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(A BURLESQUE OF SIR WALTER SCOTT'S METRICAL ROMANCES. REJECTED ADDRESSES.]
HORACE SMITH. [To be spoken by Mr. Kemble, in a suit of the Black Prince's Armor, borrowed
from the Tower.]
Survey this shield, all bossy bright-
These cuisses twin behold !
Look on my form in armor dight
Of steel inlaid with gold;
My knees are stiff in iron buckles,
Stiff spikes of steel protect my knuckles.
These once belonged to sable prince,
Who never did in battle wince;
With valor tart as pungent quince,
He slew the vaunting Gaul.
Rest there awhile, my bearded lance,
While from green curtain I advance
To yon foot-lights, no trivial dance,
And tell the town what sad mischance
Did Drury Lane befall.
On fair Augusta's towers and trees
Flittered the silent midnight breeze,
Curling the foliage as it past,
Which from the moon-tipped plumage cast
A spangled light, like dancing spray,
Then reassumed its still array;
When, as night's lamp unclouded hung,
And down its full effulgence flung, *“ From the parody of Sir Walter Scott we know not what to select-it is all good. The effect of the fire on the town, and the description of a fireman in his official apparel, may be quoted as amusing specimens of the misapplication of the style and meter of Mr. Scott's admirable romances."-Quarterly Review.
" " A Tale of Drury,' by Walter Scott, is, upon the whole, admirably ere cuted; though the introduction is rather tame. The burning is described with the mighty minstrel's characteristic love of localities. The catastrophe is described with a spirit not unworthy of the name so venturously assumed by the describer."-Edinburg Revier.
It shed such soft and balmy power
That cot and castle, hall and bower,
And spire and dome, and turret height,
Appear'd to slumber in the light.
From Henry's chapel, Rufus' Hall,
To Savoy, Temple, and St. Paul,
From Knightsbridge, Pancras, Camden Town,
To Redriff Shadwell, Horsleydown,
No voice was heard, no eye unclosed,
But all in deepest sleep reposed.
They might have thought, who gazed around
Amid a silence so profound,
It made the senses thrill,
That 't was no place inhabited,
But some vast city of the dead-
All was so hushed and still.
As chaos, which, by heavenly doom,
Had slept in everlasting gloom,
Started with terror and surprise
When light first flashed upon her eyes
So London's sons in night-cap woke,
In bed-gown woke her dames;
For shouts were heard ʼmid fire and smoke,
And twice ten hundred voices spoke-
" The playhouse is in flames !"
And, lo! where Catharine street extends,
A fiery tail its luster lends
Blushes each spout in Martlet Court,
And Barbican, moth-eaten fort,
And Covent Garden kennels sport,
A bright ensanguined drain ;
Meux's new brewhouse shows the light,
Rowland Hill's chapel, and the height
Where patent shot they sell;
The Tennis-Court, so fair and tall,
Partakes the ray, with Surgeons' Hall,
The ticket-porters' house of call,
Old Bedlam, close by London Wall,
Wright's shrimp and oyster shop withal,
And Richardson's IIotel.
Nor these alone, but far and wide,
Across red Thames's gleaming tide,
To distant fields the blaze was borne,
And daisy white and hoary thorn
In borrowed luster seemed to sham
The rose of red sweet Wil-li-am.
To those who on the hills around
Beheld the flames from Drury's mound,
As from a lofty altar rise,
It seemed that nations did conspire
To offer to the god of fire
Some vast stupendous sacrifice!
The summoned firemen woke at call,
And hied them to their stations all :
Starting from short and broken snooze,
Each sought his pond'rous hobnailed shoes,
But first his worsted hosen plied,
Plush breeches next, in crimson dyed,
His nether bulk embraced ; Then jacket thick, of red or blue, Whose massy shoulder
to view The badge of each respective crew,
In tin or copper traced.
The engines thundered through the street,
Fire-hook, pipe, bucket, all complete,
And torches glared, and clattering feet
Along the pavement paced.
And one, the leader of the band,
From Charing Cross along the Strand,
Like stag by beagles hunted hard,
Ran till he stopped at Vin'gar Yard.
The burning badge his shoulder bore,
The belt and oil-skin hat he wore,
The cane he had, his men to bang,
Showed foreman of the British gang--
His name was Higginbottom. Now
'Tis meet that I should tell you how
The others came in view:
The Hand-in-llanıl the race begun,
Then came the Phænix and the Sun,
Th’ Exchange, where old insurers run,
The Eagle, where the new;
With these came Rumford, Bumford, Cole,
Robins from Hockley in the Hole,
Lawson and Dawson, cheek by jowl,
Crump from St. Giles's Pound : Whitford and Mitford joined the train, Huggins and Muggins from Chick Lane And Clutterbuck, who got a sprain
Before the plug was found.
Hobson and Jobson did not sleep,
But ah! no trophy could they reap
For both were in the Donjon Keep
Of Bridewell's gloomy mound!
E'en Higginbottom now was posed,
For sadder scene was ne'er disclosed,
Without, within, in hideous show,
Devouring flames resistless glow,
And blazing rafters downward go,
And never halloo "Heads below!"
Nor notice give at all.
The firemen terrified are slow
To bid the pumping torrent flow,
For fear the roof would fall,
Back, Robins, back; Crump, stand aloof!
Whitford, keep near the walls !
Huggins, regard your own behoof,
For lo! the blazing rocking roof
Down, down, in thunder falis!
An awful pause succeeds the stroke,
And o'er the ruins volumed sinoke,
Rolling around its pitchy shroud,
Concealed them from th' astonished crowd.
At length the mist awhile was cleareil,
When, lo! amid the wreck upreared,
Gradually a moving head appeared,
And Eagle firemen knew "T was Joseph Muggins, name revered,
The foreman of their crew. Loud shouted all in signs of woe, “A Muggins! to the rescue, ho !"
And poured the hissing tide : Meanwhile the Muggins sought amain, And strove and struggled all in vain, For, rallying but to fall again,
He tottered, sunk, and died!
Did none attempt, before he fell,
To succor one they loved so well ?
Yes, Higginbottom did aspire
(His fireman's soul was all on fire),
His brother chief to save;
But ah! his reckless generous ire
Served but to share his grave! 'Mid blazing beams and scalding streams, Through fire and smoke he dauntless broke,
Where Muggins broke before.
But sulphury stench and boiling drench
Destroying sight o'erwhelmed him quite,
He sunk to rise no more.
Still o'er his head, while Fate he braved,
His whizzing water-pipe he waved;
“Whitford and Mitford, ply your pumps,
You, Clutterbuck, come, stir your stumps,
Why are you in such doleful dumps ?
A fireman, and afraid of bumps!-
What are they fear'd on? fools : ’od rot 'em I”
Were the last words of Higginbottom.
Peace to his soull new prospects bloom,
And toil rebuilds what fires consume!
Eat we and drink we, be our ditty,
“Joy to the managing committee!"
Eat we and drink we, join to rum
Roast beef and pudding of the plum;
Forth from thy nook, John Horner, come,
With bread of ginger brown thy thumb,
For this is Drury's gay day:
Roll, roll thy hoop, and twirl thy tops,
And buy, to glad thy smiling chops,