Page images


These freeborn sounds proceeded from four pads

In ambush laid, who had perceived him loiter Behind his carriage; and, like handy lads,

Had seized the lucky hour to reconnoitre, In which the heedless gentleman who gads

Upon the road, unless he prove a fighter, May find himself within that isle of riches Exposed to lose his life as well as breeches.


Juan, who did not understand a word

Of English, save their shibboleth, “God damn!” And even that he had so rarely heard,

He sometimes thought 't was only their “ Salām," Or “ God be with you!”—and 'tis not absurd

To think so: for half English as I am (To my misfortune) never can I say I heard them wish“ God with you,” save that way;


Juan yet quickly understood their gesture,

And being somewhat choleric and sudden, Drew forth a pocket pistol from his vesture,

And fired it into one assailant's puddingWho fell, as rolls an ox o'er in his pasture,

And roar'd out, as he writhed his native mud in, Unto his nearest follower or henchman,

[man!” « Oh Jack! I'm floor'd by that 'ere bloody French


On which Jack and his train set off at speed,

And Juan's suite, late scatter'd at a distance,
Came up, all marvelling at such a deed,

And offering, as usual, late assistance.
Juan, who saw the moon's late minion (1) bleed

As if his veins would pour out his existence,
Stood calling out for bandages and lint,
And wish'd he had been less hasty with his flint.


[ocr errors]

Perhaps," thought he, “ it is the country's wont

To welcome foreigners in this way: now I recollect some innkeepers who don't

Differ, except in robbing with a bow, in lieu of a bare blade and brazen front.

But what is to be done? I can't allow
The fellow to lie groaning on the road :
So take him up; I'll help you with the load.”


But ere they could perform this pious duty,

The dying man cried, “ Hold! I've got my gruel! Oh! for a glass of max! (2) We've miss'd our booty;

Let me die where I am !” And as the fuel

(1) [“ Falstaff. Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon : and let men say, we be men of good government; being governed as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we - steal." Henry IV.]

(2) [Gin or Hollands. ]

Of life shrunk in his heart, and thick and sooty

The drops fell from his death-wound, and he drew ill His breath,—he from his swelling throat untied A kerchief, crying, “ Give Sal that !” – and died.


The cravat stain'd with bloody drops fell down

Before Don Juan's feet: he could not tell Exactly why it was before him thrown,

Nor what the meaning of the man's farewell. Poor Tom was once a kiddy (1) upon town,

A thorough varmint, and a real swell, (2) Full flash, (3) all fancy, until fairly diddled, His pockets first and then his body riddled.


Don Juan, having done the best he could

In all the circumstances of the case, As soon as “ Crowner's quest” (4) allow'd, pursued

His travels to the capital apace;Esteeming it a little hard he should In twelve hours' time, and very


space, Have been obliged to slay a freeborn native In self-defence: this made him meditative.

(1) (A thief of the lower order, who, when he is breeched by a course of successful depredation, dresses in the extreme of vulgar gentility, and affects a knowingness in his air and conversation, which renders him in reality an object of ridicule. - Vaux.]

(2) [Any well-dressed person is emphatically called a swell, or a real swell.-P. EGAN.]

(3) [A fellow who affects any particular habit, as swearing, dressing in a particular manner, taking snuff, &c. merely to be noticed, is said to do it out of flash. - Egan.] (4) [" 2d Clown. But is this law ?

1st Clown. Ay marry is 't ; crowner's quest law." - Hamlet.]


He from the world had cut off a great man,

Who in his time had made heroic bustle. Who in a row like Tom could lead the van,

Booze in the ken, (1) or at the spellken (2) hustle ? Who queer a flat? (3) Who (spite of Bow-street's ban)

On the high toby-spice(4) so flash the muzzle ? Who on a lark, (5) with black-eyed Sal (his blowing),(6) So prime, so swell, (7) so nutty, (8) and so knowing? (9)

(1) (A house that harbours thieves is called a ken.
(2) [The play-house.
(3) [To puzzle or confound a gull, or silly fellow.
(4) [Robbery on horseback.

Slang Dictionary.] (5) [Fun or sport of any kind. (6) [A pick-pocket's trull (7) [So gentlemanly.

(8) (To be nuts upon, is, to be very much pleased or gratified with, any thing: thus, a person who conceives a strong inclination for another of the opposite sex is said to be quite nutty upon him or her. – Slang Dictionary.]

(9) The advance of science and of language has rendered it unnecessary to translate the above good and true English, spoken in its original purity by the select mobility and their patrons. The following is a stanza of a song which was very popular, at least in my early days :

“ On the high toby-spice flash the muzzle,

In spite of each gallows old scout;
If you at the spellken can't hustle,

You 'll be hobbled in making a Clout.
“ Then your Blowing will wax gallows haughty,

When she hears of your scaly mistake,
She'll surely turn snitch for the forty

That her Jack may be regular weight.” If there be any gemman so ignorant as to require a traduction, I refer him to my old friend and corporeal pastor and master, John Jackson, Esq., Professor of Pugilism; who, I trust, still retains the strength and symmetry of his model of a form, together with his good humour, and athletic as well as mental accomplishments.

But Tom's no more- and so no more of Tom.

Heroes must die; and by God's blessing 't is
Not long before the most of them go home.

Hail! Thamis, hail! Upon thy verge it is That Juan's chariot, rolling like a drum

In thunder, holds the way it can't well miss, Through Kennington and all the other “ tons," Which make us wish ourselves in town at once ;


Through Groves, so call'd as being void of trees, (Like lucus from no light); through prospects

named Mount Pleasant, as containing nought to please,

Nor much to climb; through little boxes framed Of bricks, to let the dust in at your ease,

With “ To be let," upon their doors proclaim'd; Through “Rows" most modestly call's “Paradise," Which Eve might quit without much sacrifice;


Through coaches, drays, choked turnpikes, and a whirl

Of wheels, and roar of voices, and confusion ; Here taverns wooing to a pint of “ purl," (1)

There mails fast flying off like a delusion; There barbers' blocks with periwigs in curl

In windows; here the lamplighter's infusion Slowly distill'd into the glimmering glass (For in those days we had not got to gas-);(?)

(1) [A kind of medicated malt liquor, in which wormwood and aromatics are infused. - -Todd.] -(2) [The streets of London were first regularly lighted with gas in 1812)

« PreviousContinue »