politics he should espouse on his inauguration to St. Stephen's, the son replied, that he intended to vote for those who offered best, and that he should wear on his forehead a label, "To let.
Lord B—— , who sported a ferocious pair of whiskers, meeting Mr. O'Connell in Dublin, the latter said, "When do you mean to place your whiskers on the peace establishment? A mathematician being asked by a wag, "If a pig weighs pounds, how much will a great boar bore? An Irishman being asked which was oldest, he or his brother, "I am eldest," said he, "but if my brother lives three years longer, we shall be both of an age. A gentleman describing a person who often visited him for the sole purpose of having a long gossip, called him Mr. Jones the stay -maker.
There is a celebrated reply of Mr. Curran to a remark of Lord Clare, who curtly exclaimed at one of his legal positions, "O! Curran, I may burn my law-books! I think he generally buries, in verse, a first love every fortnight. The fact is, my lord weeps for the press , and wipes his eyes with the public. It was observed of an old citizen that he was the most regular man in London in his attendance at church, and no man in the kingdom was more punctual in his prayers. Bishop Warburton , going to Cirencester to confirm, he was supplied at the altar with an elbow-chair and a cushion, which he did not much like, and calling to the churchwarden said, "I suppose, sir, your fattest butcher has sat in this chair, and your most violent Methodist preacher thumped the cushion.
Lord Byron's valet Mr. Fletcher grievously excited his master's ire by observing, while Byron was examining the remains of Athens, "La me, my lord, what capital mantelpieces that marble would make in England! In King William's time a Mr. Tredenham was taken before the Earl of Nottingham on suspicion of having treasonable papers in his possession. Johnson was observed by a musical friend of his to be extremely inattentive at a concert, whilst a celebrated solo player was running up the divisions and sub-divisions of notes upon his violin.
His friend, to induce him to take greater notice of what was going on, told him how extremely difficult it was. Nature descends down to infinite smallness. Canning has his parasites; and if you take a large buzzing blue-bottle fly, and look at it in a microscope, you may see twenty or thirty little ugly insects crawling about it, [Pg 72] which doubtless think their fly to be the bluest, grandest, merriest, most important animal in the universe, and are convinced that the world would be at an end if it ceased to buzz.
A certain physician was so fond of administering medicine, that, seeing all the phials and pill-boxes of his patient completely emptied, and ranged in order on the table, he said, "Ah, sir, it gives me pleasure to attend you,—you deserve to be ill. One of old Mr. Wignell assumed his old-established part of Portius ; and having stepped forward with a prodigious though accustomed strut, began:—. The audience upon this began to vociferate "Prologue! This wonderful effusion put the audience in good humor: they laughed immoderately, clapped, and shouted " Bravo! A notorious egotist, indirectly praising himself for a number of good qualities which it was well known he had not, asked Macklin the reason why he should have this propensity of interfering in the good of others when he frequently met with very unsuitable returns.
A coxcomb , teasing Dr. Parr with an account of his petty ailments, complained that he could never go out without catching cold in his head. The grass-plots in the college courts or quadrangles are not for the unhallowed feet of the under-graduates. Some, however, are hardy enough to venture, in despite of all remonstrance. A master of Trinity had often observed a student of his college invariably to cross the green, when, in obedience to the calls of his appetite, he went to hall to dine.
One day the master determined to reprove the delinquent for invading the rights of his superiors, and for that purpose he threw up the sash at which he was sitting, and called to the student,—"Sir, I never look out of my window but I see you walking across the grass-plot". Lord Peterborough was once taken by the mob for the great Duke of Marlborough who was then in disgrace with them ; and being about to be roughly treated, said,—"Gentlemen, I can convince you by two reasons that I am not the Duke of Marlborough. In the first place, I have only five guineas in my pocket; and in the second, they are heartily at your service.
Charles Mathews , the elder, being asked what he was going to do with his son the young man's profession was to be that of an architect , "Why," answered the comedian, "he is going to draw houses , like his father. Roger Long , the celebrated astronomer, was walking, one dark evening, with a gentleman in Cambridge, when the latter came to a short post fixed in the pavement, but which, in the earnestness of conversation, taking to be a boy standing in the path, he said hastily, "Get out of the way, boy.
A young lady visiting in the family asked John at dinner for a potato. John made no response. The request was repeated; when John, putting his mouth to her ear, said, very audibly, "There's jist twa in the dish, and they maun be keepit for the strangers. The following dialogue was lately heard at an assize:—Counsel: "What was the height of the horse? Did I say sixteen feet?
In the parlor of a public-house in Fleet Street, there used to be written over the chimney-piece the following notice: "Gentlemen learning to spell are requested to use yesterday's paper. A player applied to the manager of a respectable company for an engagement for himself and his wife, stating that his lady was capable of playing all the first line of business; but as for himself he was "the worst actor in the world. The gentleman having the part of a mere walking gentleman sent him for his first appearance, he asked the manager, indignantly, how could he put him in such a paltry part.
Some one had written upon a pane in the window of an inn on the Chester road, "Lord M——ms has the softest lips in the universe. Abingdon saw this inscription, and wrote under it,—. Cambridge etiquette has been very happily caricatured by the following anecdote. A gownsman, one day walking along the banks of the Cam, observing a luckless son of his Alma Mater in the agonies of drowning , "What a pity," he exclaimed, "that I have not had the honor of being introduced to the gentleman; I might have saved him;" and walked on, leaving the poor fellow to his fate.
A horseman crossing a moor, asked a countryman, if it was safe riding. When Bannister was asked his opinion of a new singer that had appeared at Covent Garden, "Why," said Charles, "he may be Robin Hood this season, but he will be robbing Harris the manager the next. An officer, in battle, happening to bow , a cannon-ball passed over his head, and took off that of the soldier who stood behind him. A lady who went to consult Mr. Abernethy, began describing her complaint, which is what he very much disliked. Among other things she said, "Whenever I lift my arm, it pains me exceedingly. A clever literary friend of Jerrold, and one who could take a joke, told him he had just had "some calf's-tail soup.
A person who dined in company with Dr. Johnson endeavored to make his court to him by laughing immoderately at everything he said. The doctor bore it for some time with philosophical indifference; but the impertinent ha, ha, ha! I hope I have not said anything that you can comprehend. Garrick was on a visit at Hagley, when news came that a company of players were going to perform at Birmingham. Lord Lyttelton said to Garrick, "They will hear you are in the neighborhood, and will ask you to write an address to the Birmingham audience.
A gentleman , talking with his gardener, expressed his admiration at the rapid growth of the trees. Franklin , when ambassador to France, being at a meeting of a literary society, and not well understanding the French when declaimed, determined to applaud when he saw a lady of his acquaintance express satisfaction. When they had ceased, a little child, who understood the French, said to him, "But, grandpapa, you always applauded the loudest when they were praising you!
A country schoolmaster was met by a certain nobleman, who asked his name and vocation. Having declared his name, he added, "And I am master of this parish. Sir Walter Scott once stated that he kept a lowland laird waiting for him in the library at Abbotsford, and that when he came in he found the laird deep in a book which Sir Walter perceived to be Johnson's Dictionary.
Foote one evening announced, for representation at the Haymarket Theatre, "The Fair Penitent," to be performed, for that night only, by a black lady of great accomplishments. Lord Ellenborough , on his return from Hone's trial, suddenly stopped his carriage at Charing Cross, and said, "It occurs to me that they sell the best herrings in London at that shop.
Buy six. A baker has invented a new kind of yeast. It makes bread so light that a pound of it weighs only twelve ounces. The late Judge C—— one day had occasion to examine a witness who stuttered very much in delivering his testimony. Curran , when opposed to Lord Clare, said that he reminded him of a chimney-sweep, who had raised himself by dark and dusky ways, and then called aloud to his neighbors to witness his dirty elevation.
A quaker being asked his opinion of phrenology, replied indignantly, "Friend, there can be no good in a science that compels a man to take off his hat! In a valedictory address an editor wrote: "If we have offended any man in the short but brilliant course of our public career, let him send us a new hat , and we will then forget the past. Now, what makes the ocean get angry? Abernethy , the celebrated physician, was never more displeased than by hearing a patient detail a long account of troubles.
A woman, knowing Abernethy's love of the laconic, having burned her hand, called at his house. Showing him her hand, she said, "A burn. The next day she returned, and said, "Better. In a week she made her last call and her speech was lengthened to three words, "Well,—your fee? A quaker said to a gunner, "Friend, I counsel no bloodshed; but if it be thy design to hit the little man in the blue jacket, point thine engine three inches lower.
At the last rehearsal of "Joanna," Mr. Wild, the prompter, asked the author for an order to admit two friends to the boxes; and whether Mr. Cumberland was thinking of the probable proceeds of his play, or whether his anxiety otherwise bewildered him, cannot be ascertained; but he wrote, instead of the usual "two to the boxes"—"admit two pounds two.
A widower , having taken another wife, was, nevertheless, always paying some panegyric to the memory of his late spouse, in the presence of his present one; who one day added, with great feeling, "Believe me, my dear, nobody regrets her loss more than I do. A young man having preached for the doctor one day, was anxious to get a word of applause for his labor of love.
The grave doctor, however, did not introduce the subject, and his younger brother was obliged to bait the hook for him. An Irishman being asked on a late trial for a certificate of his marriage, exhibited a huge scar on his head, which looked as though it might have been made with a fire-shovel. The evidence was satisfactory.
The great scholar had a horror of the east wind; and [Pg 83] Tom Sheridan once kept him prisoner in the house for a fortnight by fixing the weathercock in that direction. A retired vocalist, who had acquired a large fortune by marriage, was asked to sing in company.
In the House of Commons, the grand characteristic of the office of the Speaker is silence; and he fills the place best who best holds his tongue. There are other speakers in the House not official who would show their sagacity by following the example of their President. A physician passing by a stone-mason's shop bawled out, "Good morning, Mr. Hard at work, I see. You finish your gravestones as far as 'In the memory of,' and then wait, I suppose, to see who wants a monument next?
Charles II. To such a height had arrived the custom of giving vails, or visiting-fees, to servants, in , that Jonas Hanway published upon the subject eight letters to the Duke of N——, supposed to be the Duke of Newcastle. Sir Thomas Waldo related to Hanway, that, on leaving the house of the Duke alluded to, after having feed a train of other servants, he Sir Thomas put a crown into the hand of the cook, who returned it, saying, "Sir, I do not take silver.
A scholar and a courtier meeting in the street, seemed to contest the wall. Says the courtier, "I do not use to give every coxcomb the wall. An old deaf beggar, whom Collins the painter was once engaged in sketching at Hendon, exhibited great self-possession. Finding, from certain indications, that the body and garments of this English Edie Ochiltree afforded [Pg 86] a sort of pasture-ground to a herd of many animals of minute size, he hinted his fears to the old man that he might leave some of his small body-guard, behind him.
A physician of an acrimonious disposition, and having a thorough hatred of lawyers, reproached a barrister with the use of phrases utterly unintelligible.
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A recruiting serjeant addressing an honest country bumpkin with,—"Come, my lad, thou'lt fight for thy King, won't thou? Nicholls, in his "Literary Anecdotes," gives some curious particulars. He also relates an anecdote of Johnson concerning it: "It happened that I was in Bolt Court on the day that Henderson, the justly celebrated actor, was first introduced to Dr.
Johnson: and the conversation turning on dramatic subjects, Henderson asked the Doctor's opinion of "Dido" and its author. A countryman took his seat at a tavern-table opposite to a gentleman who was indulging in a bottle of wine. Supposing the wine to be common property, our unsophisticated country friend helped himself to it with the gentleman's glass. During a recent representation of King Lear at one of our metropolitan theatres, an old gentleman from the country, who was visibly affected by the pathos of some of the scenes, electrified the house by roaring out, "Mr.
Alter the play! I didn't pay my money to be made wretched in this way. Give us something funny, or I'll summons you, sir! An old sea captain used to say he didn't care how he dressed when abroad, "because nobody knew him. Erskine was once retained for a Mr. Bolt, whose character was impugned by Mr. Mingay, the counsel on the other side. So far, however, from this being his character, he goes by the name of Bolt upright. On one occasion the Duke's deafness was alluded to by Lady A——, who asked if she was sitting on his right side, and if he had benefited by the operations which she heard had been performed, and had been so painful to him.
He said, in reply, that the gentleman had been bold [Pg 88] enough to ask him for a certificate, but that he had really been of no service to him, and that he could only answer him by saying, "I tell you what, I won't say a word about it. If a man were to set out calling everything by its right name, he would be knocked down before he got to the corner of the street.
A huge , double-sheeted copy of the Times newspaper was put into the hands of a member of the Union Club by one of the waiters. Parr had a high opinion of his own skill at whist, and could not even patiently tolerate the want of it in his partner. Being engaged with a party in which he was unequally matched, he was asked by a lady how the fortune of the game turned, when he replied, "Pretty well, madam, considering that I have three adversaries.
Theodore Hook , being in company, where he said something humorous in rhyme to every person present, on Mr. Winter, the late Solicitor of Taxes, being announced, made the following impromptu:—. A witch , being at the stake to be burnt, saw her son there, and desired him to give her some drink. Lord Byron , in reference to a lady he thought ill of, writes, "Lady —— has been dangerously ill; but it may console you to learn that she is dangerously well again. A Californian gold digger having become rich, desired a friend to procure for him a library of books. The [Pg 90] friend obeyed, and received a letter of thanks thus worded: "I am obliged to you for the pains of your selection.
I particularly admire a grand religious poem about Paradise, by a Mr. Milton, and a set of plays quite delightful by a Mr. If these gentlemen should write and publish anything more, be sure and send me their new works. Jemmy Gordon , meeting the prosecutor of a felon, named Pilgrim , who was convicted and sentenced to be transported at the Cambridge assizes, exclaimed, "You have done, sir, what the Pope of Rome could never do; you have put a stop to Pilgrim's Progress! One drinking some beer at a petty ale-house in the country, which was very strong of the hops and hardly any taste of the malt, was asked by the landlord, if it was not well hopped.
A recent philosopher discovered a method to avoid being dunned! He never run in debt. There's work for you, or else the deuce is in it! Charles Lamb sitting next some chattering woman at [Pg 91] dinner, observing he didn't attend to her, "You don't seem," said the lady, "to be at all the better for what I am saying to you! On the birth of a friend's son now a well-known novelist , Sir David Wilkie was requested to become one of the sponsors for his child. Sir David, whose studies of human nature extended to everything but infant human nature, had evidently been refreshing his boyish recollections of puppies and kittens; for, after looking intently into the child's eyes, as it was held up for his inspection, he exclaimed to the father, with serious astonishment and satisfaction, "He sees!
A man was brought before Lord Mansfield, charged with stealing a silver ladle, and the counsel for the crown was rather severe upon the prisoner for being an attorney. The manager of a Scotch theatre, at which F. Cooke was playing Macbeth , seeing him greatly exhausted towards the close of the performance, offered him some whiskey in a very small thistle-glass, saying at the same time, by way of encouragement, "Take that, Mr.
Cooke; take that, sir; it is the real mountain dew; that will never hurt you, sir! The following bill of fare which consists of a dish of fish, a joint of meat, a couple of fowls, vegetables, and a pudding, being in all seven dishes for sevenpence! To unite taste and economy is no easy thing; but to show her lover she had learned that difficult art, she gave him the following dinner:—.
Of a light, frivolous, flighty girl, whom Jerrold met frequently, he said, "That girl has no more head than a periwinkle. Tom bought a gallon of gin to take home; and, by way [Pg 93] of a label, wrote his name upon a card, which happened to be the seven of clubs, and tied it to the handle. A friend coming along, and observing the jug, quietly remarked: "That's an awful careless way to leave that liquor! A gentleman , playing at piquet, was much teased by a looker-on who was short-sighted, and, having a very long nose, greatly incommoded the player.
To get rid of the annoyance, the player took out his handkerchief, and applied it to the nose of his officious neighbor. All honest men, whether counts or cobblers, are of the same rank, if classed by moral distinctions. Grattan said of Hussey Burgh, who had been a great Liberal, but, on getting his silk gown, became a Ministerialist, that all men knew silk to be a non-conducting body, and that since the honorable member had been enveloped in silk , no spark of patriotism had reached his heart.
Every Cantab, it is presumed, knows where Shelford Fen is, and that it is famous for rearing geese. A luckless wight, who had the misfortune to be plucked at his examination for the degree of B. Shelford was his examiner, made the following extemporaneous epigram:—. One afternoon, when Jerrold was in his garden at Putney, [Pg 94] enjoying a glass of claret, a friend called upon him. The conversation ran on a certain dull fellow, whose wealth made him prominent at that time. Foote , dining one day with Lord Townsend, after his duel with Lord Bellamont, the wine being bad, and the dinner ill-dressed, made Foote observe, that he could not discover what reason could compel his lordship to fight, when he might have effected his purpose with much more ease to himself.
A gentleman once bought a horse of a country-dealer. The bargain concluded, and the money paid, the gentleman said, "Now, my friend, I have bought your horse, what are his faults? A man said the only reason why his dwelling was not blown away in a late storm was, because there was a heavy mortgage on it. Mathews's attendant, in his last illness, intending to give him his medicine, gave in mistake some ink from a phial on a shelf.