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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4 - 30/53 -


"Ah," sez Dixon H. Lewis, "It perfectly true is

Thet slavery's airth's grettest boon," sez he.

James Russell Lowell [1819-1891]

THE MARQUIS OF CARABAS A Song With A Stolen Burden

Off with your hat! along the street His Lordship's carriage rolls; Respect to greatness - when it shines To cheer our darkened souls. Get off the step, you ragged boys! Policeman, where's your staff? This is a sight to check with awe The most irreverent laugh. Chapeau bas! Chapeau bas! Gloire au Marquis de Carabas!

Stand further back! we'll see him well; Wait till they lift him out: It takes some time; his Lordship's old, And suffers from the gout. Now look! he owns a castled park For every finger thin; He has more sterling pounds a day Than wrinkles in his skin.

The founder of his race was son To a king's cousin, rich; (The mother was an oyster wench - She perished in a ditch). His patriot worth embalmed has been In poets' loud applause: He made twelve thousand pounds a year By aiding France's cause.

The second marquis, of the stole Was groom to the second James; He all but caught that recreant king When flying o'er the Thames. Devotion rare! by Orange Will With a Scotch county paid; He gained one more - in Ireland - when Charles Edward he betrayed.

He lived to see his son grow up A general famed and bold, Who fought his country's fights - and one, For half a million, sold. His son (alas! the house's shame) Frittered the name away: Diced, wenched and drank - at last got shot, Through cheating in his play!

Now, see, where, focused on one head, The race's glories shine: The head gets narrow at the top, But mark the jaw - how fine! Don't call it satyr-like; you'd wound Some scores, whose honest pates The self-same type present, upon The Carabas estates!

Look at his skin - at four-score years How fresh it gleams and fair: He never tasted ill-dressed food, Or breathed in tainted air. The noble blood glows through his veins Still, with a healthful pink; His brow scarce wrinkled! - Brows keep so That have not got to think.

His hand 's ungloved! - it shakes, 'tis true, But mark its tiny size, (High birth's true sign) and shape, as on The lackey's arm it lies. That hand ne'er penned a useful line, Ne'er worked a deed of fame, Save slaying one, whose sister he - Its owner - brought to shame.

They ye got him in - he's gone to vote Your rights and mine away; Perchance our lives, should men be scarce, To fight his cause for pay. We are his slaves! he owns our lands, Our woods, our seas, and skies; He'd have us shot like vicious dogs, Should we in murmuring rise! Chapeau bas! Chapeau bas! Gloire au Marquis de Carabas!

Robert Brough [1828-1860]

A MODEST WIT

A supercilious nabob of the East - Haughty, being great - purse-proud, being rich - A governor, or general, at the least, I have forgotten which -

Had in his family a humble youth, Who went from England in his patron's suit, An unassuming boy, in truth A lad of decent parts, and good repute.

This youth had sense and spirit; But yet with all his sense, Excessive diffidence Obscured his merit.

One day, at table, flushed with pride and wine, His Honor, proudly free, severely merry, Conceived it would be vastly fine To crack a joke upon his secretary.

"Young man," he said, "by what art, craft, or trade, Did your good father gain a livelihood?" - "He was a saddler, sir," Modestus said, "And in his time was reckoned good."

"A saddler, eh! and taught you Greek, Instead of teaching you to sew! Pray, why did not your father make A saddler, sir, of you?"

Each parasite, then, as in duty bound, The joke applauded, and the laugh went round. At length Modestus, bowing low, Said (craving pardon, if too free he made), "Sir, by your leave, I fain would know Your father's trade!"

"My father's trade! by heaven, that's too bad! My father's trade? Why, blockhead, are you mad? My father, sir, did never stoop so low - He was a gentleman, I'd have you know."

"Excuse the liberty I take," Modestus said, with archness on his brow, "Pray, why did not your father make A gentleman of you?"

Selleck Osborn [1783-1826]

JOLLY JACK

When fierce political debate Throughout the isle was storming, And Rads attacked the throne and state, And Tories the reforming, To calm the furious rage of each, And right the land demented, Heaven sent us Jolly Jack, to teach The way to be contented.

Jack's bed was straw, 'twas warm and soft, His chair, a three-legged stool; His broken jug was emptied oft, Yet, somehow, always full. His mistress' portrait decked the wall, His mirror had a crack, Yet, gay and glad, though this was all His wealth, lived Jolly Jack.

To give advice to avarice, Teach pride its mean condition, And preach good sense to dull pretence, Was honest Jack's high mission. Our simple statesman found his rule Of moral in the flagon, And held his philosophic school Beneath the "George and Dragon"

When village Solons cursed the Lords, And called the malt-tax sinful, Jack heeded not their angry words, But smiled and drank his skinful. And when men wasted health and life, In search of rank and riches, Jack marched aloof the paltry strife, And wore his threadbare breeches.

"I enter not the Church," he said, "But I'll not seek to rob it;" So worthy Jack Joe Miller read, While others studied Cobbett. His talk it was of feast and fun; His guide the Almanack; From youth to age thus gaily run The life of Jolly Jack.


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4 - 30/53

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