« PreviousContinue »
They were angels compared to the devils he drew,
Who besieged poor St. Anthony's cell ; Such burning hot eyes, such a d-mnable hue, You could even smell brimstone, their breath was so blue,
He painted his devils so well,
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 che air,
At seeing it, paus’d on the wing,
To pay their respects to their king.
And scream'd, as he turn'd away quick.;
'God help 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,
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, 'Twas fresh to 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 red hot;
There's his grin and his fangs, his skin cover'd with scales,
Not a mark, not a claw is forgot.
He looks, and re-touches again with delight;
'Tis a portrait complete to his mind!
The original standing behind.
• Fool! idiot!' old Beelzebub grinn'd as he spoke,
And stamp'd on the scaffold in ire;
And the devil could wish it no higher.
Help! help me 0 Mary! he cried in alarm,
As the scaffold sunk under his feet;
There thousands who saw in the street.
The old dragon fled when the wonder he spied,
And curs'd his own fruitless endeavour;
Now I'll paint thee more ugly than ever!
THE WANDERING MINSTREL!
Who, that has perambulated the streets of London, has not heard Bill Raven advertising his three yards of new and pop'lar songs for a hap-ny; and who that has once heard can ever forget him—and his voice-for, as with Braham, the man and his voice must ever be associated ? Thoughts of Braham naturally inspire recollections of a voice wild and soft as an Æolian harp on a summer's eve ; and, in like manner, reminiscences of Bill Raven inevitably bring to mind a voice shrill and hoarse as a penny trumpet with a sore throat. Through the streets he goes, struggling to raise a shout, but unable to give vent to any sound above a wheeze, with what may be called his night-mare voice. His throat seems to be lined with a worsted stocking. There is evidently something out of order in his vocal organ, or rather his vocal hurdy-gurdy. His windpipe appears as if it wanted oiling. Even now I fancy I hear him in the tones of a knifegrinding machine, grating forth his well known cry,
“'Ere you 'as 'em 'ere, one hundred and fifty new and pop'lar hairs for a hap-ny, 'Ere's
Mary, I believed thee true'—' Hookey Valker.'
Giles Scroggins courted Molly Brown'—' Hon the banks of the blue Moselle.'
• Hif I had a donkey vot vould'nt go’– Hover the hills and far avay.'
My love is like the red red rose'—'D'ye call that nothin’' • The merry Swiss boy'— Vot a shocking bad hat.'
Nancy Dawson'—' I met her at the fancy fair.' ‘His there a heart wot never loved-Miss Rose, the pretty shroud maker.'
• Barclay and Perkins' drayman'—'He was famed for deeds of arms.'
• The lovely girl'— Judy Callaghan.'
• The Fireman Vaterman'—'Billy Tailor,' and 'The Dandy Dogs-meat Man,' with Sally in our Alley.'
Poor Marian,' • Flare up,' and 'Oh say not voman's love is bought, all for the small charge of one ha'p'ny.
But Bill Raven deals not only in the ballads of the young Bai. ley, but also in those of the Old Never does the law take its course on a miserable individual, but the sympathetic Bill is to be seen crying about the melancholy occurrence for weeks afterwards.
''Ere you 'as it, 'ere the full true and partic'lar account of the unfort'nate individ'al wot was hexecrated this morning at the Old Billy, for the small charge of one ha’p’ny.'
An announcement which doubtlessly startles some of the bystanders, who, as they themselves say, "always thinked as how Mr. Pill's Act made it impossible to hang a body for less nor forty shillings.' But the best of these—in the double meaning of the word—Ketchpennies, is the Kopy of verses' appended to the narrative. I recollect one which ran nearly as follows :
Draw hither now good people all,
And let my story warn;
Wot'll rend those breasts of yourn.
On Monday morn at eight o'clock,
Right opposite Newgate,
All for to expiate.
And just afore the drop did fall,
He did confess most true,
Wot I will tell to you.
All through a wicked gal it was,
I kill'd my master dear;
His throat from here to here.
The clock struck eight, the knot was tied,
Most dismal for to see;
Take warning then, all you who would
Not die like malefactors ;
Of gals with bad characters.
One day as Bill was bawling through the streets, he met a friend, when the following curious conversation took place :
I say, Bill,' exclaimed his friend, vhy doesn't you take to the singing line?'
• Vhy,' says Bill ; vhy, coz I sings vorser nor an old teakettle.'
• Vorser! So mnch the betterer,' replied the acquaintance. "Oh, yourn's a helegant woice for ballad-singing; a sartin fortin to any von, blow me!'
• Jist show a light,' says Bill.
• Vell then,' returns his friend ; 'I means to say if von with a voice like yourn vas only to strike up afore a house, and especially them vith the knockers tied up, they villing give sixpence to get rid on you.'
"I twigs,' exclaimed Bill ; but I say, Jim, if my woice is a sartin forin, vot ’ud the bagpipes be ?
You're right,' replied Jim ; 'vot a jolly row they would kick up to be sure. La, bless you, in a quite willage they'd give any thing to get rid on you.'
“Ah,' cried Bill; directly I started up, out 'ud come the sarvants vith two pence or three pence, and horder me move on. Move on for that, says I ; what do you think that I am hintirely hignorant of the walley of peace and quietness, I never moves on under sixpence.
THE HOMEWARD-BOUND MARINER.
BENEATH a beaming star-lit sky the Ocean bright was spread,
Unmoved, the ship lay on the deep, for every sail was furled,
Deep stillness was around her on the midnight Ocean's breast,
I stood alone upon the deck, and, on the midnight sky I watched the silver tinted clouds, as they were wandering by : A scattered and a changeful train, as were the thoughts that pressed So wildly and so fearfully upon my anxious breast.
For many a year my path had been upon the Ocean's breast,
Of brothers three that, full of hope, had left with me their home, Rejoicing in youth's glowing strength, the waters wide to roam, One I had seen a bloody corse when victory was won, Another died at Fever's touch, beneath the southern sun.
That morn the younger one had found a cold and wavy bed,
Far off through the lone night-watch I had yearned for my home, When dreams and thoughts of happiness across my soul had come : Yet now my heart was fainting, and I gazed with anxious fear, Upon the well-known mountains, though so beautiful and near.
The hopes that round my heart had clung, ere those I loved were gone, Had vanished, as the sparkling frost beneath the noon-tide sun Melts from some branching tree, with its feathery gems of light, And leaves it dark and desolate to tell of Winter's blight.
I feared the morn-I feared to seek my long, long-wished-for home, As with a sad foreboding dread of misery to come;