« AnteriorContinuar »
I could never entirely tolerate the volunteer mania; for it completed the destruction of the persecuted queues. There was only one officer in our corps, of glorious memory, who had the magnanimity to bear his queue without a blush. Methought it gave him the look of those who knew how fields should be won. But there was a corporal who did not partake of my reverential feelings. As the veteran marched in advance of the battalion, the mischievous subaltern (he was a tailor) would perk the queue in his lieutenant's face. I could have brought the corporal to a court martial; it was flat mutiny, and unparalleled in the annals of warfare.
There were four queues in my native place who survived the oppression of the times ; but they owed their existence to a rare combination of favourable circumstances. They were trimmed and watered by an ancient professor of queues, who had commenced his practice not very many years after the disunion of the two illustrious occupations of barbery and surgery. The professor was necessary to the wearer of the queues; and the four queues were a quiet and obedient family, that he loved with a complete and unmingled devotion. He was not a vulgar and every-day professor. He had saved a small fortune in the happier times of curls and toupees, and he despised the ordinary clients of these later days of unpowdered pertness. He received an annual guinea from each of his queue-bearers; and he resigned himself exclusively to the cultivation of this his small estate in tail. The hour of his morning visit was an hour of happiness; it was a full hour. It was his to spread the flowing hair over the ample shoulders ; to smooth out the broad black ribbon, which he carefully renewed when its lustre was sullied ; to gather up the scattered locks into a solid girth of leather; and then to bind them fast, roundly and taperingły, till his power should again give them a temporary freedom. Poor F! he sung “ Time has not thinned,” with an exquisite tremulousness; and he told the scandal of his profession with a sly and solemn air, which at once bespoke his discretion and his sincerity. He loved his queue-bearers alike, and he left to each of them a ring.
His four stewards are alive; but two of his cherished family are defunct. I was sorry when I heard that A— had discarded the faithful attendant of so many years. He is of a rough and generous nature, and should have bethought him that the oak suffers the embrace of the ivy without a loss of power or dignity. As for P- I expected it of him. He was always a time-server, a slave of custom, a worshipper of the rising sun. He cast off the friend that never would have forsaken him ; he had not soul enough to feel the honour of being one of “ the last of the Romans.”
Had I once worn a queue I could never have parted with it. I was born after the refined days of hair-worship. The progress of intelligence has deposed these sinless and harmless adornments. But had it been my fate to have ever exhibited such an appendage to manhood, I would as soon have lost my hand as have suffered a sacrilegious scissor to 'have despoiled me of it. There is a mystical nature about a queue which approaches to the sublime: it is at once a part of the man, and a part of his dress; it will wear out fifty of his garments, and yet it does not seem wholly and essentially belonging to his body. Possessing the power of dismissing this ancient follower, I would have permitted my prerogative mercifully to have slumbered, till we had laid down together in the bosom of our common mother. How many fond recollections would have hung upon my queue! The loved one who dallied with it; the children who were tickled with it! Psha! I have no such delightful associations; I am cropped once a month, and my dishonoured locks are swept into the highway.
There are only three queues in Parliament. They look to me like the pillars of the British constitution. I used to reverence the tall, stately George R- , walking through the dirt of Palace Yard, in his black silks, with the grace and equanimity of an old cavalier. Such courtly guise has given place to the trowsers and frock-coats of the bustling city. But a trio of my queues are still there. There is Sir William G-, the foxhunter, whose thin, long queue has streamed in the breeze of many a misty morning there is W
the retired lawyer, whose thick sturdy queue has shaken “ pestilence and war in many a wordy debate :-and there is A--- the worn-out WestIndian planter, whose pert diminutive adjunct ever reminded me of pigtail. Praise and honour to their constancy!
went at Christmas to Covent Garden to see the pantomime; and I was offended. GRIMALDI had a long red queue, insolently mimicking the glories of the mighty dead. And the audience laughed! I could not look upon GRIMALDI again;
I walked round the degenerate house, -- and there was not a queue in the whole dress circle. The age of gentlemen is passed!
LA BELLE TRYAMOUR,
4 Metrical Romance:
BY GERARD MONTGOMERY.
Thus I entertain
Fell sick of the blue devils :—by his court
So many giants, with their crimes, cut short,
That there began to be a lack of sport.
II. For six whole weeks, the Knights of the Round Table,
From morn to night, had nothing else to do Than saunter from the palace to the stable,
Play with their falcons, or their ladies woo, Polish their arms, and laugh (when they were able)
At their own languid jests; no mortal knew, Till dinner was announced, what he'd be at; And King and courtiers all were growing fat.
The game laws were enforced in all their rigour,
And several peasants were convicted fully Of breaking dragons' eggs, and pulling trigger
At giants with two heads, who chose to bully
Of the police, the court went on but dully;
As for the ladies, they, poor souls, declared
That “ they certayne for wearynesse should dye;" The formal knights so prosed, and bowed, and stared,
With their demure, old-fashion'd courtesy;
With his gay jests, and harp, and poetry,
In short, Miss Edgeworth's demon, pale Ennui,
Had seiz’d on the whole court with dire aggression; And made it stupid as a calm at sea,
Or wedlock, after half a year's possession,
Or this same metre, stripp'd of its digression;
I said the King fell sick (he kept his bed,)
With the blue devils ;-'tis a sore disease, Worse than all fevers, yellow, green, or red,
The jaundice, or “ that worm i’ th’ bud” one sees On the pale cheeks of hopeless lovers fed;
And if you wish to know the remedies With which it should be treated, go and look In Doctor Burton's valuable book.
'Tis a complaint that's chiefly incidental
To lovers, drunkards, scholars, kings, and bards ; To country squires with an encumber'd rental,
And gamesters apt to hold unlucky cards; Bards bear it best;—to them it's instrumental
In spinning rhymes: there's Chauncey Townshend lards His groaning stanzas (just to eke his strains out,) With gloom enough to blow six Frenchmen's brains out,
Taste, temper, habits, constitution, age,
It makes him fretful,puts him in a rage With wife, friends, children, servants, and physician;
If poor, he's apt to quit the world's dull stage With a sore throat;-it makes the lover sad, The gamester gloomy, and the poet mad.
Old ladies call it “ fever on the nerves,
A name of universal application,
And gains, for some cross people, toleration
(To say the least,) a handsome flagellation; A mode of treatment which I own that I,
nervous” cases, often long to try.
Of this I'll say no more; because I hear
A better poet is just now preparing A work upon the subject, to appear
In Mr. Knight's best types and paper, bearing The title of “ Blue Devils," and I fear
"Twould seem absurd, in one so often wearing Their livery as myself, to act physician To others haply in no worse condition. ;
I wonder whether Mr. Wordsworth’s yacht,
That fine sky-cruiser calld the “ Crescent Moon,” Might, upon reasonable terms, be got
To bear my Muse and me, some afternoon, “ Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,
Which men call earth;" for I'm quite out of tune Blue-devil'd by eternal common-placesAnd business-and uninteresting faces.