Изображения страниц

Praed's chief characteristics are his sparkling wit, :he clearness and finish of his style, and the flexibility and unflagging vivacity of his rhythm. He is a master of epigram and antithesis, T:specially of the kind exemplified by the following couplets :

•He lay beside a rivulet,

And looked beside himself': 27,

• And some grow nch by telling lies,

And some by telling money'.' His defects are that he lacks sincerity and variety of theme,that his brilliancy at times becomes mere glitter, and his manner mechanical. His biographer assures us that his nature had a deeper and graver side than would be suspected from his habitual tone of sportive irony: it is incontestable, however, that the indications of this in his works are faint compared with those which we find in Thackeray and Hood. My own Araminta is an admirable example of his lightest style ; the Vicar of his more pensive character-pieces ; whilst in My little Cousins, which our space does not permit us to quote, there is a rarer vein of playful tender

In many of his charades he almost manages to raise those metrical pastimes to the dignity of poetry.



Praed may perhaps have taken the hint of this device from the Holy Fair,

•There's some are fou o' love divine;

There's some are fou o' brandy.'




You tell me you 're promised a lover,

My own Araminta, next week ;
Why cannot my fancy discover

The hue of his coat and his cheek?
Alas ! if he look like another,

A vicar, a banker, a beau,
Be deaf to your father and mother,

My own Araminta, say "No!'
Miss Lane, at her Temple of Fashion,

Taught us both how to sing and to speak,
And we loved one another with passion,

Before we had been there a week:
You gave me a ring for a token ;

I wear it wherever I go;
I gave you a chain,-is it broken?

My own Araminta, say "No!'
O think of our favourite cottage,

And think of our dear Lalla Rookh !
How we shared with the milkmaids their pottage,

And drank of the stream from the brook ;
How fondly our loving lips faltered,

"What further can grandeur bestow ?'
My heart is the same ;-is yours altered?

My own Araminta, say “No!'
Remember the thrilling romances

We read on the bank in the glen ;
Remember the suitors our fancies

Would picture for both of us then.
They wore the red cross on their shoulder,

They had vanquished and pardoned their 'oe-
Sweet friend, are you wiser or colder ?

My own Araminta, say "No!'

You know, when Lord Rigmarole's carriage,

Drove off with your Cousin Justine, You wept, dearest girl, at the marriage,

And whispered 'How base she has been !! You said you were sure it would kill you,

If ever your husband looked so ;
And you will not apostatize,—will you?

My own Araminta, say "No!'

When I heard I was going abroad, love,

I thought I was going to die ;
We walked arm in arm to the road, love,

We looked arm in arm to the sky;
And I said "When a foreign postilion

Has hurried me off to the Po, Forget not Medora Trevilian :

My own Araminta, say “No”!'

We parted ! but sympathy's fetters

Reach far over valley and hill ; I muse o'er your exquisite letters,

And feel that your heart is mine still ;
And he who would share it with me, love,

The richest of treasures below,-
If he's not what Orlando should be, love,

My own Araminta, say "No!'

If he wears a top-boot in his wooing,

If he comes to you riding a cob,
If he talks of his baking or brewing,

If he puts up his feet on the hob,
If he ever drinks port after dinner,

If his brow or his breeding is low, If he calls himself 'Thompson' or 'Skinner,

My own Araminta, say "No!'

If he studies the news in the papers

While you are preparing the tea,
If he talks of the damps or the vapours

While moonlight lies soft on the sea,

If he's sleepy while you are capricious,

If he has not a musical 'Oh!'
If he does not call Werther delicious, -

My own Araminta, say "No!'
If he ever sets foot in the City

Among the stockbrokers and Jews, If he has not a heart full of pity,

If he don't stand six feet in his shoes, If his lips are not redder than roses,

If his hands are not whiter than snow, If he has not the model of noses, –

My own Araminta, say "No!! If he speaks of a tax or a duty,

If he does not look grand on his knees, If he's blind to a landscape of beauty,

Hills, valleys, rocks, waters, and trees, If he dotes not on desolate towers,

If he likes not to hear the blast blow,
If he knows not the language of flowers,-

My own Araminta, say "No!'
He must walk-like a god of old story

Come down from the home of his rest; He must smile-likė the sun in his glory

On the buds he loves ever the best ; And oh! from its ivory portal

Like music his soft speech must flow! If he speak, smile, or walk like a mortal,

My own Araminta, say "No!' Don't listen to tales of his bounty,

Don't hear what they say of his birth,
Don't look at his seat in the county,

Don't calculate what he is worth ;
But give him a theme to write verse on,

And see if he turns out his toe ;
If he's only an excellent person,-

My own Araminta, say "No!'


Some years ago, ere time and taste

Had turned our parish topsy-turvy, When Darnel Park was Darnel Waste,

And roads as little known as scurvy, The man who lost his way, between

St. Mary's Hill and Sandy Thicket, Was always shown across the green,

And guided to the Parson's wicket.

Back flew the bolt of lissom lath ;

Fair Margaret, in her tidy kirtle, Led the lorn traveller up the path,

Through clean-clipt rows of box and myrtle ; And Don and Sancho, Tramp and Tray,

Upon the parlour steps collected,
Wagged all their tails, and seemed to say-

Our master knows you--you ’re expected.'

Uprose the Reverend Dr. Brown,

Uprose the Doctor's winsome marrow ; The lady laid her knitting down,

Her husband clasped his ponderous Barrow; Whate'er the stranger's caste or creed,

Pundit or Papist, saint or sinner, He found a stable for his steed,

And welcome for himself, and dinner.

If, when he reached his journey's end,

And warmed himself in Court or College, He had not gained an honest friend

And twenty curious scraps of knowledge, If he departed as he came,

With no new light on love or liquor,Good sooth, the traveller was to blame,

And not the Vicarage, nor the Vicar.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »