NEWTON NEVILLE (2)
‘Danish Romances’ - continued
The Danes seem to possess little humour of the intellectual sort; yet, for what we English know, there may be much mother wit—or what the Scotch call “wut”—amongst them. The humour which appears in their poetry is of the schoolboy sort, and turns a good deal on practical joking—a sport which boys, and nations in their infancy, are very fond of. The two following poems—the first by J. Baggesen, and the second by Christian Winther—are fair specimens of a style of humorous writing which is very popular in Denmark. The one turns on a very bold case of practical joking, and the other, for the most part, is a mild matter of verbal punning. We have rendered them both as literally as possible, though the task has been by no means an easy one:—
RIDDER RO AND RIDDER RAP.
There dwelt in Thorsinge cavaliers two
(Who rode very seldom to fight!),
If Thorsinge’s chronicles be true,
The one, Herr Dull, was lazy enew,
But one, like his name, was Bright.
They woo’d with gold and with witching speech
(By rent-roll, by reason, by right!)
The lily-white daughter of Overreach,—
Dull woo’d her with gold, Bright woo’d her with speech;
But Signe was fondest of Bright.
Herr Overreach loved gold-heaps and gold
(Ay, gold is a tempting sight!);
He knew Dull’s coffers bright guineas did hold,
So he scolded fair Signe for being so cold.
She wept, but abandon’d Bright.*
* Gav Kurvcn til Rap. Literally, gave Rap “the basket ;” but Anglice, gave him the “cold shoulder.”
Now bridegroom Dull by the ocean rode
(They rode very seldom to fight);
He trotted along to his bride’s abode,—
Ay, bridegroom Dull to the wedding rode.
“I, too, ride thither!” said Bright.
Forth with the bride came the bridegroom proud
(By rent-roll, by reason, by right);
Through the portal they join’d the wedding crowd,
While the men and the women shouted aloud.
“See, I am here!” said Bright.
To the bride-room wander’d the bridal train
(She saw each bridal knight).
Goblet on goblet they quaff’d amain,
To the bridegroom’s joy and the sweet bride’s pain.
“Ay, tipple your fill!” said Bright.
Dull, tippling and tippling, sat on a form
(Ay, tippling, the lazy wight!),
Preparing the bridal chamber warm;
Within were maidens, a merry swarm.
“Ay, ye may giggle!” said Bright.
So they carried the bride to the bridal bed
(By rent-roll, by reason, by right!);
The bridegroom still muddled his lazy head.
“Ay, sit you there! tippling, though newly wed!
I’ll take your place,” said Bright.
He took little Signe’s hand snow-white
(They run and embrace with delight),
Then he bang’d the door and fasten’d it tight;
“Hi! boy, go wish Herr Dull good night.
I’m going to sleep!” said Bright.
Off to Herr Bridegroom the little boy sped
(Ay, bridegroom—indolent wight!);
Herr Bridegroom! Herr Bridegroom! lift up your head!
Rap sits with the bride on the bridal bed.
“I do indeed!” said Bright.
The bridegroom raps at the door with a zest
(By rent-roll, by reason, by right!) ;
“Hi! open the door, you two—you had best!
Myself with my bride will betake me to rest.”
“Ay, betake thee to rest!” said Bright.
The bridegroom knock’d on at the door as he spoke,
And the little boy added his might;
“Come out, I have now had enough of the joke;
Come out, Ridder Rap, to the rest of the folk.”
“Ah! see if I do!” said Bright.
Then hammer’d and hammer’d the bridegroom old,
Ay, hammer’d with all his might;
“If thou within with my bride mak’st bold,
I’ll revenge it—hark thee—a thousandfold.”
“Go to the devil!” said Bright.
Fiercely pale grew Herr Bridegroom’s cheek
(By rent-roll, by reason, by right);
“Quit, quit my bride, and thy foolish freak,
Ere I fly to the King and justice seek.”
“Do as you please!” said Bright.
Early at morn, ’neath the breaking day
(They rode very seldom to fight),
Dull saddled his horse, and gallop’d away,
Making haste to the King to say his say.
“I, too, ride thither!” said Bright.
“Herr King, I married a beauteous bride
(By rent-roll, by reason, by right);
But after the bridal this Ridder hied
To the bridal chamber, and slept by her side.”
“That did I, I own!” said Bright.
“Since ye both the maiden hold so dear
(And ride so seldom to fight),
’Tis better to settle the matter here,
And with one another to break a spear.”
“Ay! that is the best!” said Bright.
The very next morning, when rose the sun
(Ay, the sun, with his pleasant light),
Dull mounted his charger, a pearl of a one,
And the whole Court gather’d to see the fun.
“See! here am I!” said Bright.
The very first joust, while the Court stood round
(By rent-roll, by reason, by right),
Bright’s charger slipp’d in the forward bound,
And slipp’d, and fell to its knees on the ground.
“Now help me, God!” said Bright.
The second joust, as these champions good
Wax fiercer and fiercer in fight,
From their bosoms trickled the red, red blood,
Dull fell from his horse to the dust and mud.
“There lies Herr Dull!” said Bright.
Home gallop’d Bright at a mighty rate,
In happy, victorious might;
And saw sweet Signe eagerly wait,
A virgin still, at the castle gate.
“ Now art thou mine!” said Bright.
Now Bright has gain’d what he loves the best
(By rent-roll, by reason, by right);
Now lies his head upon Signe’s breast,
Now on his arm does she, sleeping, rest.
“See! all is merry!” said Bright.
KNIGHT KALV (CALF).
KING WOLMER sat surrounded
By all his captains tall,
And dealt out land and castles
At will to each and all.
With bending head above them
The merry King did sit,
While guest and humorous banter
His face with laughter lit.
He gave them each a portion,
Adding his jest the while;
Each took his portion gladly,
And thank’d him with a smile.
The northern bit of country
Was Elske Broks’* good share;
“Creep in the sand,” quoth Wolmer
You’ll find house-shelter there.
“Where prowl the wolves and foxes
The goose is seldom found;
And you shall settle, therefore,
Each in appropriate ground.
But little Morten Due,†
He shall to Aalholm flee,
There sit on grassy hillocks,
Or build i’ the beechen tree!
* Anglice, badger. † Due, dove.
“Where shall we settle Galten?*
In Krogen let him gnaw;
We call you Hog with justice,
You have so sharp a claw;
The sea-gulls you can seize on,
That o’er the capes will pass.
On Kalv I settle Ribe,
For it abounds in grass!”
But Ridder Kalv grew angry,
Clench’d teeth, and made demur;
“That mouthful is too stringy—
God’s death! am I a cur?”
He grasp’d his sword in anger,
And slung it on his thigh;
“The hedge I now spring over,
And to the Germans fly!”
His horse he fiercely mounted,
And unto Holstein flew;
All riding-school manœuvres
He made the beast go through.
Announcing himself, with anger,
Drunk as drunk might be;
“Herr Earl, how dost thou value
My services and me?”
Rose from his seat Earl Gerhard,
And to the Ridder ran;
And shook with eager gladness
The hand of the Danish man.
He gave him two great castles,
And added gold thereto,
That the bold knight might hold him
Both liberal and true.
But discontent and anger
Kalv troubled o’er and o’er ;
His hawking, hunting, singing,
Contented him no more.
With wrinkles on his forehead
The knight doth sit and pine;
The very sun no longer
Shines as it used to shine.
* Galten, the pig.
One evening in winter
King Wolmer sat in hall,
And drain’d his golden goblets
Among his captains all.
Then roar’d the guard full loudly
Who sentinell’d at door,
“Here comes, upon my honour,
Herr Ridder Kalv once more!”
In stepp’d the knight full slowly,
With glances downward bent,
Paler, gentler, humbler,
Calmer than when he went.
He next with shameful tremor
Did Wolmer’s slippers kiss;
He was so sad of spirit,
And he was so pale, I wis!
“Herr King, Herr King, forgive me!
I knew not what I did;
I was an angry donkey,
And I am fairly chid!
But I have not been sleeping
In Holstein there so long—
I bring for your acceptance
Two castles great and strong.”
His face bent down, not angry,
King Wolmer from his throne,
While jest and merry laughter
Upon his features shone;
And the sweet cup of friendship
He gave with royal hand.
So rose he, smiling slily
Upon the smiling hand.
“And hear, beloved captains,
What I have got to say;
This Kalv can add, my captains,
As well as take away!
As calf his stall he quitted,
But as a monster cow,
He brings at last returning
Two mighty calves, I trow!”
The St. James’s Magazine (December, 1865)
ROMANCE FROM THE DANISH.
WHILE winter snows were falling,
So glistening and white,
And while the tempest murmur’d
Across the fields by night,
Within the peasant’s dwelling,
Beside the peasant’s hearth,
They sat and talk’d together,
In fellowship and mirth.
Old Hans, in quiet gossip,
Sits where the oven glows
(What one would list to rather
Than the strange tales he knows?):
“But is it true, my father?
And is there treasure still,
Which unto favour’d mortals
The elves can give at will?”
“Ay, son, when the cock croweth,
One needs must seize it then!
But if a word thou speakest,
It vanishes again.”
Then in a silent wonder
All sat as still as stone,
When lo! a hasty knocking,
And the door was open thrown.
Then enter’d, spade on shoulder,
A stripling, snowy white;
A shadow is on his features,
But in his eyes strange light.
His locks are wild and tangled,
With melting snowflakes drown’d,
The look is full of sadness
With which he looks around.
* Skaltegraveren—signifying the digger after hidden treasures.
“It is so cold without there!
I am so stiff with cold!
Ha! hear ye not the tempest
Howling across the wold?
Ah! the cancer was so bitter,
And the earth as hard as stone;
Oh, help, that I my treasure
May lift and make my own!”
So pale he stands, and bloody,
They gaze in fear the while.
“Art thou a treasure-seeker?”
He nods with pensive smile,
And eagerly leaps upward;
Then, standing still once more,
Wipes strangely tearful eyelids
Ere he glimmers through the door.
His spade he quickly shoulder’d,
And whisper’d, “Follow me!”
And all the household follow’d,
Palely and silently.
In haste he crept, while midnight
Chimes solemn, dull, and deep,
Toward the silent churchyard,
Where the dumb dead men sleep.
Dimly along the darkness
His lantern glimmereth;
The churchyard gate he opens,
And gains the place of death.
The wondering peasants follow,
And quake with cold and fright,
While above the graves gleams ghostly
The lantern’s fitful light.
They follow, but in horror,
They, shrinking backward, gaze,
For the treasure gleams before them
In the faint and yellow rays.
The lantern glimmers dimly,
And they see with awful eyes
That among the graves below them
A blood-stain’d coffin lies.
“See!” cried the pallid stripling,
Wildly and eagerly,
“Here, in the grave’s embraces,
Lies my dearest treasure—see!
Lo! here, for four long hours,
Labour’d these arms of mine.
I bleed! the clock strikes midnight!
Eliza, I am thine!”
“Oh, gracious God of heaven!”
The peasants cried, “’tis he,
Who, when his sweetheart perish’d,
Lost reason utterly;
From home outcreeping hither,
In frenzy he has hied.”
So, pale as snows of winter,
The fearful peasants cried.
See how he wildly claspeth
The coffin to his breast!
Hark, how the death-clock chimeth!
O Jesu, give him rest!
See how the poor wretch quivers;
“Raise him!” the peasants said.
They drew him from the coffin;
He smiled—and he was dead!
The St. James’s Magazine (January, 1866)
ROMANCE FROM THE DANISH.
OLD WINKELRED AND THE DRAGON.
BY B. S. INGEMANN.
At Roslock lieth a cavern great,
Where a poisonous dragon dwelt in state,
Who with bloody teeth and a flaming tongue
Munch’d men and women, old and young.
Like torches glimmer’d his eyes each night;
In the mountain he guarded a treasure bright.
Now who will slay this dragon of sin,
And who the treasure will raise and win?
The doughtiest cannot the monster withstand,
But the treasure could free the whole wide land!
So many a knight, both doughty and good,
Has stained the mouth of the den with blood.
And the dragon springeth with claws accurst,
While the champion’s armour and breastplate burst.
Upriseth, upriseth at last a knight,
Who thirsteth his manhood to prove in fight.
White are his locks as the mountain snow,
But his heart is of different hue, I trow.
In armour he standeth erect and hale,
As the glacier glistens his shirt of mail.
Twelve sons once sat at this champion’s side;
Eleven have by the dragon died.
Where was a knight so bold to be found?
The twelfth son play’d with his shield on the ground.
“Though half the world in his den be dead,
The monster escapes not from Winkelred.”
The little boy hears his father’s groan,—
“Till I am big, let the beast alone!
“So will I knock him so much about,
That all my brothers he’ll vomit out!”
The old man smiles in a fierce unrest,
And snatches the little boy to his breast.
“Thy brothers thou’lt look on never more;
But hell has plenty of dragons in store!
“When thou art big, and manly, and tall,
Thou shalt fight with the biggest of them all!”
By Roslock gleameth the dragon bright,
It gleameth by day, it gleameth by night.
In the cavern the monster raises his head;
At the mouth of the cavern stands Winkelred.
“Ah! ah! to battle with me you’d try—
With your sons in my hole do you wish to lie?
“Wouldst raise the treasure which none have seen,
Which a hundred years has buried been?”
With his sword responded the brave old man,—
In the cavern a terrible fight began.
The flesh of the dragon is stung, and stung;
’Mid flames, black darteth his poisonous tongue.
“Truce, champion! cause me no further pain!
And the bones of your sons you shall have again!
“Spare me! spare me! spare me! I pray,
And the treasure bright thou shalt take away!”
As the dragon utter’d the final word,
In his flaming throat plunged the fatal sword.
Over and over the dragon fell dead;
For the treasure dug conquering Winkelred.
It is not silver, it is not gold,
’Tis a spear of iron, wondrous and old.
With the spear returns the champion now—
He has proved his manhood full well, I vow.
Honour’d let the champion be!
He has freed the land from its slavery!
Where the free hand wields that weapon tried,
Chains are broken, and bonds untied.
’Tis a heritage from son to son;
Full often ’tis wielded in Ledinsdrun.
It has wielded been since the days of old,
When ’twas won by Winkelred the bold.
Bravely ’twas wielded by Winkelred,
And ’twas hung above him when he was dead.
Never shall it return to the ground,
While power and freedom on earth are found.
The St. James’s Magazine (February, 1866)
ROMANCE FROM THE DANISH.
The sky is netted with sable cloud,
And the Pleiads glimmer pale;
From heaven sweepeth the wind aloud,
And the pine trees creak in the gale.
In the groves of the gods the wind moans cold
Round Valhalla’s moss-grown pillars old:
“One time has gone by,
We sink, we die!”
It startles ghosts from the bloody stone,
And the bones of the sacrificed make a moan.
The Gothic stone mass uprises high,
Brown in the moon’s pale glance,
Its peaks upreach to the dark-blue sky,
And around the corpses dance.
From the long blue window a beam creeps fair
To the altar’s crucifix, smiling there:
“White Christ, thy brow
Wears victory now!
And soon shall the wild north zone fall down
On thy forehead in lieu of a thorny crown!”
On Norway’s shore King Olaf springs,
And masses sings on the strand,
From southerly strongholds great he brings
His monks to the rocky land.
The word of Christ upon swift wings flies,
But Hakon the mighty still denies:
For the old faith
Christ he gainsayeth,
And leads the Norsemen in fearless pride—
But Olaf scatters them far and wide.
Loud crows the cock at midnight-tide,
His son Earl Hakon slays,
And plucking the smoking knife from his side,
Kneels down in the grave and prays:
“White Christ! harm not our gods divine,
But take this offering of mine!
Stay Thy strong hand!
Forsake our land;”
But the owl flaps mildly its gloomy wings,
As on Rota’s bosom it shrieking springs.
High in the air cross-banners wave,
They gleam along in pride,
The Christian heroes lead Olaf the brave,
And fortune walks by his side!
Before him they carry the book of the Word,
Around the psalms of the church are heard,
A cross-handled band
He holds in his hand,
Before him rumour wanders and cries,
Before him Hakon the mighty flies.
On, on, rides Hakon, a trembling steed,
Till it halts with white foam wet;
“Though the Norsemen be slaves and deny their creed,
I will be constant yet!”
With tears his last friend he slaughters, and stains
His robe in the blood of his horse’s veins—
“Now think me dead,
That my life has fled,
But, Olaf! the north has champions in store,
And on my side battle Tyr and Thor.”
Gloom and anger are on his face,
As he creeps up a mountain tall,
And seeks in a cave a hiding-place,
With Karker * his freed thrall.
With a fire of shavings the cavern glares,
There sit they dumb, and the freedman stares,—
The one gainsayeth
The other’s faith;
The freedman eyes Hakon the wan and white;
Then he falls to sleep in the dead of night.
Then the darkness murmurs; at Olaf’s side
The red god Harmod† stands.
“The gods have trust,—King Olaf’s pride,
And the Christ shall fall by thy hands!
Freya is weeping tears of gold!
Shall a cross-deck’d robber and thief make bold
To disturb our land?
Grip sword in hand!
With the blood of Olaf our altars stain,
And thou in Valhalla’s halls shall reign.”
* In the original the name is Thormod Karker; i.e., Karker against Thor.
† The messenger of the gods.
The red shade vanishes while it speaks;
Up springeth the freedman now,—
“Christ stood before with smiling cheeks,
And touch’d his blood-stain’d brow.”
“Fright the thunderer’s thunder, thou trembling slave!
Why growest thou chill and cold as the grave?
Wouldst thou betray
Thy master?” “Nay!”
The freedman answer’d, in fear and pain;
And the worn-out Hakon slumber’d again.
In his dream smiles Hakon quietly,
While Karker looks in affright:
“Why saw I him swooning in blood? and why
Do I feel thus strange to-night?
He is but an outcast, a foe to the land,
So now in his blood will I stain this hand,
And from Olaf gain
A golden chain!”
Through the darkness pallidly creeps the churl,
And trembles, and cuts the throat of the Earl!
Loud cry the spies from the mountains near,—
“Ho, hither! for here is his den!”
Like a rush of wolves in the cave appear
King Olaf and his men.
They slay the blood-stain’d freedman, while
King Olaf gazes with pensive smile
On the bloody head
Of Hakon dead!
“Their doughtiest leader is no more,
And the reign of ignorance is o’er!”
The thunder roars and rolls in the sky,
Tremble both heaven and earth;
The swarm of the old gods swiftly fly,
To return no more to the north.
Instead of the altars of sacrifice,
Bloodless churches and cloisters rise.
But strangely, here
And there, appear
Memorials huge of the gods who have flown,
A height and gigantic pillars of stone.
The St. James’s Magazine (March, 1866)
A DANISH ROMANCE.
THE GIFT OF ÆGIR.
WHILE the high gods sported
Where the salt blue sea,
Near the isle of Ægir,
Ægir, god of ocean,
Grasp’d a drinking-horn,
Which a cunning artist
Did with power adorn.
No snail-shell lying
In the waters blue,
Was so strangely fashion’d,
And so fair of hue;
Speck’d with marvellous colours
Whence lustres break,
And grotesquely twisted,
Like a speckled snake.
The red winds melting
In the gold and white,
And the bowl within is
Spacious and bright;
In the bottom glitters
A carbuncle green,
And the fair rim sparkles
Into golden sheen.
The goddesses assembled
Praised the beauteous cup.
Cried Ægir, “Uove!
Fill the beaker up!”
With her hair rush-plaited
Stood the sea-maid sweet,
Blue her beauteous girdle,
Small her tender feet.
Follow’d by her sister,
While the great gods smiled,
With her virgin bosoms
Swelling plump and mild,
While beneath those bosoms
Her warm heart shook,
Stretching white arms dumbly,
She the snail-horn took.
Then the young sea-maiden,
Blushing bright of hue,
Like a swan plunged swiftly
In the waters blue;
She upheld the cup,
And with small pearls dewy
It was brimming up.
Ægir’s great brown fingers
Gripp’d the horn;—quoth he,
“God Ægir sendeth
A gift from his green sea;
To the goddess only,
Of the beauteous throng,
Who is mightiest, greatest,
Shall the horn belong.”
Then the beech-crown’d Frigga
In her beauty rose,
And her heavenly glances
Round the hall she throws:
“Than the earth’s fair mother,
Odin’s stately queen,
Who is mightier, greater,
In the god’s demesne?”
Then Gesion stretch’d snowy
Hands towards the sea
(Never was a maiden
Fruitful-loin’d as she!):
“Who ploughs the earth, and makes it
Fruitful as can be?
Drops the rain pure golden,
Ægir, who but me?”
Then rose Eir, upholding
Root and glittering knife:
“How have you trembled
For the hero’s life?
What is land, what valour,
Without health’s pure shower?
And what can liken
With my healing power?”
Rota, high and mighty,
Rose with stately glance,—
All the gods assembled
Gazed upon her lance:
“Ye of life have prated,
Powers assembled here;
What stops life’s strong action?
Rota’s fatal spear.”
Then smiled Freya, tripping
On her feet snow-white
To the spot where Ægir
Held the goblet bright:
“Give the horn to Freya!
Ægir, hour by hour
All the earth is crying,
‘Love has greatest power.’”
On his knee she sat her,
With a fond caress,
From her limbs of beauty
Floated back her dress;
Round his neck she wound her
Let him see her bosoms
In their naked charms.
Ægir grasp’d the goblet,
Fill’d with flaming fire,
When, lo! soft music
Broke from Bragi’s lyre!
As the god of ocean
Saw he gentle Ydun*
At her husband’s side.
* The holder of the precious fruit whereby the gods continually renewed their immortality.
With her crape-bound forehead,
And her beauteous waist
Like a slender tendril,
Sat the dumb and chaste;
Brown her hair’s rich brightness,
In a knot upbound,
Dewy azure pansies
In the tresses wound.
She a bowl pure golden
Held in hand snow-white.
For when Bragi playeth
On his harp-strings bright,
Hanging fruit grows fragrant,
Scenting sea and land,
And the fruit drops juicy
Into Ydun’s hand.
And the mild-eyed goddess,
With her sweetness wise,
Broke the spell of ever
Freya’s witching eyes.
“Ydun!” cried Ægir, loudly,
“To the harp of gold
Sing what wondrous treasure
Thy pure bowl doth hold!”
With a voice which murmurs
Like the nightingale,
When unseen it fluteth
In a leafy dale,
To the harp sang Ydun,
At the sea-king’s call,
And the wondrous music
Witch’d the hearts of all.
“Only those small apples,
Beautiful of hue,
Fresh and sweet and juicy,
May the gods renew!
Drank they not the juices
Of this fruit of gold,
Odin would grow hoary,
Freya worn and old!
“While the harp of Bragi
Lo! the ripe fruit droppeth
From the holy tree;
Strength, and health, and beauty,
An immortal life,
Only these can give ye!”
Thus sang Bragi’s wife.
And in awe and wonder
Heark’d the gods the while;
Then, behold, King Ægir
Pour’d, with eager smile,
In the lap of Ydun
All the white pearls small.
“Take the gift, O Ydun!
Mightiest of all!”
“And I ask thee only,
For this gift I give,
But to sip the juicy
Fruit whereby we live;
Of my deed and treasure
Sing a Runic rhyme,
Let it sound in beauty
Down the tracks of time.”
Gentle Ydun promised;
With the snowy fair
Pearls she deck’d the foreheads
Of every goddess there;
Gave the horn to Bragi,
To be kept for use,
Wet the lips of Ægir
With immortal juice!
If thereafter Loke,
With the heart of gall,
Had not stolen darkly
On the banquet hall,
Then had minstrel Sœmund
Sang this song of mine;
But the great theme perish’d
In the less divine.
That the wondrous story
Should not perish quite,
Did my goddess bid me
Strike the gold harp bright
Mists of ages vanish,
Valhal’s glories shine,
And the fruit of Ydun
Giveth life divine!
Newton Neville in the Press
The Glasgow Sentinel (16 March, 1861 - p.7)
THE WELCOME GUEST. London: Houlston and Wright, Paternoster Row.
As we predicted last month, the ‘Indian Scout,’ which occupies the leading position in the Guest for this current month, is increasing in interest as it proceeds, though who are these interesting creatures—the hero and heroine—cannot yet be clearly made out. The plot is deep, the characters numerous, the scenery wild and grand—partly Mexican and partly American—so the lovers of these attractions will find the ‘Scout’ more exciting than his quiet predecessor, ‘Prairie Flower.’ Mr. Rowsell supplies three of his agreeable relieving officer’s recollections. Besides the humour and pathos which they contain, an admirable insight is given Scottish readers of the English Poor Law system. Lascelles Wraxall continues to pore over the criminal records of Europe, and gives a sample from those of Berlin, Rouen, and Flanders. ‘Janeta’ is an excellent story of Luther and the Reformation, by Marguerite A. Power. The great event of the 13th century is made to tell very powerfully on the fortunes of an humble couple, who feel its influence, and in their way forward the great Reformer’s work. ‘Drawing the Long Bow’ is a brief history of the manufacture and ancient use of that weapon. In these days when the merits of long or short Enfields are keenly discussed, it will scarcely be credited, we fancy, that a yeoman good was able effectively to send a shaft four or five hundred yards. We agree with the writer in hoping that in the hands of our Volunteers ‘the rifle will become what the long bow was in the hands of our forefathers.’ In the ‘Lady Curll,’ a rhyme for the winter fire, we find the following admirable definition of ‘honour.’ We have a notion that the hero of the day—Major Yelverton—will be of the class described in the last four lines. The man who could give such a description of a ‘gentlewoman,’ as he did, can be nothing else:—
‘The thing we call honour, Wife, differs in men;
In some it is blind as the perilous foam;
But I’d say to our children, again and again,
That the heart of all honour is truth to Home;
That the hopes of pure honour are centred above;
That the crown of man’s honour is wifely love:
But the honour Sir Leonard Curll understood
Was to sin against duty and youth, but be good
To every frothy and fulsome lie
He spoke in the heat of his revelry.’
‘Cœlebs in Search of Relaxation’ gives some smart hits at certain representative men, whom any one may number among their acquaintances. Among others, is the man whose hobby is to be, or who professes to be, on terms of intimacy with actors and actresses, and to say or hint naughty things of the latter. To him and his fellows ‘Cœlebs’ administers the following rebuke:—‘Does Buxton, when he perpetrates those doubtful winks and nods on the mention of the names of respectable actresses, ever reflect that said winks and nods are very serious things? I am afraid not; yet Buxton, who has a good heart, in spite of his nonsense, would turn very pale were he aware of the amount of harm wrought by such silly insinuations. Innocent reputations have been materially injured by men like Buxton, who act from want of common forethought. A dubious shake of the head has ruined many a stainless lady in social estimation. A careless gesture has been the cause of much bitter heartache in hard-working families. Such things spread quickly; there are fools to perpetuate every libel. The worst of the matter is, that men like Buxton (and they are many) are often the indirect thieves of the morality they have the impudence, on no real grounds, to doubt. They laugh over supposed error as if they rather admired it, as a good joke. What is the consequence? A very general false estimate of professional ladies, and—through the weakness of individuals—a proportionate increase of “easy virtue” in the parties libelled. Thus. A helpless young creature, trembling on the verge of temptation, generally feels her strength in exact proportion to the social estimate conceived of her up to that moment. “She will be just as well thought of one way as the other;”—the common (and often too patent) female argument. The probable result is, she takes the bait offered, and is thenceforth a lost woman. Think over this, friend Buxton.’ Another score of articles, all more or less meritorious, make up the contents of the part.
The Morning Advertiser (1 October, 1863 - p.3)
The St. James’s.—
. . .
“The River” is a song that seeks a tune; the versification is liquid, as becomes the subject, the lines need not long be without appropriate music; they will suit many a good old tune without much arranging. Newton Neville is the author. ...
The Borough of Marylebone Mercury (3 October, 1863 - p.3)
St. James’s has for some time failed to fulfil the high promise given in its early numbers.
. . .
—From “Love,” by Newton Neville, we extract four lines containing a sentiment worth being acted on by all disappointed lovers.
“Though she may never be mine
Yet my heart at her feet I lay,
Nor seek to pilfer the shrine
At which I silently pray.”
The Illustrated London News (10 October, 1863 - p.18)
. . .
The St. James’s Magazine is remarkably good this month, having several excellent stories and papers of a miscellaneous character, and two songs by a new poet, Mr. Newton Neville, which certainly go far to evince the possession of real lyrical faculty.