Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Spanish Armada set out to invade—ah,

'Twas sure, if they ever come nigh land,
They couldn't do less than tuck up Queen Bess,
And take their full swing on the island.
Oh, the poor queen of the island !

The dons came to plunder the island;
But snug in her hive the queen was alive,

And “buzz” was the word of the island.

These proud puff'd-up cakes thought to make ducks and drakes

Of our wealth ; but they hardly could spy land,
When our Drake had the luck to make their pride duck
And stoop to the lads of the island !
Huzza for the lads of the island;

The good wooden walls of the island;
Devil or don, let them come on,

And see how they'd come off the island !

Since Freedom and Neptune have hitherto kept tune,

In each saying, “ This shall be my land;" Should the “Army of England,” or all it could bring, land,

"
We'd show 'em some play for the island.
We'd fight for our right to the island;

We'd give them enough of the island;
Invaders should just bite once at the dust,

But not a bit more of the island.

THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.

THOMAS CAMPBELL. The music by T. ATTWOOD.

Our bugles sang truce, for the night-cloud had lower'd,

And the sentinel-stars set their watch in the sky, And thousands had sunk on the ground, overpower'd,

The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die. When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,

By the wolf-scaring fagot that guarded the slain, In the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,

And thrice, ere the morning, I dreamt it again.

Methought from the battle-field's dreadful array

Far, far I had roam'd on a desolate track, 'Twas in autumn, and sunshine arose on the

way To the home of my father, that welcomed me back. I flew to the pleasant fields, traversed so oft

In life's morning march, when my bosom was young; I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,

And knew the sweet strains that the corn reapers sung.

Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore

From my home and my weeping friends never to part; My little ones kiss'd me a thousand times o'er,

And wife sobb'd aloud in her fulness of heart.
Stay, stay with us, rest—thou art weary and worn!"

And fain was the war-broken soldier to stay ;
But sorrow return'd with the dawning of morn,

And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away!

UPON THE PLAINS OF FLANDERS.

THOMAS CAMPBELL. Air, “ The British Grenadiers."

UPON the plains of Flanders,

Our fathers long ago,
They fought like Alexanders

Beneath old Marlborough;
And still in fields of conquest

Our valour bright has shone. +
With Wolfe and Abercrombie,

And Moore and Wellington.

Our plumes have waved in combats

That ne'er shall be forgot,
Where many a mighty squadron

Reel'd backwards from our shot.
In charges with the bayonet,

We lead our bold compeers ;
But Frenchmen like to stay not

For British grenadiers.

Once boldly at Vimiera

They hoped to play their parts, And sing fal lira, lira,

To cheer their drooping hearts.* But English, Scotch, and Paddy-whacks,

We gave three hearty cheers, And the French soon turn'd their backs

To the British grenadiers.

At St. Sebastiano's,

And Badajos's town,
Where, raging like volcanoes,

The shell and shot came down,
With courage never wincing,

We scaled the ramparts high, And waved the British ensign

In glorious victory.

And what could Buonaparte,

With all his cuirassiers,
In battle do, at Waterloo,

With British grenadiers ?
Then ever sweet the drum shall beat

That march unto our ears,
Whose martial roll awakes the soul

Of British grenadiers.

* At Vimiera the French ranks advanced singing; the British only cheered.-Note by Thomas Campbell; quoted in his Life by Dr. Beattie.

Of the prodigies of British valour performed on this glorious field (Waterloo) Campbell spoke and wrote with enthusiastic admiration; but among the tributary stanzas thus in. spired, there was nothing perhaps more characteristic in style and spirit than the foregoing. -Life of Thomas Campbell, by Dr. Beattie.

[graphic]

Sa people, the English are pre-eminently fond of sporting, and have been so from the earliest times; but this passion has left few enduring traces upon our poetical literature. Somerville's “Chase” is the only sporting poem the language can boast, and it is a poem deserving of more than the niggardly praise which Dr. Johnson has bestowed upon it in his “ Lives of the Poets.” But beyond this, there is little or nothing to shew in our poetry of which sporting literature can justly be proud, unless it be an occa

P

sional description in the rhymed romances of Sir Walter Scott. The roaring choruses of " Hark forward !” or “Tantivy," or “

, “ Tantarara,” or, worse than all, “ Yoicks! Tally-ho!” were doubtless exciting enough at sportsmen's festivals in the bygone days; although they do not look well in print, and have no attractions for the mere reader. It requires a good singer, a loud chorus of willing voices, and the contagious enthusiasm of a large company, to render such roystering ballads at all agreeable, or even tolerable ; and paper and print invariably rob them of their attractions. Of all such attempts deseriptive of the pleasures of field-sports, scarcely one has reached mediocrity, whether as regards music, style, or sentiment. They have either called forth the just condemnation of the lover of music, or a smile of derision in the sportsman, from their want of characteristic terms and descriptions, and very often a feeling bordering on disgust in the well-educated man from the coarseness of their expressions. It is easy to account for this by the fact that such compositions principally date from a period when the minds and habits of men were as coarse as their compositions; but it is difficult to account for the equally certain fact that no recent attempts have been made to take up the same subject by those capable of producing music and poetry of a higher order.

The Squire Western of the norelist is a character which is no longer the prototype of the sportsman. The follower of the chase in 1700 was coarse in manner and mind, but it was not the chase that made him so. The coarseness was in society generally; for if there were Squire Westerns in those days, there were also Commodore Trunnions and Parson Trullabers. The state of the roads rendered a journey from Devonshire ar Yorkshire an undertaking of quite as much trouble and necessary preparation as is now a trip by the overland route to India. In those days the foxhunter came once in half-a-dozen years, or perhaps once in his life, to see the sights of London ; now he goes into the country for a few months to enjoy the chase—he is at the cover side at eleven in the forenoon, and often amid all *he refinements of the opera by eleven at night. The real

a

« PreviousContinue »