Copyright
George Cruikshank.

George Cruikshank's Table-book online

. (page 8 of 32)
Online LibraryGeorge CruikshankGeorge Cruikshank's Table-book → online text (page 8 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


And his dinner of rice may oppress him ;
When the tea 's getting strong in the tea-pot that 's by,

Here 's a health to Loo-Choo, God bless him !

We hail the exportation of these five hundred pianos to China as the foundation of
real harmony between the two countries. Those pianos will be the instruments of a
good understanding, and will comprise within themselves more effectual overtures than
any which diplomacy could have offered. The piano will necessitate the pianist, and
these will render requisite the dancing-master, so that if we take six of the first to one
of the second, we shall export about eighty pianists and a fraction to keep the five
hundred pianos in play, while if we allow a dancing-master to every instrument in ten,
we shall drain off at once half-a-hundred from the surplus of our Terpsichorean profes-
sors, even as far as the experiment of piano-exporting has yet been carried.

We should be glad, however, to see the Chinese sending us something in return.
At present we have got only the enlarged sleeves which are so much in vogue, and the
enlarged estimate which the turbulent nature of our Chinese allies renders requisite.
Teacups and gongs they are particularly famous for, but as fairs in England are
on the decline, we fear five hundred gongs would not be the best consignment a Chinese
merchant could make to his correspondent in this country.

Perhaps as they are fond of opium, if tobacco is not a prohibited article, it might
answer the purpose of an Englishman, trading with China, to send out a cargo of




PIG-TAIL AND SHORT-CUT.



GUY GREENHORN'S WANDERINGS. 65



GUY GREENHORN'S WANDERINGS

n atitr Out at Uauttcm,

BY THE EDITOR.
FYTTE THE THIRD.

The Penitentiary across the water,
Now starts to view upon our larboard quarter.
While just athwart our mast I mean the mizen
High in mid air appears the Model Prison.
There in the custody of trusty jailors,

The wretched criminal a trade receives ;
There soldiers, sailors, ploughboys, bakers, tailors,

Are manufactured out of rogues and thieves.
*****

Let go the spanker, clew the sail,
The wind has freshened to a gale,
Kig out, rig out, a flying boom,
Club-haul the craft while yet there 's room.
Upon the ground the vessel knocks,
Put her aport the compass box ;
> She scuds, and now begins to lurch,
Get under weigh for Lambeth Church.
The captain roars, the seamen shout,
A second time we tack about.
We near the bridge that mass of stone,

Which so indifferently wears,

That it has never yet been known,

Not to be under some repairs.

And this is Westminster, her palaced shore,
Imagination lingers to explore :
The Abbey first our admiration wins,
Conspicuous for its towers monastic twins.
Now Fancy stops to take a stare
At what ? The coronation chair :
That awkward seat, 'tis said, was won
By Gathelus, King Cerops' son ;
But nearly all agree to own

A true antique it must be reckon 'd,
Having been carried off to Scone

By that old King Kenneth the Second.
When we reflect upon the lot

Of some it has been known to bear,
We can't help thinking it is not

What may be call'd an easy chair.



66



GUY GREENHORN'S WANDERINGS.



A corner here our nation's poets claim,

And here posterity shall read my name !

Near Chaucer's monument and Dryden's bust,

Let me deposit my congenial dust ;

'Tis my ambition (at a future day)

To find in Westminster a grave with Gay.

His spirit seems to lure me to his tomb,

Exclaiming, " Haste thee Greenhorn, there is room !

And I, regardless of the sneers of some,

Simply respond, "Be patient, Gay, I come!"




Yet Genius often is denied a nook

Within those walls that should its dust environ,
For vainly round the Abbey may we look

In search of any monument to Byron.
'Tis sometimes said the narrow views

Of persons in a high position,
Made the authorities refuse

To Byron's monument admission.
But Phillips has a place assign 'd.

And, oh ! can latitude be wider,
That lets in wreaths, with apples twin'd,

To illustrate his poem on cider.*
How many an hour in youth I loved to while
In the recesses of that sacred pile ;

* Knight's " London " speaks of Phillips 1 s monument in Westminster Abbey, " with its profile effigy and
wreath of apple and laurel leaves, in illustration of his poem on cider."



GUY GREENHORN'S WANDERINGS. 67

Its dim religious influence must reach
The hearts of those who've paid their three-pence each.
Strange mixture of the noble and the shabby,
Wonderful contrast ! three-pence and the Abbey ;



But ere I quit this venerable spot,
Let not the vaulted cloisters be forgot ;
How oft within those cloisters damp

I Ve seen a fellow play at racquet,
Until the ball has hit the lamp,

And then, of course, 'twas sure to crack it.
Away at once I Ve seen him fly,

In case of blame, resolv'd to shun it ;
And then an usher coming by,

Has " shown me up " for having done it.
Yet it was ever Greenhorn's fate
To be too soon or else too late ;
The school of Westminster now courts the gaze,
Where Greenhorn pass'd at least two thousand days
There, as a boy, hobble-de-hoy, and youth,
He learn 'd to parse with ease and scan with truth.
Genius may well be rank'd 'mid mortal curses ;

Greenhorn's poetic power was early known,
And the big boys would make him do their verses,

Nor let him have the time to do his own.
He 's seen another take the praise
Due to his own scholastic lays ;
While a six-cutter he has won
For, primd facie, doing none.
'Tis true a Westminster reward

Was not a stimulus immense ;
The revenues will not afford

A higher prize than silver pence.
A parent of a liberal turn,

To give a sovereign makes a rule,
For ev'ry prize his son may earn ;

That is to say bring home from school.
Sixpence will any prize procure,
And thus the speculation's sure ;
An early lesson it imparts,

In truly economic science,
Straight to the principle it darts,

On which great statesmen place reliance.
The boy may really buy a pound

With sixpence if he will embark it,
Thus acting on the doctrine sound,

Of selling in the dearest market ;



68 GUY GREENHORN'S WANDERINGS.

And buying also in the cheapest,
Which of the two is p'rhaps the deepest.

*****

Southward, my fancy, I re-call
To Westminster's illustrious hall.
Here Denman dignified and cool,

Lets counsel argue till he's hoarse,
In favour of a simple rule,

Which might be granted as of course.
Here Tindal with experienced ease
Rules o'er the Court of Common Pleas ;
A lawyer shrewd yet always frank,

His varied qualities defy us,
To say where most he shines in bane,

Or when he sits at Nisi Prius.
Pollock, who when he gave his mind

To Justice, did with honour deck her,
Holding her scales, we also find,

Upon the bench in the Exchequer.
Here, too, the Usher when a word
Above a whisper may be heard,
Disturbs the court with fearful shout,

Till none can hear what others say,
Because he will keep bellowing out

" Do pray keep silence ! Silence pray ! "
Farewell, ye Courts of Common Law ;

Ye Courts of Equity adieu :
Faint is the picture that I draw

Of such realities as you.

Close on the river's bank a pile appears

Which has already been the work of years ;

When its unfinished aspect we explore,

We guess 'twill be the work of many more.

'Tis the new Parliament which makes a show

Of nearly eighty windows in a row ;

To give so many windows they were right ;

On legislation they may throw a light.

P'rhaps selfishness may cause the House to pass

The plan for taking off the tax on glass.

The many windows a vile pun explains

Parliament means to take unusual panes !

Would that the couplet Greenhorn could revoke ;

But 'tis too late made is the fatal joke.

Alas ! that poetry should sink so low.

A tear ! that has wash'd out ihejeu de mot.



THE DREAM OF THE LONDON SEASON. 69



BY THE EDITOR.



I SING the Seasons ! Reader, do not start,

I 'm not about to act a Thomson's part,

Telling in verse when, whereabouts, and how

To guide the venerable British plough.

I do not court the Muses to indite

Poetic projects for destroying blight,

Or date the proper periods of the year,

When salad sly and peeping peas appear.

'Tis not for me to draw a rustic scene

Of simple Nature Nature 's very green :

'T}is not for me to chronicle the time

When snow-drops sprout, and daisies reach their prime

'Tis not for me to seek the garden's bowers,

Taking an inventory of the flowers,

And then explaining all their hues how silly !

As if e'en Poetry could paint the lily.

I cannot sing of how the sparrow hops

With cheerful note from the deep-tangled copse ;

How listening Philomel delighted rushes

To listen to a choir of larks and thrushes ;

Or how the echoing grove contains within it

The baritone bullfinch and soprano linnet.

These themes immortal Thomson made his own,

So let them all be henceforth let alone.

'Tis London's season now my pen inspires,

And fills my inkstand with Apollo's fires.

Let me propitiate the Muses' aid,

To whom no sacrifice was ever paid ;

(That is a fact, from Lempriere's page we know it,

Payment was not expected from a poet.)

But let me hasten onward to my theme,

The London season : 'tis the fair one's dream,

When, like the lily Thomson spoke about,

She 's just upon the eve of " Coming out."

Help me, ye Nine, in fitting phrase to tell

What forms the vision of the season's belle !



VOL. i. NO. iv.



70 THE DREAM OF THE LONDON SEASON.

First, at the door a carriage seems to wait,
With lacqueys in their liveries of state.
It bears her to the mart decked by the names
To fashion dear of Hovrell and of James.
In fancy, sitting at the counter's side,
She sees the shopman show, with conscious pride,
The newest patterns of the choicest stuffs,
Of gayest hues, pinks, lavenders, and buffs.
Not even Nature could herself display
Of various colours such a long array ;
For every shade within the rainbow's hue
The dyer's art can multiply by two,
Producing an infinity of shots,
Stripes, tartans, tricolors, checks, plaids, and spots.
Oh, how could awkward Nature rudely dare
With those of Art its fabrics to compare ?
Look at the rose : does Nature put upon it
The brilliance of a rose in a new bonnet ?
And then, again, are Nature's flowers as strong ?
No ! artificial last ten times as long.
On Nature's side I hear a voice exclaim,
" The last in odour put the first to shame."
It was so once ! but now something 's invented,
By which e'en artificial flowers are scented.
But, to the dream, in jewels and in dress
9 The beUe has all she wishes to possess.

Imagination next appears to show
Her introduction to the season's beau.
Fancy, the theme delighted to pursue,
Makes him an object now in every view ;
Whether at concert, or at morning ride,
That form henceforth is at the fair one's side ;
While listening to the strains of human larks,
Or taking pleasant airings round the parks.
Now fancy seems to throw a softer spell
Over the vision of the season's belle,
And Love appears to make his first advance ;
'Mid the enchanting mazes of the dance,
One form is present, as her partner still,
In Polka, Waltz, Cellarius, and Quadrille.
But will the soft impressions of the night
Grow faint, and vanish by the morrow's light ?
The vision shows the promenade next day,
And every doubt has pass'd at once away ;
The question 's put the answer all may guess ;
Reason and rhyme unite to answer Yes.
By fancy now the happy belle is brought
Among the glittering crowd that throng the court ;



THE DREAM OF THE LONDON SEASON. 71

The day when some kind chaperone presents
Is number 'd 'mid the season's great events.
Oh ! surely Nature shows no sight so rare
As with a royal drawing-room could compare.
Can all the feather'd tribe together boast,
Of waving plumes, such a prodigious host ?
'Tis here that art displays its utmost zeal
The many faults of Nature to conceal ;
And age from Art attractions can obtain,
For which poor Nature's efforts would be vain.
The opera next is in the vision shown,
The lovely dreamer's there, but not alone.
Can Nature show a scene more gay and bright
Than the grand opera at the season's height ?
Talk of the birds that carol in the spring,
What bird can 'gainst a prima donna sing ?
However loftily the lark may fly,
The first soprano can go twice as high ;
While not a blackbird 'mid the warbling host
Could of Lablache's execution boast :
In vain the nightingale might strain its throat
To reach the pitch of Grisi's highest note.
And then the ballet show me where 's the fawn
With half the real grace of Lucille Grahn ;
While the light antelope were a mere fool
Did it attempt Cerito's new pas-seul.
No, all the lambs that skip about the valley
Would cut but sorry figures in the ballet.
But to the dream 'tis drawing near the close,
A dinner party next the vision shows,
With her accepted lover at her side,
She sits in fancy an affianced bride.
Next at a soiree with her skill and voice
She seems to charm the object of her choice,
Till the imaginary music swells
Into a peal of merry marriage bells.
It is her wedding that the sound portends,
She hears the kind adieus of early friends ;
A carriage seems to bear her from the door,
A happy wife the season's dream is o'er.



72 SEPARATION.



SEPARATION.



FAT, contented minds, who feel at rest within yourselves, who after you have
withdrawn from rubs and collisions with the world, can hug yourselves with your own
internal tranquillity, for you this tale is not written. But to you, fine morbid souls,
who not only endure the shocks from without, but the machinery of whose mind scrapes
together with infinite cogs, who fly from the war and bustle around, to find a deeper
contention at home to you I address myself. You alone can appreciate the sufferings
of the Knight Almanzor.

The King of Granada had a daughter, named Zamora, one of those persons about
whose grade in the scale of beauty all sorts of opinions might be entertained. When
dressed in a style more than usually becoming, when in a remarkably good humour,
and particularly when the fancy of the spectator was exhilarated by the forbidden
beverage she would pass for a paragon of female charms. But when she was
negligently attired, when she was a little out of sorts in the matter of temper (no
unfrequent occurrence), and when the spectator felt the head-ache arising from the
preceding evening's festivity, the difference was enormous. Many a gallant, who would
have been happy to break a lance in her cause after supper, would have shrunk from
tilting with bulrushes in her cause in the forenoon.

But it was not so with the Knight Almanzor, the accepted lover of the princess.
No consideration of hours or meals weighed with him, but at sunrise and sunset he
believed her to be the most beautiful creature that ever lightened this dull earth by
its presence, and that if the famous Zuleika had possessed but half her charms the
virtuous Yusuf would have succumbed to the temptation. Need I say that Zamora was
delighted with her lover ? Such unfluctuating admirers were not to be found every day,
and, like a wise young lady, she appreciated her good luck. The union of Almanzor
and his beloved was shortly to take place and under the circumstances just narrated,
any one would suppose that the knight lived in a state of ecstacy. The supposition
would be wrong ; Almanzor gave reasons to believe that he had not by any means
attained the pinnacle of felicity. He would roam about the palace-garden singing the
most lugubrious ditties to his lute, and a woful effect they had on his hearers,
especially as he never could succeed in bringing his instrument perfectly in tune. His
songs would run upon some one from whom he was parted and who constituted the
half of his existence and whom he feared he should never see again but no one could
guess to whom they referred. The Princess Zamora, who was sometimes a little
piqued at these plaintive lays to the mysterious somebody, would ask him who it was
whose loss he deplored so deeply. But she was told, that he merely took an imaginary
subject for his verse, and sang to amuse himself. There was no reason to question the
latter part of this statement, as he evidently did not sing to amuse anybody else.

One day, in conformity with the customs of the chivalric epoch, the gallant Almanzor
set up a fine pavilion, and placing himself in the front of it, declared that he would fight
a Voutrance with any knight who should deny that the Princess Zamora was the loveliest
creature in the world since the days of Mother Eve. The princess looked down from a
balcony, marvellously admiring the whole proceeding ; and the old king, her father,



SEPARATION.



73



nodded and smiled, thanking the stars that his future son-in-law was such a creditable
personage. The chances evidently were that Almanzor would walk over the course, and
have all the credit of gallantry without any of the risk. Not hut there were many
knights who had seen far handsomer ladies than Zamora, and who to use the idiom of
the Arab chronicler would have knocked Almanzor "into the middle of the next
week ; " but they recollected that the fair one in question was the daughter of their king,
who had an awkward habit of taking off the heads of all persons who spoke disparagingly
of his family.

Under these circumstances, Almanzor walked carelessly up and down in front of his
tent, sometimes kissing his hand to the princess, sometimes whistling a tune ; and always
showing to the greatest possible advantage his new white armour ; which sparkled
gloriously in the sun ; and his shield which bore the device of a smiling chubby face,
with the motto, " I admire." In all his movements there was a fine sense of sinecure.
Soon, however, to the general amazement, up walked a knight in black armour, and
with a shield on which was depicted a grim sneering face, with the motto, " I despise ;"




and bellowed out, snapping his fingers towards the balcony, " I contend that the Princess
Zamora is the ugliest individual I ever clapped eyes on, and I don't care a jot for the
old fool her father!" The sensation produced by this little gem of eloquence was
unparalleled. The princess fainted in a twinkling ; and the old king was so amazed,
that he completely lost his consciousness of surrounding objects for a few moments, and
saw nothing but little sparkling bits of light dancing before his eyes. When he



74



SEPARATION.



recovered he was scarcely less amazed at seeing his future son-in-law and the impudent
stranger ardently embracing each other. The thought struck him that he might very
judiciously indulge in a luxury, similar to that coveted by Caligula, of striking off two
heads at one blow. However, he crushed this thought at its birth ; and it was well
that he did so, for a minute did not elapse before Almanzor had laid aside his traitorous
friendship, and was attacking him of the black armour with the greatest ferocity, while
the latter showed that he was determined not to be outdone in that elaborate brutality
which the age considered the acme of human perfection. Clash followed clash, flash
succeeded flash, crash sounded after crash, till at last the combat terminated by the
stranger falling senseless, under the influence of a mighty blow from the sword of
Almanzor. At the same instant a cloud arose from the earth, and both combatants
became invisible. When it had dispersed, the Knight Almanzor was discovered solus
and with a little modification in his armour, for instead of being quite white the edges
of the plates were black, and generally it was figured with a black pattern. How came
this change ? What had become of the sable knight ? Almanzor, after supper, gave
the following explanation :

" Some years ago, of course long before I knew the lovely Zamora, I became
enamoured of Zulima, only daughter of the potent magician Albumazar. But so
whimsical was my passion, that I scarcely knew whether I loved her or hated her.
Sometimes perfections would dazzle me as with a blaze ; at others I was eagle-eyed in
discovering defects. My wretchedness was inconceivable, for I did not know what I
wished myself. The thought of losing her was torture, the thought of possessing her was
scarcely more endurable. My life seemed chained to an inconsistency. My soul was
pulled two ways like those unhappy criminals who are torn by two wild horses, and I
could not discover a point of repose. If I could have been perfectly enamoured, or per-
fectly disgusted, I should
have been the happiest of
mortals. They err who say
that an unsatisfied wish is
the greatest affliction. It is
not to be compared to the
dreary hopeless agony of an
uncertain desire, of a will
that trembles without daring
to rush into action .

" The magician Albu-
mazar one day called me to
him, and said, * I am per-
fectly acquainted with your
state of mind, and see clearly
enough that you are no hus-
band for my daughter. I
have, however, sufficient
compassion on you to attempt
the cure of a malady, which
may otherwise pursue you
through your whole life. This malady consists in a disposition to look on the bright
side of things, and another to look on the dark side, being so equally balanced, that




THE STAGE COUNTRYMAN. 75

resolution is impossible. My remedy will be somewhat desperate, but you must not
mind that.'

" So saying, he caught me by the nape of the neck, and before I knew where I was
going, I found myself in the interior of an alembic, with a smart fire crackling under-
neath. The sensation I endured was wonderful. I felt no bodily pain, but my mind
seemed to be splitting into two, as if I could dimly think of two objects at once. At
last I found myself looking at myself, each self being perfectly clear and distinct.
One self, pleasant, smiling, and cheerful, floated at the top of the alembic ; the other,
dark and gloomy, scowled from below. The process being completed, the enchanter
took both me 's out of the vessel, and keeping one of us on each side of him, addressed
us, in a benignant voice. 'Almanzor,' said he, 'the contending principles in your
character are now separated into distinct persons. Take each of you an opposite direc-
tion, for you shall not again be combined, till a mortal combat decides which is the more
potent of the two. When that is once settled, you will be a compact character.'
Hearing these words of the good magician, we embraced, and took leave of each other,
and went each our own way ; one grumbling through the world, and calling all things
wrong, the other finding all things cheerful and happy, except when an occasional
lingering for his other half would cross his mind, when he would sing mournful songs. I
need hardly tell you, that the knight you have hitherto addressed as Almanzor, was my
sanguine moiety, and that the black knight whom I conquered to-day, was my morose
portion. That victory has settled that the good-humoured part predominates, and I am
now an entire person at the service of the fair Zamora, though not perhaps so mere an
enthusiast as my cheerful half appeared, when quite alone."

The nuptials of Almanzor and Zamora were celebrated with great splendour ; and
the wise men of Granada were heard to observe in an under-tone, of course " It is
lucky the gracious princess met the best half first."

BALZAC D'ANOIS.



THE STAGE COUNTRYMAN.

BY THE EDITOR.

IF a select committee were appointed to inquire into the state of the rural
population, and a stage countryman were to be examined with the view of collecting
facts relating to the rustic character, the select committee would be sorely puzzled to
know what to make of it.

In the first place the costume of the stage countryman is arranged with an eye to
the picturesque rather than the practical. He frequently wears a very light sky-blue
coat with a waistcoat of the gayest chintz, as if somebody had given him a window
curtain, and he had been seized with the keureuse idee of having a vest made out of it.
He has dark-blue stockings, which are made of silk if he is the first countryman, but
are ordinarily of grey worsted if he is only one of a party of rustics getting in the
harvest, or assisting at a village festival. By the way, the dramatic mode of getting in
the harvest consists in tossing about a truss of straw with property rakes at the back of
the stage, and then coming forward to the front to sing a chorus. Village festivities are
also of a very mild description in their theatrical form, and comprise little more than the
luxury of sitting on a bench outside an alehouse door, holding in one hand a tin cup



Online LibraryGeorge CruikshankGeorge Cruikshank's Table-book → online text (page 8 of 32)