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Me that ’ave watch'd 'arf a world
'Eave up all shiny with dew,
Kopje on kop to the sun,
An' as soon as the mist let 'em through
Our 'elios winkin' like fun
Three sides of a ninety-mile square,
Over valleys as big as a shire-
there ? Are
ye there ? Are ye there?
An' then the blind drum of our fire
An' I'm rollin' 'is lawns for the Squire,
Me that 'ave rode through the dark
Forty mile often on end,
Along the Ma'ollisberg Range,
With only the stars for my mark
An' only the night for my friend,
An' things runnin' off as you pass,
An' things jumpin' up in the grass,
An' the silence, the shine an' the size
Of the 'igh, inexpressible skies. ...
I am takin' some letters almost
As much as a mile to the post,
An'' mind you come back with the change!'
Me that saw Barberton took
When we dropp'd through the clouds on their 'ead,
An' they 'ove the guns over and fled-
Me that was through Di'mond 'Ill,
An' Pieters an' Springs an' Belfast-
From Dundee to Vereeniging all !
Me that stuck out to the last
(An' five bloomin' bars on my chest)-
I am doin' my Sunday-school best,
By the 'elp of the Squire an' 'is wife
(Not to mention the 'ousemaid an' cook),
To come in an' 'ands up an' be still,
An' honestly work for my bread,
My livin' in that state of life
To which it shall please God to call
Me that ’ave follow'd
trade In the place where the Lightnin's are made, 'Twixt the Rains and the Sun and the Moon; Me that lay down an' got up Three years an' the sky for my roofThat ’ave ridden my ’unger an' thirst Six thousand raw mile on the hoof, With the Vaal and the Orange for cup, An' the Brandwater Basin for dish,Oh! it ’s ’ard to be’ave as they wish (Too 'ard, an' a little too soon), I 'll 'ave to think over it first
I will arise an' get 'ence ;-
I will trek South and make sure
If it's only my fancy or not
That the sunshine of England is pale,
And the breezes of England are stale,
An' there's somethin' gone small with the lot;
For I know of a sun an' a wind,
An' some plains and a mountain be’ind,
An' some graves by a barb-wire fence;
An' a Dutchman I've fought 'oo might give
Me a job were I ever inclined,
To look in an' offsaddle and live
Where there's neither a road nor a tree-
But only my Maker an' me,
And I think it will kill me or cure,
So I think I will go there and see.
75* A Publisher to his Client
DEAR Doctor, I have read your play
Which is a good one in its way,
Purges the eyes and moves the bowels,
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
With tears, that, in a flux of grief,
Afford hysterical relief
To shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses,
Which your catastrophe convulses.
I like your moral and machinery;
Your plot too has such for
Your dialogue is apt and smart ;
The play's concoction full of art;
Your hero raves, your heroine cries,
All stab, and everybody dies.
In short, your tragedy would be
The very thing to hear and see ;
And, for a piece of publication,
If I decline on this occasion,
It is not that I am not sensible
To merits in themselves ostensible,
But-and I grieve to speak it-plays
Are drugs—mere drugs, sir-now-a-days.
I had a heavy loss by ‘ Manuel,' —
Too lucky if it prove not annual,-
And Sotheby, with his 'Orestes,'
(Which by the by, the author's best is),
Has lain so very long on hand,
That I despair of all demand.
I've advertised—but see my books!
Or only watch my shopman's looks !
Still Ivan, Ina, and such lumber,
My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber, .
There's Byron too, who once did better,
Has sent me, folded in a letter,
A sort of—it's no more a drama
Than Darnley, Ivan, or Kehama :
So alter'd since last year
I think he's lost his wits at Venice.
In short, sir, what with one and t’other,
I dare not venture on another.
I write in haste; excuse each blunder;
The coaches thro' the street so thunder !
My room 's so full—we ’ve Gifford here
Reading MS., with Hookham Frere,
Pronouncing on the nouns and particles
Of some of our forthcoming Articles.
The Quarterly—Ah, sir, if you
Had but the genius to review !-
A smart critique upon St. Helena,
Or if you only would but tell in a
compass what-but, to resume
As I was saying, sir, the room-
The room 's so full of wits and bards,
Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres, and Wards,
And others, neither bards nor wits :-
My humble tenement admits
All persons in the dress of gent.,
From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent.
A party dines with me to-day,
All clever men, who make their way :
Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton, and Chantrey
Are all partakers of my pantry.
They ’re at this moment in discussion
De Staël's late dissolution.
Her book, they say, was in advance-
Pray Heaven she tell the truth of France !
Thus run our time and tongues away ;-
But, to return, sir, to your play :
Sorry, sir, but I cannot deal,
Unless 'twere acted by O'Neill.
My hands so full, my head so busy,
I'm almost dead, and always dizzy ;
And so with endless truth and hurry,
Dear Doctor I am yours
76* A Literary Poet to his Patron
Come then, my friend, my genius! Come along ; O master of the poet, and the song! And while the muse now stoops, or now ascends, To man's low passions, or their glorious ends, Teach
me, like thee, in various nature wise, To fall with dignity, with temper rise ; Form’d by thy converse, happily to steer
gay, from lively to severe ; Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease, Intent to reason, or polite to please. Oh! while along the stream of time thy name Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame; Say, shall my little bark attendant sail, Pursue the triumph and partake the gale ? When statesmen, heroes, kings, in dust repose, Whose sons shall blush their fathers were thy foes, Shall then this verse to future age pretend Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend ? That urged by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art From sounds to things, from fancy to the heart; For wit's false mirror held up Nature's light; Show'd erring pride, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT ;