Edward Bernard Lewin Hill.

Verse, prose, and epitaphs from the Commonplace Book of Lewin Hill, C.B., 1848-1908 online

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March, 1905.

The Mikado demanded, as terms of peace,
Two Jews who had not been beaten ;
Two Mujiks who were not starved ;
Two Intendants who were not thieves ;
Two Popes who were not drunkards.
The Emperor replied, " I have only
Vladamir Romanovsky,
And Sergius Moskowski."
The Mikado said,
" I have no use for two such Ruffians."

George Outram, a former Writer of the Signet in
Glasgow some fifty years ago, on hearing a
lady praise the eyes of a certain local divine,
exclaimed : —

" I cannot praise the Doctor's eyes ;
I never saw his glance divine ;
He always shuts them when he prays,
But when he preaches he shuts mine."


From Hudibras.

'Cause grace and virtue are within,
Prohibited degrees of kin ;
And therefore no true Saint allows,
They should be suffered to espouse.

Quip by Dean Mansell (6. 1820, d. 1871).

Canon Meyrick, in his " Memoirs of Oxford
Life," mentions that when it was proposed to the
Hebdomadal Council of Oxford to allow a man to
qualify for his Doctor's degree (D.D.) by merely
writing two essays. Dean Mansell scribbled down
the following quip : —

The degree of D.D.
Tis proposed to convey
To an A double S
By a double S A.

La Vie est Breve.

La vie est breve ;
Un peu d'amour,
Un peu de reve
Et puis bon jour.

La vie est vaine ;
Un peu d'espoir,
Un peu de haine,
Et puis bon soir.


A Washerwoman's Lament.

The Daily Graphic in August, 1905, stated that
Catherine Allsop, a Sheffield washerwoman, hanged
herself on a piece of clothes line on July 31st, and
that at the inquest the following lines, copied by
her on a piece of sugar-paper, were read to the
jury, whose verdict was suicide during temporary
insanity : —

Here lies a poor woman who always was tired,
She lived in a house where help was not hired,
Her last words on earth were " Dear friends, I am

Where washing ain't done nor sweeping nor

But everything there is exact to my wishes.
For where they don't eat there's no washing of

I'll be where loud anthems will always be ringing,
But, having no voice, I'll be clear of the singing.
Don't mourn for me now, don't mourn for me

I'm going to do nothing for ever and ever."

Lines on Dr. Whewell (6. 1794, d. 1866).

Dr. Whewell, Master of Trinity College, Cam-
bridge, was known as one of the most learned men
of his time, but was always considered to have an
even higher opinion of himself than others had of
him. He was the author of the " Plurality of


Worlds," a book which excited a good deal of
attention at the time.

The following quatrain was sent by an under-
graduate to Dr. Whewell : —

Through the realms of invention wherever you

And the secrets of worlds and of nature unravel,
You'll find when you've mastered the works of

The greatest of all is the Master of Trinity.

William Dean Howells on Life : —

The Bewildered Guest.

I was not asked if I should like to come,

I have not seen my host since first I came ;

Or had a word of welcome in his name.

Some say that we shall never see him and some

That we shall see him elsewhere and then know

Why we were bid. How long I am to stay,

I have not the least notion. None, they say,

Were ever told why we should come or go.

But every now and then there bursts upon

The song and mirth a lamentable noise ;

A sound of shrieks and sobs that strikes our

Dumb in our breasts and then some one is gone.
They say we meet again. No one knows when,
We know we shall not meet him here again.


From "London Films," by W. D. Howells.

It was the duty of the bellman of St. Sepulchre to
pass under the prison walls of Newgate the night
before executions and ring his bell and chant the
dismal lines : —

All you that in the condemned cell do lie
Prepare, for to-morrow you shall die,
Watch all and pray ; the hour is drawing near
When you before the Almighty must appear ;
Examine well yourselves — in time repent,
That you may not to eternal flames be sent.
And when St. Sepulchre's bell to-morrow tolls
The Lord above have mercy on your souls.

Howell adds that each criminal in passing
St. Sepulchre's on the way to Tyburn used to be
presented with a nosegay and, a little further on the
journey, with a glass of beer.

[Note. — It was on his way from Newgate to
Tyburn that, according to Fielding, Jonathan Wild
filched the chaplain's corkscrew from the reverend
gentleman's pocket. — L. H.]

Satan's Side of the Heavens.

In an article in the Contemporary Review for
September, 1906, on " The Devil in Christian
Tradition," the writer gives illustrations of the
mediaeval belief that the devil held the north side
of the regions celestial, and states that, in conse-
quence of this belief, the north side of churchyards


has been reserved for the burial of suicides. He
quotes the following verses by Housman in illus-
tration : —


The vane in Hughley steeple
Veered round, a far seen sign,
And there -be Hughley people,
And there be friends of mine.

To south the headstones cluster ;
The sunny mounts are thick,
The dead are more in muster,
At Hughley than the quick.

To north a soon told number,
Chill graves the sexton delves.
And steeple shadowed slumber
The slayers of themselves.

[Note. — Any one who looks for himself will
observe how few graves there are on the north side
of churchyards. — L. H.]

Lines on Sleep by Michael Angelo
{b. 1387, d. 1445).


Grateful is sleep, my life in stone bound fast,
More grateful still while wrong and shame shall


On me can time no happier state bestow,
Than to be left unconscious of the woe.
Ah, then, lest ye waken me, speak low.

Grateful is sleep, more grateful still to be,

Of marble, for while shameless wrong and woe

Prevail, 'tis best neither to hear nor see.

Then wake me not, I pray you — Hush, speak low.

A Quatrain.

The rain it raineth every day
Upon the just and unjust fellah.
But chiefly on the just because
The unjust borrows his umbrella.

Quatrain by Dr. Byrom.

God bless the King, I mean the Faith's Defender,
God bless, there is no harm in blessing, the

But who Pretender is and who is King,
God bless us all is quite another thing.

John Brown's Body is mouldering in the


These spirited verses, which were sung round the
camp fires in the Northern armies during the


American Civil War of 1 860-1 864, to the tune of
"John Brown's Body," are not as well known here
as they should be.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of

wrath are stored,
He has loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible

swift sword —

His truth is marching on.


I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred

circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dew

and damp,
I have read His righteous sentence by the dim and

flaring lamps —

His day is marching on.


He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never

call retreat.
He is sifting out the hearts of men before the

judgment seat ;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him before the

judgment seat —

Our God is marching on.


In the beauty of the lihes Christ was born across

the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you

and me,
And He died to make men happy, let us die to
make them free

While God is marching on.

The term " English " versus " British."

" British."
The adjective British both right and precise is
(Its origin may be inscrutable).
For Davises Jameses and Prichards and Prices
The term is remarkably suitable.
It may also serve for the English and Scottish,
The Browns and the Greens and Macalisters,
Since Jamie's inducture
It suits the whole structure.
The corners, friezes, and balusters.

" English."
For Thompson and Wilson and Johnson and

And Robson and Hobson and Harrison,
Or any one else of an origin Saxon
'Twill suit beyond any comparison ;
But what of McCarthy, O'Donnell and party ?
Be jabers, they'd never get cool again
A good name to lavish,
On Smith or McTavish
But devil a bit for O' Hooligan.


An old piece of advice much easier to give than
to follow : —

If you your lips would keep from slips,
Five things observe with care :
Of whom you speak, to whom you speak,
And how and when and where.

Ye Ministers of England.
(A Parody in 1895.)

Ye Ministers of England,

Who pare the native cheese.
Who care more for the Caucus than

Our safety on the seas ;
Your old excuses launch again.

Ye forged long, long ago
As ye prate through debate

Of the things we must not know —
Of the questions about ships and forts

We must not " want to know."

Britannia does need bulwarks.

And towers along the steep ;
She's scant of powder, ships, and men.

Her rulers are asleep.
The thunder from her phantom fleet

The French can overcrow.
With thy might, Melinite,

While the stormy tempests blow,
While the battle rages, short and sharp.

And the stormy tempests blow.


The meteor flag of England

May yet terrific burn
Above the ruin of her trade,

The ashes of her urn.
Then, then, ye bold officials,

Perchance you'll come to know
The hate of the State

In an hour of overthrow :
When a ruined people turns in wrath

On you that wrought their woe.

The Song of Bridge.

(From LifCf New York.)
With eyelids heavy and red,
With cheeks that flush and burn,
A woman sits in her gladdest rags
Playing her cards in turn.
Bridge, Bridge, Bridge,
Daytime and night the same ;
And still with a voice of excitement's pitch
She sings the " Song of the Game."


" Play, play, play,

The whole of the evening through ;

Play, play, play,

Till the milkman's almost due :

Morning, noon, and night,

The same thing every day,

What is it then that men call work,

If this be only play ?



" Play, play, play,

For we must be in the swim ;

Play, play, play ;

Till the cards grow blurred and dim ;

Diamonds, hearts and clubs,

All in a mist they seem.

Till when I am dummy I fall asleep.

And still play on in a dream.


" O but for one short hour,

To feel as I used to feel.

When I played my round of golf a day,

And longed for a hearty meal.

A day on the links I would dearly love,

But at home I needs must stay.

For they must have another hand,

So I play, play, play."

O men with sweethearts dear,
O men with sisters and wives.
It's not the rubber you're playing out.
But foolish women's lives ;
Nervous, tired, and worn.
Excited, flushed, and rash,
Playing at once a double price
In health as well as in cash.


With eyelids heavy and red,

With cheeks that flush and burn,

A woman sits in her gladdest rags,

Playing her cards in turn.

Bridge, Bridge, Bridge,

Winter and summer the same.

Till the breakdown comes, as come it will,

She will make and double and play and still

She'll sing the " Song of the Game."

Gladness, Sadness, and Badness.

Oh, the Gladness of their Gladness

When they're Glad I
Oh, the Sadness of their Sadness

When they're Sad I
But the Gladness of their Gladness
And the Sadness of their Sadness
Is nothing to their Badness
When they're Bad.
[Note. — At the time this jingle appeared in
TriUh there happened to be a local election in
Maldon with a Mr. Sadd as one of the candidates.
The Maldon folks were convinced that it was their
Mr. Sadd at whom the lines were aimed.]





" Listen to the merchant, and it appears you have
yet ten thousand years to Hve ;

" Talk with the priest, and you will die a thousand
deaths each day."

" Better to be bitten by a crocodile than nibbled
at by a petty fish.'


" People help to prop up what is firm and stamp
out what is down." (Human nature wishes to be
on the winning side.)

" If you smack water on a dish some of it is sure
to fly in your face." (Curses come home to roost.)

"A year's drought is washed away by a day's
rain." (An hour's joy drives away the memory of
months of sorrow.)

" Those who quarrel with the well must end by
dying of thirst."


"The bean forgets its pod." (Ingratitude.)

" You may bale out a boat, but in a shipwreck of
the affections the vessel founders."

"A wound heals but the scar remains." (One
forgives but does not forget.)

" Enmity with a wise man is better than friend-
ship with a fool."

" To pole down-stream makes a crocodile laugh."
(The height of absurdity.)


" There are three things which cannot be recalled :
a spent arrow, a spoken word, and a lost oppor-

"There are three great misfortunes in life : to
lose your Father in your youth, your Wife in middle
age, and your Son in old age."

" Wisdom, like water, takes the form of the vessel
into which it is poured."


"So near to thee and yet so far from thee, like
the camel who bears the leather bottles and is yet
dying of thirst."

The wisest beast is an Ass ;
The gravest fish is an Oyster ;
The gravest bird is an Owl ;
The gravest man is a Fool.


From the Talmud.

The sun will go down himself without your help.

Do not live near a pious fool.

Commit a sin twice and you will think it perfectly

When the thief has no opportunity for stealing
he considers himself honest.

He in whose family men are hanged should not
say to his neighbour, " Pray hang this little fish up
for me."

[Note. — The Spanish rendering of this proverb
is " Do not speak of a rope in a hanged man's

If thy friends agree in calling thee an ass, go and
get a halter round thy neck.

The Camel wanted to have horns and they took
away his ears.

The soldiers fight and the kings are heroes.

An Old English Proverb.

Children pick up words as pigeons peas.
And utter them again as God shall please.

[Note. — Bearing in mind what parents suffer from
children's untimely remarks, it must be that God
and parents are not always at one.]


An American Proverb.

Charity begins at home, and it is the one thing the
neighbours never borrow.

From the Memoirs of the Lord de Joinville.

The Lord de Joinville, who was born in the year
1225, wrote his memoirs when he was over eighty
years of age, and these are well translated for the
first time by Miss Julia Wedgwood.

The Lord de Joinville fought against the Saracens
in the Holy Land under St. Louis, and very curious
is his description of the fighting.

He was much impressed with the fatalism of the
Bedouins, which made them reckless of their lives,
and he speaks in severe terms of some Christians
who share the Bedouin view and say that no man
can die save at the appointed time. This assertion
he regards to be as much as saying that God has no
power to help us. He relates with evident belief
that in one of the voyages to the Holy Land, a
French ship in great straits, after a procession of
priests in robes and others carrying holy relics,
received a visit from " God and His Mother," and
that a calm ensued. He gives many quaint oaths
such as " By the head cloth of God."

Why do we always speak of a "fatal" accident
if we do not believe in fate ?

The Lord de Joinville said that when he was in
the Holy Land with St. Louis he found the King
in great grief because of the news he had received
from France of the death of his mother. The King


exclaimed, " Oh, Seneschal, I have lost my mother."
" Sir" (said I), " I am not surprised at that, for she
was bound to die ; but I am surprised that a wise
man like you should make such a great mourning.
For you know that the sage said, 'That whatever
trouble a man may have at heart he should not
show it in his face ; for thereby he rejoices his foes
and grieves his friends.' "

Throughout the memoirs the Lord de Joinville
shows, with all his gross superstitions which were
common to his time, an excellent understanding,
great shrewdness in the common affairs of life, and
great kindness of heart.

What we Owe to Books. By R. de Bury,
Bishop of Durham (6. 1281, d. 1345).

"These are the masters who instruct us without
rods and ferules, without harsh words and anger,
without clothes or money. If you approach them
they are not asleep ; if investigating, you interro-
gate them, they conceal nothing ; if you mistake them,
they never grumble ; if you are ignorant, they cannot
laugh at you."

A Legend of St. Louis. (6. 1215, d. 1270).

There is a beautiful legend of St. Louis meeting
an old woman who carried a bucket of water in one
hand and a bundle of fagots in the other. Asked
by the king for what purpose her burden was
devised, the old woman replied, "With one I wish
to extinguish the fires of Hell, and with the other to


burn down Heaven ; so that men may do that which
is right, not from fear of punishment or hope of
reward, but solely out of love of God."

Theology in Constantinople in the Fourth


Mr. John Morley writes : '' It was a Christian
Father who said of Constantinople in the fourth
century, 'This city is full of handicraftsmen and
slaves who are all profound theologians and preach
in their workshops and in the streets. If you want
a man to change a piece of silver, he instructs you
in what consists the difference between the Father
and the Son ; if you ask the price of a loaf of bread,
you get for an answer that the Son is inferior to the
Father, and if you ask whether the bread is ready,
the rejoinder is that the genesis of the Son is from

[Note. — I believe I am right in saying that during
the several sieges of Constantinople by the Turks
the inhabitants generally were more interested in
theological disputes than in defence of their city. —
L. H.]

From Memoirs of a Surrey Labourer.

Frederick Bettesworth, the subject of this inter-
esting book, was a fine old English peasant who
died in July, 1905.

He was speaking to the author of a poor fellow, a
man named Crosby, who had gone religious mad
and was in the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum at


Brookwood, and the illness he described as "reli-
gious ammonium." Bettesworth went on to say,
" All he kep' on" about was the devil. The devil
kep* comin' and botherin' of 'm. Tis a bad job. I
s'pose he went right into it — studyin' about these
here places nobody ever been to and come back
again to tell we. Nobody don't know nothin' about
it. Ten't as if they come back to tell ye. There's
my father, what bin dead these forty year. What a
crool man he must be not to 've come back in all
that time, if he was able, and tell me about it. That's
what I said to Col. Sadler. ' Oh,' he said, ' you had
better talk to the Vicar.' ' Vicar,' I says, ' he won't
talk to me. Besides, what do he know about it
more'n any one else ? ' "

[Note. — What a wise old fellow was Bettesworth !
L. H.]

An Anecdote of Lord Dufferin
(6. 1826, d. 1902).

Sir Alfred Lyell, in his Life of Lord Dufferin,
states that when in 1872 Lord Dufferin left England
to take up the post of Viceroy of Canada he re-
marked, " It is perfectly true that, after I had been
appointed to Canada, Bob Lowe come up to me in a
club and said, ' Now you ought to make it your
business to get rid of the Dominion ' ; to which
I answered that I certainly did not intend to be
handed down to history as the Governor-General
who had lost Canada."

[Note. — What a change in public opinion this
anecdote denotes ! — L. H., 1905.]


The Erckmann-Chatrian Stories.
To me it is a very curious fact that these admirable
stories are at present out of print here, and will, I
suppose, before long be out of knowledge. They
were written during the Second Empire, and the
earlier stories were published more than fifty years
ago. The main object of the two writers, M.
Erckmann and M. Chatrian, Alsatians, while Alsace
still remained a part of France, was to discourage
Militarism and the Napoleonic Cult. Louis Napo-
leon would gladly have suppressed them, but even in
the plenitude of his power, owing to the charm of the
stories, and to the moderation of their tone, he did
not venture to do so. The stories had a very large
sale in France, and translations of them a very con-
siderable sale here. They were the delight of boys
and girls and were much read by grown-up people.
"The Conscript" and "Waterloo" and "The
Blockade " are to my own knowledge read by boys
and girls now with the same pleasure that their pre-
decessors read them fifty years ago. In some, at all
events, of the London Board Schools they were
used in teaching French. In "The Conscript" the
account of the battle of Leipsic has always been held
to be one of the best, if not the very best, description
ever written of a great battle. And yet the stories
are out of print. — L. H., 1908.

James Anthony Froude (6. 1818, d. 1894).
Mr. Herbert Paul states, "Three or four main
propositions were at the root of Froude's mind.
He held the Reformation to be the greatest and


most beneficent change in modern history. He
believed the English race to be the foremost in the
world. He disbelieved in equality and in Par-
liamentary government. Essentially an aristocrat,
in the proper sense of the term, he cherished the
doctrine of submission to a few persons qualified
for authority by training and experience."

Of Froude York Powell writes : " He cannot be
held up as a model to the young historian, for he
handles his authorities as a wilful baby does her doll."

From Life of Earl of Macartney
(6. 1737, d. 1806).

Extract from a letter of Lord Macartney while he
was Ambassador at St. Petersburg describing
the baptism of a negro servant : —

" It was the christening my negro. It seems that
all good believers cried shame against me for not
having him sooner sprinkled with the gospel. So
to save my character and avoid scandal, I had him
received into the bosom of the Church and the con-
gregation of the faithful. This, however, was very
near proving fatal to him, for he was so frightened at
the awfulness of the ceremony that he fell sick the
next day and had like to have died of regeneration."

Practical Jokes. From Essay by T. B. Macaulay
(6. 1800, d. 1859) ON Frederick the Great
(6. 1712, d. 1786).

" He {i.e.y the King) had one taste which may be
pardoned in a boy, but which, when deliberately and


habitually indulged in by a man of mature age and
strong understanding, is almost invariably the sign
of a bad heart, a taste for severe practical jokes."

[Note.— Sheridan and his boon companions were
much addicted to practical jokes of this description,
such as scattering broken glass in a dark passage.]

From " Shirley," Charlotte Bronte
{b. 1816, d. 1855).

"... But they each knew that a gap never to be
filled had been made in this circle. They knew
that they had lost something whose absence could
never be quite atoned for so long as they lived ;
and they knew that heavy falling rain was soaking
into the wet earth which covered their lost darling
and the sighing gale was mourning above her
buried head. The fire warmed them ; Life and
Friendship yet blessed them ; but Jessie lay cold,
coffined, solitary, only the sod screening her from
the storm."

[Note. — For survivors cremation gives the great
consolation of the absence of painful thoughts
about the grave. — L. H.]

Emily Bronte (6. 1818, d. 1848). From the
Preface to "Wuthering Heights."

" ' Ellis Bell ' (i.e., Emily Bronte) did not describe
as one whose eye and taste alone found pleasure
in the prospect ; her native hills were far more to her
than a spectacle : they were what she lived in and
by, as much as the wild birds, their tenants, or as


the heather, their produce. Her descriptions, then,
of natural scenery are what they should be and all
they should be."

Professor Clifford (6. 1834, d. 1879)
ON Christianity.

" I suppose it frightens people to be told that
historical Christianity as a social system invariably
makes men wicked when it has full swing of them.
I think the sooner they are frightened the better."

From "Like Ships on the Sea."

"'Ah, Dio mio,' exclaimed Nina Guarina. 'This
is a weary world, and the best thing I have heard
of the next is that there is no marrying or giving in
marriage in it.' "

Husband and Wife (Fanny Kemble,
b. 1809, d. 1893).

"A woman should, I think, love her husband
better than anything on earth except her own
soul ; while I think a man should respect her above
anything on earth but his own soul."

[Note. — Fanny Kemble's own marriage was an
unhappy one.]

From " Recollections of My Youth,"

1 3 5 6 7 8

Online LibraryEdward Bernard Lewin HillVerse, prose, and epitaphs from the Commonplace Book of Lewin Hill, C.B., 1848-1908 → online text (page 3 of 8)