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Upon the necessary operation
About to be performed, with touch, alas,
Not always confident of hair-breadth skill.
Even in such sober sadness, and constrained
Composure cold, the faithful Painter's eye
Had fixed me like a spell, and I could feel
My features stiffen as he glanced upon them.
And yet he was a man whom I loved dearly,
My fellow-traveller, my familiar friend,
My household guest. But, when he looked upon me,
Anxious to exercise his excellent art,
The countenance he knew so thoroughly
Was gone, and in its stead there sate Sir Smug.
Under the graver's hand, Sir Smug became
Sir Smouch, -a son of Abraham. Now albeit
Far rather would I trace my lineage thence
Than with the oldest line of Peers or Kings
Claim consanguinity, that cast of features
Would ill accord with me, who, in all forms
Of pork (baked, roasted, toasted, boiled, or broiled,
Fresh, salted, pickled, seasoned, moist or dry,
Whether ham, bacon, sausage, souse, or brawn,
Leg, bladebone, baldrib, griskin, chine, or chop),
Profess myself a genuine Philopig.
It was, however, as a Jew whose portion
Had fallen unto him in a goodly land
Of loans, of omnium, and of three per cents,
That Messrs. Percy of the Anecdote-firm
Presented me unto their customers.
Poor Smouch endured a worse judaization
Under another hand. In this next stage
He is on trial at the Old Bailey, charged
With dealing in base coin. That he is guilty
No Judge or Jury could have half a doubt
When they saw the culprit's face; and he himself,
As you may plainly see, is comforted
By thinking he has just contrived to keep
Out of rope's reach, and will come off this time
Stand thou forth for trial,
Now, William Darton, of the Society
Of Friends called Quakers; thou who in 4th month
Of the year 24, on Holborn Hill, 1
At No. 58, didst wilfully,
Falsely, and knowing it was falsely done,
Publish upon a card, as Robert Southey's,
A face which might be just as like Tom Fool's,
Or John or Richard Any-body-else's !
What had I done to thee, thou William Darton,
That thou shouldst for the lucre of base gain,
Yea, for the sake of filthy fourpences,
Palm on my countrymen that face for mine?
O William Darton, let the Yearly Meeting
Deal with thee for that falseness! All the rest
Are traceable; Smug's Hebrew family ;
The German who might properly adorn
A gibbet or a wheel, and Monsieur Sooté,
Sons of Fitzbust the Evangelical ;-
I recognize all these unlikenesses,
Spurious abominations though they be,
Each filiated on some original ;
But thou, Friend Darton (and observe me, man,
Only in courtesy, and quasi Quaker,
I call thee Friend) hadst no original ;
No likeness or unlikeness, silhouette,
Outline, or plaster, representing me,
Whereon to form thy misrepresentation.
If I guess rightly at the pedigree
Of thy bad groatsworth, thou didst get a barber
To personate my injured Laureateship;
An advertising barber,-one who keeps
A bear, and, when he puts to death poor Bruin,
Sells his grease, fresh as from the carcass cut,
Pro bono publico, the price per pound
Twelve shillings and no more. From such a barber,
O unfriend Darton ! was that portrait made,
I think, or peradventure from his block.
Next comes a minion worthy to be set
In a wooden frame ; and here I might invoke
Avenging Nemesis, if I did not feel
Just now God Cynthius pluck me by the ear.
But, Allan, in what shape God Cynthius comes,
And wherefore he admonisheth me thus,
Nor thou nor I will tell the world ; hereafter
The commentators, my Malones and Reids,
May if they can. For in my gallery
Though there remaineth undescribed good store,
Yet of enough enough, and now no more”
(As honest old George Gascoigne said of yore) ;
Save only a last couplet to express
That I am always truly yours,
The legend of the Pious Painter is related in the Pia Hilaria of Gazæus ; but the Pious Poet has omitted the second part of the story, though it rests upon quite as good authority as the first. It is to be found in the Fabliaux of Le Grand.
THE FIRST PART.
THERE once was a painter in Catholic days,
Like Job who eschewed all evil.
Still on his Madonnas the curious may gaze
With applause and with pleasure; but chiefly his
And delight was in painting the Devil.
They were Angels, compared to the devils he drew,
Who besieged poor St. Anthony's cell ;
Such burning hot eyes, such a furnace-like hue !
And round them a sulphurous colouring he threw,
That their breath seemed of brimstone to smell,
And now had the artist a picture begun;
'Twas over the Virgin's church-door ;
She stood on the Dragon embracing her Son.
Many Devils already the artist had done,
But this must out-do all before.
The Old Dragon's imps, as they fled through the air,
At seeing it paused on the wing ;
For he had the likeness so just to a hair
That they came, as Apollyon himself had been there,
their respects to their King.
Every child at beholding it trembled with dread,
And screamed as he turned away quick.
Not an old woman saw it but, raising her head,
Dropped a bead, made a cross on her wrinkles, and said,
“Lord keep me from ugly Old Nick!”
What the Painter so earnestly thought on by day
He sometimes would dream of by night.
But once he was startled as sleeping he lay;
'Twas no fancy, no dream, he could plainly survey
That the Devil himself was in sight.
“You rascally dauber !" old Beelzebub cries,
“Take heed how you wrong me again!
Though your caricatures for myself I despise,
Make me handsomer now in the multitude's eyes,
Or see if I threaten in vain !".
Now the Painter was bold, and religious beside,
And on faith he had certain reliance ;
So carefully he the grim countenance eyed,
And thanked him for sitting, with Catholic pride,
And sturdily bade him defiance.
Betimes in the morning the Painter arose ;
He is ready as soon as 'tis light. Every look, every line, every feature, he knows; 'Tis fresh in his eye ; to his labour he goes,
And he has the old Wicked One quite.
Happy man! he is sure the resemblance can't fail ;'
The tip of the nose is like fire,
There's his grin and his fangs, and his dragon-like mail,
And the very identical curl of his tail,
So that nothing is left to desire.
He looks and retouches again with delight;
'Tis a portrait complete to his mind; And, exulting again and again at the sight, He looks round for applause, --and he sees with affright
The Original standing behind. “Fool! Idiot !" old Beelzebub grinned as he spoke,
And stamped on the scaffold in ire. The Painter grew pale, for he knew it no joke ; 'Twas a terrible height, and the scaffolding broke,
The Devil could wish it no higher.
“Help—help! Blessed Mary!” he cried in alarm,
As the scaffold sunk under his feet. From the canvas the Virgin extended her arm ; She caught the good Painter, she saved him from harm;
There were hundreds who saw in the street.
The Old Dragon fled when the wonder he spied,
And cursed his own fruitless endeavour;
While the Painter called after, his rage to deride,
Shook his pallet and brushes in triumph, and cried,
“I'll paint thee more ugly than ever !”
THE Painter so pious all praise had acquired
For defying the malice of Hell ;
The Monks the unerring resemblance admired ;
Not a Lady lived near but her portrait desired
From a hand that succeeded so well.
One there was to be painted the number among,
Of features most fair to behold;
The country around of fair Marguerite rung ;
Marguerite she was lovely and lively and young,
Her husband was ugly and old.
O Painter, avoid her ! O Painter, take care,
For Satan is watchful for you!
Take heed lest you fall in the Wicked One's snare;
The net is made ready, O Painter, beware
Of Satan and Marguerite too!
She seats herself now, now she lifts up her head,
On the artist she fixes her eyes;
The colours are ready, the canvas is spread,
He lays on the white, and he lays on the red,
And the features of beauty arise.
He is come to her eyes, eyes so bright and so blue !
There's a look which he cannot express ;-
His colours are dull to their quick-sparkling hue;
More and more on the lady he fixes his view,
On the canvas he looks less and less.
In vain he retouches, her eyes sparkle more,
And that look which fair Marguerite gave !
Many Devils the Artist had painted of yore,
But he never had tried a live Angel before,
St. Anthony help him and save!
He yielded, alas ! for the truth must be told,
To the Woman, the Tempter, and Fate.
It was settled the Lady, so fair to behold,
Should elope from her Husband so ugly and old,
With the Painter so pious of late.
Now Satan exults in his vengeance complete;
To the Husband he makes the scheme known.
Night comes, and the lovers impatiently meet;
Together they fly, they are seized in the street,
And in prison the Painter is thrown.
With Repentance, his only companion, he lies,
And a dismal companion is she ! On a sudden he saw the Old Enemy rise ; “Now, you villainous dauber !” Sir Beelzebub cries,
"You are paid for your insults to me! “But my tender heart you may easily move
If to what I propose you agree; That picture,-.be just ! the resemblance improve ; Make a handsomer portrait ; your chains I'll remove,
And you shall this instant be free.”