An extended verse character (more of a topographic poem, really) in 40 + 83 ottava-rima stanzas, not signed. The Templar is written in emulation of Byron's Don Juan, as the invocation specifies: "Inspire me, if thou canst, than wondrous nag, | To write, in stanzas somewhat like old Spenser; | But not so grave and solemn let me lag; | And oh! protect me from Lord Byron's censure, | Lest he should strip my Muse of every rag, | And leave her to each critical dispenser, | Beneath abuse" p. 6. But the anonymous poet seems to follow no particular design in a Hudibrastic rag-bag that seems to owe more to Philips's The Splendid Shilling than anything else. Two quotations from Spenser in the preface are perhaps intended to place the poem in the tradition of eighteenth-century burlesque.
The first canto opens with a short swipe at the critics, and a longer swipe at pedestrian lawyers. The theme then passes to Don Juan, which the poet regards as written in a variation of the Spenserian stanza: "But Byron chooses the Spenserian strain, | And who'd not wish like noblemen to write? | Since all the world, you know, are now admiring | The literary issue of Lord Byron" p. 13. After worrying Byron about at length, the poet concludes the first canto by announcing his subject, which is to be the Inns of Court.
The second canto opens with an account of the heroic founders of the Temple: "they had a notion | The Red-cross knights had weight, and pow'r, and riches, | Though they commenc'd with scarce a pair of breeches" p. 36. After surveying the tombs of the elderly Templars, the poet proceeds to the Temple gardens, from which the citizens of London may be observed at work and play, and, in the other direction, the busy scene along the river. The poet recalls the manners of the Templars in earlier days, when instead of balls and cotillions, they would be entertained by songs in hall, of which a specimen is offered: "The tyme I've loste in rueinge | The lawe — whilst it pursueinge | From daye to daye, | With meagre paye— | Hath been my purse's ruin" p. 50. Those merry days are gone, and the dull barristers and weary students are best entertained by their meals. A catalogue of notable figures in the law, illustrated with anecdotes, follows. The life of the Temple students is described, with an echo of Philips's The Splendid Shilling: "But all thine efforts little will avail, | If thou must barricade thy door, and fence | Thyself from duns" p. 71. After some stanzas of advice for the law students (which stoops to laundresses and housekeepers), the poet concludes with the wish that his verses might be mentioned in the Literary Gazette — which they were.
New Monthly Magazine: "This little effusion, in comic Spenserian verse, has considerable humour and fancy. It seems to prove an opinion justly given in the life of Curran, that of all opinions which have obtained a general currency without being either founded in truth or sanctioned by experience, there are none, perhaps, which have been so widely circulated as those by which we are taught to believe that the study of the law is adverse to the operations of genius, and that a lively imagination cannot be fettered to professional pursuits" NS 6 (March 1822) 125.
Literary Gazette: "This is a clever but unequal poem of the Beppo School, written, as appears by the Preface, to amuse the author's long vacation in the Temple, while his friends were enjoying picturesque tours and shooting excursions. It displays poetical talent, humour, and powers of versification; and its drawbacks on these qualities are, that the poetry is wasted on too discursive flights, that the humour is in one passage (p. 69) of a low cast, and that the metre is frequently careless and discordant.... But the author hardly sticks to his articles, and runs after every vagary and whim that enters his head. We do not know that we ought to dislike this variety, but the Temple is so good a subject itself, and the Templar is so much more happy upon it than upon any other, that we are always annoyed when he flies out of it into episode.... We had intended to cite some dozen of lame lines (such as the last in the first stanza of the above) to put our poet to shame; but as we observe from his p. 77, that he is a reader and lover of our Gazette, we will, in reciprocity of kindness, allow him to correct such faults at the cost of others, and not inflict the punishment directly upon himself" (2 February 1822) 65-66.
What poet would it not rejoice, to find
A Deity to invoke, whose constant statue
Would ever he presented to his mind!
Mixing itself with all his verse, so pat, you
Must think indeed a poet would be blind;—
At any rate you'd say he was infatu-
-ated, — if he did not, in a minute,
Transfuse the hint into his verse, and thus, like me, begin it.
Bold Pegasus! what horse was ever bolder?
No horse at Tattersall's is like to thee;
Stuck (to the astonishment of each beholder)
"Hic et ubique," on our walls, we see;
In iron and stone, thy several winged shoulder
Is represented, in the act to flee,
As erst, when mounted by Bellerophon,
Who slew three mighty animals in one.
Thy gazers then, with something, not like mirth,
Saw thee, with great Bellerophon, take flight
Upwards, without a saddle, bridle, girth,
Till thou and he were fairly out of sight;
When the rash rebel was struck blind to earth
By Jupiter. I think, by Jove, I'm right:
Though others say, that thy rough-rider sank
Because a fly had stung thee on the flank.
Howbeit, thyself (favour'd 'midst seraphim)
Pursuedst thy course to happier dominions;
And now thou daily through the air dost skim,
With fair Aurora seated 'tween thy pinions;
Who dissipates thick darkness, dull and dim,
And, according to the very best opinions,
She, borne by thee, each morn, with rosy hands,
And scattering pearly dews, the gates of light expands.
Yes, — thou art plac'd in every direction
Around our Inn; — for when we look about,
We must needs see thee; — and I've no objection
To tell the reason, when I find it out;
For I will snake a curious inspection
In a street near St. Paul's — where I've no doubt
Some one will always trace the pedigree,
And arms, of those applying with a fee.
Inspire me, if thou canst, than wondrous nag,
To write, in stanzas somewhat like old Spenser;
But not so grave and solemn let me lag;
And oh! protect me from Lord Byron's censure,
Lest he should strip my Muse of every rag,
And leave her to each critical dispenser,
Beneath abuse, — because so unassuming
And poor, as not to merit their acumen.
But for my verse, let it be systematical,
Although I fear no dagger made of lath;
'Tis true, I have not hands aristocratical;
Yet I'll not wed a milliner of Bath;
Such qualities to me seem problematical,
I do not know what either of them hath
To do with the formation of a poet;
But when I travel, I will try to know it.
Now, if ye will, ye critics, without number,
Or rather, in the Numbers of your works,
Tell all the world my writings are mere lumber,
And treat me less like Christians, than like Turks;
Your noise — not silence — shall promote my slumber—
The world now knows the strain of all your quirks
Since the rattling tune on the Edin organ
That has recently been play'd by Lady Morgan.
Yet still — if you can for me say a word,
In kindness do it, for a young beginner;
Consider, I'm not, like some poets, stor'd
With riches — tho' I may not want a dinner;
Then do not hack me with your two-edg'd sword
So keen — for true it is, as I'm a sinner,
If you do so, — why I may come off best, if
I make my fiery Pegasus run restive.
I'd write what you like best — (except a sonnet,
Or any thing in rhyme, solemn and prosey;)
I prefer cheerful verse: — I dote upon it:
Especially if 'tis a little cosey;
A poet grave, to me, is like a monit-
-or, and makes me very, very dozey;—
I'll not say whom I dislike: — but I'm sure
I like what's brisk, in Byron, Colman, Moore,
Butler, and Wolcott, when they do not shock
The modest Muse — nor throw dirt at their kings;
Campbell, and Rogers, should be in my stock;
With select beauties from the choicest things
Of many more. I'd not have the whole flock
Of bards, and all the lays each minstrel sings,
Unless, indeed, as ornamental dummies.
A tinsell'd show! — that scarcely worth a crum is.
I fear, much more than critics, all the tribe
Of practical barristers, and sharp attorneys,
Who wage a wordy warfare for a bribe,
And talk so fast, I'm sure no pen of Gurney's
Could keep their pace: — and yet they'd not imbibe
A word of mine: — their eyeing me so stern is,
I chat to few of them, unless of fees,
Or the best wine, after our bread and cheese.
My own profession are a curious set:—
The plodding men I mean; — they do not like
Working for nought — and therefore they affect
Disgust at verse. Thus have I seen a pike
Sly, in the dark deeps, sullenly reject
The bait when proffer'd — on a sudden strike
Upon it, if the glutton deem'd the prey
Might yield him gain. So lawyers for their pay.
I would not have a harsh expression hurl'd
At any body — corp'rate — sole — politic;
But when a truth by Honesty's unfurl'd,
'Tis pleasant to reveal what's hypocritic:—
There's, then, a deal of nonsense in the world,
And quackery in Law, as well as Physic;
"A seeming-wise," as once 'twas said by Bacon,
Which often for real wisdom is mistaken.
To wit: I know that many men would go—
(But they are lawyers, partial to their fees),
I say, they'd rather go to Jericho
Than be found guilty of such lines as these;
But then these men are sombre: you must know,
And do not do as I do — what I please.—
These men are monstrous grave — and make a query
Whether a lawyer can be wise, if merry.
Now what is this but trumpery and stuff?
Oh! I could quote them cases by and by,
Till each should cry, "well! this is quantum suff.:—
"Ohe! jam satis — satisfied am I:"—
Cases that would, — however grave and gruff
My adversaries, or however sly:—
Cases, that would by all be deemed in point,
And put their learned noses out of joint.
In this, I will not please them to th' extent
I can; — for which I will not give my reason;
But Coke advises how our time be spent,
So that we should not be for ever teasing
Ourselves with Law: — and as to that — he meant
Six hours a day's enough, in every season;
And six for sleep: — and four for pray'r and fasting:—
And two for feasts: — Best precept of long lasting!
So six are left to have a bit of fun in;
'Tis Coke's advice, it plainly to be seen is,
That we should daily sink our legal cunning,
And "ultro sacris largire camaenis."
I've many other cases — but this one in
My opinion's right, in class, and genus;
If you must have some other case beside,
I know no better than the "PLEADER'S GUIDE."
The PLEADER'S GUIDE delights me, for 'tis funny,
And makes me laugh. What boots it to be dull?
For lack of joy is worse than lack of money,
And I of laughter like to have my full;
If we chose gloomy days, instead of sunny,
Surely it would be quite unnatural.—
To laugh belongs but to the human race;
Hail then, contentment — and a smiling face!
But, be it known, I choose not grin hyenic,
Nor dote I much upon a smile that's ghastly;
I like not aught hyenic, or obscenic;
But lovely beauty's smile: — I love that vastly.
There's not a worldly scene, however scenic,
That I prefer to what I mention'd lastly;
It cheers my heart, which in my bosom dances,
Beating quick time to all my amorous fancies.
But, oh! — The Pleader's Guide! — Had I the vein
Of Hudibrastic Butler, I'd indite
Till of my thread of verse I'd spun the skein
In eight feet lines, in which I much delight;
But Byron chooses the Spenserian strain,
And who'd not wish like noblemen to write?
Since all the world, you know, are now admiring
The literary issue of Lord Byron.
"How musical" his Lordship sings his say!
"How melancholy" too, as nightingale!
How great, and noble, the baronial way
Which makes his poetry command a sale!
Yet horrible and, dreadful is his lay;
So shocking, though ridiculous, his tale,
That oft I've queried — whether it were fitter
To whimper — at his Lordship's lines, — or — titter.
I'm now alluding to Don Juan's metre,
Or Beppo's — which you will — I care not which:—
Perhaps Childe Harold may strike you as greater;
But Juan is the one on which I pitch;
Than parts of him, sure nothing can be neater;
But all such verse is made as women stitch:—
No doubt it is, with just as much facility,
By men with less than Byron's fam'd ability.
But as to the Don Juan of Lord Byron—
'Tis nothing like the Don of Madame Vestris.
Ye Gods! the voice of that bewitching siren—
Her eyes, "that speak the soul" — have crown'd my distress,
That I could merely sit aloof admiring—
Wishing she was my master, or my mistress,
Just as the sweet enchanting creature chose
To dress in gentleman's or lady's clothes.
I've wish'd myself her servant Leporello:—
(Of whom we find his Lordship makes no mention)
'Tis play'd by Harley — a dev'lish clever fellow—
For as to that I believe there's no dissension.
I like him, when with Snip and Co. he's mellow;
But be assur'd it is not my intention
To tell you all about it: — No — I could not
Do that which Elliston would say I should not.
Indeed I've seen it many and many a time;—
Not less than five and thirty times, I'm sure
It caught me, as a bird is caught by lime;
'Tis one of the few things that is my lure.
To lose a word, or air, would be a crime
I'd not forgive: — and I could ne'er endure
To miss of the dear Don, a single note, a
Strain — a step — a look — or an iota.
And then, there's Mrs. Bland's "kind, constant" note:—
Povey, or Cubitt — warbling, and running
To Don: — and stretching each her little throat,
To make his cruel duns forget their dunning.
Indeed the piece is altogether wrote
So well — I envy much the writer's cunning
Who brought Giovanni back to our metropolis
From Pluto's court, to please an English populace.
But great Lord Byron is a marv'llous genius,
And cares as much for us, as we for him;
Still 'tis admitted to be very heinous
To tear a man by piece-meal, limb by limb—
As he tears Coleridge — Bowles: — he full of spleen is
And "mocks," who can such harmless poets trim:
But 'tis quite inexcusable in Lords
Out of this country, and the reach of words.
And, peradventure, it is more absurd
Than noble, to abuse Wordsworth and Southey;
If Southey and Wordsworth are not worth a word,
Is't "fair and thoroughbred" to be so mouthy?
I think that many subjects, by the Lord
Byron, are such, that when first read, or now, they
(After considerable seeing and inquiring)
Can never equal lovely Vestris — firing.
We must allow, his Lordship is provoking,
When he begins his stories all so queer;
He has indeed a jocular way of joking,
That makes some people laugh from ear to ear;
But when he keeps us for the sequel poking,
He puts us sometimes terribly in fear
He will not tell us what he said he would;
I'd give you an example, if I could.
"'Twas said by Buonaparte — and I believe it—
But hold! — some people call him Buonapart-e.
'Twas said: — I give it out, as I receive it
From Edinburgh Reviews — as to the part, I
've quite forgot; — and therefore I must leave it:—
'Twas said, or sung: — no matter which — 'twas hearty—
And Boney was a great — tho' little spark
And serv'd to illustrate his own remark.
"I haven't told you what he said or sung;
His own exploits the fond idea bred:—
The thought which found expression from his tongue,
His wav'ring fortune popp'd into his head:—
Whilst on his lips the brilliant sentence hung,
He thought on other things than what he said,
But now I really cannot tell you more;
You'll find it in a note to Canto IV.
"But stay! — I do not know about the note—
I may as well go on, now I've begun—
Besides, I have not the fourth Canto wrote—
And as to notes — I haven't written one.
Well then — the very words I'll forthwith quote,
Or you'll suppose that I am making fun:
'Tis but one step' (for now I've hit the rhyme)
'From things ridiculous, to things sublime.'
"This Boney said, and many a time did hum,
When he was gravely bent on Russia's ruin:—
Tattooing with his fingers did he drum,
To show how easy 'twas what he was doing;
It seem'd as if he didn't care a crum
For all the dreadful mischief he was brewing."
So Byron, — and we poets of the day,—
Can smirk at serious subjects, and be gay.
Now, as I find these stanzas very easy,
Suiting the tragical, or the comical;
I'm not fastidious, squeamish, sick, or queasy,
Lest any of you readers prove ironical.
I've two designs: — to please myself — and please ye;
And for my verse — don't christen it "B" ironical—
Not that I fear my works could raise a clatter
Like greater bards' — that's quite another matter.
Yet, hold! — The Pleader's Guide! — I must go back,
(Lest you should tell me that I don't go on)
Was read, and grinn'd at, by each lawyer's hack—
-nied clerk, and each attorney, and his son;
Clerks articled, and barristers, would crack
Their sides with laughter: — judges fond of pun
Like Norbury, were pleas'd. Oh! that the Templar
Was of the Pleader's Guide, a rich Exemplar.
When men do choose an independent life,
Resolv'd with legal lore to sate the mind,
Free from the inquisitions of a wife,
Or if to gaiety they're more inclin'd,
Chambers are suitable, and free from strife,
And are not always to the law confin'd;
Save and except in our old Inn of Court,
Where jurisprudence is our only sport.
This being so: — it does behove me, first
To assure the student, that the student, he
Should be a member here, — if he do thirst
For law, whilst all his chastity will be
Secure from harm — altho' he almost burst
With thoughts illegal, — or would give a free
License to passionate licentious hope,
With which his struggling virtues have to cope.
The generous youth will now demand to know
A separate answer to each separate question;
And I, so happy, with delight will show
My readiness to meet each shrewd suggestion
That he may make. — I'll instantly bestow
Whate'er I can: — But, for his mind's digestion,
Here will I pause — a little breath to fetch,
When Canto II. shall trace a faithful sketch—
Sketch of our Inn — its qualities, and beauty:—
Antiquity — its old and modern motions:—
Because I do consider it a duty
That I, as guide, should give my reader notions
About these things. Besides, 'twill save us oceans
Of botheration, hardly worth a shoe-tie:
And to cut short this Canto, alias Proem,
I now proceed, like Virgil — with my Poem.
Arms, and the valiant men, who, forc'd by fate,
And superstition, and one Hugh Paganus,
Geoffrey Saint Audomare, and seven or eight
Others, to quite renounce whatever vain is,
And to religious service consecrate
Themselves, — I sing; (as well we know the saying is).
Hail, Templar Knights! Jerusalem Crusaders!
Ye pilgrims' friends, who bang'd their rash invaders.
Ye who, to keep your chastity from rusting,
Swore that "you never to your wills would yield;"
Ye disciplin'd disciples of Augustine,
Who built your creed upon the sword and shield;
On alms subsisting, and your bodies trusting
Two on one horse, you rush'd into the field,
A vagrant crew — without a habitation,—
A name, or fame, or fortune, rank, or station.
But, like an enterprising race, ye grew,
By gallant actions, and by your devotion,
So very popular, that very few
Great men there were, who did not make a motion
To join your order; for 'tis said they knew,
Or what's near tantamount, — they had a notion
The Red-cross knights had weight, and pow'r, and riches,
Though they commenc'd with scarce a pair of breeches.
But pride, whene'er with indigence he's born,
Each good in life he almost sure to mar is;
And all ye knights, of pride were not forlorn,
If I may pin my faith on Matthew Paris;
Of stately grandeur you by pride were shorn,
Or truth in Chronicles I'm sure there ne'er is
Upset, and tumbled down by your own doing;
For what had prov'd your pride produc'd your ruin.
Despis'd, neglected, and, at length, suppress'd,
The only vestige of you that appears
Is you fair church, by buildings sore oppress'd;
There has she stood for full six hundred years,
A model of that sepulchre confess'd,
Where zealous pilgrims dropp'd fanatic tears.
The tombs of cross-legg'd knights, guarding their dust,
Are mingled here with monument and bust;
And tombs of modern date! — The wise and sage
With Ross and Pembroke, and with Essex, sleep!
Men famous in their day! — but past's the age
And those who wept for them have ceas'd to weep!
They too are number'd in the silent page
Of death, whilst o'er their frames the cold worms creep!
Here Selden, Barrington, and Plowden lie;
Born to instruct the world; but born to die!
Yet this is melancholy — ill according
With my intention to produce a smile.
It ever is my aim to be affording
A pleasantry that shall old Time beguile:
I love not miserable, lengthy wording,
And spinning out our sorrows by the mile.
So let us leave our churches to churchwardens,
And take a walk into the Temple gardens.
The Temple gardens are a pretty spot,
And many a time I've pac'd them o'er and o'er,
Thanking kind fortune that it was my lot
To dwell so near a place that I adore;
For I some chambers luckily have got,
Whence when I look, I'm charmed more and more:—
Sky-parlour is my happy lodging christen'd,
Where to the City's distant din I've listen'd:—
And listen'd to the dusky sparrows near me,
Whose chirping notes amid the trees that bend
With age, before my windows, more endear me
To mine own attic, where much time I spend.
So rural 'tis, — town pleasures scarce can tear me
Away from what I'm sure I cannot mend:—
Besides — a garret suits a poet best,
Who reeks not how he eats, or how he's drest.
Here, with my morning tea, I sip the news
Which Master Perry sends me every day;
And learn that many Perry-Whigs abuse
The Ministry, for travelling in the way
That they themselves would tread, ere they'd refuse
A pension, sinecure, or place of pay;
And then I smile, and bear my friends' attacks
In politics, and throw them on their backs.
Unknown, unheeded by the gnats below,
Free as the air, I scan the moving throng;
Whether, like Indians, in canoes they row,
Or on the bridge in jarvies jog along;
Or jostling those of whom they do not know
If prince or peasant; — caring not a song,
So that themselves accomplish their own job,
"By hook or crook" — of bustling through the mob.
The intermediate view that I have got
Is more distinct, and lies along the shore,
With walks, and shrubs, and painted seats, and grot:—
The gardens that I told you of before;
Where nursery maids, and children, and what not—
(For none but members should get in before)
From six to nine, in summer eves, are seen
Sporting their figures on our garden green.
Here shopman, shopboy, hackney clerk, and scribe,
With milliners and mantua-makers meet;
Maids who ne'er "soil'd their fingers with a bribe,"
And naughty women who do walk the street;
Circumcis'd masculines of Levi's tribe,
With feminines, whose circumambulating feet
Trample the verdant grass, and tread it down,
Rend'ring it like themselves, a dingy brown.
Members maybe admitted with a friend,
Extra the open hours of the [Greek characters, "hoi polloi"]—
And members' wives their hopeful infants send
To tumble on the grass, with virgin Polly.
To joys like these, she'll freely condescend
For pleasures infantile make nursemaids jolly.
This may be prov'd! — and in our law it wrote is—
"Id certum est quod certum reddi potest."
Here idlers waste the day, and here is seen
The briefless youth, well read, though young in age;
Contemplating his fate with cheerless mien,
And venting to the winds his windy rage;
And here the pedant slily strolls the green,
With book expos'd — perusing not a page—
Esteeming his spectators fools — or prudent—
Just as they seem to think of him as student.
But what are these to ancient Father Thamys,
Who skirts with glassy face our gravell'd ways;
Where I've oft ponder'd that he still the same is—
The public admiration, and the praise
He was in former ages; for his fame is
Older than aught he serves in these our days.
He for whole centuries from year to year
Hath flow'd as now: — and kept his grand career.
Yes, Father Thames, then art a beauteous sight
Bus'ness and pleasure o'er thy bosom glide;
Thy hues, depending on the varied light
Of Heav'n, are chang'd more frequent than thy tide—
Now bright, now dark, now azure blue, now white,
Now black, now lovely brown, now every tint beside.
But most I'm charm'd to view thee, late, and soon,
Or with the rising sun, or with the midnight moon:—
For then the storms thy calmness that molest,
The troublous crafts that shock thy silent deep
Are all appeas'd, and tranquil is thy rest;
For then the greedy merchant is asleep.
No tempests, like the tempests in man's breast,
Ambition — avarice — which thither creep,
And nestle there, disturb in such degrees
Thy quiet slumbers — and prevent thine ease.
Oft on thy pebbled Terrace, to my view
The splendid monument before me's laid—
Memento of the day of Waterloo—
The day on which a vanquish'd hero fled:
Heroes like him, I think, are very few;
But, hero as he was, that hero's dead:—
Terror of sovereigns and of great commanders!
For Buonapartes are rare as Alexanders.
That Bridge — oh! 'tis so grandly, nobly plac'd
Across thy bosom, Father Thames, that thou
Who now art by its lovely self embrac'd,
Would'st look without it — I will not say how
Couch'd on thy bed, and spanning thy full waist,
Long may it rest, as hitherto and now,
Rest as first rais'd — when clamorous war did cease,
And Europe was with Europe's self at peace.
Then Wellington laid down his puissant sword,
And neighbouring nations felt nor fears nor dreads;
And peace and plenty seem'd but as one word,
And thousands once more slept in their own beds;
Thousands who'd not for years within them snor'd,
Thousands who'd little left except their heads;
Thousands came home — to children — friends — and wives—
Glad — though they'd lost all else — they'd sav'd their lives.
Such thoughts as these come "nolens volens" in
The heads of poets, making them unfit
For story; — Well! I'll not much longer lin-
ger on the banks of Thames, though loth to quit
London, Blackfriars, Southwark, and Westmin-
ster bridges; which all furnish for a wit
Greater than mine, sweet reveries arising
From sights like these — delightful and surprising.
And, now that to my chamber I have crope,
I just discern the distant Surrey hills
And, but for fuming factories of sope,
Which sometimes I have wish'd at the Brazils—
I'm sure if I'd a Dollond telescope,
(A large one!) though I couldn't see the rills
That murmur and meander in the dells,
I could plainly hear the Surrey parish bells.
But I did say, I'd tell you ancient news
About our worn-out customs, and all that:
And where is there a poet who'll refuse
To tell a story that may come in, pat
To his purpose? — and if the reader choose,
Poets will write enough — but verbum sat:
And I shall presently begin to think
That you will fancy that I waste my ink.
Some curious circumstances are recorded,
Descriptive of the times when they took place:
I've found my industry has been rewarded,
By hunting down each old forgotten case;
Albeit some of them are so oddly worded,
They do not with our modern style keep pace;
I'll give you one or two, by way of sample,
And one or two is liberal, and ample.
Once on a time, King Edward went his rounds,
Obtaining money. — "Quare clausum fregit,"
And "vi et armis" came upon our grounds,
"Sine extendi facias, or elegit;"
And robb'd our treasurer of a thousand pounds,
Without a "jus in re:" — and "nihil debet"
The treasurer might have pleaded, o'er and o'er,
To an action brought upon the same score.
Again: — you'd think our lawyers funny devils,
Had you but seen them when they used to dance,
Smoke and drink healths — commit all kinds of evils,
Knocking and bawling out for games of chance—
And pantomimically acting revels,
At certain seasons when they used to prance—
Judges and benchers jigging round our hall—
Serjeants and barristers, both great and small—
But, what's most extraordinary, no ladies
Were there — which I call greatest of all faults;
Nor do I find that any where it said is,
If French cotillion, minuet, or waltz,
Was danc'd: but certainly a grave parade is
More suited to a man who often halts,
Like lawyer now, with gout in his ten toes,
Who growling swears at every step he goes.
But to resume. The master of the rout,
Whom we now term the M. C. at a ball
After the dinner and the play were out,
Made on some junior counsellor a call
To sing a song; — and if he would not shout,
Under amerciament he'd straightway fall.
This custom doubtless drew forth many a "Damn it!"
From pettish students who'd not learnt the gamut.
But he who had, by nature or by art,
Music's melodious notes on the tongues tip,
And who in a duet could take a part,
Or send sweet solos quivering from the lip,
Rejoic'd to hear the M. C. call athwart
The hall, to Mr. Such-a-one, to tip
The benchers with a ditty, such as this—
Which, if ne'er sung, it might have been, I wis:—
Air" Pease upon a Trencher."
[A chorus is introduced (to each verse) of Rum ti, &c. in which all the company should join, beating the tune at, and to, the same time on the table with their knuckles. This favourite old air is graced with the words of Mr. Thomas Moore, in his Irish melodies, where the music may he seen.]
The tyme I've loste in rueinge
The lawe — whilst it pursueinge
From daye to daye,
With meagre paye—
Hath been my purse's ruin.
Though vice, the wretch! hath soughte mee,
And thus hath often taughte mee—
"Reade woman's lookes!"—
I read my bookes
Till poore enough they've brought race.
Sing rum ti diddle dum di,
Sing rum ti diddle dum di,
Sing rum ti dum,
Sing rum ti di,
Sing rum ti diddle dum di.
When firste a fee was granted
To me — I felte enchanted
Gazed at the sighte
With greate delighte—
For gladnesse how I panted!
'Twould make one whyne and dryvill
When attornies cheate the dyvill,
Chouse us of fees
Our bread and cheese!
O! 'tis cruelly uncyvill!
Sing rum ti, &c.
But some of them are wyllinge
To bylke us of each shyllinge.
They should be kick'd,
And soundly lick'd,
By lawyers learn'd in milling.
Now longe life to oure sov'raigne!
And since wee've all beene hov'ringe
And jigginge aboute,
Pray don't you goe oute
Till you've wrapte yourselves up in warme cov'ringe.
Sing rum ti, &c.
One story more I here must interlace,
To close the whole (though passing strange, 'tis true).
A fox and cat were started for the chase,
And hunted round the hall with wild halloo!
(But this I think's a Middle Temple case)
The cases like it in the books are few!
Methinks I see you shake your head — but zounds!
I quite forgot the ten couple of hounds.
But, howsoe'er 'twas then, lawyers now lead,
In murky, solitary chambers pent,
A slavish life — and much they write and read
And the dull, tedious hours, are lonely spent
Ere they can taste the sweets of being fee'd,
Or earn sufficient to discharge their rent.
They play their parts in works of cogitation,
To the same tune, with little variation.
The London merry cries we never hear—
No screeching milk-maid — and no "Dust below"—
Flow'r-girls, and gard'ners, dare not to appear—
Nor little sweep — nor humorous punch's show.—
No human voice with us can interfere—
Save that of men, who won't confess they know
That they're unwelcome guests, who discompose
Our nerves, by repetition of "Old clothes."
For study much conduces to destroy
The various functions of the nervous system;
And little minds may oft great minds annoy
Until the latter to the deuce have wish'd 'em.
Such interrupters are a great alloy
In studies; — and they never can assist 'em.
But Jews are useful animals, to those men
Who "raise the wind" by bartering with old clothesmen.
The Jews — a wand'ring host! — who will confine?
Who's he that would an Israelite restrain?
No regulations, human or divine,
Can circumvent their feverish lust of gain:—
But I excuse the tribe eight times in nine;
I can't in Christian charity complain,
When they, in every week, can play their tricks
In five short days and nights, whilst we take six.
Of instrumental music quite forlorn,—
Except, indeed, at half-past four or five,
When the blithe panyer-man doth wind his horn
In cheerful mood, the students to revive;
Who quit their books, and close the tedious morn,
Which they've hard spent, till they're half dead alive—
Resolv'd to smack of mutton or of beef,
To pond'rous hum-drum thoughts a sure relief.
Bold panyer's trump a joyful sound doth make,
When to his lips the merry horn he places;
The students, to relieve the stomach-ache,
Assemble then, O dear! with smirking faces;
Giving each other's hands the friendly shake,
(The mode in which an Englishman embraces).
Alone — in pairs — and arm in arm — like cousins,—
You'll see them scrambling to the hall by dozens.
The law for lack of appetite's a cure;
I never knew a lawyer in my life—
"Upon my life 'tis true" — but he was sure
To be an adept at the fork and knife.
A lawyer now and then 's an epicure;
And the said tools he handleth so rife
In skill — that seeing him in active bustle,
I've oft exclaim'd, with Matthews, "Zounds, what muscle!"
We'll leave these gentry to their undertaking
Namely, "to eat their way up to the bar"—
And those who've done it — tho' no merry-making
Is us'd, as formerly — lest it should mar
The studies of the young; or be the means of shaking
The dignity of gentlemen, who're far
From anxious, after they've themselves been filling,
To stir their stumps in waltzing and quadrilling.
I said we've little music — but forgot—
See, see that vessel how it back recoils!—
That packet of steam and pleasure smoking hot!—
"Like a hell broth, it bubbles and it boils:"
Hear, hear the fiddlers! — now they think they've got
Some passengers in sight — who furnish all the oils
That set the wheels in motion, to poison our olfactories,
And cause more stinking smoke than forty manufactories.
And we have discord, when some stupid fellow,
Half clerk, half scrub, (who always should be mute,)
Left to himself, does not forget to bellow—
Practising, moreover, the violin and flute—
Perpetual, hopeless learner! — Punchinello
I'd rather hear, and little sweep to boot,
Than be annoy'd with whining, piping, scraping—
The efforts of a monkey, music aping.
Reader, prepare! The muse is going to be
Brimful of sorrow and of deploration.
The tears now shedding do not drop for me,
But are the effects of others' lamentation.
The crest of Pegasus is lower'd — and see,
He droops his tail in mournful contristation!
Alack! — ah! — well-a-day! — and oh! — alas!
That such vexatious things should come to pass!
The muse and I bemoan there was occasion
For Alfred Clifford's letter, that I've seen;
He grievously complains of an invasion
Of privileges — that has never been
Made on solicitors of this free nation,
Since Philip and Mary were king and queen:
As Lincoln's men serv'd "gemmen of the press,"
Excluding them from dining at their mess.
Then Sheridan declar'd, it was a shame
That a great body had so small a spirit;
Thus shutting up the avenue to fame,
And blocking up the great high road for merit
To travel fairly in, to gain a name
'Twas shocking cruelty! — he could not bear it!—
And so this spirit — littler than a woman's—
Rais'd the great spirits of the House of Commons.
And all the reverend bench of Lincoln's Inn,
Then present, blush'd, sore vex'd at this exposure;
Each man, on being ask'd if in this sin
He'd had a hand, he quickly answer'd, "No, sure!"
To wit, Anstruther, Martin, and Erskine:
Then follow'd such an unexpected closure,
Pronounc'd with dignity, by Master Stephen,
That made all matters (odd before) quite even.
He hail'd the poverty whence lawyers spring—
Ah! sometimes sager than have sprung from riches!—
In unison with him, their wants I sing
Whom love of legal eminence bewitches.
Methinks I see them all — a glorious string!
In marble busts and statues, plac'd in niches
Each pointing to, or actually touching
With stone fore-finger, his respective scutcheon.
Oh! is there not a Sheridan — a Stephen—
A Commons' member — or a Chancery master—
To teach the world that seeing is believing,
And extricate the "ones" from this disaster?
Mayhap some chubby boy is now receiving
His seeds of after-fame from such a pastor
As the particular attorney Clifford
Talks of, who taught attorney-general Gifford;
Or Saunders, C. J., skill'd at a report—
Chancellor Hardwicke, who pronounc'd decrees
Like wisdom's self, (this Mansfield spoke, in short,)—
Strange, Kenyon, Willes, (erst lord chief justices)-
Chief baron Stay, of the Exchequer Court—
Two of their lordships of the Common Pleas—
Of whom 'tis said, they once were dashing sparks,
And serv'd their clerkships as attorneys' clerks.
In fact judge Saunders was a beggar lad,
And afterwards he scribbled for his food;
And then he was with some attorney sad,
And I've no doubt on earth it did him good.
About his frame he bore some issues bad,
Of which he bragg'd; — but be it understood
He was no gentleman, as I suppose,
Having ale or brandy always at his nose.
But then you know he was a child of spirit,
And rose from nought — his poorness notwithstanding.
I like a man rising alone from merit—
It shows a genius powerful and commanding.
Unmarried he — that is, he had no ferret—
ing wife, continually reprimanding;—
And as to issue — why, he said, "Good lack!
"I want not them — I've two upon my back!"
Och! he was very offensive on the bench
To all the judges, who with finger and thumb
Squeez'd their nice nostrils — he made such a stench
Whenever he did near his brethren come.
Yet he could write and talk Latin and French;
And for his law, he own'd a weighty sum;
He chang'd not oft his clothes or residence,
And like a beggar liv'd, at no expense.
Hardwicke! a generous and a noble youth,
The first of chancellors! — almost a Selden!
Has had no equal since — and that's the truth—
Except our present chancellor, Earl Eldon.
Good unexpected springs from things uncouth:—
Hardwicke uprose by virtue of a Beldam—
His master's wife — a termagant! — a novice!—
Who ill-us'd all her husband's clerks in office.
Much given she to hauteur and contention!
She little dreamt that this poor little fellow
Would one day thank her for her vile intention
Of sending him for cauliflowers yellow.
His angry gills redden'd at the bare mention;—
He toss'd his head; — with indignation mellow,
He said (said he), "Though I'm my master's clerk, it
"Follows not, therefore, that I go to market.
"Am I to take about your wicker basket
Under my arm? I vow it makes me savage.
I am surpris'd how you can think to ask it,
Or expect me to run after your cabbage!
Being full of wrath and ire, I will not mask it;
Immediately I'll pack up all my baggage."—
"All! (quoth the lady) that surely never much shall
Be, which will rest in the compass of a nut-shell."
Then follow'd from the dame the usual volley—
Such as had often fallen on her mate;
The little chancellor grew melancholy,
And forthwith meditated change of state:
He could not do the office of a Molly—
A manliness that rul'd his future fate.
Thus sings the Pope, of poets call'd the king,
What great effects from trivial causes spring!
Thompson was different; — he made stays in court;
Staymaker hight! so nam'd by jesting Jekyll,
Who always lov'd a bit of joke and sport,
Not caring about whom a single shekel
That is to say — he made it on the spurt
Of the occasion: for which few were equal
To him; who, after all his fine pleasancery,
Has a comfortable place, as Master in Chancery.
How many times I've mark'd his serious phiz,
When at the bar examining a witness!
His shafts of wit were rapid as the whiz
Of arrow shot from bow. A certain fitness
Of words and look, peculiarly his,
Brighten'd each case — and though, in point of strictness,
Judges should be grave — he'd take them unawares,
And shake their sober sides in their judicial chairs.
My muse is bashful when with great men flirting,
(Such as, for instance, Topping, Hart, Heald, Marriott).
But one thing's clear, and evident, and certain,—
The truth's a very awkward thing to parry at.
Thus Dunning, afterwards my Lord Ashburton,
Who rode, like his inferiors, in a chariot,
(If not the fam'd criss-cross-examiner — Garrow,)
Scoop'd with his pen from law the pith and marrow.
And there's no harm in that, that I can see,—
The only harm is, how the story's told;
For tho' we much respect the powers that be,
When people think the truth, they may be bold
To speak it, if they do it modestly.
A gossip is so like unto a scold,
I've begged my muse, so wanton, to desist;
I'll speak once more, she cries; so, list! oh, list!—
I'm not dispos'd to leave off yet — and sha'nt,
Whilst I have some authority to rest on.
Gibbs, and Lord Redesdale, and Sir William Grant,
And some few more who've had a judge's vest on,
King's counsel in each court, knights litigant,
Calmer, and Tidd, and Phillips, Sugden, Preston,
Ne'er call'd a rule (like Clifford) an anomaly,
Or Samuel never would have been Sir Samuel Romilly.
If so, go blot the order from your books!
(Cries Alfred) burn the pen with which 'twas written!
Your servants then will jump for joy — your cooks
Will sing your praises, whilst your meats they're spitting.
Tear out the leaf, nor let it meet the looks
Of future antiquaries. 'Tis unfitting!
So shall myself, "ac etiam" each attorney,
Laud you, from 'squire Welch to 'squire Gurney.
A member says, you fear no law society;
Nor all the members of the Metropolitan;
Nor men who prosing write, or versify at ye:—
In fact, that you are each a cosmopolitan.
Then let no busy fault-finder cry fie at ye!
Since no one can complain you've wrong or folly done,
But he who sees your order retrospective,
Point to himself, as to the ease objective.
Now to my student: — I his pardon crave;
My desultory muse has him in view.—
I'll now proceed, in manner somewhat grave,
To give the ardent youth the faithful clue,
By which, "sans doute," he may black letters brave,
And to the ancient types prefer the new;
For law is now, by process academical,
Extracted in a way that's truly chemical.
Treatises, essays, epitomes, — are potions
In common use; — but some as pills do take 'em,
According to their several whims and notions.
The last are pack'd in cases, — not to be shaken;
But these produce not always pleasant motions:—
If stale — they do the patients harm, and rake 'em;
Digesting poorly: A bolus of this sort
Vapidly passes, in a dull report.—
Conveniently they're pack'd! — Bravissimo!—
Huzza! for him, — and many and many a bravo
Who chang'd our folio for a duodecimo,
And eke who first invented an octavo!
As to the folio, why, it is, I know,
A heavy job to handle it — and you save, — oh!
Much time in small books: — and for my part — oh!
To the huge folio, I prefer the quarto.
My friend! methinks I see thee up three pair,
Mounted aloft, in chambers warm and snug;
Now let improvement be thy hourly care
In health and wisdom. Learning's not a drug
Except to him who, less like man than bear,
Throughout his life the chain does ever hug—
Distasting that to which by fate he's tied;
Like a disgusted bridegroom to his bride.
Pursue thy studies not too fast at first;
By gentle, but by steady action, gain
The method to allay thy noble thirst:—
Knowledge by system thou wilt best attain.
Those men in theory are the best vers'd
Who classify the learning they obtain
In distinct parcels, placing the whole quantum
Ready for use, according as they want 'em.
Let not unhappiness thy soul assail,
(Of thine imprudence the sad consequence);
Study but ill accords with thoughts of jail;—
Successful study needs not great expense.
But all thine efforts little will avail,
If thou must barricade thy door, and fence
Thyself from duns, pacing thy narrow room
"With short, uneasy motion" — in a fume.
Why I am never merry without cash;
For then I am most miserably glum;—
E'en then I'd smile, did it not seem so rash—
I'd talk, but that you know "great grief is dumb:"
I'd read, write, walk, stand, sit — I'd cut a dash—
I'd sleep — I'd dance — an op'ra tune I'd hum;—
But can't — 'twon't do — 'tis up with me — I'm dull
Or joyous, — as of cash I'm void, or full.
'Tis pity! — ah! 'tis worth a world of pity!—
That want of money should have this effect;—
Were't not for that, we should go on so pretty:
Gentlemen might wed, and not be so henpeck'd—
Misers be liberal — writers more witty.—
Our hopes would not be then so often wreck'd,
As now, — when lack of ready rhino ferrets
Our hearts and souls, and steals away our spirits.
Oh! from sun-rise to setting of the sun,
Rather hear thou the setting of a saw,
Than the harsh knocking of a dunning dun,
When he upon thy knocker claps his paw;
Nay, deem not that I merely joke, or pun,
Or that my ease, or thine, I here would draw,—
I know of nothing that would cease my funning,
Half so effectually as a dun a-dunning.
"Then to thyself be true" as destiny,
(Saith the great bard whose verse I cannot mend);
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry;
Bear well a quarrel — but ne'er thou offend—
Give all thine ear, but few thy voice:" — this, certes,
Polonius said unto his son Laertes.
Beware thy laundress, with her pockets spacious,
The ware-rooms of thy victuals, drink, and coal:—
Beware — but don't suspect, for that's vexatious—
"And he that's robb'd, not knowing what is stole,
He is not robb'd," 'tis said: but farinaceous
Food, and ham, and tongue, and beef, by whole-
sale and retail, will march off, in short,
"Cum multis aliis": — and depart the court,
And "sine die," too, her prittle-prattle,
And dusting broom, and brush with which she scours,
Will daily in thy ears produce a rattle,
And interrupt the stillness of thy hours,
Unless then cutt'st her short: — for noise and tattle,
And clattering cackle, constitute her flow'rs
Of rhet'ric — similar to geese, and ganders:—
But I've a very different sort of laundress!
For legal studies daily set some hours—
First one, then two, then three, four, five, then six—
And let no other schemes perplex thy pow'rs;
Sacred and secret, be what thou dost fix;
For, spite of Chesterfield, an idler sours
The sweetest temper — if he often mix
In what he mars: — but if thy time be broke
Thus in upon — I'd have thee "sport the oak."—
But do not to thyself, or friends, deny
The pleasures which arise from conversation;
Nor, most pedantically, decry
The gaieties suiting thy situation:
Varied amusements thou shouldst sometimes try,
Nor seek too much the pressing invitation:—
Society is natural to man
Then fly it not — merely because you can.
If harass'd and vex'd, — and any lawful pleasure,
Within thy lawful means, then canst obtain,
That will remove from off thy mind the pressure,
And weight which study has upon the brain:—
At once enjoy it — and adopt the measure,
Rather than coldly fly it in disdain:—
For we for work should be reviv'd by play
Sometimes — and give our brains a holiday.
Lastly, my son, my student, or my friend,—
Or whatsoever name thou dost desire,—
Be thou most sure, I do not recommend
Aught that thy mental weal may not require;
Mayst thou have all that's wish'd thee at the end
Of Coke on Littleton! — l can't soar higher
In any wish of mine. — But shun disasters:—
"And learne thy law of all our learned masters."
I did intend to give young jurisprudents
A list of Books — all for their grave inspections:—
But much I fear, old men, as well as students,
Would not approve of some of my directions:—
I promise nothing that will raise turbulence;
I'll write no more, in cantos, stanzas, sections,
Until I see, what I cannot see yet,
My work, not name, appear in the Gazette—
I mean "the Literary" — which comes out
Each Saturday — and which I always read
Because I ever like to know, about
As early as I can — I do indeed—
What's publish'd; — and I've very little doubt
The gents who write in it are never fee'd.—
If I thought otherwise, (it mayn't be civil!)
Rather than read it, I'd see them at — old Nick.
'Tis said, 'tis far more difficult to end
A tedious poem, than begin a new one;
Vide Fourth Canto of J. Murray's friend
's amazing long, but never ending Juan.
'Tis fortunate for bards no stamps attend
Poor poets' writings. That would be their ruin!
But though to them a duty most alarming,
To idle readers 'twould be wondrous charming.
Thus end two Cantos, which have ta'en six weeks
To write. I did it at odd times — to show
Myself if easy 'twas for him who seeks
To manufacture verses, to do so
In humble guise. But when a poet speaks
Touching himself, why, he should gently go
Over the stones — lest critics with a "damn" blow
Him up, and haul him o'er the coals, and swear he scribbles crambo.
So — now God save His Gracious Majesty
King George the Fourth! and happy may he reign!
And may he some day have a ministry
Such as ne'er was — nor e'er would be again,
In any government or dynasty—
Produc'd by magic or legerdemain!—
One that will suit — O tempora! O mores!—
My readers, be they Radicals, or be they Whigs, or Tories.