« ZurückWeiter »
Oh heavy news, King James did say:
Scotland can witness be,
Of such account as he.
Within as short a space,
Was slain in Chevy-Chase.
Sith 'twill no better be,
But I will vengeance take,
For brave Lord Piercy's sake.
After on Humble-down;
With lords of great renown.
Did many thousands dye, &c.
At the same time that our poet shews a laudable partiality to his country-men, he represents the Scots after a manner not un. becoming so bold and brave a people.
Earl Douglas on a milk-white steed,
Most like a baron bold,
Whose armour shone like gold.
1 The old version reads with far more effect:
Hys handdes dyd he weal and wryng,
He sayd, Alas, and woe ys me!
He sayı'y-feth should never be, &c.-A. 2 The dougheti Dogglas on a stede
He rode att his men beforne;
His sentiments and actions are every way suitable to an hero. One of us two, says he, must die: I am an earl as well as your. self, so that you can have no pretence for refusing the combat : however, says he, 'tis pity, and indeed would be a sin, that so many innocent men should perish for our sakes, rather let you and I end our quarrel in single fight.
Ere thus I will out-braved be,
One of us two shall die.
Lord Piercy, so am I.
And great offence, to kill
For they have done no ill.
Let thou and I the battle try,
And set our men aside.
By whom this is deny’d.
When these brave men had distinguished themselves in the battle, and in single combat with each other, in the midst of a generous parly, full of heroic sentiments, the Scotch earl falls; and with his dying words encourages his men to revenge his death, representing to them as the most bitter circumstances of it, that his rival saw him fall.
With that there came an arrow keen
Out of an English bow,
A deep and deadly blow.
Fight on my merry men all,
Lord Piercy sees me fall.?
' An improvement upon the old poem.-G.
? Here the original poem is very spirited; but the beautiful thoughiu which Addison admires so much, belongs to the modern poet.-G.
Merry Men, in the language of those times, is no more than a cheerful word for companions and fellow-soldiers. A passage in the eleventh book of Virgil's Æneid is very much to be admired, where Camilla, in her last agonies, instead of weeping over the wound she had received, as one might have expected from a war rior of her sex, considers only (like the hero of whom we are now speaking) how the battle should be continued after her death.
Tum sic expirans, &c.
Turnus did not die in so heroic a manner; though our poet seems to have had his eye upon Turnus's speech in the last verse,
Lord Piercy sees me fall.
Vicisti, et victum tendere palmas
Earl Piercy's lamentation over his enemy is
beautiful and passionate; I must only caution the reader not to let the simplicity of the style, which one may well pardon in so old a poet, prejudice him against the greatness of the thought.
Then leaving life, Earl Piercy took
The dead man by the hand,
Would I had lost my land."
Here the old peem has a picture, which is entirely lost in the modern
O Christ ! my very heart doth bleed
With sorrow for thy sake ;
Mischance did never take.
That beautiful line, taking the dead man by the hand, will put the reader in mind of Æneas's behaviour towards Lausus, whom he himself had slain as he came to the rescue of his aged father
At vero ut vultum vidit morientis, et ora,
! I shall take another opportunity to consider the other parts of
this old song.
No. 72. WEDNESDAY, MAY 23.
Genus immortale manet, multosque per annos
Virg. Georg. iv., 208.
Having already given my reader an account of several extraordinary clubs, both ancient and modern, I did not design to have troubled him with any more narratives of this nature : but I have lately received information of a club which I can call neither an
though the beautiful incident of taking the dead man by the hand has been preserved.
The Persd leanyde on his brande,
And saw the Duglas de;
And sayd, Wo ys me for thel-G.
cient nor modern, that I dare say will be no less surprising to my reader than it was to myself; for which reason I shall communicate it to the public as one of the greatest curiosities in its kind.
A friend of mine complaining of a tradesman who is related to him, after having represented him as a very idle, worthless fellow, who neglected his family, and spent most of his time over a bottle, told me, to conclude his character, that he was a mem ber of the Everlasting Club. So very odd a title raised my curi. osity to inquire into the nature of a club that had such a sounding name; upon
friend gave me the following account. The Everlasting Club consists of a hundred members, who divide the whole twenty-four hours among them in such a manner, that the club sits day and night from one end of the year to another; no party presuming to rise till they are relieved by those who are in course to succeed them. By this means a member of the Everlasting Club never wants company; for though he is not upon duty himself, he is sure to find some who are; so that if he be disposed to take a whet, a nooning, an evening's draught, or a bottle after midnight, he goes to the club, and finds a knot of friends to his mind.
It is a maxim in this club, that the steward never dies; for as they succeed one another by way of rotation, no man is to quit the great elbow-chair which stands at the upper end of the table, till his successor is in a readiness to fill it; insomuch, that there has not been a Sede vacante in the
of man. * This club was instituted towards the end (or, as some of them say, about the middle) of the Civil Wars, and continued without interruption till the time of the Great Fire,' which burnt them out, and dispersed them for several weeks. The steward at that time maintained his post till he had like to have been blown up with a neighboring house, (which was demolished in or