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And in groups of twos and threes,

Several alligators bounded.

Smart as squirrels, up the trees.

Then a hideous head was lifted,
With such huge distended jaws,

That they might have held Goliath
Quite as well as Eufus Dawes.

Paws of elephantine thickness
Dragged its body from the bay,

And it glared at Cullen Eryant
In a most unpleasant way.

Then it writhed as if in torture.
And it staggered to and fro ;

And its very shell was shaken,
In the anguish of its throe :



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THE BOOK OE BALLADS.



And its cough grew loud and louder,
And its sob more husky thick ;

For, indeed, it was apparent
That the beast was very sick.




35



THE BOOK OE BALLADS.

Till, at last, a violent vomit

Shook its carcass through and through,
And, as if from out a cannon,

All in armour Slingsby flew.



Bent and bloody was the bowie,
Which he held within his grasp ;

And he seemed so much exhausted

That he scarce had strength to gasp —

'' Gouge him, Bryant! dam ye, gouge him !

Gouge him while he's on the shore ! "
And his thumbs were straightway buried

Where no thumbs had pierced before.



IF



Eight from out their bony sockets,
Did he scoop the monstrous balls ;

And, with one convulsive shudder,
Dead the Snapping Turtle falls !



'^^Post the tin, sagacious Tyler!"
But the old experienced file.

Leering first at Clay and "Webster,
Answered, with a quiet smile—



m



35



THE BOOK OP BALLADS.



^^ Since you dragged the 'tarnal crittur
From the bottom of the ponds,

Here 's the hundred dollars due you,
All in Pennsylvanian Bonds /"






^




" The only Good American Securities."



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€liE Inti nf Br. Cnlt.



[The story of Mr. Colt, of wMch our Lay contains merely the sequel, is this.
A New York printer, of the name of Adams, had the eifrontery to call upon him
one day for the payment of an account, which the independent Colt settled by
cutting his creditor's head to fragments with an axe. He then packed his
body in a box, sprinkling it with salt, and despatched it to a packet, bound for
New Orleans. Suspicions having been excited, he was seized, and tried before
Judge Kent. The trial is, perhaps, the most disgraceful upon the records of
any country. The ruffian's mistress was produced in court, and examined in
disgusting detail, as to her connexion with Colt, and his movements during the
days and nights succeeding the murder. The head of the murdered man was
bandied to and fro in the court, handed up to the jury, and commented on by
witnesses and counsel ; and to crown the horrors of the whole proceeding, the
wretch's own counsel, a Mr. Emmet, commencing the defence with a cool
admission that his client took the life of Adams, and following it up by a detail
of the whole circumstances of this most brutal murder in the first person, as
though he himself had been the murderer, ended by telling the jury, that his
client was " entitled to the sympathy of a jury of his country," as " a young man
just entering into life, whose prospects, probably, have been pennanently
blasted." Colt was found guilty ; but a variety of exceptions were taken to the
charge by the judge, and after a long series of appeals, which occupied more than
a year from the date of the conviction, the sentence of death was ratified by
Governor Seward. The rest of Colt's story is told in our ballad.]



i



#



STREAK THE FIRST.
H- i:- ii- if-

And now the sacred rite was done, and the marriage knot

was tied,
And Colt withdrew his blushing wife a little way aside ;
^^ Let's go," he said, ^4nto my cell, let's go alone, my

dear;
I fain would shelter that sweet face from the sheriff's

odious leer.



38



THE BOOK OP BALLADS.



)k



The gaoler and the hangman, they are waiting both for

me, —
I cannot bear to see them wink so knowingly at thee !
Oh, how I loved thee, dearest ! They say that I am

mid.
That a mother dares not trust me with the weasand of her

child.
They say my bowie knife is keen to sliver into halves
The carcass of my enemy, as butchers slay their calves.
They say that I am stern of mood, because, like salted

beef,
I packed my quartered foeman up, and marked him ' prime

tariff ; '
Because I thought to palm him on the simple -souled John

BuU,
And clear a small per centage on the sale at Liverpool;
It may be so, I do not know — these things, perhaps, may

be;
But surely I have always been a gentleman to thee !
Then come, my love, into my cell, short bridal space is

ours, —
jSTay, sheriff, never look thy watch — I guess there's good

two hours.
We '11 shut the prison doors and keep the gaping world at

bay.
For love is long as 'tamity, though I must die to-day ! "



%



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THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



STREAK THE SECOND.









The clock is ticking onward,

It nears the hour of doom,
And no one yet hath entered

Into that ghastly room.
The gaoler and the sheriff

They are walking to and fro ;
And the hangman sits upon the stej^s,

And smokes his pipe below.
In grisly expectation

The prison all is bound,
And save expectoration,

You cannot hear a sound.
The turnkey stands and ponders.

His hand upon the bolt, —
^* In twenty minutes more, I guess,

'T wiU all be up with Celt ! "
But see, the door is opened !

Forth comes the weeping bride ;
The courteous sheriff lifts his hat,

And saunters to her side, —
'^ 1 beg your pardon, Mrs. C,

Eut is your husband ready ?"






THE EOOK OE BALLADS.

^^I guess you'd better ask himself,"
Eeplied the woeful lady.

The clock is ticking onward,

The minutes almost run,
The hangman's pipe is nearly out,

'T is on the stroke of one.
At every grated window

Unshaven faces glare ;
There 's Puke, the judge of Tennessee,

And Lynch, of Delaware ;
And Batter, with the long black beard,

^^om Hartford's maids know well;
And Winkinson, from Fish Kill Eeach,

The pride of Kew Rochelle ;
Elkanah E^utts, from Tarry Town,

The gallant gouging boy;
And coon-faced Bushwhack, from the hills

That frown o'er modem Troy ;
Young ^Tieezer, whom our "Willis loves.

Because, 't is said, that he.
One morning from a bookstall filched

The taleof ^^Melanie;"
And Skimk, who fought his country's fight

Beneath the strips and stars, —
All thronging at the windows stood.

And gazed between the bars.



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THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



1



The little boys that stood behind

(Young thievish imps were they !)
Displayed considerable nous

On that eventful day ;
For bits of broken looking-glass

They held aslant on high,
And there a mirrored gallows-tree

Met their delighted eye. -^

The clock is ticking onward ;

Hark ! Hark! it striketh one !
Each felon draws a whistliag breath,

^^ Time 's up with Colt ; he 's done ! '

The sheriff looks his watch again,

Then puts it in his fob,
And turns him to the hangman, —

" Get ready for the job."
The gaoler knocketh loudly,

The turnkey draws the bolt,
And pleasantly the sheriff says,

'' We 're waiting. Mister Colt ! "

IS'o answer ? l^o ! no answer !

All 's still as death mthin ;
The sheriff eyes the gaoler.

The gaoler strokes his chin.

* A Fact.



m



THE BOOK OE BALLA'DS.

^'I shouldn't wonder, Nahum, if
It were as you suppose."

The hangman looked unhappy, and
The turnkey blew his nose.



They entered. On his pallet

The noble convict lay, —
The bridegroom on his marriage-bed,

But not in trim array.
His red right hand a razor held.

Fresh sharpened from the hone,
And his ivory neck was severed.

And gashed into the bone.



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And when the lamp is lighted

In the long JSTovember days,
And lads and lasses mingle

At the shucking of the maize ;
When pies of smoking pumpkin

Upon the table stand.
And bowls of black molasses

Go round from hand to hand ;
When slap-jacks, maple-sugared.

Are hissing in the pan.
And cyder, with a dash of gin,

Foams in the social can ;



43



When the good man wets his whistle,

And the good wife scolds the child ;
And the girls exclaim convulsively,

^^ Have done, or 1 11 be riled ! '*
When the loafer sitting next them

Attempts a sly caress,
And whispers, '^Oh! you 'j)ossum,

You 've fixed my heart, I guess !"
With laughter and ^dth weeping,

Then shall they tell the tale.
How Colt his foeman quartered.

And died within the gaol.



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" The unwilling Colt.'





THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



f



(lljB Dtntlj nf 3iilif| inllnt.

[Before the following poem, which -originally appeared in " Eraser's Maga-
zine," could have reached America, intelligence Avas received in this country of
an affray in Congress, very nearly the counterpart of that which the Author has
here imagined in jest. It was very clear, to any one who observed the state of
public manners in America, that such occurrences must happen sooner or later.
The Americans apparently felt the force of the satire, as the poem was widely
reprinted throughout the States. It subsequently returned to this country,
embodied in an American work on American manners, where it characteristically
appeared as the writer's own production ; and it afterwards went the round of
British newspapers, as an amusing satire by an American, of his countrymen's
foibles !]

The Congress met, the day was wet, Yan Buren took the

chair,
On either side, the statesman pride of far Kentuck was

there.
With moody frown, there sat Calhoun, and slowly in his

cheek
His quid he thrust, and slaked the dust, as Webster rose

to speak.






Upon that day, near gifted Clay, a youthful member sat,

And like a free American upon the floor he spat ;

Then turning round to Clay, he said, and wiped his manly

chin,
''What kind of Locofoco 's that, as wears the painter's

skin ? "



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^' Young man," quoth Clay, ^' avoid the way of Slick of

Tennessee,
Of gougers fierce, the eyes that pierce, the fiercest gouger

he.
He chews and spits as there he sits, and whittles at the

chairs,
And in his hand, for deadly strife, a bowie-knife he bears.



^^ Avoid that knife ! In frequent strife its blade, so long

and thin.
Has found itself a resting-place his rival's ribs within."
But coward fear came never near young Jabez Dollar's

heart,
" Were he an alligator, I would rile him pretty smart !"






Then up he rose, and cleared his nose, and looked toward

the chair.
He saw the stately strips and stars— our country's flag was

there !
His heart beat high, w^ith savage cry upon the floor he

sprang,
Then raised his wrist, and shook his fist, and spoke his first

harano'ue.



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THE BOOK OF BALLADS,



I



^^Who sold the nutmegs made of wood — ^the clocks that

would n't figure ?
Who grinned the bark off gum trees dark, — the everlasting

nigger ?
For twenty cents, ye Congress gents, through 'tarnity I '11

kick
That man, I guess, though nothing less than 'coon-faced

Colonel Slick ! "



The colonel smiled — with frenzy wild, — his very beard

waxed blue, —
His shirt it could not hold him, so wrathy riled he grew ;
He foams and frets, his knife he whets upon his seat

below —
He sharpens it on either side, and whittles at his toe,—



•*0h! waken, snakes, and walk your chalks!" he cried,
jlfS with ire elate ; *'"

''Darn my old mother, but I will in wild cats whip my
'J) weight ! Hjb

Oh ! 'tamal death I'll spoil your breath, young Dollar, and
']) your chaffing, — ^/

Look to your ribs, for here is that will tickle them without
Pllx laughing!"



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THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



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His knife he raised — with fury crazed, he sprang across the

hall;
He cut a caper in the air — he stood before them all :
He never stopped to look or think if he the deed should

do,
But spinning sent the President, and on 57^oung Dollar

flew.



They met — they closed — they sunk — they rose, — in vain

young Dollar strove—
For, like a streak of lightning greased, the infuriate colonel

drove
His bowie-blade deep in his side, and to the ground they

rolled,
And, drenched in gore, wheeled o'er and o'er, locked in

other s hold.



With fury dumb — with nail and thumb — they struggled

and they thrust, —
The blood ran red from Dollar's side, like rain, upon the

dust ;
He nerved his might for one last spring, and as he sunk

and died.
Heft of an eye, his enemy fell groaning at his side.



3




THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



Thus did lie fall within the hall of Congress, that brave

youth ;
The bowie-knife had quenched his life of valour and of

truth ;
And still among the statesmen throng at Washington they

tell
How nobly Dollar gouged his man — how gallantly he fell I




THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



" YoFNG chaps, give ear, — the case is clear. You, Silas

Fixings, you
Pay Mister ]N"eheniiah Dodge them dollars as you 're due.
You are a bloody cheat, — you are. But spite of all your

tricks, it
Is not in you. Judge Lynch to do. JS'o ! nohow you can

fix it ! "

Thus spake Judge Lynch, as there he sat in Alabama's

forum,
Around he gazed with legs upraised upon the bench high

o'er him ;
And, as he gave this sentence stern to him who stood

beneath,
Still with his gleaming bowie-knife he slowly picked his

teeth.



It was high noon, the month was June, and sultry was the

air,
A cool gin-sling stood by his hand, his coat hung o'er his

chair ;
All naked were his manly arms, and, shaded by his hat.
Like an old senator of Eome that simple Archon sat.




^' A bloody cheat ? — 'Oli, legs and feet ! " in wrath young

Silas cried ;
.^3 And, springing high into the air, he jerked his quid

aside. —
'' i^o man shall put my dander up, or with my feelings

trifle,
As long as Silas Fixings wears a bowie-knife and rifle."



^' If your shoes pinch," replied Judge Lynch, '' you 11 very

soon have ease,
I '11 give you satisfaction, squire, in any way you

please ;
What are your weapons ? — knife or gun ? — at both I 'm

pretty spry!"
^^ Oh ! 'tamal death, you're spry, you are ?" quoth Silas ;

^^soaml!"



ffi






Hard by the town a forest stands, dark with the shades of

time.
And they have sought that forest dark at morning's early

prime ;
Lynch, backed by Kehemiah Dodge, and Silas with a

Mend,
And half the town in glee came down to see that contest's

end.



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THE BOOK OE BALLADS.



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They led their men two
miles apart, they measured out the
ground ;
A belt of that vast wood it was, they

notched the trees around ;
Into the tangled brake they turned them

off, and neither knew
"Where he should seek his wagered foe, how
get him into view.

With stealthy tread, and stooping head,

from tree to tree they passed.
They crept beneath the crackling furze,

they held their rifles fast :
Hour passed on hour, the noon-day sun

smote fiercely down, but yet
Ko sound to the expectant crowd proclaimed

that they had met.






^^^^



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



/V-1



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And now the sun was going down, when, hark ! a rifle^s

crack !
Hush — hush ! another strikes the air, and all their breath

drew back, —
Then crashing on through bush and briar, the crowd from

either side
Eushed in to see whose rifle sure with blood the moss had

dyed.



Weary with watching up and down, brave Lynch conceived

a plan,
An artful dodge whereby to take at unawares his man ;
He hung his hat upon a bush, and hid himself hard by.
Young Silas thought he had him fast, and at the hat let

%•

It fell; up sprung young Silas, — he hurl'd his gun

away;
Lynch fixed him with his rifle from the ambush where he

lay.
The bullet pierced his manly breast — yet, valiant to the

last.
He drew his fatal bowie-knife, and up his foxtaiF cast.



= The Yankee substitute for the chapeau de soie.




THE BOOK OP BALLADS.



With tottering steps and glazing eye he cleared the space

between,
And stabbed the air as, in Macbeth, still stabs the younger

Kean:
Erave Lynch received him with a bang that stretched him

on the ground,
Then sat himself serenely down till all the crowd drew

round.



They hailed him with triumphant cheers — in him each

loafer saw
The bearing bold that could uphold the majesty of law ;
And, raising him aloft, they bore him homewards at his

ease, —
That noble judge, whose daring hand enforced his own

decrees.



They buried Silas Fixings in the hollow where he

fell, ^,

And gum-trees wave above his grave — that tree he loved \

so well ;
And the 'coons sit chattering o'er him when the nights are

long and damp,
Eut he sleeps well in that lonely dell, the Dreary 'Possum

Swamp.




€kt ^mtmu's %^^m\x^^t tn ^ni



[Rapidly as obli\don does its work now-a-days, the burst of amiable indigna-
tion with which enlightened America received the issue of Boz's " Notes," can
scarcely yet be forgotten. Not content with waging a universal rivalry in the
piracy of the work, Columbia showered upon its author the riches of its own
choice vocabulary of abuse ; while some of her more fiery spirits threw out
playful hints as to the propriety of gouging the " strannger," and furnishing him
with a permanent suit of tar and feathers, in the very improbable event of his
pajdng them a second ^isit. The perusal of these animated expressions of free
opinion suggested the following lines, which those who remember Boz's book,
and the festivities with which he was all but hunted to death, will at once under-
stand. We hope we have done justice to the bitterness and " immortal hate " of
these thin-skinned sons of freedom.]



Sneak across the wide Atlantic, worthless London's puling

child,
Better that its waves should bear thee, than the land thou

hast re\iled ;
Eetter in the stifling cabin, on the sofa should' st thou

lie,
Sickening as the fetid nigger bears the greens and bacon

by-

Eetter, when the midnight horrors haunt the strained and

creaking ship,
Thou should' st yell in vain for brandy with a fever- sodden ^'j



Hp;



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

When amid the deepening darkness and the lamp's expiring

shade,
From the bagman's berth above thee comes the bountiful

cascade.
Better than upon the Broadway thou should' st be at noon-
day seen,
Smirking like a Tracy Tupman with a Mantalini mien.
With a rivulet of satin falling o'er thy puny chest,
Worse than even IS'. P. Willis for an evening party
dressed !






We received thee warmly — kindly — though we knew thou
wert a quiz,

Partly for thyself it may be, chiefly for the sake of Phiz !

Much we bore and much we suffered, listening to re-
morseless spells

Of that Smike's unceasing dri veilings, and these everlasting
ISTells.

When you talk of babes and sunshine, fields, and all that
sort of thing.

Each Columbian inly chuckled, as he slowly sucked his
sling ;

And though all our sleeves were bursting, from the many
hundreds near,

Not one single scornful titter rose on thy complacent ear.



THE BOOK OP BALLADS.

Then to show thee to the ladies, with our usual want of
sense

We engaged the place in Park Street at a ruinous expense ;

Ev'n our own three-volumed Cooper waived his old pre-
scriptive right,

And deluded Dickens figured first on that eventful night.

Clusters of uncoated Yorkers, vainly striving to be cool,

Saw thee desperately plunging through the perils of La
Poule :

And their muttered exclamation drowned the tenor of the
tune, —

" Don't he beat all natur hollow? Don't he foot it like a
'coon?"



Did we spare our brandy-cocktails, stint thee of our whisky-
grogs ?

Half the juleps that we gave thee would have floored a
^N'ewman JJ^oggs ;

And thou took'st them in so kindly, little was there then
to blame,

To thy parched and panting palate sweet as mother's milk
they came.

Did the hams of old Yirginny find no favour in thine
eyes?

Came no soft compunction o'er thee at the thought of
pumpkin pies ?




^^^^^



'^-zx:.^^^^rX



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.






Could not all our care and coddling teach thee how to draw

it mild ?
Eut, no matter, we deserve it. Serves us right! We

spoilt the child!



*!



You, forsooth, must come crusading, boring us with

broadest hints
Of your own peculiar losses by American rejjrints.
Such an impudent remonstrance never in our face was flung ;
Lever stands it, so does Ainsworth ; you, I guess, may hold

your tongue.
Down our throats you 'd cram your projects, thick and hard

as pickled salmon.
That, I s'pose, you call free-trading, I pronounce it utter

gammon.
Ko, my lad, a "cuter vision than your own might soon have

seen
That a true Columbian ogle carries little that is green.
Quite enough we pay, I reckon, when we stump a cent or

two
Por the voyages and travels of a freshman such as you.



I have been at Magara, I have stood beneath the Ealls,
I have marked the water twisting over its rampagious
walls :



THE BOOKIOF BALLADS.



But ^' a holy calm sensation," one, in fact, of perfect peace,
Was as much my first idea as the thought of Christmas

geese.
As for "old familiar faces," looking through the misty air,
Surely you were strongly liquored when you saw your

Chuckster there.
One familiar face, however, you will very likely see.
If you 11 only treat the natives to a call in Tennessee,
Of a certain individual, true Columbian every inch.
In a high judicial station, called by 'mancipators. Lynch.
Half-an-hour of conversation with his worship in a wood
Would, I strongly notion, do you an infernal deal of good.
Then you 'd understand more clearly than you ever did

before.
Why an independent patriot freely spits upon the floor.
Why he gouges when he pleases, why he whittles at the

chairs,
Why for swift and deadly combat still the bowie-knife he

bears : —
Why he sneers at the Old Country with republican disdain.
And, unheedful of the negro's cry, still tighter draws his

chain.
All these things the judge shall teach thee of the land thou

hast reviled ;
Get thee o'er the wide Atlantic, worthless London's puling

child !



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THE BOOK OF BALLADS.




Once — 't was when I lived at Jena —

At a Wirthsliaiis' door I sat ;
And in pensive contemplation,

Eat the sausage thick and fat ;
Eat the kraut, that never sourer

Tasted to my lips than here ;
Smoked my pipe of strong canaster,

Sipped my fifteenth jug of beer ;
Gazed upon the glancing river,

Gazed upon the tranquil pool.
Whence the silver- voiced Undine,

When the nights were calm and cool,



^1?




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THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

As tlie Baron Fouque tells us,

Kose from out her shelly grot,
Casting glamour o'er the waters,

Witching that enchanted spot.
From the shadow which the coppice

Flings across the rippling stream,
Did I hear a sound of music —

Was it thought or was it dream ?
There, beside a pile of linen.

Stretched along the daisied sward.
Stood a young and blooming maiden —

'T was her thrush-like song I heard.
Evermore within the eddy

Did she plunge the white chemise ;
And her robes were loosely gathered

Rather far above her knees ;
Then my breath at once forsook me.

For too surely did I deem
That I saw the fair Undine

Standing in the glancing stream —
And I felt the charm of knighthood ;

And from that remembered day,
Every evening to the Wirthshaus

Took I my enchanted way.
Shortly to relate my story.

Many a week of summer long.



'm.



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THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

Came I there, when beer-o'ertaken,

With my lute and with my song ;
Sang in mellow-toned soprano,

All my love and all my woe.
Till the river-maiden answered,

Lilting in the stream below : —
^' Fair Undine ! sweet Undine !

Dost thou love as I love thee : "
" Love is free as running water,"

Was the answer made to me.

Thus, in interchange seraphic,

Did I woo my phantom fay,
Till the nights grew long and chilly.

Short and shorter grew the day ;
Till at last — 't was dark and gloomy.

Dull and starless was the sky,
And my steps were all unsteady,

For a little flushed was I, —
To the well-accustomed signal

IS'o response the maiden gave ;
But I heard the waters washing,

And the moaning of the wave.

Vanished was my own Undine,
All her linen, too, was ffone :



65




THE EOOK OP BALLADS.



i,



And I walked about, lamenting,
On the river bank alone.

Idiot that I was, for never

Had I asked tbe maiden's name.

Was it Lieschen — was it Gretchen ?


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