Page images


When love with unconfined wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings

To whisper at my grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair,
And fetter'd with her eye,
The birds that wanton in the air,
Know no such liberty.

When flowing cups run swiftly round
With no allaying Thames,

Our careless heads with roses crown'd,
Our hearts with loyal flames:
When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
When healths and draughts go free,

Fishes that tipple in the deep,
Know no such liberty.

When, linnet-like confined, I

With shriller note shall sing
The mercy, sweetness, majesty,
And glories of my king;
When I shall voice aloud how good

He is, how great should be,

Th' enlarged winds, that curl the flood,
Know no such liberty.

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds, innocent and quiet, take
That for an hermitage :
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free;
Angels alone, that soar above,

Enjoy such liberty.-Richard Lovelace.


The following pedigree of an Arabian horse was tied about the neck of one bought in Egypt

[ocr errors]

"In the name of God, the merciful and compassionate, and of Seed Mahommed, agent of the High God, and of the companions of Mahommed, and of Jerusalem. Praised be the Lord, the omnipotent Creator.

"This is a high-bred horse, and his colts'-tooth is here in a bag about his neck, with his pedigree, and of undoubted authority, such as no infidel can refuse to believe. He is the son of Rabhamy, out of the dam Lahadah, and equal in power to his sire; of the tribe of Zazhalah; he is finely moulded, and made for running like an ostrich; and great in his stroke and his cover. In the honours of relationship he reckons Zaluah, sire of Mahat, sire of Kallac, and the unique Alket, sire of Manasseh, sire of Alshah, father of the race, down to the famous horse, the sire of Lahalala, and to him be ever abundance of green meat, and corn, and water of life, as a reward from the tribe of Zazhalah for the fire of his cover and may a thousand branches shade his carcase from the hyæna of the tomb, from the howling wolf of the desert; and let the tribe of Zazhalah present him with a festival within an inclosure of walls; and let thousands assemble at the rising of the sun in troops hastily, where the tribe holds up, under a canopy of celestial signs within the walls, the saddle with the name and family of the possessor. Then let them strike the hands with a loud noise incessantly, and pray to God for immunity for the tribe of Zoab, the inspired tribe."


Richard had reigned a couple of years and a couple of months when he received his quietus on the field of Bosworth. If ever there was a king of England whose name was bad enough to hang him, this unfortunate dog has a reputation which would suspend him on every lamp-post in Christendom. The odium attaching to his policy has been visited on his person, and it has been asserted that the latter was not straight because the former was crooked. His right shoulder is said by Rouse, who hated him, to have been higher than his left; but this apparent deformity may have arisen from the party having taken a one-sided view of him. His stature was small; but in the case of one who never stood very high in the opinion of the public, it was physically impossible for the fact to be otherwise. Walpole, in his very ingenious Historic Doubts," has tried to get rid of Richard's high lump, but the operation has not been successful, in the opinion of any impartial umpire. Imagination, that tyrant which has such a strange method of treating its subjects, has had perhaps more to do than Nature in placing an enormous burden on Richard's shoulders. His features were decidedly good-looking; but on the converse of the principle that 66 handsome is as handsome does," the tyrant Gloucester has been regarded as one of those who ugly was that handsome didn't."

[ocr errors]


It is a remarkable fact that Richard III. during his short reign received no subsidy from Parliament, though we must not suppose that he ruled the kingdom gratuitously; for, on the contrary, his income was ample and munificent. He got it in the shape of tonnage and poundage upon all sorts


of goods, and when money was not to be had he took property to the full value of the claim he had upon it. The result was that his treasury became a good deal like an old curiosity shop, a coal shed, or a dealer's in marine stores; for anything that came in Richard's way was perfectly acceptable. The principle of poundage was applied to everything, even in quantities less than a pound, and he would, even on a few ounces of sugar, sack his share of the saccharine. If he required it for his own use he never scrupled to intercept the housewife on her way from the butcher's, and cut off the chump from the end of the chop; nor did he hesitate, when he felt disposed, to Îop the very lollipop in the hands of the schoolboy. This principle of allowing poundage to the king was in the highest degree inconvenient. It rendered the meat-safe a misnomer, inasmuch as it was never safe from royal rapacity.

It has been said of Richard, that he would have been well qualified to reign, had he been legally entitled to the throne; or, in other words, that he would have been a good ruler if he had not been a bad sovereign. To us this seems to savour of the old anomaly a distinction without a difference. He certainly carried humbug to the highest possible point, for he exhibited it upon the throne, which serves as a platform to make either vice or virtueas the case may be-conspicuous.

It is urged by those writers who have defended him, that the crimes he committed were only those necessary to secure the crown; but this is no better plea than that of the highwayman who knocks a traveller on the head because the blow is necessary to the convenient picking of the victim's pockets. Richard's crimes might have been palliated in some trifling degree, had they been essential to the recovery of his own rights, but the

case is different when his sanguinary career was only pursued that he might get hold of that which did not belong to him. It is true he was ambitious; but if a thief is ambitious of possessing our set of six silver tea-spoons, we are not to excuse him because he knocks us down and stuns us, as a necessary preliminary to the transfer of the property from our own to our assailant's possession. The palliators of Richard's atrocities declare that he could do justice in matters where his own interest was not concerned; but this fact, by proving that he knew better, is in fact an aggravation of the faults he was habitually guilty of. It has been insinuated that when he had got all he wanted, he might have improved, but that by killing him after he had come to the throne, his contemporaries gave him no chance of becoming respectable. It must be clear to every reasonable mind that the result, even had it been satisfactory, would never have been worth the cost of obtaining it, and that in tolerating Richard's pranks, on the chance of his becoming eventually a good king, his subjects might well have exclaimed le jeu n'envaut pas la chundelle. In the vexata questio of the cause of the death of the princes, the guilt has usually been attributed to Richard, because he reaped the largest benefit from their decease; but this horrible doctrine would imply that a tenant for life is usually murdered by the remainder-man, and that the enjoyer of the interest of Bank Stock is frequently cut off by the reversioner who is entitled to the principal. We admit there is a strong case against Richard upon other more reasonable evidence: and thus from the magisterial bench of History do we commit him to take his trial, and be impartially judged by the whole of his countrymen.-Gilbert à Beckett's Comic History of England.

« PreviousContinue »