Page images
PDF
EPUB

“What !” and he turn'd unto the crowd, Rais'd his right hand and spoke more loud. “ Shall we see men served thus and be dumb ? “Where's Magna Charta? where our freedom ? “What! is a military varlet, “ Glowing with insolence and scarlet, “Our rights and privileges civil “ To kick, at pleasure, to the devil ; “Drag a free man against his wish on, 66 To be the food for ammunition ; “ And treat with worse than Turk’s brutality, “ This guest of British hospitality ? 66 Shame! shame !"

“ Aye, shame!” on every side,
Shopboy and oyster virgin cried.
The attics groaned their lofty blame,
And from the stalls came hoarsely—“Shame !"
Ev'n so, of late, the thieving crew,
Who, Eldon-like, love nothing new,
No more allowed to rob in

peace,
Made London ring with “No Police !"
While stones— shame to England !—flew
Around the Chief of Waterloo;
And in the very street whose name
Is borrowed from the veteran's fame;
Meaning-(like those sharp speeches wont
To shower on Hume's unshrinking front,
What time he lifts the veil from jobbing,)
“O wretch, to interfere with robbing !"

Stiff stood the Serjeant-stiff and stately,
But puzzled much, and funking greatly;
A pump at hand he thought he saw;
Besides, he did not know the law !
While solemnly he scratched his head,
Thus to the Bailiff Laneham said:
“There is your prisoner, be it so !

“But where your warrant 'gainst the other? “Of course the penalties you know,

“ If you, by chance, lock up the brother. “Of course you know, for such infraction “Of law, we bring at once our action. “So mind you are your proper cue in, “A false imprisonment is ruin ; “On a man's freedom all infringing “ Is met by damages most swinging. “ If you persist, and should defend “ Your cause I beg to recommend (“ They'll help you finely through your blunder,) “Messiers Rack, Gripe, Grasp, Clutch, and Plunder."

The Serjeant did the silence break,

“Give me my money back," said he; Then next in whispered voice did speak,

The Bailiff hinting at a fee.
The money back Chang slowly gave,

Still puzzled with all this verbosity,
And said with brow extremely grave,

“ So this is English generosity !"

Laneham meanwhile the Bailiff's palm
Touch'd, and dissolved all farther qualm.
And lo! our Twins, once more releast,
Walked from The many-headed Beast."
So by the upper ranks the mob

Is somewhat impolitely branded ;
What sort of beast then is the Nob-

- Ility ? Oh! The many-handed ! »

While with their friend to his abode,
Our Indians saunter on the road,
Just let us-ere we do pursue-
Make a remark-we think it true.

Tho' laws when framed with so much trouble,
Scarcely foresaw men going double,
Otherwise, doubtless, one might bring,
Cases quite pat to Chang and Ching,
And solve by precedent the urgent,
Hard point of bailiff and of sergeant ;-
Yet just as full of contradiction

For us poor single folk as them,
Are those blunt puzzles of restriction,

Which tangle first and then condemn.

One pulls this way, and that the other-
One grapples this, but frees that brother;
Yet in this social state, so close
Knit are our welfare and our woes,

That who shall

say,

what comes to thee,
Shall bring nor scathe, nor chain to me?
Bewildered and confused we stand,
Opposing laws on either hand,
And our innumerous customs die,
Into the Passive of one Lie;
And that is life—as we've disguised it,
And gravely said that Heaven devised it.

Mark, and at times through our narration

A latent sense may meet thy view ! What seems most like exaggeration,

Clothes oft the fact most simply true !

Where are our Twins ?-far-far before

I'm quite ashamed so long we've tarried, See them to Julian's small first floor,

In C- Street already carried.

See them beside his table sitting-
Chang in deep thought, his dark brow knitting-
Ching sipping port—I fear not Allnutt's
And cracking pleasure out of wallnuts.

While Julian thinks in Chang to view,

A vein of kindred cogitation, And enters with that youth, into

A sentimental conversation :

They talked of Love, the lord of earth,
Its power—its mystery-and its birth ;
Both-apt its colours to enhance
With the rich moonlight of romance.

of

Yes," Julian said, " yes-oft, methinks, “ There is in love the

germ more “ Than our philosophies explore. “I speak not of the end acquired, " When the soul rests- where it desired : “ But ere the end be gained—what bright

“ But half-caught Visions haunt the sight! « Back into shade the vision shrinks,

“But not its memory of delight!

6 And we gaze

“ Flock thousand dim and faëry feelings,

Love only wakes, our spirit o'er ; “ Vague thoughts we fain would call revealings, The stars grow

lovelier than before ; “From our earth's clay a cloud is driven,

oftener on the heaven. " There the soft instinct seems to win us;

Something, new-kindled, stirs within us; • The lesser and the lower aims “ Of life, the ennobled heart disclaims; 66 The fervour in its very

faults “Refines, and mellows, and exalts. “ We lose the sense of self, we glow “ With a vague love for all below:

« PreviousContinue »