Billeder på siden
[blocks in formation]

["Frank Smedley," one of our most popular magazine writers and comic novelists, was born about the year 1830, and was the son of the late High Bailiff of Westminster. He is the author of “Lewis Arundel, or the Railway of Life" (1852), “ Harry Coverdale's Courtship” (1855), “The Colville Family" (1856), and, jointly with Mr. Edmund Yates, of " Mirth and Metre," a volume of pleasant rhymes in the style of the late Rev. Harris Barham (Ingoldsby). He was the editor of “George Cruikshank's Magazine," and of “Seven Tales of Seven Authors,” 1860. He died, after a brief but active literary career, in 1863.] Could we only give credit to half we are told, There were sundry strange monsters existing of old; As evinced (on the ex pede Herculean plan, Which from merely a footstep presumes the whole

man) By our Savans disturbing those very large bones, Which have turned (for the rhyme's sake, perhaps) into

And have chosen to wait a

Long while hid in strata,
While old Time has been dining on empires and

Old bones and dry bones,

Leg-bones and thigh-bones,
Bone of the vertebræ, bones of the tail, -
Very like, only more so, the bones of a whale;
Bones that were very long, bones that were very

short (They have never as yet found a real fossil merry

thought; Perchance because mastodons, burly and big, Considered all funny-bones quite infra dig.) Skulls have they found in strange places imbedded, Which, at least, prove their owners were very long

headed; And other queer things,—which 'tis not my intention, Lest I weary your patience, at present to mention,

As I think I can prove, without further apology,
What I said to be true, sans appeal to geology,
That there lived in the good old days gone by
Things unknown to our modern philosophy,
And a giant was then no more out of the way
Than a dwarf is now in the present day.
Sir Eppo of Epstein was young, brave, and fair;
Dark were the curls of his clustering hair,
Dark the moustache that o'ershadowed his lip,
And his glance was as keen as the sword at his hip;
Though the enemy's charge was like lightning's fierce

His seat was as firm as the wave-beaten rock;
And woe to the foeman, whom pride or mischance
Opposed to the stroke of his conquering lance.
He carved at the board, and he danced in the hall,
And the ladies admired him, each one and all.
In a word, I should say, he appears to have been
As nice a young “ritter" as ever was seen.

He could not read nor write,
He could not spell his name,
Towards being a clerk, Sir Eppo, his (1) mark,
Was as near as he ever came.
He had felt no vexation
From multiplication;
Never puzzled was he
By the rule of three;
The practice he'd had
Did not drive him mad,
Because it all lay

Quite a different way.
The Asses' Bridge, chat Bridge of Sighs,

Had (lucky dog !) ne'er met his eyes.
In a very few words he expressed his intention
Once for all to decline every Latin declension,
When persuaded to add, by the good Father Herman,
That most classical tongue to his own native German.

And no doubt he was right in

Point of fact, for a knight in Those days was supposed to like nothing but fighting ; And one who had learned any language that is hard Would have stood a good chance of being burned for a

wizard. Education being then never pushed to the verge ye Now see it, was chiefly confined to the clergy.

'Twas a southerly wind and a cloudy sky,
For aught that I know to the contrary ;
If it wasn't, it ought to have been properly,
As it's certain Sir Eppo, his feather-bed scorning,
Thought that something proclaimed it a fine hunting

So, pronouncing his benison

O'er a cold haunch of venison,
He floored the best half, drank a gallon of beer,
And set out on the Taurus to chase the wild deer.

Sir Eppo he rode through the good greenwood,
And his bolts flew fast and free;
He knocked over a hare, and he passed the lair
(The tenant was out) of a grisly bear;
He started a wolf, and he got a snap shot
At a bounding roe, but he touched it not,
Which caused him to mutter a naughty word
In German, which luckily nobody heard,
For he said it right viciously;
And he struck his steed with his armèd heel,
As though horse-flesh were tougher than iron or steel,
Or anything else that's unable to feel.

What is the sound that meets his ear

? Is it the plaint of some wounded deer? Is it the wild-fowl's mournful

cry, Or the scream of yon eagle soaring high ? Or is it only the southern breeze

As it sighs through the boughs of the dark pine trees ? No, Sir Eppo, be sure 'tis not any of these :

And hark, again!

It comes more plain'Tis a woman's voice in grief or pain.

Like an arrow from the string,

Like a stone that leaves the sling, Like a railroad-train with a queen inside, With directors to poke and directors to guide, Like the rush upon deck when a vessel is sinking, Like (I vow I'm hard up for a simile) winking ! In less time than by name you Jack Robinson can call, Sir Eppo dashed forward o'er hedge, ditch, and hollow, In a steeple-chase style I'd be sorry to follow, And found a young lady chained up by the ankleYes, chained up in a cool and business-like way, As if she'd been only the little dog Tray, While, the more to secure any knight-errant's pity, She was really and truly excessively pretty.

Here was a terrible state of things!
Down from his saddle Sir Eppo springs,
As lightly as if he were furnished with wings,
While every plate in his armour rings.
The words that he uttered were short and few,
But pretty much to the purpose too,
As sternly he asked, with lowering brow,
" Who's been and done it, and where is he now ?"

'Twere long to tell

Each word that fell
From the coral lips of that demoiselle ;
However, as far as I'm able to see,
The pith of the matter appeared to be
That a horrible giant, twelve feet high,
Having gazed on her charms with a covetous eye,
Had stormed their castle, murdered papa,
Behaved very rudely to poor dear mamma,

Walked with the family jewels and plate,
And the tin and herself at a terrible rate;

Then by way of conclusion
To all this confusion,

Tied her up like a dog
To induce her (the brute !) to become Mrs. Gog;
That 'twas not the least use for Sir Eppo to try
To chop off his head, or to poke out his eye,
As he'd early in life done a bit of Achilles
(Which far better than taking an “Old Parr's life-

pill” is), Had been dipped in the Styx, or sone equally old

stream, And might now face unharmed a battalion of Cold


But she thought of a scheme

Which did certainly seem Very likely to pay—no mere vision or dream: It appears that the giant each day took a nap For an hour (the wretch !) with his head in her lap : Oh, she hated it so! but then what could she do? Here she paused, and Sir Eppo remarked, “ Very true;" And that during this time one might pinch, punch, or

shake him, Or do just what one pleased, but that nothing could

wake him, While each horse and each man in the emperor's pay Would not be sufficient to move him

away, Without magical aid, from the spot where he lay. In an old oak-chest, in an upstairs room Of poor papa's castle, was kept an heir-loom, An enchanted net, made of iron links, Which was brought from Palestine, she thinks, By her great grandpapa, who had been a Crusader; If she had but got that, she was sure it would aid her.

Sir Eppo, kind man,

Approves of the plan;
Says he'll do all she wishes as quick as he can;

« ForrigeFortsæt »