« PreviousContinue »
["Frank Smedley," one of our most popular magazine writers and comic novelists, was born about the year 1830, and was the son of the late High Bailiff of Westminster. He is the author of “Lewis Arundel, or the Railway of Life" (1852), “ Harry Coverdale's Courtship” (1855), “The Colville Family" (1856), and, jointly with Mr. Edmund Yates, of " Mirth and Metre," a volume of pleasant rhymes in the style of the late Rev. Harris Barham (Ingoldsby). He was the editor of “George Cruikshank's Magazine," and of “Seven Tales of Seven Authors,” 1860. He died, after a brief but active literary career, in 1863.] Could we only give credit to half we are told, There were sundry strange monsters existing of old; As evinced (on the ex pede Herculean plan, Which from merely a footstep presumes the whole
man) By our Savans disturbing those very large bones, Which have turned (for the rhyme's sake, perhaps) into
Long while hid in strata,
Leg-bones and thigh-bones,
short (They have never as yet found a real fossil merry
thought; Perchance because mastodons, burly and big, Considered all funny-bones quite infra dig.) Skulls have they found in strange places imbedded, Which, at least, prove their owners were very long
headed; And other queer things,—which 'tis not my intention, Lest I weary your patience, at present to mention,
As I think I can prove, without further apology,
He could not read nor write,
Quite a different way.
Had (lucky dog !) ne'er met his eyes.
And no doubt he was right in
Point of fact, for a knight in Those days was supposed to like nothing but fighting ; And one who had learned any language that is hard Would have stood a good chance of being burned for a
wizard. Education being then never pushed to the verge ye Now see it, was chiefly confined to the clergy.
'Twas a southerly wind and a cloudy sky,
O'er a cold haunch of venison,
Sir Eppo he rode through the good greenwood,
What is the sound that meets his ear
? Is it the plaint of some wounded deer? Is it the wild-fowl's mournful
cry, Or the scream of yon eagle soaring high ? Or is it only the southern breeze
As it sighs through the boughs of the dark pine trees ? No, Sir Eppo, be sure 'tis not any of these :
And hark, again!
It comes more plain'Tis a woman's voice in grief or pain.
Like an arrow from the string,
Like a stone that leaves the sling, Like a railroad-train with a queen inside, With directors to poke and directors to guide, Like the rush upon deck when a vessel is sinking, Like (I vow I'm hard up for a simile) winking ! In less time than by name you Jack Robinson can call, Sir Eppo dashed forward o'er hedge, ditch, and hollow, In a steeple-chase style I'd be sorry to follow, And found a young lady chained up by the ankleYes, chained up in a cool and business-like way, As if she'd been only the little dog Tray, While, the more to secure any knight-errant's pity, She was really and truly excessively pretty.
Here was a terrible state of things!
'Twere long to tell
Each word that fell
Walked with the family jewels and plate,
Then by way of conclusion
Tied her up like a dog
pill” is), Had been dipped in the Styx, or sone equally old
stream, And might now face unharmed a battalion of Cold
But she thought of a scheme
Which did certainly seem Very likely to pay—no mere vision or dream: It appears that the giant each day took a nap For an hour (the wretch !) with his head in her lap : Oh, she hated it so! but then what could she do? Here she paused, and Sir Eppo remarked, “ Very true;" And that during this time one might pinch, punch, or
shake him, Or do just what one pleased, but that nothing could
wake him, While each horse and each man in the emperor's pay Would not be sufficient to move him
away, Without magical aid, from the spot where he lay. In an old oak-chest, in an upstairs room Of poor papa's castle, was kept an heir-loom, An enchanted net, made of iron links, Which was brought from Palestine, she thinks, By her great grandpapa, who had been a Crusader; If she had but got that, she was sure it would aid her.
Sir Eppo, kind man,
Approves of the plan;