BENEDICK.—Is it come to this—i’faith?—Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again?—Go to, i’faith; and thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays.

              Much ado about Nothing.
Act 1st, Scene 1st.







Canadian Poetics:


I begin shrewdly to suspect the young man of a terrible taint—Poetry; with which idle disease if he be infected, there’s no hope of him in a state course; actum est of him for a commonwealth’s man, if he go to it in rhyme, once.

Bartholomew Fair.



        AWAKE my Muse, whatever be thy mould,
    That deign’st thy minstrel’s humble hand to grace,
Whether akin to those well known of old,
    And bear’st the features of Thalïa’s face,
Or, one whom o’er the moderns we behold

    Urging the sonnets of that inky race,
Still, still inspire me ’midst thy rhyming pack
Lend me, old Pegasus, thy jaded hack!




Alas, how lean of late, poor hackney’d horse
    Wher’on the legs of sonnetteers now straddle,
Gall’d by thy crupper, which thou must, per force
    Still bear, least on thy neck should slip the saddle,
And thy blythe votaries then get a toss
    Whilst soaring fancy’s singing "fiddle-faddle!"
Poor beast, alas, how alter’d thy condition,

Work’d by the bards of ballad-verse fruition.




Could I but give thee power to speak, and chime
    In words—thy tale would be a tale of woe,
Then suiting cadence to thy rider’s rhyme,
    When thought was dull, sing out "hey nony-no!"

Truly pathetic— ultra wrought sublime¾ ¾ ¾
    A sample of what bards, when fancy’s slow
Will write—as ship-board making us just as sick,
Yet dignified by them above the classic!




And Oh, ye Muses, by whose bright invention, 25
    Some beings more than mortal have been deem’d,
When having gain’d thy mountain’s vast ascension,
    Caught the bright spark of fire, which from thee stream’d.
Is it, that ye of late have caus’d suspension,
    And only, feebly on this sphere have beam’d,

That scribblers have sprung up—profan’d thy art,
Nor one to lash them—and hurl satire’s dart?




Oh, what a motley group of bards to war at,
    Calling upon thy name—some, who perchance
Within the murky confines of a garret,

    Invoke a muse of rueful countenance,
With palid cheek—grey eyes—and locks of carrot,
    More like fierce Hecate, than Thalia’s glance,
Others, who Harpies—Furies—Fates, combine,
Thus cast a libel on the immortal Nine!




Indeed ’twere vain to dwell enumerating
    All, who before a self-imagin’d shrine,
On humble knee, their various forms prostrating,
    Would fain that some one might an ear incline,
Whilst they but shew (their joys or sorrows stating,) 

    How faint the sparks of wit which in them shine;
Therefore I’ll leave them plodding ode, and sonnet,
And turning to my theme—begin upon it.




Now—gentle reader, tho’ preparatory
    To all my labours—I have thus began
And striv’n to give a hint what vain-sought glory
    Is their’s, who launching on a scribbling plan
Seek, public praise—it is not that my story
    May prove much better than the lays I scan,
But ’tis a story, and as stories chime

In verse more fluent—I’ve begun in rhyme




Words, when in verse, a silvery smoothness have,
    Convey an easy, pleasing—soft emotion,
As the sweet glidance of a summer wave
    When undulating on the ambient ocean; 

As mine is jocund—where no tempests rave
    To frighten priests, and damsels to devotion,
No elfs or goblins—I have thought it fitter
To tumble into verse, and write in metre.




In Canada’s cold clime—no matter where,  65
     (For it might put a fetter on my lay,
To tell you it was such a spot, and there
    Phœbus arose in splendour every day,)
Liv’d an old Bachelor and Widow fair,
    Nor yet quite fair—for she I needs must say 

Was rather a brunette—and yet with woman,
We call them fair, en masse, the phrase is common.




If I were Annette’s lover, I might write,
    Endow her form and features with a million
Of charms and beauties: eyes of sparkling light,

    Hair auburn, cheek of rose, and lips vermilion,
Such as some poets in their tales indite,
    When Fancy seating them in Love’s pavilion,
Upon their heroines such flatteries shower,
And metamorphose woman to a flower.




Not being such a votary of Apollo,
    And all Love’s rich vocabulary scann’d,
How to describe the sex, their graces hallow,
    As they were Peris from some fabled land,
I must the groveling—prosy way fain follow, 

    And own, mine is no personage so grand;
No form of flowers, and fragrance decks my lay,
But such as one sees mostly, every day.




Yet Annette was a widow; there are some,
    Who like the blown rose, rather than the bud,
Tho’ the first incense of expanding bloom,
    Some sense hath feasted; some the mid-day flood
Of light prefer—to when the hours illume
    The morn—(Aurora harnessing her stud,)
But it were difficult to say what station 

Suits man—that pendulum of vacillation.




I like thee Canada; I like thy woods
    When Summer’s splendour shines on every tree;
I like thy cataracts, and roaring floods
    As if, old Chaos in Titanic glee,

Had set the elements in tuneful moods
    To rack their voices in rude revelry;
Thy Seasons too, when Nature can imprint her
Steps on the green—but the deuce take thy Winter.




’Tis pleasant to get rid of some curs’d care 105
    Of aching malady, or blustering people;
Life hath enough of ill for each man’s share,
    And Fortune’s ladder gainless as a steeple
With no ascent to’t but a broken stair;
    Few are there born, who do not oftener reap ill,

Than gather good, for life we know, at best
Is care—and we, its riddle and its jest.




’Tis pleasant too to feel—no matter why
    Sensations of agreeable surprize;
Man loves variety, and when the sky

    Hath scorch’d for days, and Heav’n drops from its eyes
Rain-showers; we thank it, being wondrous dry:
    All these things, when they suddenly arise
Delight; but unexpectedly a nose
Or ear to lose, your fingers or your toes,




Is certainly not pleasant; mighty Thor
    The Scandinavian god, did this no doubt,
With good intent; having perceiv’d what war
    The passions wage, where the hot sun shows out
Its rays in warmer climes, deem’d it a bore

    To set mankind’s weak senses to the rout,
And so to cool the sad effects of season,
Sent his priest Boreas, to bring Love to Reason.




But Love is Love; ’tis difficult to say
    Where it asserts not its imperious power,
In palace or in hovel—night or day,
    (Tho’ people say that night’s its loveliest hour).
Do not accuse me, because I convey
    What’s known to all, and look a little sour;
What hast thou never sigh’d, and never kiss’d, 

And art that prude in love, a Platonist?




Oh Love, infusing draught of sweet, and acid,
    Oh Cupid, king of hearts! say princely minion,
How many that would otherwise have passed
    Life without cares—when borne upon thy pinion, 

Have been depriv’d of all their moments placid,
    Snar’d in the nets, thou spread’st in thy dominion,
How many lur’d with promises of frolic,
Then left to groan beneath the spleen and cholic.




Princes or peers—the purse-proud, poor or peasant 145
    All fall in turn a victim to thy dart,
Just as men shoot, at woodcock, snipe or pheasant,
    When practis’d in that sanguiferous art,
In fact, all sorts, and some not over pleasant,
    Hoaxes, thou play’st upon the human heart, 

Not to recount the many sins for certain
Caus’d by thy wiles, behind Love’s bed-room curtain.




Was it not thee, who stirr’d great Alexander
    With Thaïs by his side, to fire the porch,
Of fam’d Persepolis—and young Leander,

    Whose love the waters quench’d, tho’ Hero’s torch
Shone bright to guide—myriads to whom a pander,
    Thy aid hath been, besides—to kill or scorch;
Not to omit poor Petrarch in his cowl,
Thou mad’st to rove like any midnight owl.




Or shall I hail thee, Love, as minstrels sing,
    Whose Muse inspir’d by rapture’s glowing powers,
Paint all thy blessings with the Iris wing
    Of Fancy—blooming as th’immortal bowers,
Where Venus’ self reclin’d—fresh as the Spring,

    And balmy as the breeze that breathes o’er flowers,
Fair as the lily when at morn bedew’d
And fragrant as the couch with violets strew’d,




Sweet as the tones which flow from music’s numbers,
    Which o’er the waters mellows all its sound,
Calm as the zephyr when all nature slumbers,
    Chaste as Diana’s orb in azure bound,
Pure as the vestal, whom no guilt encumbers,
    Bright as the vision of some fairy ground,
Soft as the sunny radiance of the skies

And as the essence sweet that never dies.




But pardon, gentle reader, that before ye,
    This long digression’s laid, and I have stopp’d
From the stright-forward sequel of my story,
    And amongst Cupid’s darts, and mazes popp’d,

But as some people like the amatory,
    And time of some few moments may be lopp’d,
I fain would tell ye this, and having done,
Plead for your grace—take breath, and so go on.




Baptisto, was a goodly man, at least 185
    As the more common meaning of the word
Admits, to those who stick to law, and priest,
    And make appearance say, they’ve seldom err’d,
And by the rules of honesty increas’d
    Their worldly weal, and tho’ it seems absurd

To class the terms, pass’d by the general rule,
For the best natur’d soul alive, id est, a fool.




And none know wherefore, such terms we should class,
    Save that in humouring mankind’s caprices,
He verified, "the poor man, and his ass,"

    A Fable, which instructs, (as well as pleases,)
That ’twere in vain, to strive the motley mass
    Of minds to satisfy, which only teazes,
And leaves us, when our labour is all done,
Far from the goal, as where we first begun.




’Twere strange to say so, yet th’extreme of good,
    Is much man’s ridicule, as that of folly,
Unless we tread the step, or suit the mood
    Of those around, in mirth, or melancholy,
Opinion sneers at this one for a prude,

    And that, for being rather free and jolly,
Such different paths do our ideas take,
To stamp, the one a bigot, one, a rake.




I said, Baptisto was a goodly soul,
    And got thro’ years, as other folks must do; 
His temper was phlegmatic, whose controul
    Barely allows the reason e’er to rue
Such sad effects as when fierce passions roll,
    Angry as billows, when the fates imbue
The skies with wrath; his mind had no such evil, 

Which makes us oft compare man to the devil.




He had his foibles too, if we can deem,
    Sometimes a slight excess in punch or wine,
An act of sinning—but not in the extreme;
    His heart ’tis said too softly did incline, 

In admiration of the sparkling beam
    Of a fair woman’s eye—Love’s loveliest shrine:
And tho’ a bachelor, did not disparage
The silken chain, which binds two hearts in marriage.




Yet had he heard of some connubial blisses,  225
    Ending like Summer’s heat in rain and thunder,
After the protestations sweet of vows and kisses,
    For there in seeking happiness we blunder
As often as succeed, and men and misses
    Who tie the knot which Death alone can sunder, 

Rob’d in the dress of Hymen’s masquerade,
Do all but shew of what the spirit’s made.




The heart’s electrical and like the air,
    Gathers within its atmosphere of life
Vapours and storms—and beautifully fair, 

    Tho’ morning dawns with every increase rife,
Who hath not seen its loveliest smiles ensnare,
    Caution itself, and end in tempest strife?
I wonder much if Socrates, the wise,
Thought so, when first he saw Xantippe’s eyes.




These, and a few more matrimonial pleasures,
    Such as a few sweet chubby brats so squalling,
(Forgive the term, the heart’s exhaustless treasures
    I should have said;) for cake and comfits bawling,
And after all the malady of measures

    To keep them still—still bless’d in caterwalling,
I’ve seen the man, tho’ ever so uxorious,
Find his impatience, get at this, victorious.




We seldom please ourselves, and ’twould be odd,
    If we could always please the world’s opinion,
Tho’ Shakespeare liken’d man unto a god,
    It was in apprehension—whose dominion
But rarely proves contentment’s sure abode,
    For after all the real woes—Fate’s pinion
Bears us unto—Fancy as many more

Begets, to add to care—incessant bore.




And thus, Baptisto single had remain’d,
    For with a wife he deem’d his cares would double,
Besides the bore he thought of being chain’d
    Without the means of getting rid of trouble, 

If such should prove the bargain he had gain’d,
    For like the rest of joys, he knew a bubble
Was that same happiness below, call’d marriage,
Which ended frequently in a miscarriage.




After the many years of judgment pass’d, 265
    It seems quite strange, a different resolution,
Should all at once, upon his sense have cast
    A change, so visible in its conclusion,
But so it was, his nearest friends at last,
    Latest impress’d, that Love’s all strong infusion

Had work’d its subtle poison in his frame,
Began to join the table-talk’s acclaim.




Besides his cloaths had fashion’d been of late,
    To the most novel cut,— the dandiest Schneider
Was now consulted, and the very fate

    Of having his small cloaths, more tight or wider
Than taste prescrib’d, engross’d his pride innate,
    And at a rout, whene’er he sat beside her,
The laughable queer habit he forsook
Of twitching constantly his prim perruque.




Sit beside who you ask?—Did I not mention,
    Some twenty stanzas back, a widow’s name,
Have Annette’s charms not caught then your attention?
    If so, ’tis I, not she, that is to blame;
Deuce take my mind’s poetical invention, 

    Which never will attain a niche of fame;
What was she like, oh Muse?—Come don’t be stupid
At similes; the mother of boy-Cupid?




Pshaw, that is flattery; a lilly—rose,
    A gem—a star—the moon, for sweet variety,
In her first quarter, when she softly glows,
    Who rules the tides to regular sobriety;
(And if comparison, I may not close
    Nor overstep the bounds of verse-propriety,)
Like her chaste smile, who sways the tides,

So sways men’s hearts, wher’er her dark eye glides.




Oh, woman thou wert form’d for Love,—and Love
    Nurtur’d for thee;—thy very looks enthrone
A symbol, and a charm of those above
    Whose attributes of being, are thine own;

The air, that stirs around, where thou dost move
    Is fraught with incense,—as the heav’nly zone
Which our first parents witness’d at their birth
For thou hast here, imparadis’d the Earth.—




Thou art the fountain of our purest pleasure 305
    As the fair altar of our warmest praise,
Thy tender love, the heart’s exhaustless treasure,
    From which man draws, the sunshine of his days,—
Thy glowing charms, surpassing far, the measure
    Of word, or thought, to paint,—tho’ Fancy’s rays

Soar’d to the heavens,—where it alone could find
A charm of grace,—eclipsing womankind.—




And, where, the heart should stray, that once has seen
    Earth’s various climes, where, woman, in the pride
Of Beauty, most enamours by her mien

    And wins the soul, to thoughts beatified;—
Vain, vain,—indeed, to muse on every scene
    And every form, which memory on her tide—
Brings to the fond remembrance of the breast,
By Beauty hallow’d, and by Love, impress’d.—




Shall Albion’s daughters first inspire my lay,—
    The maids of Scotia, and the emerald Isle?—
Or thine, oh France,—all innocently gay,
    Italia’s glowing with their look and smile,—
Or fair Castille’s,—where Love its warmest ray

    Hath beam’d, angelically, to beguile,—
Or sailing on, hail those of Greecia’s shore
Where Sappho sung, and Helen charm’d of yore.—




Let, these, be number’d in some future song
    With thee, oh Hochelaga,—noted city, 
The present tributes of the muse belong:
    Beauteous, and meek,—the pious, and the pretty
All, all, commingled in the worship’d throng
    Aspiring to be charming or be witty;—
But, hush,—I hear the muse will not admit

There can be charms, seen in a female wit.—




Man, strikes the heart with powers which are his own;—
    The forcible and grand,—the firm, and brave,
To rouse the multitude with deed, or tone,
    To succour, and defend,—to seek, and save;— 

But, woman, should be tenderness alone,—
    Hers, is the sweetness of the summer wave,
Which heaves its panting breast, and as it flows
Wins with the loveliness with which it glows.




Compare her cheek to the soft blooming rose, 345
    Contrast her eye-beam to the sapphire’s blaze,
Her parted lips, to fruit, on which there glows
    Crimson’s rich tints—and her sweet smile which plays
To fair Aurora’s beauty, when she throws
    Her opening blushes on the face of day,— 

Her bosom,— to the consecrated shrine
Of Love,— encircled with a charm divine;—




Who would not love at this,—altho’ at fifty
    (Such was Baptisto’s age,)—and feelings grow
The older, we become, still the more thrifty,

    And count their means with the all cautious throe
Of prudence;—In our youth we make each shift, I
    Remember caring little what might go,
In the extravagance of youth’s excesses
For funning,—feasting,—revels,—dice,—and dresses.— 




But now, that I am somewhat older grown
    I turn each shilling twice before I spend;
"Experience makes us wiser,"—is well known
    Yet, still I doubt, where Love’s attractions blend
Their strong magnetic qualities,— (so prone

    To lead us where they will,) —we can defend
Our hearts,—when ’twixt, Reason and Love,—the schism
Grows desperate to our animal magnetism.




Love’s a true alchymist,—for as the flame
    Purges the gold, by heat the most intense
So, he creates within the mortal frame
    A furnace of the heart, to bring the sense
Of Passion to his purpose,—whilst the same
    Evil, arising,—we may inference
From both,—for as, gold oft corrupts the mind

So Love, inflames the feelings of mankind.—




’Tis well enough to talk of love;—however
    Thanks to my fortunes, I’ve not felt his dart,—
God help the piteous mortal soul,—for never
    Did the gods practise such a cruel art

As that, which oft in spite of each endeavour
    Makes a small mad house of the human heart,—
Talk of the torments of that place below,
To love, and to despair is deeper woe.—




Not that I say, Baptisto, did despair,—  385
    But oh,— poor man, —was wild in lover’s mazes,—
You’ve seen a clown in England, at a fair
    When expectation all his feeling raises,
Hoping, in grinning thro’ a collar there
    To bear the prize, and gain the rabble’s praises;

Of poor Baptisto,—fancy then at his age
The ludicrous expression shown, of visage.—




Whatever are the hindrances of youth
    Which bind their modesty to fear’s alarms,
Yet, diffidence disturbs not age, forsooth;— 

    The modesty of fifty, ne’er disarms
The heart from an attempt,—howe’er uncouth
    The manners are,— or destitute of charms
The person,—so the purse hangs rich and heavy
The suitor’s welcom’d at the lady’s levy.— 




And more than welcom’d, for Pa, smiles to catch
    His school-cotemporary by the hand,—
Nor dreams, his years a barrier to the match,
    Whilst mammon’s wings, on every side expand:
And Ma’, too, eyeing eagerly to watch 

    How miss receives the lover she has plann’d
Thinks, how the town will envy at her marriage
Young Mrs. Thingum, riding in her carriage.




And thus is it when parent’s power enforces
    An act of tyranny upon their child,
It opens out a channel,—where the sources
    Of misery spring,—and then of love run wild,—
Of dire elopements,—duels and divorces,—
    By means, at last of the young heart beguil’d;—
Acts so enforc’d,—where ages great, disparage, 

Make,—(I’ll not tell)—so plentiful in marriage.




But Annette was a person of that ilk
    Called widows,—and Love’s little charms had known
Not one, who laid out snares, young men to bilk,
    And left them, then, to look, and die alone— 

(Her evening dresses, by the by, were silk,
    And gingham in the morning was her gown;)
But, oh, her pastry, ’twas said to surpass
That of the queen of pie-crusts, Mrs. Glasse.




Now, good Baptisto, was an Epicure, 425
    And lik’d good living, such as soups, and sauces,
Ragouts, and curries,—but could not endure
    Your meats plain boil’d and roasted;—his applauses
Ran on made dishes, and no sinecure
    Did his cook have, amidst the doubts and pauses

Of how to please the taste of one, who never
Knew, how to suit, the cravings of the liver.—




The liver is the cause of free digestion,
    For from it flows the bile,—and appetite
Created or destroy’d by its connexion 

    With other organs;—But kind Nature, right
In all her plans, made for her own protection
    To cause pure health, or curb the sensual might
Of grosser feeders,—sets the bilious matter
To war, with all the gluttons of the platter.




Whether it was the culinary merit,
    Or glance of blue, and dimple of her cheek
Which set in motion, the elastic spirit
    Of fond desire, her second love to seek,—
And made Baptisto, as he strove to dare it, 

    Look like Actæon, (when inflam’d to wreak
Her vengeance stern, Diana rais’d her hand
And swift, transformed him,) with her magic wand.




But not like Dian’s yet in consequence,—
    Unless prophetic ministry could tell 
She would adorn her spouse, thro’ some offence,
    With what,—I will no longer loudly knell,
For fear of saying, what is low in sense
    Tho’ sometines very true,—each fool knows well,
And every spouse, when for this sin of woman’s

He hears of lawyers’ suits, and Doctors’ Commons.




But, what have I to do with this already,
    When the first heats of Love have scarce begun?
Come, Pegasus, now curb thee, and be steady,
    We have as yet, an awkward course to run,

Besides, who ever heard of taxing, "Lady"
    With what might be, until the thing is done.
I hate those folks, who ever are suspicious,
’Tis love of scandal, makes mankind so vicious.




Now, Annette, had no frolic or vagary  465
    Beyond, the usual joys of mirth and revel—
Pure as a rose and playful as a fairy
    She scorn’d those feelings which will ever cavil,
But was as meek,— even as the Virgin Mary,
    And had no one inheritance of evil,

Save that which all must have—born to receive
Their genealogy from mother Eve.




I’ve told you, Annette was as sweet a creature
    As ever, man, could wish to call his own,—
Graceful in form and charming in each feature,

    Meekness in mind, and melody in tone,—
She seem’d so fram’d, to model human nature
    So thought her first spouse,— (and what’s said is known
To be quite true;) — poor man, he went beyond
His bounds,—and killed himself, from being too fond.




Like other frys,—Love may be over-done,
    And not exactly to the stomach suited;—
Like other races,—may be over-run
    ’Till out of breath,—unless, by time recruited;—
Eggs,—by the by, ’tis said, improve the tone 

    And strength of voice,—and truly if reputed,
(Tho’ I don’t understand the reason why)
Improve Love’s powers, as well as voice or fry.




Didst ever read Don Juan,—if you’ve not
    Leave it alone,—that terrible Lord Byron 
Hath nurtur’d there a devil of a plot;—
    His verses, molten as the polish’d iron
Which dazzles yet endangers us,—hath got
    Nature pourtrayed,—as when dark storms environ,
Yet the soft Iris, beaming o’er the whole

Brilliant, and beautiful to woo the soul.




It wins with its enchantments, and displays
    Amidst the thunder of his awful lay
All the soft harmony of heavenly rays
    Which captivate, and bear the heart away;

We start and tremble, yet we pant and praise,
    Ev’n as the maiden, whose fond thoughts survey
Her lover, known to be imperfect still,
Yet loves, and looks,—despite her half-form’d will.




But hark, I hear a moralist exclaim,— 505
    "How canst thou praise at all,—’tis dreadful shocking,
"Who, but a soul of Satan e’er could frame
    "A poem,—which our character is mocking
"In every line?"—For my part I’m to blame,—
    But not being fortunately, a blue stocking 

Nor of the sex, have something to learn still,
Why he who speaks Truth boldly, should do ill.




It certainly would rather be alarming
    If folks, for instance were no cloaths to wear—
You’ve seen the "Venus Medici,"—how charming

    The beau-ideal represented there,—
And the Apollo;—yet there seems no harm in
    Exhausting feeling in insatiate stare
By maids, and matrons;—why should we distress
Poor Truth then, with Hypocrisy’s vile dress.




I hate deception under any guise,
    But mostly under virtue’s, and to say
What’s witness’d constantly by all our eyes
    And echoed to our ears, each passing day
Is crime to publish, and to satyrize

    Admits a doubt,—but Truth is, that we play
All our parts badly, and when found in fault,
Exclaim, "tù quoque," likewise, and revolt.




All are imperfect, and this Byron, durst
    Speak boldly out, whether of sage or hero;—
He praises sparingly,—and to be just,
    Has all his feelings too much down at zero,
Save when his thoughts to woman’s love, are vers’d,
    But on most other subjects,—acts like Nero,
Who fiddled as Rome blaz’d,—but who is he

That loves not satire’s aim in some degree?




’Tis Rochefoucault, who tells us in a maxim,—
    "There’s something in th’adversity of friends
"Which does not quite displease us;"—Byron backs him,
    As I suppose, when he so oft extends

To all, his satire,— (though not fair to tax him,)
    But Man,—his mind so seldom rightly lends
To Heav’n,—’twere hard to say and scan Earth’s throng,
If Rochefoucault and he, are much in wrong.




What is the life of all,—but will of power  545
    Or wish of avarice,—filling up the mind,—
Pride fires the soul,—whilst Envy is the dower
    Its never varying prejudices find;—
And Charity,—that all its means should shower,
    Alms,—aid,—advice,—to benefit mankind,

Too often flows from the corrupted stream
Of vanity,—its vices to redeem.




But this is prosing;—’twas, as I remember
    A sparkling, frosty, and unclouded day,
One of those, we so often in December

    Have seen, tho’ Sol, then with phlegmatic ray,
Gives no more warmth, (than would a dying ember
    With its last spark,) as the year flits away;
But it was frosty, and folks called it fine,
With hoary Hyems,—seated at his shrine.




It might be fine, perchance, and healthy weather,
    But I can’t say it’s suited to my taste;
In robe of fur, or raiment made of leather,
    Like some strange animal profoundly cas’d
Hits not my airy fancy altogether;— 

    Nor do I like the feeling of nerves brac’d
When the stern rigours of the cold benumb
To the sensations of a muffled drum.




You comprehend this meaning, I suppose;
    If not,—about thirty degrees below
The point of zero, fastening on your nose,
    (As I have said) or on your hand or toe,
Will bring your comprehension to a close
    Sooner than any other thing I know;—
With hail, and snow, as if for days together

The Gods had liv’d on geese,—and tossed the feathers




From out their cloud-built mansions; yet to many
    Such things have their delights,—to me ’tis strange
They should prefer it,—as I like days rainy,
    (If the high priest of weather must have change

From clear to clouded skies,) —sooner than any
    In all the stormy atmosphere’s wide range,—
But, what think ye,— of being found— (tho’ odd,)
As stiffly frozen as a tommy cod?—




The ultra climax of all preservation,—  585
    To which th’ Egyptian’s art of mummy-fying
Were a poor offering quite, of consolation
    To keep the frame, unputrified on dying,—
That is provided,—Sol’s consideration
    Would hide his beams, to keep the skin from frying;— 

But with the frost, the flesh looks so like marble,—
That you might say, it was,—the "véritable."—




The sculptor’s then would be a sorry trade,
    Ye powers,—how many would we then behold
Stuck up in mortal effigy;—array’d

    As deities upon the shrines of old;
And Tooke’s Pantheon, tho’ it hath display’d
    Olympus and its gods,—could not unfold—
With Jove himself,—with Hercules, or Venus
So much, pride, strength, (or chastity between us.) —




Reader, you’ve been in Canada,—if not
    I would not have you, on what I’ve express’d
Rely;—we all our fantasies have got;—
    "De gustibus non disputandum est;"
But if to travel there should be your lot, 

    Do not tax me, if you go lightly dress’d,—
Remember to take worsted drawers and flannel
Nor think of these, when in the Irish Channel.




For of all maladies of any schism
    Which spring from natural or moral causes
There’s nothing half so bad as rheumatism,
    That tiresome, irritating pain, which gnaws us,
Is worse than any stubborn syllogism
    Which words cannot make good; nor ever pauses
In its dire achings,—irritating yet,

As some curs’d scold,—who’s ever on the fret.




But with the winter, and the frost there comes,
    Many good pastimes, such as sleigh, and skate;
Soon as the snow, and ice, the grass entombs
    These are the measures ta’en to recreate

The frame,—particularly if it sums
    Your labours up with broken limb, or pate,
But such slight accidents, alone can check
Those, who are fools enough to risk their neck.—




Behold, the sleigh neat trimm’d,—the harness’d tits 625
    Ready, as willing winds to fly along,
Rul’d by their guide’s dexterity, who sits
    And reins them now, now cracks the lashing thong.
Away, they go, almost as wild as wits
    Career, or Folly’s capering thro’ a throng; 

And are an emblem in their sliding carriage,
Of the first, smoothe, swift, merriments of marriage.




But then there’s such a thing as an upset
    And, oh, those curs’d cahots, but to be sure
This rests upon the course you take, and yet 

    Suppose they’re found on all roads, where’s your cure?
It makes my simile,— (if you so get
    A toss, or jolt,) not at all premature,
For Hymen is the road, most of us take
And they are fortunate, who get no shake, 




Or ache, or accident,—for there are few
    Who choose so carefully, as not to fall
Sometimes in error, or mistake,—and rue
    The portion honey’d o’er,— tho’ too oft gall
Savours beneath, as apples which men view 

    Round the Asphaltes Lake,—and under all
Their bright luxuriancy, but dust contain
As if to shew us, all below was vain.—




What mortal is there who’s not given to Folly,
    Some way or other in his roving life,— 
It were impossible to reason wholly
    Where true perfection is completely rife,—
For too much Reason, makes us melancholy
    As too much frolic sets the soul at strife —
The captious world grows prudish at much laughter, 

Joining the mirth, then scandalizing after.




So that those people not much given to care
    Or what is better turn’d, not being hippish,
Are sure censoriousness will be their share
    When fun and feeling in them becomes skippish,

And there are such temptations to ensnare
    The soul no way inclin’d in being sheepish,
That ’twould be odd, if any one escap’d
Of being damn’d, denounc’d,—abus’d, or ap’d.




And what could poor Baptisto do,—but given  665
    To like a little laughter,—nothing more,—
He was a soul, who thought that gaining Heaven
    Was no ways bought, by seeming jaundic’d o’er
With spleen and care,—(schismatically driven
    As a vile wanderer on the Stygian shore;) 

The evils of to-day,—suffic’d his reason,—
To-morrow’s,—would come soon enough in season.




Days glided onwards, as most moments do,
    A certain medley of both hopes, and fears,—
Desires, and doubts, with dissipations too,

    Smiles, at this hour, and at th’ ensuing, tears;—
Nature presents both aspects to our view,
    But in her mirth, more often a mask wears
Than we suspect:—so little is the portion
Pleasure makes real,—who brings forth an abortion. 




And what are its abortions;—wants, ennui,
    Desires, temptations,—restlessness of change,
Extravagance and folly,—which we see
    In fashion’s futile mimicry and range,
These, all arise, from the cupidity

    Of Pleasure’s pastimes, which at length estrange
All sober habits,—such as greatly shock
The soul who goes to bed at ten o’clock.—




But wherefore preach;—has not the world for ages,
    Had sermons,—lectures, essays, penn’d to guide us,
Tracts,—strictures written, ’till the countless pages,
    Would paper over, all the Georgium Sidus
And satellites too?—mankind such warfare wages
    With pen, and ink, to teach what will betide us
If we go wrong;—and yet with all this teaching 

I don’t think, we improve much, by the preaching.




What thought Baptisto? and what thought Annette?
    Their minds were now absorb’d in other measures,
For Love will keep its followers on the fret
    Alloying frequently their choicest pleasures,

And as the heart gets deeper into debt
    With its own feelings,— oft exhausts the treasures
Of Hope, and fancied Happiness;—so real
A connoisseur is Love of the "ideal."




Not that bright Hope,—was, at all clouded there 705
    But beam’d a meteor,—beauteous as the light
Of Annette’s eye,—which, ’neath her raven hair
    Flash’d forth like Dian’s, under veil of night
Chasten’d, and crystaliz’d, and was the lair,
    Of tender looks,—which animation bright

Hallow’d with loveliness,—and,—and sweeter things
Which woman’s glance bears on its dove-like wings.—




You’ve heard, Baptisto, was a bachelor
    With fortune, term’d in easy circumstances;
He had no curse of being leagued in war

    With poverty,—no straiten’d sour finances
As to have duns, each morning at his door
    To mar his breakfast-meal with stern advances:—
That partnership of Poverty, and Co —
Is one, unpleasant in th’ extreme to know.— 




At least I’ve found it so,—tho’ you perhaps
    May have been favour’d by that fickle jade,
Who, some times showers profusely in our laps,
    And makes her heights, an easy escalade;—
Curse her inconstancy,—if like poor Nap’s 

    Career,—she ends the labours of our trade
Whether it be, for empire,—Love, or money
To give us gall, when we expected, honey.—




Baptisto’s share was honey now,—secur’d
    As far as Hope, can make us deem we are,
In any thing below, not quite insur’d
    Perpetually to shine, as doth the star,—
And after half a century endur’d
    Of martyrdom in solitude’s dull bar,
Or single blessedness,—which e’er you please, 

Found Hymen come to tickle with its sneeze.




I recollect some thirty years ago
    For I am old, and these things pass with years,
Once to have felt the heav’n inspiring glow
    Of Love,—which all the youthful soul endears,

To one fair object, as the feelings flow
    Warm, pure, and fervent,—when no vale of tears
Hath cross’d our youthful wand’rings,—and no care
Has fallen to our unembitter’d share.—




And tho’ ’tis past, I can recount with some 745
    Pleasure of memory’s smile, that such hath been,
When from the studious toil, I hasten’d home
    Where every wish, enraptur’d all the scene
And found the welcome sweet,—for those who come
    From far, to find Health, sparkling in each mien;

But above all to see one face, more dear
Than all beside,—o’erjoy’d e’en to a tear.—




And these are things, which make us so regret
    Parting with life,—kind friends,—soft smiles,—sweet eyes;  
When Death endangers, and gives as a threat,

    That from our sickness, we no more, may rise;—
Cares, may encompass sometimes,—we forget
    Ev’n cares, when true affections sympathize,—
Envy may reach,—and Calumny may dart,—
But we live, safe, at least, in one fond heart.— 




And he who hath known this,—hath tasted Joy
    From its pure fountain, gushing into sight,—
When no one stain hath mingled to alloy
    The uncontaminated lip’s delight
Which first sips this,—when manhood, from the boy

    Steps forth, to woo, the hopes which so invite
The dawning fancy on its youthful wing,
Smiling and sweet, as the first bloom of Spring.—




But as years creep,— cares heap upon the head
    A thousand burthens,—and our natures, prone
To imperfection, fatefully are led
    In errors, which the heart cannot disown;
These we may shun, in pondering where we tread,
    But there are ills, Adversity hath sown
Along our path,—which come, despite of all;

And like some stars, assuredly must fall.—




But to my tale;—behold, the vow was pass’d
    Which made Baptisto happy,—at the least
Made him suppose, that all his hopes, amass’d
    In one sole object, where his eyes could feast 

Intensely,—was his happiness at last;—
    It only wanted now, the ring, and priest,
To fix his fate,—the dame was all consent:—
I hope, like some folks, they would not repent—




For they had wooed as do most other lovers,  785
    And many a raillery on their wooing pass’d,—
And then the tell-tale blush which most discovers
    Some feeling, holds the heart of woman fast,
Suffus’d, and glowing as when sunset hovers
    And a rich hue o’er Nature’s cheek is cast:—

But the world talk’d,—setting its tongue at work
On what,—touch’d it, no more, than the Grand Turk.—




The day arriv’d,—the clock had now struck "Seven,"—
    A clear cold night,—the moon was in the sky
And seem’d to shine, more beautiful, that even

    Than she was wont,— the stars were spread on high,
Bespangling o’er the azure arch of Heaven:
    A glorious, golden fretted canopy;—
It was th’ appointed hour,— to seal the fate
Of Annette’s, and Baptisto’s single state.— 




The wedding party met, and there was seated
    Annette’s papa, and ma’,—her sister,—brother,—
The first was bred a surgeon,—but he treated
    Cases of physic too,— or any other
Which added to his practice,—and had cheated 

    (As it was said,) —Death of some later pother
In being before-hand with him,—and ending
His patient’s pains—which is one way of mending,—




Altho’ not the most pleasant,—then his son,
    His father’s counterpart, was smiling Billy
Who, also, in the practice had begun
    And look’d a very Bolus,—rather silly
But quite good-natur’d, and more fond of fun
    Than Physic,—whilst, the sister like a lily
All white appear’d,—and Ma’, whose orange gown

For twenty years, at least,—had grac’d the town.—




Then came Baptisto’s friend,—an honest chap
    To act his father upon this occasion,—
Which in reality, (as by mishap
    Report made known,) his kind consideration,

Had done to others;—Nature’s is a lap
    The softest, and the sweetest in creation,
And Love, without a chain, has charms, they say,
Beyond the zest, of law’s more fetter’d sway.—




And there was Dibs, the merchant and his spouse,  825
    And daughter too, a schoolmate of the bride,
His trade was wholesale, and the wealthiest house
    Upon this side, the vast Atlantic’s tide,—
And then a great North-Wester, Sammy Grouse
    Alias, term’d "Buffalo,"—who terrified

His hearers, with the wonderful relations
Of all, he’d seen, amongst the Indian Nations.




He’d talk to you, of beaver, and of bear,
    ’Till your hair bristled as upon their backs,
And how, he liv’d for days upon such fare

    As bark, stew’d down, ’till you believ’d the acts
And of grass soup;—next,—he would make you stare
    Of wrestling with a buffalo,—and facts
I scarcely dare, in seriousness here mention,
For fear you’d think they were my own invention.




Then of the savage tribes,—and of the squaws,
    Lord, how he’d prate with intellectual chatter,
The Crees,—the Castors,—and the Chicasaws,
    And hundred other one’s,—but of the latter
(The squaws, I mean), where Love, has no curs’d laws 

    To make a jurisprudence of the matter
His praises grew exstatic, in their service,—
Nor wonder, when, you know, Sam, was no Dervise.—




"For in those cold-clad regions, where the weather
    "Runs down to fifty below zero’s point,"
Why, Sam, would say, "to keep the soul together
    "With frame,—and rheumatism from each joint
"Requir’d some substance like a bed of feather
    "To cause the radical heat, so to anoint
"The body over with its perspiration,— 

"To keep its vigour, in due preservation."—




Then of the party too, came lawyer Shark—
    Who lik’d no law, so well as a good dinner,—
And laugh’d at Sam, who spoke of eating bark,
    Saying, "indeed?—you must have got much thinner;"— 

And yet the lawer could make trite remark
    And had prevented many a flagrant sinner,
(By quibble, quirk, and eloquential hum)
Making his "exit," like a pendulum.—




But before all arriv’d—now he, and Sam  865
    Got in to argument on those sad matters
Which, in the North, occurr’d— this said, "I am
    "Most positive, that Selkirk, sham’d "the Ratters,"
At which odd sound,—Sam, answer’d with "a damn"
    And said aside,—"lord, how the jackdaw chatters;"— 

Whilst Shark talk’d on, saying "I can assure ye
"You were all wrong, de facto, et de jure."




At length, a loud rap, whilst they held this farce on,
    Caus’d a slight silence in this wordy two,—
When with his book and register, the parson 

    Enter’d, and made their oratory clue
All canvass up,—for Sam’s mind, soon to arson
    Had been enflam’d, so high his feelings grew
Whilst Shark an insult courted,—on the itch
For a law-suit,—knowing that Sam was rich.—




They were all met now,—but I fain must mention
    Beau Beamish, and two sisters, but the elder
Said a bad cold prevented her intention
    Of being there,—the fact is, what withheld her
Was the dislike of finding her declension 

    Into the lists of old maids, when age quell’d her
Bright dreams of Hope, and therefore direly hated
To go, where she saw others elevated,




Beyond her rank of Miss;—for at the age
    Of forty, and beyond, when younger Misses
Who were not born, when she first trod the stage
    Of life, at dances, dinners, routs, (for this is
The entrée of a belle’s first pilgrimage
    To Love’s young shrine,)— had long receiv’d the blisses
Which marriage showers,—no wonder, that the bile

Arose, to jaundice o’er her looks, and smile.




Then, there was aunty Margaret,—lac’d and capp’d
    With a rich satin, which had been in vogue
About the time, when first, the Fronde, enwrapt
    All France in it,—from Lyons to La Hogue;— 

Not to forget, gay Captain Casey,—strapp’d
    From head to heel in gold,—who spoke the brogue
In all its elegance,—and as to cousins
And their connexions,—they came by the dozens.




You know what sort of thing a wedding is,— 905
    Therefore I need not occupy your leisure
In recapitulating every kiss
    Relations gave each other,—when the pleasure
Of seeing two united in one bliss
    Was consummated by the priest, (a measure 

Which must be done,) and the affair was over,
And wife and husband transform’d from the lover.




They feasted, frolick’d now;—all sorts of funning
    Went on with spirit,—dancing for the young—
Cards for the old, (who had giv’n over running) 

    Were the convivial sports,—whilst raillery’s tongue
Jok’d the new pair,—and Casey, fond of punning
    When he could get a listener, among
Those, who surrounded,—set his wits to fret,
And said Baptisto had got in a net




But Annette took all frolic in good part,
    Even the Captain’s pun, altho’ so bad,—
For she was all good nature to the heart,
    And rarely knew, what it was to be sad;—
All had throughout been merry, save the tart

    Words, between Sam, and Shark,—but they had had
So many onsets with such like offences,
That both knew how to parry consequences.




The clock struck twelve;—it was the hour for rest,
    Particularly for a new-match’d pair,— 
The doves of Venus, lay upon her breast
    Nestled in tenderness,—all softly there,—
It was the time for those who being blest
    With Love’s return, seek its enchanting lair,
And court sweet Nature’s languishing desire 

To woo soft sleep, and to its couch retire.




The happiest friends must part, so off they went,
    Some to a sound, and some to restless sleep,—
The old, had no wild visions to prevent
    Their aged souls from rest,—no dreams to sweep

In rich luxuriance,—as if Queen Mab sent
    Her charioteer across their nose to creep;—
But in the young,—’tis difficult to say
How far her magic influence held its sway.




As Shakespeare tells,—the fairy queen presides,  945
    And as the heart in slumbering reposes,
Now o’er the balmy lips of maiden rides,
    Whose breath is, as the perfume of sweet roses,
Who, dreams of kisses, and of aught besides
    Which the voluptuous little elfin chooses

To charm the brain with, and o’er every range
Of years, or purport, acts with varied change.




Now for the Muses’ sake,—be it suppos’d
    That at the least, two hours had flitted on,
And all the wedding party slept, or doz’d,

    Saving the bridal couple,—tho’ upon
Their joyous footsteps, let the veil be clos’d,—
    Perhaps kind Morpheus had usurp’d the throne
Of Cupid by this time,—for even Love
Must have its rest, as nightingale, or dove.




And if it had,—it was a grievous thing
    To have it waken’d up by rude alarms,
To scare sweet slumber on its downy wing
    When it repos’d in soft enchantment’s arms,
And that so soon, after it droop’d,—to bring

    Fresh hours of rapture with the morning’s charms;
But all at once, as if the house ’twould shatter,
There rose a tintinnabulary clatter.




A noise of drum, and kettle, whistle, horn,
    As if King Oberon had arm’d the fairies
To ride the air, on noisy errands borne,
    And play a thousand fanciful vagaries;
Or rather, as if Æolus had torn
    The winds, at once from their cloud-circled airies,
To blow and bellow with a certain force

Of sound,—in moan and tone, both shrill and hoarse.




But know,—’tis not at all a way romantic
    To have a poem, or a tale, without
Some sad disaster, or some being frantic
    With sentiments of love, or fear or doubt, 

Hope, grief, despair, and every other antic
    Which poets can invent or fancy rout
From out the kalendar of thought and Time
To give its cast, a seasoning of sublime.




Annette woke first, and hearing such a medley 985
    Of mingled sounds, and at a time of night
When every thing around looks grim and deadly,
    By the lamp’s pale and dimly glimmering light,
Gave her lov’d lord a shake, who, as his head lay
    Close by her side, snor’d forth in concert quite

To the odd sounds, which in the street she heard
But who, at this first summons had not stirr’d.




The sound increas’d; ’till thundering at the door
    Palsied her delicate limbs,—her voice forsook
Its musical domain,—whilst her lord’s snore

    Still groan’d aloud,—again,—again, she shook
(For her tongue fail’d), more sharply than before,
    When with a sudden, startled bound, which took
All her remaining power away, with fright,—
Baptisto jump’d, and rais’d himself upright,




Unconscious of the noise;—he star’d around
    (For Reason had not yet reta’en its sway)
And hurried forth these words of queerest sound,
     "Holo,—my wife’s not dead,"—away, away."
"Annette, Annette," then with his arms he wound

    Her lovely form,—all speechless as she lay,—
"Why, what’s the matter,"—whilst returning sense
Reliev’d him, as he heard the blows intense.




The noise was strange,—but stranger still his figure,
    Who, in his night-cap, and his shirt up, jump’d,
And seizing an old pistol,— held the trigger
    Ready for bloodshed,—whilst his nerves now pump’d
All his heart’s courage, which swell’d somewhat bigger
    As the shouts bellow’d louder, and hands thump’d
And opening forth the shutter there beheld 

A sight, as if the city had rebell’d




Against his marriage;—there were men, and boys,
    And, God knows who, all;—some with blacken’d faces
And some with masks,—those hypocritic toys
    Which libel Nature into odd grimaces; 

With every sort of implement for noise,
    Join’d to the yell of fools, and bray of asses,—
But above all,— one group, equipp’d and dress’d
Deserves to be describ’d, beyond the rest.




Within the centre, on some quadruped,  1025
    For whether horse, or poney, mule, or ass,
Would be most difficult to say,—as spread
    Over its hide were things of every class
Which Folly could procure, or Fancy’s head
    In ridicule or satire so amass,— 

But on this animal of some queer genus
There sat a youth,— though not the boy of Venus,




But one whose raiment mimic’d all the dyes
    Of the bright Iris, with its varied hue,
Bepatch’d, and harlequin’d,—with paunch, whose size

    Surpass’d Sir Hudibras’, or Falstaff’s too;—
And visage cas’d within a mask’s disguise,
    To which vile Caliban, in every view
(Nor yet comparison, more closely follow)
Had seem’d Antinöus, or Apollo.




But of the strangest part of this strange wight,
    There rose majestically high, array’d
A pair of horns, which in their towering height
    Surpass’d most antlers, which were e’er display’d
By stag, or goat, and seem’d a pattern quite

    Or I may say, a sign of some odd trade,
But wherefore deem’d, when so profusely crown’d
I leave for sager reasoners to expound.




And by this figure, there stood one, no doubt,
    With meaning, to personify, old Time,
Whose flaxen locks, which fell in curls about
    His shoulders, certainly look’d most sublime;
His scythe, was most tremendous,—but without
    His wings, which he forgot, (as I, my rhyme
Too oft when in a hurry;)—all in all

He look’d antique, and awful,—gaunt, and tall.




The crowd around were of a motley sort,
    All shout, and bustle,—wantonness,—vulgarity,—
Some vicious, as the hirelings of a court
    (Nor speak of these things, with a mark’d disparity,) — 

And some in frolic, made it a resort,
    For such a crowd in Canada’s a rarity,
Not as in England,—where your mob’s, a measure
For people to declare their "Freedom’s" pleasure.




John Bull is fond of rows,—if nothing more 1065
    Than to declare, what he terms, "Independence;"
His "Magna Charta,"—"Reformation’s" roar
    Of Liberty with him has the ascendance,
When’er he thinks that you would close the door
    Against his Freedom’s will;— the smallest tendence

To bar his rights,—Hunt,—Hone,— or any job,—
(No matter what,) are pretexts for a mob;—




You’ve seen a mob,—perchance at an Election,
    For instance,—Westminster’s,—if e’er you went,
Where, there are persons for the stern protection 

    Of Constitution,— chos’n, to represent
A mass of others,—and this same selection
    Is term’d "the Common’s House of Parliament;"
The jurisprudence, ruling o’er the nation
The same, that caus’d King Charles’ decapitation. 




First, there’s your Tory, now so high in fame,
    And in each news monger’s wide mouth as pat
As any other more than common name
    Tiresome to sound; and means "Aristocrat;"
Whose wisest measures tow’rds poor Nap, took aim 

    And laid his proud schemes of dominion, flat,—
Tho’ some cry out they never knew so mean, a
Trick, as to keep him, coop’d at St. Helena.—




Then there’s the Whig, or alias "Opposition,"
    Who, ’gainst the Tories raise a strong demur,
And calling every day for their dismission,
    Say, that their judgments on each measure,— err,—
But, to my mind, tho’ no great politician
    ’Tis for their places, that they make such stir,
How’er their actions,—whether good, or ill,

Old England seems to keep, her standard, still.—




Then, your Reformer comes,—who thinks each measure,
    Conjur’d within his brain, must be much wiser,
Than those, which Britain has esteem’d its treasure
    For generations past,—a mark’d despiser

Of old establish’d rules,—who, for his pleasure
    Says, "’tis Reform we need, you may rely, Sir,"
Such are these fools,— one of the ranting set,—
As W¾ ¾ ¾  n, C¾ ¾ ¾  t, H
¾ ¾ ¾  e, and B¾ ¾ ¾  t.—




But to my readers,—let me here avow it, 1105
    Lest by mistake, or not, they should suppose
I deem’d them, uninform’d as not to know it,
    And pros’d on Parliaments, and dar’d to prose,—
But ’tis enough to say, I am a poet,—
    Poets are licens’d every body knows,—

Therefore, I will not utter more excuses
But stand to critics, cavils, and abuses.—




Besides in Canada,—like other places,
    Have you not parliaments,—aye—staunch ones all,— 
Particularly so,—too,—when the cases, 1115

    Upon supplies, or on finances fall,—
The reason obviously clear to trace is,—
    They understand, "the Arithmetical,"—
Profit and Loss,—Tare,—Tret—Discount or Barter,—
And any "Bill,"—better than "Magna Charta."— 




They’ll knock you, Resolutions, down with clamour
    Upon all subjects, understood, or not,
As speedily as dry goods to the hammer
    And think th’ entail of Liberty has got
Most specious pleaders, (barring slips of grammar) 

    To bind their privileges to a spot,
But these, "soi-disant" patriots,—their communion
Bars any creed, whose psalmody is "Union."—




But I forgot, that I had left my hero,
    Standing, poor fellow, only in his shirt, 
And that, with the thermometer at zero,
    Most probably, would do him, monstrous hurt,
But he was, a most valiant Cavaliero,
    And stood, with nerve, and limb, on the alert
Whilst Annette, now recover’d from her swoons, 

Cried out, "pray, love,—put on your pantaloons;"—




Oh, sad, disastrous night,—oh, lightning, thunder,—
    Oh, feuds of nations, or domestic quarrels,
What hands, and hearts do ye oft tear asunder
    Spoiling all mirth, and fun,—or spoiling morals, 

Particularly those, who must knock under
    With bleeding nose, and face, or tarnish’d laurels,
For, none, whatever be their rank, or station,
Whose Pride’s not sore, at getting molestation,—




And, why this hurly-burly now,—yclept  1145
    Charivari,—whence was the term deriv’d?—
I’ll leave some literati more adept
    At telling you,—why Custom had contriv’d
To make it customary,—it had crept
    Into repute,—when’er a widow wiv’d 

With bachelor;— or widower with spinster
And set the wags of sporting humour, in stir.—




But my opinion, if not deem’d romantic
    Supposes ’twas imported here about
The time Jacques Cartier, came across th’ Atlantic

    And put the tribes of savages to rout
Where heretofore,—Nature was wild and antic,
    And men, and women roam’d the woods, without
More cloaths, than Adam, or than Eve, invented
With leaves, to hide the sexes, being idented;—




And certainly, about the time, Apollo,—
    (That is the sun) showers down beams perpendicular,
(Instance July, or August,)—then to follow
    A mode of dress in some way made, reticular—
Is pleasanter assuredly than wallow 

    In woollens,—which, (’twixt you and I, auricular
Id est, in secret,) is the nastiest fashion
Of keeping up, a violent perspiration.—




However, as the atmosphere now stood
    Some cloaths, at least, had not been deem’d unpleasant,
But yet, Baptisto,— (whether Fear imbrued
    A certain glow, when Nature effervescent
Is thrown out in a warm perturbed mood
    From hurry or from danger,) —still at present
Stood, as uncover’d, as the gods of old 

Nor even, once, had shiver’d with the cold:—




At length some servants bursting in the room
    Brought back his startled faculties to reason—
One pale with fright, one sobbing at her doom,
    And some half naked, tho’ in that cold season,— 
And all exclaiming, "Do pray, master, come,"—
    Whilst, Betty, with his drawers,—said, "Sir, put these on,"—

 And John, tho’ frighten’d as the maids, nought saying,
And the two Catholics,— crossing themselves, and praying.




And there was Annette bursting into tears 1185
    And calling to her spouse,—"love, do not venture
"Without the doors,—those vile Chari-variers,
    "Will seize you then,— or in the house will enter;"—
But to all this, Baptisto,— (tho’ his fears
    Had made upon his feelings an indenture)

Nought said,—but putting on his dressing gown
And inexpressibles, and cap, went boldly down.




All, was still uproar without side the walls
    As it was fear within,—the shrieks,— the cheering
With the incessant, undiminish’d calls 

    For poor Baptisto,—who, at length appearing
Brought forth a clap, like that when thunder palls,
    And startles every sense, and deadens hearing,—
And made the street, so echo with the strain
You would have thought; Chaos had come again.— 




I like a row myself,—that is to say,
    I like to see some frolic for variety,—
A good stout pugilistic match,— or fray
    Betwixt two vulgars, deep in inebriety,—
A fair,— or fire,— or any other way 

    (For Time without some change, is dull society,)—
What signifies a broken head or two,
Provided it is neither I,—nor you?—




Man is carniverous,—and therefore, must
    Contrive to pamper up his appetite;— 
In all things epicurean,—whether lust
    Of woman, war, or wine be his delight
He is the same incentive piece of dust,
    And acts by instinct’s, more than Reason’s flight;—
What think you of Longinus o’er a bottle, 

Or every mortal, his own Aristotle?—




"Give physic to the dogs,"—and Care, to canker
    In the weak breast, which pines beneath its weight;—
Altho’ without Pandora, (we must thank her,
    Who has preserv’d us, Hope, to alienate 

Our soul from ill, and be our best bower anchor)
    We should oft fall in a dejected state;—
No matter,— banish Care;—Does it avail ye, a
Sorrow the less?—if not,— make Life, a Saturnalia.




But stay, these long digressions metaphysical  1225
    Are always thrusting themselves in, between
Me, and my story; and in authors,—this I call
    Tiresome to a degree, to intervene
Some curs’d advice or other, grave, or quizzical
    When on the plot,—attention should have been,— 

The only man, who does not, this way, tire one,
Is that most fascinating fellow—Byron.—




Here let impartial tribute add one more
    Digression to the Muse’s wandering flight.
Oh, Byron, thou, whom Poesy’s bright lore 

    Has made immortal with her glorious light;
Who, in thy dawn of Fame, first hail’d the shore
    Where, all that Glory’s smile, or Beauty’s site
Can hallow into praise, the soul to haunt:
Still,—still, around that all inspiring font




Where Grecian relics stand with glow sublime
    To catch the honour’d bright acclaim of man;—
Shrines where the unexpiring voice of Time
    Speaks of proud deeds since Freedom first began
To gild with greatness this resplendent clime

    Eternaliz’d in Glory’s glittering van,—
And fraught with charms, which Nature’s bounteous hand
Hath shower’d in loveliness along the land:—




Oh, Byron, as thy heart upheld in song
    The triumph, and the memory of each deed 
Which won the world, when Greece, in honour strong
    Shew’d man, what ’twas, to conquer, and be freed;—
 Behold, thy hand, as well as heart, among
    Her remnant offspring, dares them on to bleed
In a devoted cause,—whose glorious aim 

Shall memorize them, and thee, in endless Fame.—




Now, to my tale again,—Baptisto stood
    As you may well suppose,—betwixt the feeling
Of Pride, and Fear;—as any person would
    Who saw a hundred looks,—before them dealing 

Their jibes and ridicule in waggish mood
     And many other different modes, appealing
To the splenetic organs, which arouse
The bile, in every cause, which we espouse.—




He tried addressing them,— but at each trial 1265
    The horn, and whistle rose in treble shakes,
With the harsh scraping of an old crack’d viol
    And an odd sound such as the cuckoo makes
In spring-time;— each attempt had a denial
    Sufficient to arouse all nervous aches;— 

Then follow’d murmurs, with an oath or two,
At which the laughter more excessive grew.




At length, a minute’s silence having reign’d,—
    He said,—"Pray, gentlemen, your will make known,
"Or at the least, the meaning you have deign’d 

    "To mark in this incomprehensive tone,—
"The compliments, your voices have maintain’d
    "No doubt, most flattering adulations own,
"How’er, you’ve not been understood, in these,
"More than the cackling of so many geese."




Here came a roar,—"It may be fun, no doubt
    "For all of you,—I can’t say the transaction
"Of being brought at dead of night from out
    "A comfortable bed, much satisfaction;—
"But being of small use, to fume, and pout— 

    "Knowing particularly each protraction
"Would only bring my doors down, and my dishes—
"Pray, have the goodness to explain your wishes?"




I told you long before, Baptisto had
    An evenness of temper, most unshaken 
Even, when things, vexatious were, and bad;—
    Knowing no petulance, could save his bacon
When Fate determin’d to be sore, and sad,
    Had upon this occasion rightly taken
The only likely method, to appease 

A mob,—who are most difficult to please.—




It is, as difficult, to check the motion
    Of any mob, almost,—as it would be
To check the impetuous surges of the Ocean,
    Which Canute in his power’s voracity

Thought to controul,—and which, a salted potion
    Had nearly to some courtiers been, whom he
Bade not withdraw,—and striving thus to rule,
Proved himself, like some since,—a royal fool.




Reader, if you suppose,—the rich, and great  1305
    Cannot be foolish, you mistake it much,—
For Pride is Folly in its first estate,—
    And rich, and pow’rful, mostly bred to such
Have Pride more influenc’d in their heart innate
    Than others born in Poverty’s gaunt clutch;— 

It is too oft, the custom to suppose
The rich, are wisest,—who wear finest cloaths.




The world has Timons still,—and let us ask
    If he, or Apemantus was the wiser?—
If all the folly screen’d behind Pride’s mask 

    We could survey,—stern Reason, a despiser,
Would have enough to do with record’s task;—
    Not that from spendthrift, we should be the miser,
And live for self,—or cynically grub
Like stern Diogenes, within his tub.—




But really in the world, so much of evil
    Falls to the lot of some, that ’tis no wonder
What betwixt chance, and change, and care, and cavil
    And all the other ills, we labour under,
That we should oft wish mankind to the devil 

    Or any thing to part our steps asunder:—
Now, poor Baptisto’s was the situation
Just, now, to wish, all people to damnation.




To vent a good round oath, or two possesses
    A keen sensation, in the electric spirit;—
Sparks of the heart’s champagne, which effervesces
     And which we all, the more, or less inherit;—
Besides, sometimes, a hearty damn redresses
    A host of ills, and tho’ it has no merit,
If chance we should be sermoniz’d;—what then?—

Why we forget, and swear an oath again.—




And ’midst the miseries of human life
    A lazy valet, or a drunken groom
Just at the hour you need them, and Time, rife,
    With hurry, which if lost, will spoil your doom;— 

(And, oh, forgive me,— dames,) a scolding wife
    Or two, or three spoilt children in a room,
A rain storm when you wish the day serene
Are all most curs’d promoters of the spleen.




And what think ye, of poor Baptisto’s case?  1345
    Just as young Love had lull’d him in the arms
Of one, whom Cytherea’s soft embrace
    Had scarce surpass’d with all her glowing charms.
It was indeed, lamentable, to chase
    Such pastimes of delight, with rude alarms, 

Oh, think, from heat to cold, if one should force you
Like Falstaff hissing hot, as any horse-shoe.




"Joy to Baptisto, and his wife;" some cried
    Who were the most offenceless of the crowd,—
"Let’s drink a health to the elected bride,"— 

    The more impetuous call’d with voices loud,
"Crown him with horns then, if it is denied
    "Come, come, no wavering;" others there avow’d;
Whilst some most forward in this resolution
Stepp’d forth to put the threat in execution.— 




They took the ill-starr’d bride groom, and without
    Much preface to the matter’s agitation,
His forehead with the antlers round about
    Encircled soon, like any coronation,
Tho’ not with so mush fuss, and useless rout 

    And dire expence to put folks to taxation,—
This difference also,—that it cost Baptiste
Full thirty gallons of old rum, at least.—




They plac’d him on the quadruped, and hail’d him,
    With wishes bountiful of every sort, 
And with much ridicule, and jeer assail’d him—
    But all in Humour’s laughter loving sport,
And he took all in patience which avail’d him
    More than inflam’d resistance, or retort,—
And at each salutation frankly bow’d

To the obsequious wishes of the crowd.—




And after some short time’s inauguration
    They led him to his door, with cheers, not hisses,
"Prince of good fellows,"—was their exclamation,
    Whilst some relented, they had marr’d the blisses,

Of one short half hour’s space,—by the creation
    Of this same frolic, not so sweet as kisses,
But as there’s Time for all things,—we may say
The future hours repaid, the past’s delay.—




And having got Baptisto to his bed  1385
    Once more—in safety to his heart’s delight
And all the crowd dispers’d who had been led
    To join in sports, which Custom form’d, not spite,
And which, I trust, will ever still be said;—
    Tir’d of my idle rhymes,—I wish, Good night,

To all, who may or have not been amus’d
With thoughts, in harmless humour here diffus’d.




There’s nothing good or bad in Life,—but thinking
    Makes it to sense, and feeling so appear;
If you get drunk with wine, the act of drinking, 

    Is not so bad, as to get drunk with beer,
For that is fashionable, and not sinking
    To the low practice of the vulgar cheer,—
But I can’t say, that Satire, we should suffer
More than th’ abuse of sweep, or candle-snuffer. 




"Who steals my purse steals trash,"—most gentle reader
    So says the bard, you all know the quotation;
I hate a Critic, that voracious feeder
    On words, and works, and all, which litigation
Can construe into faults,—of which his pleader,— 

    Whose sects are the vile bug-bears of creation:—
He filches us of reputation,—nay, man
Is a more noxious thief, than your highway man.




And then of poets,—inconsistent creatures
    Who sigh, and shift, unsettled as the wind, 
Who talk with every thing—but that which Nature’s
    Idea form’d us for,—a reasoning mind;—
But their’s is Fancy, in its falsest features
    To huddle metaphor and trope combin’d;—
To torture words into the oddest things,

And strive too oft to soar with leaden wings.




But I have said enough, to scare the patience
    Of the most patient soul,—who may reply,—
"Thine is no cargo rich as that of Jason’s,
    "No golden fleece to lure the gazer’s eye."— 

These may be weighty,—stern considerations,
    To those, whose hearts are puff’d with vanity;—
But mine is simply in my roundelay
To wile, perchance, an idle hour away.—




And now to finish with my moral’s gage 1425
    From all that I have written, and which this is
Let no one wait, until a certain age,
    That is,—old bachelor, for Hymen’s blisses
But think, (if Canada should be the stage,)
    Charivari, may hail his wedlock kisses,—

And not delay his happiness, so late,
But learn a lesson from Baptisto’s fate.—




THE CHARIVARI is an ancient custom, which, as far as can at this remote period of time be learned, had its commencement in the Provinces of Old France; and from them spread over the whole Kingdom; from thence it was transplanted into Canada with the earliest settlers from that country, and has been kept up ever since. Like every other practice which excites to hilarity and mirth, it became a favourite amusement. It began from a respectful feeling, among the friends of any couple who entered a second time on the state of matrimony; and who took this method of testifying their regard for the parties, by assembling with horns, pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils, and serenading the new married pair, with the discordant noise produced by the collision of these instruments; thereby intending to represent the jingling and confusion attendant on the assembling of the furniture of the widow and widower. At first it was applied only to persons in the higher ranks of life, commonly by their vassals and dependants, who, assembling in this manner, formed a procession, and respectfully accompanied the parties from the Church to their residence. It deviated from this original plan in the lapse of time, and from the lower classes being captivated with the amusement attendant on the practice, it was employed, whenever they had an opportunity; so that whenever one of the parties had been married before it was resorted to, and still is so. With the encreasing desire to render their amusements subservient for useful purposes, it has been employed to obtain money for charitable appropriations; and to those whose feelings did not beat responsive to this virtue, the Charivari has been obnoxious. The chief features in it are the ludicrousness of the masks and dresses which are assumed, whose diversity afford ample scope for the indulgence of whim, and the display of humour.