« ElőzőTovább »
In this sight was Death the gainer,
Written in the Doomsday Book.
For love and charity;
A word that begon with a “d!”
And consulted the time of day?
I hope for my sake he may !
For he's got quite stingy they say.
Every vassal of his banner,
By his hand were freed again.
And the monk replied, “Amen!"
Mingling with the common dust.
SONG OF THE SILENT LAND.
INTO the Silent Land !
SONG OF THE IRISH LAND !
( After Longfellow and Salis.)
Punch, August 13, 1881.
The REPENTANT BARON.
A Lay of Berlin.
And with sear the kellner shook.
Or it might have been the cook.
Dismal as the parish waits.
Will demolish all the plates."
Or a couple, if so be.”
And exclaimed the shuddering Baron,
“ Miserere Domine !"
Which the minstrel he did play.
Begging him to go away."
And he said in accents thick
In Punch of October 21, 1882, there was another parody of this poem, entitled “ Song of the Oyster Land,” by a Longing Fellow, commencing
“ Into the Oyster Land !
THE NORMAN BARON. In his chamber, weak and dying, Was the Norman baron lying ; Loud without the tempest Thundered,
And the castle-turret shook.
To the kellner, “ Loo' here, kellner,
You're a 'spec'ble kind o' felner ;
I'm a mis'ble felner! Hic.
Every single thing that's mine.
Fesh another bolowine.”
Or his ehamber, free from dust ;
THE DERBY WEEK.
(A Long Way After a Longfellow.) Oh, Derby week, oh, Derby week, how precious are thy pleasures !
Not hymned alone in summer-time
With hoarse enthusiastic rhyme, Oh, Derby week, oh, Derby week, but hailed in pewtern
measures ! Oh, Derby week, oh, Derby week, how coarse the cads who “put on "
Their three half-crowns for Insulaire,
Or intimate Sir Joseph's “square." Oh, Derby week, oh, Derby week-as if I cared a button ! Saturnian feasts, Saturnian feasts, you ape, despite Dame Grundy.
We laugh until the dread bell rings,
But oh, the aches to-morrow brings, And Derby week, and Derby week, that reckoning on the
Monday! The welsher's book, the welsher's book, is mirror of thy glories :
It's ready when their horse comes in,
But somewhat muddled when you win. The welsher's book, the welsher's book, whips Black's in
point of stories ! So Derby week, oh, Derby week, your usual style, we think, errs,
In ending in too cheerful nights,
Headaches and debts, green veils and fights, And Derby week, oh, Derby week, Dutch dolls and British drinkers.
Funny Folks, June 8, 1878.
Longfellow's ballad, The Skeleton in Armour commences thus :
“ SPEAK ! speak! thou fearful guest !
Comest to daunt me !
Why dost thou haunt me?” its metre was admirably imitated by the late C. S. Calverley, in his
Ode to TOBACCO.
Not to thy credit.
The following are parodies of the “ Saga of King Olaf,” contained in Longfellow's “Tales of a Wayside Inn":
QUEEN SIGRID THE Haughty.
(A Longfellow Cut Short.)
Cats may have had their goose
Here's to thee, Bacon !
She raised her brows and looked at the King-
Smote on the Acme steel,
Punch's Almanack, 1834.
Another long parody of the same original was contained in Punch, September 20, 1879. It was entitled “A Modern Saga," and consisted of nine verses, describing Professor Nordenskiöld's travels and discoveries concerning the NorthEast passage.
THE SAGA OF THE SKATERMAN, Down by the Serpentine, Found I the SkatermanFound him a-wiping his Eyes with his ulster-sleeve, Eyes full of scalding tears, Red with much blubbering. Red was his nose likewise Deeply I pitied him. “Cheer up, O Skaterman ! Never say die !" says I. “ Cheer up, my hearty!"-SO Tried I to comfort him, Slapping his back, whereby Coughed he like anything, Forth went my heart to him, Lent him my wipe, I did, Dried his poor nose and eyes, Sitting aside of him Holding his hand. “Hark to the Skald !" I says, “ Tell him what's up with thee; Thor of the Hammer will Come to thine aid !" Then spake the Skaterman, Rumbling with muttered oaths Deep in his diaphragm, Grumbling at Thor : “Blow Thaw and Scald !'' he cried ; “Blow heverythink !" he cried, Salt tears a-rolling down Alongside his nose. “See these here . Hacmes,' Sir, New from the Store they are, Never been used afore, Twelve-and-six thrown away! Friga the Frigid came, Friga, great Odin's wife, Bound up the river-gods, Laid out an icy floor Mete for the Skaterman. Then I began to hoard. Weekly and weekly hoard, All of my saving to Buy these here thingsCame Thaw, the thunder-god, Brake up the Ice-bound streamTwelve-and-six thrown away, That's what's the matter, SirThaw, he be blowed !" Then, with a wild shriek, he Upped with his knobby stick,
It is now a good many years since a wellknown American author, Mr. Bayard Taylor, produced a clever little book, entitled “Diversions of the Echo Club." The late Mr. John Camden Hotten published it in London, and it has since gone through several editions. The scheme of the book is thus given by the author :-“In the rear of Karl Schäfer's lager. beer cellar and restaurant-which everyone knows, is but a block from the central part of Broadway—there is a small room, with a vaulted ceiling, which Karl calls his Löwengrube, or Lions' Den. Here, in their Bohemian days, Zoïlus and the Gannet had been accustomed to meet, discuss literary projects, and read fragments of manuscript to each other. The Chorus, the Ancient and young Galahad gradually fell into the same habit, and thus a little circle of six, seven, or eight members came to be formed. The room could comfortably contain no more : it was quiet, with a dim, smoky, confidential atmosphere, and suggested Auerbach's Cellar to the Ancient, who had been in Leipzig. '.
Here authors, books, magazines, and newspapers were talked about; sometimes a manuscript poem was read by its writer; while mild potations of beer and the dreamy breath of cigars delayed the nervous, fidgetty, clattering-footed American Hours. The character which the society assumed for a short time was purely accidental. As one of the Chorus, I was present at the first meeting, and, of course, I never failed afterwards. The four authors who furnished our entertainment were not aware that I had written down, from memory, the substance of the conversations, until our evenings came to an end, and I have had some difficulty in obtaining their permission to publish my reports.''
These so-called “Reports” describe the pro. ceedings at eight meetings of the Club, and the conversation is devoted to criticisms of the most famous modern poets. The members next proceed to draw lots as to whose works they shall imitate, the result being a series of parodies, or, more correctly speaking, comical imitations of style, many of which are exceedingly amusing.
The principal poets thus parodied are William Morris; Robert Browning; E. A. Poe; John Keats; Mrs. Sigourney; A. C. Swinburne; R. W. Emerson; E. C. Stedman ; Dante G. Rossetti; Barry Cornwall; J. G. Whittier; Oliver Wendell Holmes ; Alfred Tennyson; H. W. Longfellow; Walt Whitman; Bret Harte; J. R. Lowell; Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning; and several less known authors.
Amongst the minor poets are included several American writers, whose works are alınost unknown to English readers.
Yet the Muse that delights in Mesopotamian numbers, Vague and vast as the roar of the wind in a forest of pine
trees, Now must tune her strings to the names of Joseph and
Brigham. Hebrew, the first; and a Smith before the Deluge was Tubal, Thor of the East, who first made iron ring to the hammer; So on the iron heads of the people about him, the latter, Striking the sparks of belief and forging their faith in the
Good Time Coming, the Latter Day, as he called it, -the Kingdom of
Zion. Then, in the words of Philip the Eunuch unto Belshazzar, Came to him multitudes wan, diseased and decrepit of spirit, Came and heard and believed, and builded the temple of
Nauvoo. All is past ; for Joseph was smitten with lead from a pistol, Brigham went with the others over the prairies to Salt Lake. Answers now to the long, disconsolate wail of the steamer, Hoarse, inarticulate, shrill, the rolling and bounding of ten
pins, Answers the voice of the bar-tender, mixing the smash and
the julep, Answers, precocious, the boy, and bites a chew of tobacco. Lone as the towers of Afrasiab now is the seat of the Prophet, Mournful, inspiring to verse, though seeming utterly vulgar: Also-for each thing now is expected to furnish a moral -Teaching innumerable lessons for who so believes and is
patient. Thou, that readest, be resolute, learn to be strong and to
suffer ! Let the dead Past bury its dead and act in the Present ! Bear a banner of strange devices, “Forever" and “Never !" Build in the walls of time the fame of a permanent Nauvoo, So that thy brethren may see it and say, “Go thou and do likewise !"
This poem does not altogether meet with his comrades' approval; Zoïlus retorts that “it is no easy thing to be funny in hexameters; the Sapphic verse is much more practicable.”
The Gannet hereupon asserts that he could write an imitation of Longfellow's higher strains
—not of those which are so well known and so much quoted—which would be fairer to the poet, and after a short interval produces
On the Fifth night Zoilus draws Longfellow, and his comrades caution him to beware how he treats an author, already a classic, whose works have been complimented by many ordinary parodies. He composes the following imitation of Longfellow's hexameters :
Nauvoo. This is the place : be still for a while, my high-pressure
steamboat ! Let me survey the spot where the Mormons builded their
temple. Much" have I mused on the wreck and ruin of ancient
religions, Scandinavian, Greek, Assyrian, Zend, and the Sanskrit, Yea, and explored the mysteries hidden in Talmudic targums, Caught the gleam of Chrysaor's sword and occulted Orion, Backward spelled the lines of the Hebrew graveyard at
Newport, Studied Ojibwa symbols and those of the Quarry of Pipe.
stone, Also the inyths of the Zulus whose questions converted
Colenso, So, methinks, it were well I should muse a little at Nauvoo.
Fair was he not, the primitive Prophet, nor he who
succeeded, Hardly for poetry fit, though using the Urim and Thummin. Had he but borrowed Levitical trappings, the girdle and
ephod, Fine twined linen, and ouches of gold, and bells and pome
granates, That, indeed, might have kindled the weird necromancy of
fancy. Had he but set up mystical forms, like Astarte or Peor, Balder, or Freya, Quetzalcoatl, Perun, Manabozho, Verily, though to the sense theologic it might be offensive, Great were the gain to the pictured, Aashing speech of the
The SEWING-MACHINE. A strange vibration from the cottage window
My vagrant steps delayed, And half abstracted, like the ancient Hindoo,
I paused beneath the shade.
Shed from Sandalphon's wing.
That now usurpeth play?
Ghittern and virelay ?
By spiritual hearing heard ?
Detecting not a word.
Then, peering through the pane, as men of sin do,
Myself the while unseen,
Sewing with a machine.
Her gentle foot propelled the tireless treadle,
Her gentle hand the seam :
Those shirts, as in a dream !
Her lovely fingers lent to yoke and collar
Some imperceptible taste ; The rural swain, who buys it for a dollar,
By beauty is embraced.
O fairer aspect of the common mission !
Only the Poet sees The true significance, the high position
Of such small things as these.
Not now doth Toil, a brutal Boanerges,
Deform the maiden's hand ;
In songs of sea and land.
Where, enthroned above the table,
Should you ask me why he sits there?
If still further you should ask me,
I should answer your enquiry
And if once again you query, Saying, “Is this all they do there?”
I should answer your fresh query,
If you really had the conscience
And thus the hum of the unspooling cotton,
Blent with her rhythmic tread, Shall still be heard, when virelays are forgotten,
And troubadours are dead.
It may be said of “ Diversions of the Echo Club" (now published by Messrs. Chatto and Windus), that whilst many of the parodies are amusing, none are either vulgar or ill-natured; the criticisms on the various poets are generally just, thoughtful, and keenly perceptive.
Before leaving Longfellow there are two amusing imitations of Hiawatha to be quoted; Unfortunately, the very clever Song of Big Ben is too long to quote in full, but it is easily accessible :-
THE SONG OF BIG BEN.
SHOULD you ask me why these columns
I should answer, I should tell you,
To the gilded, painted chamber Of the House of Talkee-Talkee, Comes a crowd of various people, Comes a flock of noble ladies, Painted most, and all decolletees ; Come the Bishops and the Judges, Gravely taking up their places ; Clad in their state robes, the Judges, Like to agéd washerwoman ; In their puffed lawn sleeves, the Bishops, Fussy, like the hen that cackles Over new-laid egg or chicken ; Come diplomatists by dozens, Blazing with their numerous orders, Which they gladly take, like bagmen ; Come with their vermilion buttons And their petticoats of satin,