Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

pugnacious white and gray horses, with bells on their necks and bushy fox-tails on their foreheads, and their own tails carefully tucked up behind.

From the coupé where I sat with my father and mother I could watch them well as they led us through dusty roads with endless apple trees or poplars on either side. Little barefooted urchins (whose papas and mammas wore wooden shoes and funny white nightcaps) ran after us for French half-pennies, which were larger than English ones, and pleasanter to have and to hold! Up hill and down we went ; over sounding wooden bridges, through roughly paved streets in pretty towns to large courtyards, where five other quarrelsome steeds, gray and white, were waiting to take the place of the old onesworn out, but quarrelling still !

And through the night I could hear the gay music of the bells and hoofs, the rumbling of the wheels, the cracking of the eternal whip, as I fidgeted from one familiar lap to the other in search of sleep; and waking out of a doze I could see the glare of the red lamps on the five straining white and gray backs that dragged us so gallantly through the dark summer night.

Then it all became rather tiresome and intermittent and confused, till we reached at dusk next day a quay by a broad river ; and as we drove along it, under thick trees, we met other red and blue and green lamped fivehorsed diligences starting on their long journey, just as ours was coming to an end.

Then I knew (because I was a well-educated little boy, and heard my father exclaim, “ Here's Paris at last !”) that we had entered the capital of Franceza fact that impressed me very much-so much, it seems, that I went to sleep for thirty-six hours at a stretch, and woke up to find myself in the garden I have mentioned, and to retain possession of that self without break or solution of continuity (except when I went to sleep again) until now.-Peter Iòbetson.

MY FRIEND BARTY. His idea of a pleasant evening was putting on the gloves with Snowdrop, or any one else who chose—or fencing-or else making music; or being funny in any way one could; and for this he had quite a special gift : he had sudden droll inspirations that made one absolutely hysterical—mere things of suggestive look or sound or gesture, reminding one of Robson himself, but quite original ; absolute senseless rot and drivel, but still it made one laugh till one's sides ached. And he never failed of success in achieving this.

Among the dullest and gravest of us, and even some of the most high-minded, there is often a latent longing for this kind of happy idiotic fooling, and a grateful fondness for those who can supply it without effort and who delight in doing so. Barty was the precursor of the Arthur Robertses and Fred Leslies and Dan Lenos of our day, although he developed in quite another direction !

Then of a sudden he would sing some little twopenny love-ballad or sentimental nigger melody so touchingly that one had the lump in the throat; poor Snowdrop would weep by spoonfuls !

By-the-way, it suddenly occurs to me that I'm mixing things up-confusing Sundays and week days; of course our Sunday evenings were quiet and respectable, and I much preferred them when he and I were alone ; he was then another person altogether-a thoughtful and intelligent young Frenchman, who loved reading aloud or being read to; especially English poetry-Byron ! He was faithful to his “Don Juan,” his Hebrew melodies—his “O'er the glad waters of the deep blue sea." We knew them all by heart, or nearly so, and yet we read them still: and Victor Hugo and Lamartine, and dear Alfred de Musset.

And one day I discovered another Alfred who wrote verses--Alfred the Great, as we called him—one Alfred Tennyson, who had written a certain poem, among others, called “In Memoriam "—which I carried off to Barty's and read out aloud one wet Sunday evening, and the Sunday evening after, and other Sunday evenings; and other poems by the same hand; “Locksley Hall," “Ulysses," "The Lotus Eaters," "The Lady of Shalott,”—and the chord of Byron passed in music out of sight.

Then Shelley dawned upon us and John Keats, and Wordsworth-and our Sunday evenings were of a happiness to be remembered forever ; at least they were so to me!

If Barty Josselyn were on duty on the Sabbath, it was a blank day for Robert Maurice. For it was not very lively at home-especially when my father was there. He was the best and kindest man that ever lived, but his business-like seriousness about this world, and his anxiety about the next, and his Scotch Sabbatarianism, were deadly depressing ; combined with the aspect of London on the Lord's day-London east of Russell Square! Oh, Paris.

Paris. and the yellow omnibus that took us both there together, Barty and me, at eight on a Sunday morning in May or June, and didn't bring us back to school till fourteen hours later.— The Martian.

[graphic]

DUNBAR, WILLIAM, a Scottish poet, born at Salton about 1465; died about 1530.

He was educated at the University of St. Andrews, entered the Franciscan Order, and travelled over England and France. Returning to Scotland, he became a favorite at the Court of James IV. Some of his poems were printed as early as 1508; many of them remained in manuscript for two centuries. In 1501 Dunbar went to England with the ambassadors to conclude the negotiations for the marriage of Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry VII., to King James IV. of Scotland. On the occasion of the marriage he wrote The Thrissil and the Rois, an allegorical poem describing the amity between England and Scotland, in honor of the event. The Golden Targe is a moral poem of fine imagery, in which the ascendency of love over reason is shown to be general—the golden shield of reason being insufficient to ward off the shafts of Cupid; The Twa Maryit Women and the Wedo is a tale in which the poet imagines he hears three females narrating their experiences in married life. He also wrote The Freiris of Berwick, Justice Betuix the Tailyeour and Sowtar (cobbler), Dance in the Queenis Chalmer, Dance of the Sevin Deidlie Synnis (seven deadly sins), Off the Nativitie of Christ, Off the Passioun of Christ, Off the Resurrection of Christ, etc. A complete edition of his works was

issued in 1824, with a Life of Dunbar, by David Laing. One of his pleasantest poems, The Merle (Blackbird) and the Nightingale, is a dialogue between these two birds, the Merle advocating a joyous life spent in the service of earthly love, while the Nightingale avers that the only worthy love is that which is given solely to God. They debate the matter through a dozen stanzas, when the Merle avows himself convinced by the representations of the Nightingale:

THE MERLE AND THE NIGHTINGALE.

Then said the Merle : mine error I confess;
This frustir love is all but vanity:
Blind ignorance me gave sic hardiness,
To argue so again' the verity;
Wherefore I counsel every man that he
With love not in the feindis net be tone,
But love the love that did for his love die:
All love is lost but upon God alone.
Then sang they both with voices loud and clear;
The Merle sang : Man, love God that has thee wrought,
The Nightingale sang : Man, love the Lord most dear,
That thee and all this world made of nought.
The Merle said : Love him that thy love has sought
Fro' heaven to earth, and here took flesh and bone.
The Nightingale sang : And with his dead thee bought :
All love is lost but upon Him alone.

Then flew thir birdis o'er the boughis sheen,
Singing of love amang the leavis small
Whose eidant plead yet made my thoughtis grein,
Both sleeping, waking, in rest and in travail ;
Me to recomfort most it does avail,
Again for love, when love I can find none,
To think how sung this Merle and Nightingale:
All love is lost but upon God alone.

« ForrigeFortsett »