Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

who had been all for some time puzzled at the absence of him who was proverbial as

“ Best foot on the flure,

First stick in the fight.” “ There's the murderer of Mat Dolan, boys,” cried the woman, as some ten or twelve yards off she recognized Johnny, who was conspicuous enough, wearing his shirt like a herald's tabard, as in his haste he had drawn it on at Hell-kettle. With a yell that might have scared the devil, thirty athletic fellows sprang forward at full speed after Evans, who wisely never stayed to remonstrate, but made one pair of heels serve, where the hands of Briareus, had he possessed as many, would not have availed him. He arrived at Mrs. Donovan's door before his pursuers; he raised the latch, but it gave not way~ the bar was drawn within ; and, had his strength been equal to it, fur. ther flight was become impracticable. Turning with his back to the door, there stood Johnny like a lion at bay, uttering no word, since he well knew words would not prevail against the fury of his foes. Forward with wild cries and loud imprecations rushed the foremost of his pursuers, and Evan's life was not worth one moment's purchase. A dozen sticks already clattered like hail upon his guard and on the wall over his head, when the door suddenly opening inwards, back tumbled Johnny, and into the space he thus left vacant stepped a gaunt figure, naked to the waist, pale, and marked with a stream of blood yet flow. ing from the temple. With wild cries the mob pressed back.

" It's a ghost !—it's Dolan's ghost !" shouted twenty voices, above all of which was heard that of the presumed spirit, crying in good Irish, “ That's a lie, boys; it's Mat Dolan himself! able and willing to make a ghost of the first man that lifts a hand agin Johnny Evans, who bate me at Hell-kettle like a man, and brought me here on his back like a brother."

“ Was it a true fight, Mat ?" demanded one or two of the foremost, recovering confidence enough to approach Dolan, who, faint from the exertion he had made, was now resting his head against the doorpost.

A pause, and the silence of death followed. The brows of the men began to darken as they drew close to Dolan. Evans saw his life de. pended on the reply of his antagonist, who already seemed lapsed into insensibility.

“ Answer, Mat Dolan!" he cried impressively, “ for the love of Heaven answer me—was it a true fight ?"

The voice appeared to rouse the fainting man. He raised himself in the doorway, and stretched his right hand towards Evans, exclaiming,

“True as the cross, by the blessed Virgin !” and, as he spoke, fell back into the arms of his friends.

Evans was now safe. Half a dozen of the soberest of the party escorted him down to the police station, where they knew he would be secure ; and Dolan's friends, bearing him with them on a car, departed, without an attempt at riot or retaliation.

This chance took place sixteen years ago ; but since that day there never was a fair at Dunlavin that the orangeman Evans was not the guest of Dolan, nor is there a fair-night at Donard that Mat Dolan

does not pass under the humble roof of Johnny Evans. I give the tale as it occurred, having always looked upon it as an event creditable to the parties, both of whom are alive and well, or were a year ago ; for it is little more since Evans, now nigh sixty years old, walked me off my legs on a day's grousing over Church-mountain, and through Oram's-hole, carrying my kit into the bargain. Adieu. It will be a long day ere I forget the pool of " Hell-kettle," or the angels in whose company I first stood by its bubbling brim.

THE DEW-DROP AND THE ROSE.

A DEW-DROP fell on a Rose's breast,

Deep in her cup he fell,
And there he lay in tranquil rest

And deem'd he'd ever dwell.
She hid him in her leaves so bright,

Whilst he lay hush'd beneath,
O'er him she watched till morning light,

And fann'd him with her breath.
The young Dew-drop enamour'd grew,

And loved away the hours;
Unheeded the soft zephyr flew,

And blush'd the neighb’ring flowers.
The rose's treasured guest was there,

Till sultry noon was high-
She had no doubt, distrust, or care,

Fear'd no inconstancy.
And now the Drop said to his Rose,

(And sparkled on the fair,)
Thy perfumed leaves, my love, unclose,
I long to breathe the air."
The Rose obey'd ; domestic, kind,

And full of tenderness,
She deem'd none dearer he could find,

Or e'er could love her less.
A lovely Sunbeam, gay and warm,

Came rambling down that way;
She mark'd the glittering Dew-drop's form,

And paused her court to pay.
He saw the fair intruder glide,

Array'd in splendour's gay attire,
Look'd from his gentle blushing bride,

And looking linger'd to admire.
Pleased with the fair one's graceful air,

The faithless lover gazed a while,
When, lo! he was no longer there-

He sunk, and perish'd neath her smile!
The blooming Rose in sorrow droop'd,

(As she who is forsaken grieves,)
Breathed not her woes, but mildly stoop'd,

And, silent, shed her beauteous leaves.
Fondly and vainly, maidens bright,

The faithless men ye kindly cherish :
For spite of love's most hallow'd plight,

Their fleeting vows like "dew-drops" perish.

THE LOVE-MERCHANT.

A FABLE.

It was not until after I had written the following fable that the similarity of its point to that of the beautiful song, “Who'll buy my love-knots ?” occurred to me. I am aware that my case may be thought to resemble his, who, when accused of having borrowed his thoughts from the immortal Bard of Avon, replied, " It is no fault of mine that Shakspeare and myself should have had the same ideas.” Nevertheless, I venture to assert that my humble muse is not more indebted to that of the “ M ern Anacreon” for the con. ception of this fable, than is the midnight lamp for its glimmering rays to the glorious orb of day. It was entirely suggested by a "fresco" painting, still existing on the walls of a house in Pompeii; and if my readers could have watched, as I did, the process of removing the envious “ lapilli” which had concealed it for so many ages, they would, I think, allow for the impression it was likely to produce, and acquit me of plagiarism. The painting represents the figure of an old man, with a long white beard and flowing garments. Before him stands a large cage, or basket, containing several imprisoned “ amorini,” one of whom he has raised from it, and is holding forth by the wings, to attract the attention of a group of females. On the foreground lie a pair of compasses, and a mathematical figure described on a tablet.

THE LOVE-MERCHANT.

O’ER Cupid and his quiver'd band

Chronos, who seem'd in beard a sage,
Had gain'd a most complete command, -

Thanks to philosophy-or age;
For 'twas a subject of debate
To which he owed his tranquil state.
The old assign'd the former cause,

The young insisted on the latter,
And quite denied “that Wisdom's laws

Had help'd the dotard in the matter."
But though one passion was assuaged
In Chronos' breast, another raged,
And gained unlimited control

(Spite of the virtue rules confer)
Over the calculating soul

Of that self-styled philosopher.
This stumbling-block was love of gold,
(A vice well suited to the old,)
Which led him to conclude "'twas vain
To triumph where he could not gain;"
And, after some slight hesitation
As to such mode of speculation,
Induced him to sell off the prizes-
Loves of all characters and sizes,
Which he by some strange arts had won
From Venus and her fav’rite son.

Nor did the miser Chronos stop
As moderns would, to paint his shop;
No brazen plate announced his trade,
But, o'er the baskets he display'd,
On a rude board, which served as well,
He simply chalk'd up“ Loves to sell !”

[ocr errors]

Now Loves, though always in demand,
Had ne'er been kept as stock in hand,
Or shown for public sale before:

(I write of very ancient days)
So, when our sage produced his store,

The chronicle I quote from says,
That “there ensued a perfect race
Amongst the ladies of the place;
That old and young, the gay, the staid,
Each wife, each mother, and each maid,
With one accord were seen to start,
And crowd and jostle round the mart,
If not to buy, at least to stare
Upon this novel sort of ware.”

I hear some blooming reader say,
“What had the old to do there, pray ?"!
But I declare, by those bright eyes,
Although the fact may raise surprise,
E'en grandmammas were seen among
That motley and excited throng!
At their tenth “lustrum” men may cease*

To listen to sair Venus' call,
May offer up their prayers for peace,

Suspend their trophies on her “wall,"
And with some quiet, dull employment,
Replace love's turbulent enjoyment.

But,—when they once have raised on high
The scarlet flag of gallantry, -
Women will still prolong the war,
In spite of wrinkle and of scar!

Nay, frown not, fair one, for 'tis true-
Though, mark, I do not write of you.
Goddess of Courtesy foresend
That ought by me should e'er be penn'd
'Gainst one whose charms of form and face
Yield only to her mental grace !
I write (perhaps my muse is rash)

Of those to whom, like Lady Horace seems to have thought fifty a very proper age for retiring from the field of amorous warfare.

“Desine, dulcium
Mater særva Cupidinum,
Circa lustra decem flectere mollibus

Jam durum imperiis,” In a previous ode he had already declared his intention of reposing on his laurels.

“ Vixi puellis nuper idoneus,

Et militavi non sine gloria.
Nunc arma, defunctumque bello
Barbiton hic paries habebit,
Lævum marinæ qui Veneris latv
Custodit.”

A certain character is given,

But who contrive to be "received,» Because the mates they fit for heaven

Are either patient or-deceived ; And I assert as my conviction, Without much fear of contradiction, That such will oft defer the age For quitting Love's seductive "stage,” Till Death, whose “management is certain,”. Cuts short the “farce,” and “drops the curtain.',

But let us turn from this digression
To Chronos in his new profession. .
That cunning rogue, who knew how best
He should consult his interest,
Determined that his sale should be
A“ Ladies' sale” exclusively;
And, thinking that to flattery's art
Their strings alike of purse and heart
Would soonest yield, displayed his skill
To gain his customer's good will
He held his Cupids high in air,
To move the pity of “the fair,
And raised his profits" cent per cent,”
By many a well-turned compliment.

"First, I declare," the sage began, “That I'll not serve one single man Until each lady in the crowd,

Who may to purchase be inclined,
Has been, with due respect, allow'd

To choose a Cupid to her mind.
Then hasten, lovely dames, nor fear
To meet with disappointment here;
For my capacious cages hold
Loves for the young and for the old,
Loves for the beauteous and the plain !
Though, pardon me, I see 'lwere vain
Mongst those assembled here to seek
A plain or e'en a wrinkled cheek.
Yet, though you're young and handsome all,
Love comes not always at your call;
Or if it does, you do not find
Your lovers always to your mind.
Then haste with confidence to me,
And take what suits you best-for see !
These pretty captives do but wait
Your choice to free them from the state
Of thraldom into which they're thrown
By me for your dear sakes alone.”

As thus he spoke, a cage he shook, When, such was the imploring look Of each poor pris'ner, as in turn

He flutter'd to the close-barrd side,
That every heart began to yearn;

And, whilst the poorer deeply sighed
To think that poverty's control
Must check the promptings of the soul,-
The richer dames, who could afford
To feel, approach'd with one accord,

« AnteriorContinuar »