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the coppers” with the other. Truly his sufferings were terrible. He lost a leg
They sawed it off because, they said, twuz kin' o' mortifyin'. Then he loses an eye, and humorously describes his misadventure
I've lost one eye, but thet's a loss it's easy to supply
To see all I shall ever git by way of pay fer losin' it; Other troubles came apace. He lost a left hand, and his right had
jest a thumb on'tIt ain't so hendy az it wuz to cal’late a sum on't. Then he reckons up the profits of the transaction. First, he finds he has got the shaking-fever, though that is not 80 bad as when he had the other leg and arm-with which optimistic consolation he soothes his soul. But he received no thanks; these were lodged “Afore they got ez low down ez the ranks.”
Then the lesson comes in. No Peace Society manifesto, no Tolstoi sermon has ever taught the horrors of war so touchingly as this rugged dialect poem, bristling as it is with puns and witticisms. Economists may defend war, theories of population from Malthus to Mill may require it, but any result which is purchased at the price of human blood and human degradation cannot but be a doubtful boon. And it is left for a light poet to bring this lesson home to the heart of man, enshrouded and confused in its commercialism
Somehow, wen we'd fit an licked, I ollers found the thanks
Of all the American writers who blend the humorous and the pathetic, none deserves higher praise than James Whitcomb Riley. He stands pre-eminent amongst those wise poets who eschew cloud-scenes and sunsets as subjects for lofty flights of fancy, and who take the commonest things of life as their themes. Riley takes what some people would call the commoner people of life, and he shews that through their ruggedness runs a strain of fine feeling and thoughtful wisdom. There is that poor consumptive Jim, of whom Riley says, When God made Jim, I bet you, He did'nt do anything else that day
But jes' sat around and felt good.
Old John Henry,
Says old John Henry.
Old John Henry.
One can almost picture the dear old man as he reads Riley’s description. Then there follows old John's philosophy
A smilin' face an' a ready hand,
Says old John Henry.
« Little Orphant Annie," and the naïve account which the little girl gives of her homely superstitions is delightfully fresh and natural,
When you hear the crickets quiet, an' the moon is gray
Mr. S. W. Foss is another writer who shows, throughout his fun, the same loving sympathy for the more pathetic side of life. Foss may be called an imitator of Riley, but his work is of a very high standard, and cannot be omitted from our sketch.
Jim Bowker, he said, ef he'd had a fair show,
Jim Bowker, he said,
It may have been so;
There is a trace of the old John Henry spirit in such a poem, and it is singular that Foss shows in a high degree another of Riley's characteristics,--the love of children.
Sits Matilda every night,
But I feel a perfect rest
Then I jist make up with fate
One cannot but regret that our modern English light verse writers have not caught more of this American spirit. It is to be lamented that a writer of the skill and versatility of Mr. Gilbert should have contented himself to such an extent with writing nonsense verses.
It is but rarely that he remembers the mission of the humorous poet, though occasionally, in Bab, there is a suspicion of finer work, such, for example, as "Haunted.”
Haunted ? Ay, in a kind of way,
Appalling, grim, and tricky;
And a splash of blood on his dicky.
Such is the opening verse, but Mr. Gilbert's truer touch is seen when he speaks of
Ghosts who hover about the grave
Of that charnel-house-Society.
“Modesty," with withering sarcasm, teaches the folly of prudery when reduced to its absurd extreme—it might well be termed an address to the purity which apes tyrrany. Beyond these few stanzas, however, Mr. Gilbert rarely rises above the level of the nonsense verse.
Lewis Carroll, of “Walrus and Carpenter fame, is also an adept at burlesque verse, and mention must also be made of Austin Dobson and Quiller Couch. The last named gentleman, to whom reference was made in treating of parodies, is less known as a light poet than as a novelist ; but in his Oxford days he showed considerable skill as a versifier. One of his best pieces, “Ballinderry,” was published in the Oxford University Magazine. It is an Irish girl's lament for her lover, written with exquisite mock-pathos. The anti-climax in the last stanza is very fine
'Twas pretty to be by blue Killarney,
'Twas pretty to hear the linnet's call,
Nor whistle in answer, at all, at all ;
Is cracked entoirely, an' out of tune,-
Aroon ! aroon !!
It is with much regret that one is led to differ from that penetrating critic, the late Mr. Francis Adams, but in his estimate of Mr. Rudyard Kipling, in the Fortnightly, I cannot but think that he overlooked one of the essentials of semi-pathetic humorous verse. Men do not gather grapes from thorns, and Mr. Kipling took one of the most rugged classes of humanity and pictured their thoughts and sayings with a reckless fidelity—and all faithfulness, in love affairs, as in literature, is necessarily reckless. He has thrown a halo round the recruit; true, as he puts into