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For Nature with her had lost its hold
No field but the field of the Cloth of Gold
Would ever have caught her foot in it.
What more? she learnt to sing, and dance,
To sit on a horse, although he should prance,
And to speak a French not spoken in France
Any more than at Babel's building
And she painted shells, and flowers, and Turks,
But her great delight was in Fancy Works
That are done with gold or gilding.
Gold! still gold! – the bright and the dead,
With golden beads, and gold lace, and gold thread
She work'd in gold, as if for her bread;
The metal had so undermined her.
Gold ran in her thoughts and fill’d her brain,
She was golden-headed as Peter's cane
With which he walk'd behind her.
THE PROUD MISS MAC BRIDE.
A Legend of Gotham.—John G. Saxe.
0, terribly proud was Miss MacBride,
The very personification of Pride,
As she minced along in Fashion's tide,
Adown Broadway, - on the proper side, -
When the golden sun was setting;
There was pride in the head she carried so high,
Pride in her lip, and pride in her eye,
And a world of pride in the very sigh
That her stately bosom was fretting;
A sigh that a pair of elegant feet,
Sandaled in satin, should kiss the street, -
The very same that the vulgar greet
In common leather not over-“ neat,”
For such is the common booting;
(And Christian tears may well be shed,
That even among our gentlemen bred,
The glorious day of Morocco is dead,
And Day and Martin are reigning instead,
On a much inferior footing !)
0, terribly proud was Miss MacBride,
Proud of her beauty, and proud of her pride,
And proud of fifty matters beside
That would n't have borne dissection. Proud of her wit, and proud of her walk, Proud of her teeth, and proud of her talk, Proud of “ knowing cheese from chalk,"
On a very slight inspection!
Proud abroad, and proud at home,
Proud wherever she chanced to come,
When she was glad, and when she was glum;
Proud as the head of a Saracen
Over the door of a tippling-shop! -
Proud as a duchess, proud as a fop,
“Proud as a boy with a bran-new top,"
Proud beyond comparison !
It seems a singular thing to say,
But her very senses led her astray
Respecting all humility;
In sooth, her dull auricular drum
Could find in Humble only a “hum,"
And heard no sound of “gentle” come,
In talking about gentility.
What Lowly meant she did n't know,
For she always avoided “every thing low,”
With a care the most punctilious.
And queerer still, the audible sound
Of “super-silly” she never had found
In the adjective supercilious!
The meaning of Meek she never knew,
But imagined the phrase had something to do
With “ Moses," a peddling German Jew,
Who, like all hawkers, the country through,
Was a person of no position;
And it seemed to her exceedingly plain,
If the word was really known to pertain
To a vulgar German, it was n't germane
To a lady of high condition !
Even her graces, - not her grace,-
For that was in the “ vocative case,”-
Chilled with the touch of her icy face,
Sat very stiffly upon her!
She never confessed a favor aloud,
Like one of the simple, common crowd, -
But coldly smiled, and faintly bowed,
As who should say: “ You do me proud,
And do yourself an honor!”
And yet the pride of Miss MacBride,
Although it had fifty hobbies to ride,
Had really no foundation;
But like the fabrics that gossips devise,
Those single stories that often arise
And grow till they reach a four-story size,
Was merely a fancy creation.
That her wit should never have made her vain, Was, like her face, sufficiently plain;
And as to her musical powers, Although she sang until she was hoarse, And issued notes with a Banker's force, They were just such notes as we never indorse
For any acquaintance of ours !
Her birth indeed was uncommonly high,
For Miss MacBride first opened her eye
Thro’ a sky-light dim, on the light of the sky;
But pride is a curious passion,-
And in talking about her wealth and worth,
She always forgot to mention her birth,
To people of rank and fashion !
Of all the notable things on earth,
The queerest one is pride of birth,
Among our “fierce Democracie!”
A bridge across a hundred years,
Without a prop to save it from sneers, —
Nor even a couple of rotten Peers,–
A thing for laughter, fleers and jeers,
Is American aristocracy!
English and Irish, French and Spanish,
German, Italian, Dutch and Danish,
Crossing their veins until they vanish
In one conglomeration !
So subtle a tangle of Blood, indeed,
No heraldry-Harvey will ever succeed
In finding a circulation !
Depend upon it, my snobbish friend,
Your family thread you can't ascend,
Without good reason to apprehend
You may find it waxed at the farther end
By some plebeian vocation !
Or, worse than that, your boasted Line
May end in a loop of stronger twine,
That plagued some worthy relation !
But Miss MacBride had something beside
Her lofty birth, to nourish her pride,-
For rich was the old paternal MacBride,
According to public rumor;
And he lived “up town,” in a splendid Square,
And kept his daughter on dainty fare,
And gave her gems that were rich and rare,
And the finest rings and things to wear,
And feathers enough to plume her!
An honest mechanic was John MacBride,
As ever an honest calling plied,
Or graced an honest ditty ;
For John had worked in his early day,
In “ Pots and Pearls,” the legends say,
And kept a shop with a rich array
Of things in the soap and candle way,
In the lower part of the city.
No rara avis was honest John,
(That's the Latin for “sable swan,”)
Though in one of his fancy flashes,
A wicked wag, who meant to deride,
Called honest John “Old Phonix MacBride,"
“ Because he rose from his Ashes!”
Little by little he grew to be rich,
By saving of candle-ends and “ sich,”
Till he reached, at last, an opulent niche,-
No very uncommon affair;
For history quite confirms the law
Expressed in the ancient Scottish saw,
“A Mickle may come to be May'r!”
Alack! for many ambitious beaux !
She hung their hopes upon her nose,-
(The figure is quite Horatian !)
Until from habit the member grew
As queer a thing as ever you knew
Turn up to observation !
A thriving tailor begged her hand,
But she gave “the fellow” to understand,
By a violent manual action,
She perfectly scorned the best of his clan,
And reckoned the ninth of any man
An exceedingly Vulgar Fraction!
Another, whose sign was a golden boot,
Was mortified with a bootless suit,
In a way that was quite appalling:
For though a regular suitor by trade,
He was n’t a suitor to suit the maid,
Who cut him off with a saw,- and bade
" The cobbler keep to his calling.”
(The Muse must let a secret out,-
There is n't the faintest shadow of doubt,
That folks who oftenest sneer and flout
At “the dirty low mechanicals,”
Are they whose sires, by pounding their knees,
Or coiling their legs, or trades like these,
Contrived to win their children ease
From poverty's galling manacles.)
A rich tobacconist comes and sues,
And, thinking the lady would scarce refuse
A man of his wealth and liberal views,-
Began, at once, with “If you choose,
And could you really love him "
But the lady spoiled his speech in a huff,
With an answer rough and ready enough,
To let him know she was up to snuff,
And altogether above him.