Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Henry WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (continued.)

On the ist March, 1884, a bust of Longfellow (by Mr. T. Brock, A.R.A.) was unveiled in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey. It is placed between the graves of Dryden and Cowley, and bears this inscription :

LONGFELLOW. “ This bust was placed among the memorials of the poets of England by the English admirers of an American poet, 1884. and on the sides are the dates

“ Born at Portland, U.S.A., February 27, 1807.
Died at Cambridge, U.S.A., March 24, 1882."

Mr. J. Russell Lowell was present at the cereinony, and gave an address, in which he stated that

“Longfellow's mind always moved straight towards its object, was always permeated with the emotions, and gave them the frankest, the sincerest, and, at the same time, the most simple expression ; and never was there a private character more answerable to public performance than that of Longfellow. His nature was consecrated ground, into which no unclean spirit could ever enter."

THE interest which is taken in this collection by

many of the subscribers is shewn by their kind permission to quote Parodies from their works; by the information they have sent as to out-of-the-way books in which others may be found; and, further, by their contribution of original Parodies.

The author of the following introduction to this series, is well known for his charming pathetic poems. From the first he has rendered most valuable assistance; having formed a large collection of Parodies, he has kindly placed them at the Editor's disposal, and they will be inserted underthe respective authors to whom they apply. THE MONTHLY PARODIES.

AN APOLOGY.
After William Morris's “ Earthly Paradise."

(Written expressly for this collection.)
Of Love or War this is no hour to sing,

But I may ease the burden of your fears
(Lest you think death to mirth is happening),

And quote from wit of past and present years,

Till o'er these pages you forget your tears,
And smile again, as presently you say
Some idle jingle-or forgotten lay.
But when a-weary of the hunt for mirth

Thro' comic journals with a doleful sigh
You feel unkindly unto all the earth,
And grudge the pennies that they cost to buy

These “weakly comics,” lingering like to die,
Remember, then, a little while, I pray,
The clever singers of a former day.
The pomp and power and grand majestic air

That marches thro' their poems' stately tread,
These idle verses may catch unaware,

And by burlesque call back remembered
Some rhymes “that living not can ne'er be dead,"

Though what is meant by that I cannot say

But Mr. Morris wrote it one sine day.
Here grouped are strains of parody in rhyme,

Now classified and placed in order straight,
Let it suffice it for the present time

That some be old, while some are born but late,

A careful choice, from all the crowd that wait,
Of those that in forgotten serials stay,
Or are, in passing journals, tossed away.
Folks say a wizard to a common King,

One April-tide such wondrous jest did show
That in a mirror men beheld each thing,

Like, yet unlike, and saw the pale nose glow,

While rosy face looked white as fallen snow,
Each visage altered in such comic way
That those who came to court, remain'd to play.
So with these many Parodies it is,

If you will read aright and carefully,
Not scathing satire, nor malicious hiss

For lack of beauty in the themes to see,

Nor jeerings coarse, at what men prize, as we
But jest to make some litile changeling play
Its pranks in classic robes, all crowned with bay.

J. W. GLEESON WHITE,
March, 1884.

CHRISTCHURCH.

This tribute to his memory, paid by one who had known him for nearly forty years, sufficiently explains the reason why, in the parodies of his works which are now to be given, nothing of a personal nature will be inserted. Indeed it is doubtful whether one unkindly worded, or spiteful burlesque was ever penned about either Longfellow, or his works. The absence of this element will be all the more noticeable as follow. ing directly after the parodies of the Poet Laureate, whose actions and writings have invited so many attacks. Tennyson's early sneers at hereditary nobility, as contrasted with his adulation of royalty, and the exaggerated praise of princes in his official poems of later years. His involved, and often obscure, mode of writing, especially when attempting to deal with metaphysical topics ; his narrow insular prejudices; his frequent writings in praise of war, and calling aloud for the blood of either the French, or the Russians, or the Spaniards. And, lastly, his acceptance of a coronet which sits grotesquely enough on the laurels he so long has worn as Poet Laureate.

In all this there was ample room for adverse comment, which the life and works of Long. fellow never afforded. The tenderness, the grace, the sweet pathos, and the exquisite sim. plicity of his poems, combined with the purity, charity, and kindness of his personal character, -- ------were such that detraction, envy, and malice were dumb, and criticism itself was almost silenced.

Hence the parodies will be found to consist principally of imitations of his style, language, or ideas, or of reproductions of his poems in a grotesque form. In some cases a few verses of the original are given for the convenience of comparison with the parodies.

A NOBLE AMBITION.
Tell me not in mournsul numbers,

Lise's one long unending bill -
Debts unpaid disturb your slumbers-

Tin will fly, do what you will.
Meat is high in real good earnest,

Far above the hungry soul ;
Dust thou art, to dust returns, is

Very typical of coal.
In the weekly market battle,

For the cheapest things and best,
Be not like dumb-driven cattle,

Stand out bravely, all the rest.
Not enjoyment, hardly sorrow,

Feel we, when small debts we pay ;
Still, we know that each to-morrow

Finds them larger than to-day.
Duns are hard, and time is Meeting,

Bills are sadly in arrears,
And our hearts, tho' brave, stop beating

At the aspect of affairs.
Bailiffs are not very pleasant,

Lock your door and keep the key ;
Act, act in the living present-

Leave your country, cross the sea.
Lives of great men, too, remind us,

Big debts sometimes clogged their feet ;
And, like them, we leave behind us

Some few bills we cannot meet

Ministerial slips to follow

Is our destined end and way,
So that we may throw each morrow

Stumbling blocks in Dizzy's way. Dizzy's strong, but fame is fleeting ;

Conservatism, now so brave,
In the Bills which we are greeting,

Yet may sind an early grave. Trust no Forster, howe'er pleasant,

Let past premiers bury their dead ; Act with Hartington at present,

Nor the coming session dread. Ilansard's pages all remind us

We have but to bide our time;
Dizzy some fine day may find us

In majority sublime.
Gladstone's gone, but till another,

Like him takes the helm again,
Let us help our leader, brother,

Hartington with might and main. Let us then be up and doing,

Meeting Dizzy in debate, Tory tactics still pursuing,

Find a policy--and wait !

From Funny Folks, February 27, 1875, when the Conservative party, led by Mr. Disraeli, was in power, and ihe Liberal Opposition was led by Lord Hartington,

A Psalm of Life At Sixty.

Bills that make you try to smother,

As you cross the stormy main,
Thoughts of love, and home, and mother,

Listening for your step in vain.
Let us then be up and doing

With an eye to making tin,
Any likely trade pursuing,
Learn to gain your end and win.

From The Figaro, December 3, 1873.

IVhat the Heart of the Old Man said to the Genial Gusher

at Christmas Time.
Tell me not in Christmas Numbers

Life is but a gourmet's dream !
Sure your sense is dead or slumbers :

Peptics are not what they seem.
Life is serious! Life is solemn !

And good grub is not its goal :
Menu-making by the column

llelps not the dyspeptic soul.
Not delight from cates to borrow

Is the aim of prudent will,
But to eat so that to-morrow

Finds us not exceeding ill.
Feeds are long and health is fleeting ;

And old stomachs once so strong,
Find that indiscriminate cating

Very quickly puts them wrong.
In the banquet's dainty battle,

At the table's toothsome strife,
Feed not like dumb hungry cattle,

Wield a cautious fork and knife !
Trust no menu, howe'er pleasant ;

Night-mare-Nemesis is dread ;
Swig and swallow like a peasant,

You'll repent it when in bed !

THE LIBERAL PSALM OF LIFE. Tell us not in mournful numbers

Liberal union is a dream : Bright is cranky, Bob Lowe slumbers ;

Yet things are not what they seem. Opposition must be earnest,

Or we shall not win the goal ;
If for Gladstone still thou yearnest,

Thou art a weak-minded soul.

Memories of big feeds remind us

Christmas pudding peace can slay ; Touch it, and next morn shall find us

Indigestion's helpless prey. Pudding that perhaps another,

Light of heart and bright of brain, Some strong-stomached younger brother,

Eating, sends his plate again. Let us then beware high feeding,

Or the love of luscious cate, Still abstaining, ne'er exceeding, Learn to dodge dyspeptic fate !

From Punch, December 27, 1879.

“ Take Care.” Have you a wife with real estate ?

Take care !
She can “ devise, and alienate,"

Beware! Beware!

She has got
The whip hand of thee !
Too promptly she may take her cue,

Beware!
And learn she has the “power to suc,"

Take care! Take care !

Thwart her not,
She'll be down on thee !
Her three per cents are but a snare,

Take care !
She “ holds " as if femme sole she were,

Beware! Beware !

Has she not
The whip hand of thee ?
You, Darby, who could sponge on Joan,

Take care !
Henceforth her earrings are her own,

Beware! Beware!

Touch them not,
She'll be down on thee !
If this new law be put in force,

Take care !
Lest th' old mare prove the better horse,

Beware! Beware!

Marry not, There's a hint for thee !

From The Tomahawk.

Lives of wealthy men remind us

That by using Printer's ink, We can die and leave behind us

Monstrous piles of golden “chink."

To MY SCOUT AT BREAKFAST.
Don't tell me in cheerful numbers

That the jug is full of cream !
For the milkman's conscience slumbers,
And things are not what they seem !

Odd Echoes from Oxford, 187:

A FRAGMENT.

Wives of great men all remind us

We may make our wives sublime By departing-leave behind us

Widows in the “ weeds ” of time. Widows that perchance some other

Sailing o'er life's solemn main Some forlorn rejected brother,

May take heart, and “splice” again.

BEWARE !

BEWARE!
I KNOW a rink that's fair to see,

Take care !
It can both kind and cruel be,

Beware! Beware!

Trust it not,
It will injure thee!
It has two skates to lend to you,

Take care!
With wheels that oft want oiling too,

Beware! Beware!

Trust it not,
It will injure thee!
It has a surface smooth as glass,

Take care !
For you can't see what will come to pass,

Beware! Beware !

Trust it not,
It will injure thee.
It shows your wondrous grace and skill,

Take care!
But naught it says about a spill,

Beware! Beware!

Trust it not,
It will injure thee!
It tells you much of pleasure there,

Take care !
'Tis a delusion and a snare,

Beware! Beware!

Trust it not, It will injure thee !"

Kutyls of the link, 1876.

(From the German.) I KNOW a maiden fair to see,

Take care !
She can both false and friendly be,

Beware! beware!

Trust her not.
She is fooling thee !
She has two eyes, so soft and brown,

Take care !
She gives a side glance and looks down,

Beware! beware!

Trust her not, She is fooling thee !

LONGFELLOW.

The Poet Laureate has recently contributed a poem, entitled Early Spring, to an American paper. It consisted of eight verses, and the fee paid the writer was said to be 1,000 dollars.

Taking the following as a fair example of the rest, it would seem that 125 dollars per verse was a very liberal remuneration :

Opens a door in Heaven ;

From skies of glass
A Jacob's ladder falls

On greening glass,
And o'er the mountain-walls

Young angels pass.

more of Robert Browning than the mere verbal eccentricities; “Wanderers” contains the very best of all parodies of Tennyson's “Brook” (quoted on page 30); Matthew Arnold is well imitated in “ Thoughts at a Railway Station ;" whilst the “ Ode to Tobacco” reads like a con. tinuation of Longfellow's “Skeleton in Armour." For refined parody, as distinguished from mere verbal burlesque, Mr. Calverley wasunapproached, and no collection of humorous English poetry would be complete, which did not include several of his best pieces. His humour was ever genial and pleasant, without a tinge of malice or ill-will, and even those whom he so deftly parodied could have taken no offence at his clever banter. Mr. Calverley was also a considerable scholar, as his translations testify, and he left at Oxford (where he studied before going to Cambridge) a considerable reputation as a wit and conversationalist.

Has the Poet no friends about him who can point out that by the publication of such painfully weak effusions, the once great reputation of Tennyson is being surely, if slowly, undermined ; and that the rising generation will be little encouraged, by such specimens of his genius, to read his early works. It is well known that the Poet Laureate is exceedingly vain of his writings, and does not hesitate to place them on a par with those of Milton ; this is a point we may leave to posterity to decide, but it seems most improbable that even the finest works of the laurelled, pensioned, titled bard of our days, will ever be considered worthy of a place by the side of the glorious and imperishable poems of the stern old puritan.

As parodies of Tennyson's poems are constantly being produced, a supplementary col. lection of them will be published separately at some future date.

H. W. Longfellow. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born at Portland, Maine, on February 27, 1807, and died on the 24th March, 1882, having thus just completed his 75th year. After graduating at the age of eighteen at Bowdoin College, he entered the office of his father to study the law. Soon afterwards, however, he left America for Europe, where he travelled for three years and a half, in order to qualify himself for a professorship of modern language, which had been offered to him in the college where he had received his education. A few years later he was appointed to a similar position in Harvard College. In order to become acquainted with the literature and language of Northern Europe he again left America and travelled in Scandi. navia, Germany, and Switzerland, entering upon his new duties in 1836. Mr. Longfellow com. menced his career as an author while yet he was an undergraduate, and continued to write almost to the last. A mere list of his works would occupy considerable space. They are thoroughly well known wherever our language is spoken, and have obtained in this country a popularity second to that of no English writer, The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge both conferred degrees upon Mr. Longfellow, and he was also elected a member of the Russian Academy of Science and of the Spanish Academy.

The following are the poems which have been most frequently selected as the models for Parodies:-A Psalm of Life; Beware!; Evange.

MR. CHARLES STEWART CalvERLEY.

The death of “ C. S. C." will be heard of with regret by all who enjoy the lighter forms of English poetry, such as are to be found to per. fection in his two little volumes, entitled “ Fly Leaves” and “ Verses and Translations,” published by Messrs. G. Bell and Sons.

Mr. Calverley had an extraordinary ear for rhythm, and could imitate, at will, the measure and metre of any poet. Taking some comically trilling topic, he could so write it up as to repro. duce not only the style, but even the very mode of thought of his original. Thus, in his poem, "The Cock and the Bull," he has caught far

[blocks in formation]
« ElőzőTovább »