« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
This summer my cousin came up from the South, Just because a "strange kiss" was annoying her mouth;
And now-a-days ladies think nothing of hopping Fifty miles after breakfast to go an hour shopping. Sweet Mary, my cousin, from Heaven inherits Good-nature and beauty, good sense and high spirits;
Without affectation of fashion or lore,
She is just what you see her, no less and no more; With wit rich and brilliant as summer-dropt rain, To the breast of the weakest she never caused pain; Yet the passion and pride and the love of Tipp'rary At intervals flash from my wild cousin Mary— No prude on the one hand, nor flirt on the other, And, in fact, I'm her cousin-thank God!-not her brother.
'Twas natural, of course, in my gladness and haste, That somehow my arm should encircle her waist; It stole round, and was met with such artless good will,
That I wish from my soul it were trembling there still.
Well, we chatted a long time, as cousins will chat,
But Mary liked not such a jesting reply,
The ghost of a frown flitted over her face;
"My cousin! if the poet's heart
The wound of memory's poisoned dart,
'Tis not to soothe a morbid gloom,
And wake the buried woe.'
Young Hope encharnelled lies-
And yet my tale is briefly told-
The heart in boyhood e'en made cold,
Some hearts there are will twine their strings
Round all contiguous lovely things,
I worshipped all things beautiful—
I loved at night to hear the bird That serenades the moon;
I loved the roaring cataract
That thunders from the rock,
I loved to see its lurid glare
And faery minstrels round me played
And from the founts I called up sylphs
With linked limbs, from Tenedos
And all the bright Castalides,
With zoneless bosoms, sang to me,
The waves!-the waves!-the Atlantic waves!
And, like thy tides, my spirit swelled,
But not the fires that flash on high,
And her sweet smile o'er all my dreams
Her whispers thrill the shade;
Although it lived not long.
Now undeceived, no more a lover,
Life's brightest, saddest dream is over.
Now, all this time, in love being a wretched tactician,
I toiled up Love's Vesuvius, resolved to die or
I forgot that the keyhole commands our position,
And, like L'Homme Blasé, find 'it only smokes, Was squinting-no eye ever squinted as can hers—
there's nothing in it.'
At our simple endearments and primitive manners.
I only hope for friendship now,
And chase remembrance from my brow,
Then sun me in thy cloudless eyes,
Be all the past forgiven,
And should remorseful mem'ries rise,
(Mem. This fusillade of pathos I have always found victorious,
Who therein, like Napoleon, with gusto and skill,
The mine was exploded-she says, in a fume,
You romp with the housemaid, you flirt with my nieces,
If properly supported by the muscle amatorius.1) | And have broken the peace of my daughter to
"But truce to sadness and digression.
Voici, ma chère, the entire confession.
Thrice my shafts the Fates have parried;-
So, drawing innocently near her,
I tried to rally, soothe, and cheer her.
(Mem. This very artless gesture seemed in no way to astound her.)
"Oh! come," said Mary,
My fourth". "don't you think that three will do? Now, I don't believe one-third of what you tell me can be true
Were you ever once undoubtedly?"
And here behold her portrait!" and I led her to
Here, to make the tale impressive, my arm again
stole round her.
1 A muscle of the orbit used in ogling.
Now, reader, there's far less connection between her
Hitching up, with a smile, my retiring Tommaso, 2
If a poet, a brick, and a medical student,
But as to her peace, Major Thunderbolt broke it.
And to prove that I know your pet lobster, I wager
He has gooseberry eyes, and a conical head,
2 Vulgo, Tommy.
And she faced me full front, wheeling swiftly | Or a private, indeed, than a quack, should engage about on
Ah! woman, that tongue of thine-young ones and old
Her dear me!-her-thank God for Greek Oh, yes! you're a doctor? but, faith, if your pill epiglouton.1 Is all like what I got, you'll cure less than you kill; For a fortnight I hadn't an hour to myself, And they settled a cat that found one on the shelf. Though you think you look wise in your specs, since you got 'em,
Had you twenty glass eyes, you're a humbug at bottom."
Is worse than a scalpel, by Jove, when you scold,
FRANCES POWER COBB E.
Cobbe's pen is that which, by a somewhat misleading synedoche, is called "woman's rights." She has maintained in many an essay the claims of her sex to have a place in the professions and a share in the political activity of her time. In her own self she is, perhaps, one of the strongest arguments in favour of her view, for she has shown in literature an activity that is paralleled by few men, and a grace of style and freshness of thought for which more than one masculine writer might vainly sigh.
[One of the favourite subjects of Miss | sundry other tragic passions, to be read of in books, but no longer witnessed on the real stage of life. Of course we should expect to find it modified according to the conditions of modern civilized existence. Nobody desires to see a Hercules, a Theseus, or a Perseus going about in England slaying monsters, and robbers, and dragons for the public good; nor do we expect to hear of Sir Galahad riding through a forest (shall we say St. John's Wood?) in search of distressed maidens to defend with sword and lance.
Frances Power Cobbe is the daughter of Mr. Charles Cobbe of Newbridge House, county Dublin, and was born on December 4, 1822. She received her education at Brighton. For many years she has been a frequent contributor to the periodical literature of the day, and her essays republished in volume form make up a goodly list. She has published amongst other things Essays on the Pursuits of Women, 1863; Broken Lives, 1864; Cities of the Past, reprinted from Fraser's Magazine, 1864; Italics: Brief Notes on Politics, People, and Places in Italy; Darwinism in Morals and other Essays, 1872; The Hopes of the Human Race Hereafter and Here, 1874. The work from which we quote, entitled Re-echoes, appeared in 1876. It is a republication of essays which she contributed to the Echo, and which formed for many years one of the most attractive features in that journal.]
CHIVALRY OF THE PERIOD.
We have been tempted sometimes to ask whether the sentiment of chivalry were not defunct, along with revenge and remorse, and
We smile, not only at classic and mediæval chivalry, but at the reflection of it in the Elizabethan age, when the gallant Lord Herbert of Cherbury solemnly debated whether his vow as a Knight of the Bath did not compel him to "succour" a small damsel of six, from whom a romping schoolboy had stolen a blue ribbon. Yet a stage further, and we find the chivalry of the eighteenth century represented by Lord Chesterfield, whose "ruling passion strong in death" manifested itself in his last expiring groan, "Give Mr. Dayrolles a chair!" That was an ebb of chivalry at all events. Has the tide turned in our day, or has it still further receded?
In more respects than one we fear the appearances are against us. The non-intervention policy, sound as it usually is, as regards nations, is certainly carried in these busy days rather too far into private life. We have time enough, alas! to spread scandalous stories; but to take the trouble to contradict and crain them down the scandal-monger's throat is a thing for which we profess to have no leisure. We give our money freely enough to men in distress; but to obey a summons for help in
1 Bustle.-epi, upon, and gloutos.
2 A muscle of the tongue.
the case of a brawl or a robbery, or to run the | is talk of admitting women to new professions,
risk of appearing in a court of justice or in the columns of a newspaper-this is a chivalry for which we have no taste. Still more largely does the critical spirit which pervades all modern life detract from the generous enthusiasm of loyalty and admiration with which men used to look up to their leaders in the world of thought and action. So clear is this, that it is now actually startling in common discourse to hear a man speak in anything like the spirit of chivalry even of his friend and ally.
that in such case they must be prepared to forego the "chivalry" with which they have hitherto been treated, and find it exchanged for some unprecedented mode of behaviour which (it is grimly added) they "won't like”? But do men, then, really feel that it would be a luxury to treat women rudely?—an enjoyment from which this same "chivalry" somehow cruelly debars them so long as women do nothing (at least, nothing remunerative) in the way of work? Will it be a release to them from the irksome bondage of good manners when they may brush past a feeble lady with a dig of their elbows in her side, and keep a poor old woman standing while they lounge in a rocking-chair, or puff tobacco in the face of another, and bid a pretty girl "go to Jericho?" We really do not quite believe it, at least not in the case of the pretty girl, however it may be with the old women.
But it is especially in the treatment of women by men that chivalry is always supposed to show itself. How may this be with us now? We fear it is a very enigmatical thing, this same masculine chivalry of the nineteenth century. In the humbler ranks it never induces men to prevent women from doing the coarsest and hardest labour. They may sweep crossings, and fill coal trucks, and dance on tight ropes, and no chivalry says "Leave it for me!" But when women work so long that their small strength competes with men after the fashion of the tortoise and the hare, then chivalry limits the hours of female labour; and when women by chance discover that they can earn a good deal of money in some new way-say by painting on china-then the chivalry of their male companions induces them to seize their maul-sticks and forbid them to do any work but that for which the smallest pay is to be obtained. Chivalry is not in the least shocked at the sight of a woman dressed in male attire dancing on a public stage, but chivalry is disgusted beyond measure at the spectacle of a modest lady attending the sick as a physician in a hospital. Chivalry has not lightened any single tax, succession duty, or other burden in favour of women. There is nothing for which a woman pays less, and gets the same thing as But there are a great many things for which women pay as much (or, from their ignorance, more) than a man, and obtain less in the way of accompanying rights and privileges, without chivalry being in the remotest degree concerned with the matter. All this, to our thinking, is rather unchivalrous chivalry. But, then, there is to balance it that masculine "politeness" of which we always hear so much. A woman has, indeed, generally to pick her steps with some difficulty through the mire of life, but then she is sure to be offered an arm to go down a broad carpeted staircase to dinDo we not always hear, whenever there
The truth seems to be, that though the outward forms of chivalrous courtesy are not lost, the self-sacrificing part of it, which constitutes its true beauty and value, is in some danger of being forgotten amid our modern press of business and general struggle for existence. In the leisure of the drawing-room every one is courteous; in the hurry of quitting a steamboat not one in a dozen is moderately goodmannered. The young, the well-dressed, and (of course, as nature will have it) the beautiful, are treated with a care often quite superfluous; the aged, the feeble, and the solitary are rudely pushed aside. When a train draws up at a terminus, and there is ample time for descent, many a well-bred man will offer his hand to the lady passengers to aid them to alight. When a train is going to start, and an "unprotected" seeks to take her ticket and climb into her carriage, it too often happens that one man will push before her to the ticket-window, and a second give her a poke with his umbrella; while a third, with agility quite remarkable, jumps before her into the carriage and takes the corner seat. The true spirit of chivalry was never better exemplified, though somewhat awkwardly expressed, than by a poor dull school-boy home for the holidays, amid a party where there were many pretty young girls, and one deaf, decrepid old lady. The other boys in company bore off the girls to dinner, each with many juvenile compliments. "And I," said the dull lad, offering his arm to the astonished old lady-"I'll take you, Miss D., because you are little, and because you are old!"