"If ye take heed, it is no need such words to say by me,
For oft ye pray'd, and long essay'd, or I you loved, perdie;
And though that I of ancestry a baron's daughter be,

Yet have you proved how I you loved, a squire of low degree,
And ever shall, whatso befall, to die therefore anon;
For, in my mind, of all mankind, I love but you alone."

"A baron's child to be beguiled, it were a cursed deed;
To be fellow with an outlaw, Almighty God forbid :
Yet better were, the poor squier alone to forest yede*,
Than ye shall say, another day, that by my wicked deed
Ye were betrayed; wherefore, good maid, the best rede that I can
Is that I to the greenwood go, alone, a banished man.”

"Whatever befall, I never shall of this thing you upbraid,
But if ye go, and leave me so, then have ye me betrayed;
Remember you well, how that ye deal, for if ye, as ye said,
Be so unkind, to leave behind your love, the Nut-Brown Maid,
Trust me truly that I die soon after
ye be
For, in my mind, of all mankind, I love but you alone."

"If that ye went ye should repent, for in the forest now
I have purvey'd me of a maid, whom I love more than you.
Another fairer than ever ye were, I dare it well avow;
And of you both, each should be wroth with other, as I trow:
It were mine ease to live in peace; so will I if I can;

Wherefore I to the wood will go, alone, a banished man.”

[ocr errors]

Though in the wood I understood ye had a paramour,

All this may nought remove my thought, but that I will be your;
And she shall find me soft and kind, and courteous every hour,
Glad to fulfil all that she will command me to my power,
For had ye loot an hundred mo, yet would I be that one;
For, in my mind, of all mankind, I love but you alone."

"Mine own dear love, I see the proof that ye be kind and true; Of maid and wife, in all my life, the best that ever I knew.

[blocks in formation]

Be merry and glad, be no more sad, the case is changed new;
For it were ruth, that, for your truth, you should have cause to rue
Be not dismayed, whatsoever I said to you when I began,

I will not to the green wood go, I am no banished man."

"These tidings be more glad to me than to be made a queen,

If I were sure they should endure; but it is often seen,

When men will break promise, they speak the wordes on the spleen :
Ye shape some wile, me to beguile, and steal from me, I ween;
Then were the case worse than it was, and I more woe-begone;

For, in my mind, of all mankind, I love but you alone."


Ye shall not need further to drede, I will not disparage
You, God defend, sith you descend of so great a lineage:
Now understand; to Westmoreland, which is my heritage,
I will you bring, and with a ring, by way of marriage,
I will ye take, and lady make, as shortly as I can;

Thus have ye won an earle's son, and not a banished man.”

Here may ye see, that women be, in love, meek, kind, and stable,
Let never man reprove them then, or call them variable;
But rather pray God that we may to them be comfortable,
Which sometime proveth such as loveth, if they be charitable:
For sith men would that women should be meek to them each one,
Much more ought they to God obey, and serve but Him alone.


[ocr errors]


[THE following graphic picture of "a true old English officer" was published in 1823, in The Plain Englishman,'-a little periodical work which was amongst the first to recognise the necessity of meeting the growing ability of the people to read, by improving and innoxious reading. The editor and publisher of Half-Hours was associated in this endeavour with one of the worthiest of men, Mr. Edward Hawke Locker, who was then resident at Windsor, but subsequently filled the responsible and honourable posts, first of Secretary of Greenwich Hospital, and afterwards of Commissioner. Mr. Locker some few years

ago retired from his official duties, under the pressure of severe illness, through which calamity his fine faculties and his energetic benevolence have ceased to be useful to his fellow-creatures.]

Hamlet. My father-methinks I see my father!
Horatio. O where, my Lord?

Hamlet. In my mind's eye, Horatio . . .

He was a man, take him all in all,

I shall not look upon his like again.

Act 1. Scene 2.

Two-and-twenty years have this day expired since the decease of my much-honoured father. The retrospect presents to me the lively image of this excellent man, and carries me back to a distant period, when I was a daily witness of his benevolence. It is natural that I should dwell with affection upon this portrait, and I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of thinking that it may interest my readers also. The earliest of my impressions represents him as coming to see my little sister and me, when we were but five or six years old, residing in an obscure village under the care of a maiden aunt. Nor should I, perhaps, have remembered the occasion, but for my taking a violent fancy to a rude sketch of a stag which he drew to amuse us on the fragment of one of our playthings. So whimsical are the records of our childish days! Only a few years before, he had the grievous misfortune to lose my mother in child-birth in the flower of her age, leaving him, with an infant family, almost heart-broken under this severe privation. I have often heard him say, that, but for our sakes, he would gladly have been then released; and, indeed, he had every prospect of soon following her. He had recently returned in ill health from Jamaica, and the violence of his grief so much augmented his malady, that the physicians at one time despaired of his recovery. A firm reliance upon the goodness of Providence, and the strength of a powerful constitution, carried him through all his sufferings. He was by nature of a cheerful disposition; but though his spirits recovered with his health, the remembrance of his beloved wife, however mellowed by time, was indelibly expressed by the fondest affection. He never mentioned her name without a sigh, or handled any trifle which had once been hers, without betraying the yearnings of a wounded heart. He attached a sanctity to every thing allied to her memory. Her ornaments, her

portrait, her letters, her sentiments, were objects of his constant regard. When he spoke of her, his tremulous voice proved the unabated interest with which he remembered their happy union. When alone, her image was continually present to his thoughts. In his walks he delighted to hum the airs she was accustomed to play ; and I remember the vibration of an old guitar, which had been preserved as one of her reliques, immediately drew tears from his eyes, while he described to us the skill with which she accompanied her own melody.

From all I have heard of her, she must have been a woman of very superior merit. With many personal charms, she was accomplished in a degree which rendered her society highly attractive. She had accompanied her father to the West Indies, where he held the chief command, and, during that period, she had abundant occasions of showing the sweetness of her disposition, and the steadiness of her resolution. Her father was an admiral of the old régime; and I believe it sometimes required all her discretion to steer her light bark amidst the stormy seas she had to navigate.

My father was no ordinary character. One of the most remarkable features of his mind was simplicity. He was the most natural person I ever knew, and this gave a very agreeable tone to all he said and did. I verily believe he hated nothing but hypocrisy. He was blessed moreover with a sound understanding, an intrepid spirit, a benevolent heart. From his father, who was a man of distinguished learning, and from his mother, who (as a Stillingfleet) inherited much of the same spirit, he derived a taste for literature, which, though thwarted by the rough duties of a sea life, was never quenched, and afterwards broke forth amidst the leisure of more gentle associations on shore. He had been taken from a public school too early to secure a classical education; but such was the diligence with which he repaired this defect, that few men of his profession could be found so well acquainted with books and their authors. In the retirement of his later years, he was enabled to cultivate this taste with every advantage, and numbered among his familiar friends some of the most eminent persons of his own time. Saturday was devoted to receiving men of literature and science at his table. On these occasions we were always permitted to be present, and looked forward with delight to this weekly festival, which contributed essentially to our improvement as well as to our

amusement. He lost no opportunity of affording us instruction. All departments of literature had attractions for him; and, without the science of a proficient, he had a genuine love of knowledge wherever it was to be found. He was a great reader. I think Shakspeare was his favourite amusement; and he read his plays with a native eloquence and feeling, which sometimes drew tears from our eyes, and still oftener from his own.

He always considered himself a fortunate man in his naval career, although he persevered through a long and arduous course of service before he attained the honours of his profession. Having greatly distinguished himself in boarding a French man-of-war, his conduct at length attracted the notice of Sir Edward Hawke, to whom he ascribed all his subsequent success. My father often said that it was that great officer who first weaned him from the vulgar habits of a cockpit; and he considered him as the founder of the more gentlemanly spirit which has gradually been gaining ground in the navy. At the period when he first went to sea, a man-of-war was characterized by the coarseness so graphically described in the novels of Smollett. Tobacco and a checked shirt were associated with lace and a cockade; and the manners of a British Admiral partook of the language and demeanour of a boatswain's mate. My father accompanied his distinguished patron to the Mediterranean in the year 1757, when he was despatched to relieve the unfortunate Admiral Byng in the command, with orders to send him a close prisoner to England. I stop to relate a curious anecdote regarding that affair, which I have often heard from my father's lips.

When Sir Edward reached Gibraltar, he found Byng, with his fleet, lying at anchor in the bay. On communicating the nature of his instructions, he forbore to place the Admiral in arrest, and conducted the affair with so much delicacy, that none else suspected the serious nature of his orders. The two Admirals met at the table of Lord Tyrawley, then Governor of Gibraltar, who, after dinner, withdrew with Byng to another apartment, where he assured him, that, by private letters just then received, he was convinced the ministry meant to sacrifice him to the popular fury, advising him to take this opportunity of escaping to Spain, as the only chance of saving his life. Byng, in reply, confided to his lordship the generous conduct of Hawke, declaring that no personal consideration could induce him to betray that honour

« VorigeDoorgaan »