Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HOUSE-WARMING; A LEGEND OF BLEEDING-HEART YARD, by RICHARD HARRIS BARHAM



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THE HOUSE-WARMING; A LEGEND OF BLEEDING-HEART YARD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Sir christopher hatton he danced with grace
Last Line: That the iron one is not the only 'pump' there!
Alternate Author Name(s): Ingoldsby, Thomas
Subject(s): Elizabeth I, Queen Of England (1533-1603; Witchcraft & Witches; Devil; Satan; Mephistopheles; Lucifer; Beelzebub


SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON he danced with grace,
He'd a very fine form and a very fine face,
And his cloak and his doublet were guarded with lace,
And the rest of his clothes, As you well may suppose,
In taste were by no means inferior to those;
He'd a yellow-starch'd ruff,
And his gloves were of buff,
On each of his shoes a red heel and a rose,
And nice little moustaches under his nose;
Then every one knows How he turn'd out his toes,
And a very great way that accomplishment goes,
In a Court where it's thought, in a lord or a duke, a
Disgrace to fall short in 'the Brawls' -- (their Cachouca).
So what with his form and what with his face,
And what with his velvet cloak guarded with lace,
And what with his elegant dancing and grace,
His dress and address So tickled Queen Bess
That her Majesty gave him a very snug place;
And seeing, moreover, at one single peep, her
Advisers were, few of them, sharper or deeper
(Old Burleigh excepted), she made him Lord Keeper!
I've heard, I confess, with no little surprise,
English history call'd a farrago of lies;
And a certain Divine, A connection of mine,
Who ought to know better, as some folks opine,
Is apt to declare, Leaning back in his chair,
With a sort of smirking, self-satisfied air,
That 'all that's recorded in Hume and elsewhere,
Of our early "Annales" A trumpery tale is,
Like the "Bold Captain Smith's," and the "Luckless Miss Bayley's" --
That old Roger Hovedon, and Ralph de Diceto,
And others (whose name should I try to repeat over,
well I'm assured you would put in your veto),
Though all holy friars Were very great liars,
And raised stories faster than Grissell and Peto --
That Harold escaped with the loss of a "glim" --
That the shaft which kill'd Rufus ne'er glanced from a limb
Of a tree, as they say, but was aimed slap at him, --
That fair Rosamond never was poison'd or spitted,
But outlived Queen Nell, who was much to be pitied; --
That Nelly her namesake, Ned Longshanks's wife,
Ne'er went crusading at all in her life,
Nor suck'd the wound made by the poison-tipp'd knife!
For as she, O'er the sea,
Towards fair Galilee,
Never, even in fancy, march'd carcass or shook shanks,
Of course she could no more suck Longshanks than Cruikshanks,
But leaving her spindle-legg'd liege-lord to roam,
Stay'd behind, and suck'd something much better at home, --
That it's quite as absurd
To say Edward the Third,
In reviving the Garter, afforded a handle
For any Court-gossip, detraction, or scandal,
As 'twould be to say, That at Court t'other day,
At the fete which the newspapers say was so gay,
His Great Representative then stole away
Lady Salisbury's garters as part of the play. --
-- That as to Prince Hal's being taken to jail,
By the London Police, without mainprize or bail,
For cuffing a judge, It's a regular fudge;
And that Chief-Justice Gascoigne, it's very well known,
Was kick'd out the moment he came to the throne. --
-- Then that Richard the Third was a "marvellous proper man" --
Never kill'd, injured, or wrong'd of a copper, man --
Ne'er wish'd to smother The sons of his brother, --
Nor ever struck Harry the Sixth, who, instead
Of being squabash'd, as in Shakespeare we've read,
Caught a bad influenza, and died in his bed,
In the Tower, not far from the room where the Guard is
(The octagon one that adjoins Duffus Hardy's), --
-- That, in short, all the "facts" in the Decem Scriptores,
Are nothing at all but sheer humbugging stories.'

Then if, as he vows, both this country and France in,
Historians thus gave themselves up to romancing,
Notwithstanding what most of them join in advancing
Respecting Sir Christopher's capering and prancing,
'Twill cause no surprise If we find that his rise
Is not to be solely ascribed to his dancing!
The fact is, Sir Christopher, early in life,
As all bachelors should do, had taken a wife,
A Fanshawe by family, -- one of a house
Well descended, but boasting less 'nobles' than nous;
Though e'en as to purse He might have done worse,
For I find, on perusing her Grandfather's will, it is
Clear she had 'good gifts beside possibilities,'
Owches and rings, And such sort of things,
Orellana shares (then the American Stocks),
Jewell'd stomachers, coifs, ruffs, silk-stockings with clocks,
Point-lace, cambric handkerchiefs, night-caps, and -- socks --
(Recondite apparel contain'd in her box),
-- Then the height of her breeding
And depth of her reading
Might captivate any gay youth, and, in leading
Him on to 'propose,' well excuse the proceeding:
Truth to tell, as to 'reading,' the Lady was thought to do
More than she should, and know more than she ought to do;
Her maid, it was said, Declared that she read
(A custom all staid folks discourage) in bed;
And that often o' nights, Odd noises and sights
In her mistress's chamber had given her sad frights,
After all in the mansion had put out their lights,
And she verily thought that hobgoblins and sprites
Were there, kicking up all sorts of devil's delights; --
Miss Alice, in short, was supposed to 'collogue' -- I
Don't much like the word -- with the subtle old rogue, I
've heard call'd by so many names -- one of them's 'Bogy' --
Indeed, 'twas conceived, And by most folks believed,
-- A thing at which all of her well-wishers grieved --
That should she incline to play such a vagary,
Like sage Lady Branxholm, her contempo-rary
(Excuse the false quantity, reader, I pray),
She could turn a knight into a waggon of hay,
Or two nice little boys into puppies at play.
Raison de plus, not a doubt could exist of her
Power to turn 'Kit Hatton' into 'Sir Christopher';
But what 'mighty magic,' or strong 'conjuration,
Whether love-powder, philtre, or other potation,
She used, I confess, I'm unable to guess, --
Much less to express By what skill and address
She 'cut and contrived' with such signal success,
As we Londoners say, to 'inwiggle' Queen Bess,
Inasmuch as I lack heart To study the Black Art;
Be that as it may, -- it's as clear as the sun,
That, however she did it, 'twas certainly done!

Now, they're all very well, titles, honour, and rank,
Still we can't but admit, if we choose to be frank,
There's no harm in a snug little sum in the Bank!
An old proverb says, 'Pudding still before praise!'
An adage well known I've no doubt in those days,
And George Colman the Younger, in one of his plays,
Makes one of his characters loudly declare
That 'a Lord without money,' -- I quote from his 'Heir-
At-Law' -- ''s but a poor wishy-washy affair'; --
In her subsequent conduct I think we can see a
Strong proof the Dame entertain'd some such idea,
For, once in the palace, We find Lady Alice
Again playing tricks with her Majesty's chalice
In the way that the jocose, in
Our days, term 'hocussing';
The liquor she used, as I've said, she kept close,
But whatever it was, she now doubled the dose!
(So true is the saying, 'We never can stay, in
Our progress, when once with the foul fiend we league us.')
-- She 'doctor'd' the punch, and she 'doctor'd' the negus,
Taking care not to put in sufficient to flavour it,
Till, at every fresh sip, That moisten'd her lip,
The Virgin Queen grew more attach'd to her Favourite.
'No end' now he commands Of money and lands,
And, as George Robins says, when he's writing about houses,
'Messuages, tenements, crofts, tofts, and outhouses,'
Parks, manors, chases, She 'gives and she grants,
To him and his heirs, and his uncles and aunts';
Whatever he wants, he has only to ask it,
And all other suitors are 'left in the basket,'
Till Dudley and Rawleigh Began to look squally,
While even grave Cecil, the famous Lord Burleigh,
Himself, 'shook his head,' and grew snappish and surly.
All this was fine sport, As our authors report,
To dame Alice, become a great Lady at Court,
Where none than her Ladyship's husband look'd bigger,
Who 'led the brawls' still with the same grace and vigour,
Though losing a little in slimness and figure;
For eating and drinking all day of the best
Of viands well drest, With 'Burgess's Zest,'
Is apt, by degrees, to enlarge a man's vest;
And, what in Sir Christopher went to increase it, he
'd always been rather inclined to obesity;
-- Few men in those times were found to grow thinner
With beef-steaks for breakfast and pork-pie for dinner.

Now it's really a difficult problem to say
How long matters might have gone on in this way,
If it had not unluckily happen'd one day
That NICK, -- who, because He'd the gout in his claws,
And his hoofs -- (he's by no means so young as he was,
And is subject of late to a sort of rheumatic attack that partakes both of gout
and sciatica), --
All the night long had twisted and grinned,
His pains much increased by an easterly wind,
Which always compels him to hobble and limp,
Was strongly advised by his medical Imp
To lie by a little, and give over work,
For he'd lately been slaving away like a Turk,
On the Guinea-coast, helping to open a brave trade,
In niggers, with Hawkins who founded the slave-trade,
So he call'd for his ledger, the constant resource
Of your mercantile folk, when they're 'not in full force';
-- If a cold or catarrh makes them husky and hoarse,
Or a touch of gout keeps them away from 'the BOURSE,'
They look over their books as a matter of course.
Now scarce had Nick turn'd over one page or two,
Ere a prominent item attracted his view,
A Bill! that had now been some days overdue,
From one Alice Hatton, nee Fanshawe -- a name
Which you'll recognise, reader, at once as the same
With that borne by Sir Christopher's erudite dame!
The signature -- much more prononcee than pink,
Seem'd written in blood -- but it might be red ink --
While the rest of the deed He proceeded to read,
Like ev'ry bill, bond, or acquittance' whose date is
Three hundred years old, ran in Latin. -- 'Sciatis
(Diaboli?) omnes ad quos haec pervenient --'
-- But courage, dear Reader, I mean to be lenient,
And scorn to inflict on you half the 'Law-reading
I pick'd up 'umquhile' in three days' special pleading,
Which cost me -- a theme I'll not pause to digress on --
Just thirty-three pounds six-and-eightpence a lesson --
'As I'm stout, I'll be merciful,' therefore, and sparing
All these technicalities, end by declaring
The deed so correct As to make one suspect
(Were it possible any such person could go there)
Old Nick had a Special Attorney below there:
'Twas so framed and express'd no tribunal could shake it,
And firm as red wax and black ferret could make it.

By the roll of his eye As Old Nick put it by,
It was clear he had made up his mind what to do
In respect to the course he should have to pursue,
When his hoof would allow him to put on a shoe!!

No, although the Lord Keeper held under the crown, house
And land in the country -- he'd never a Town-house,
And, as we have seen, His course always had been,
When he wanted a thing, to solicit the Queen,
So now, in the hope of a fresh acquisition,
He danced off to Court with his 'Humble Petition.'

'Please your Majesty's Grace, I have not a place
I can well put my head in, to dine, sup, or sleep!
Your Grace's Lord Keeper has nowhere to keep,
So I beg and entreat, At your Majesty's feet,
That your Grace will be graciously pleased for to say,
With as little delay As your Majesty may,
Where your Majesty's Grace's Lord Keeper's to stay --
-- And your Grace's Petitioner ever will pray!'

The Queen, when she heard This petition preferr'd,
Gave ear to Sir Christopher's suit at a word; --
'Odds Bobs, my good Lord!' was her gracious reply,
'I don't know, not I, Any good reason why
A Lord Keeper, like you, should not always be nigh
To advise -- and devise -- and revise -- our supply --
A House! we're surprised that the thing did not strike
Us before -- Yes! -- of course! -- Pray, whose house would you like!
When I do things of this kind, I do them genteelly.
A House? -- let me see! there's the Bishop of Ely!
A capital mansion, I'm told, the proud knave is in,
Up there in Holborn, just opposite Thavies Inn --
Where the strawberries grow so fine and so big,
Which our Grandmother's Uncle tuck'd in like a pig,
King Richard the Third, which you all must have read of --
The day, -- don't you know? -- he cut Hastings' head off --
And mark me, proud Prelate! -- I'm speaking to you,
Bishop Heaton! -- you need not, my Lord, look so blue --
Give it up on the instant! I don't mean to shock you,
Or else by ----- ! -- (The Bishop was shock'd!) -- I'll unfrock you!!

The Queen turns abruptly her back on the group,
The courtiers all bow as she passes, and stoop
To kiss, as she goes, the hind flounce of her hoop,
And Sir Christopher, having thus danced to some tune,
Skips away with much glee in his best rigadoon!
While poor Bishop Heaton, Who found himself beaten,
In serious alarm at the Queen's contumelious
And menacing tone, at once gave him up Ely House,
With every appurtenance thereto belonging,
Including the strawberry-beds 'twas so strong in;
Politely he bow'd to the gratified minion,
And said, 'There can be, my good lord, in opinion
No difference betwixt yours And mine as to fixtures,
And tables, and chairs -- We need no survey'rs --
Take them just as you find them, without reservation,
Grates, coppers, and all, at your own valuation!'

Well! the object is gain'd! A good town-house obtain'd!
The next thing to be thought of, is now
The 'house-warming' party -- the when and the how, --
The Court ladies call, One and all, great and small,
For an elegant 'Spread,' and more elegant Ball,
So, Sir Christopher, vain as we know of his capering,
No sooner had finish'd his painting and papering
Than he sat down and wrote Anice little pink note
To every great Lord whom he knew, and his spouse,
'From our poor place on Holborn-hill (late Ely House),
Lord Keeper and Dame Alice Hatton request,
Lord So-and-so's (name, style, or title exprest)
Good company on The next eve of St. John,
Viz.: Friday week, June 24th, as their guest,
To partake of pot-luck, And taste a fat buck.
N.B. Venison on table exactly at 3,
Quadrilles in the afternoon.

R. S. V. P.

For my good Lord of So-and-so these, and his wife;
Ride! ride! for thy life! for thy life! for thy life!'
Thus, courtiers were wont to indorse their expresses
In Harry the VIIIth's time, and also Queen Bess's.
The Dame, for her part, too, took order that cards
Should be sent to the mess-rooms of all the Hussars,
The Household troops, Train-bands, and horse and foot Guards.
Well, the day for the rout At length came about,
And the bells of St. Andrew's rang merrily out,
As horse-litter, coach, and pad-nag, with its pillion,
(The mode of conveyance then used by 'the Million,')
All gallant and grand Defiled from the Strand,
Some through Chancery (then an unpaved and much wetter) Lane,
Others through Shoe (which was not a whit better) Lane;
Others through Fewtar's (corrupted to Fetter) Lane;
Some from Cheapside and St. Mary-le-Bow,
From Bishopsgate Street, Dowgate Hill, and Budge Row.
They come and they go,
Squire and Dame, Belle and Beau,
Down Snore Hill (which we have since whitewash'd to Snow)
All eager to see the magnificent show,
And sport what some call 'a fantastical toe';
In silk and in satin, To batten and fatten
Upon the good cheer of Sir Christopher Hatton.

A flourish, trumpets! -- sound again! --
He comes, bold Drake, the chief who made a
Fine hash of all the pow'rs of Spain,
And so served out their Grand Armada:
With him come Frobisher and Hawkings,
In yellow ruffs, rosettes, and stockings.

Room for my Lord! -- proud Leicester's Earl
Retires awhile from courtly cares,
Who took his wife, poor helpless girl!
And pitch'd her neck and heel down-stairs,
Proving, in hopes to wed a richer,
If not her 'friend,' at least her 'pitcher.'

A flourish, trumpets! strike the drums!
Will Shakspeare, never of his pen sick,
Is here -- next Doctor Masters comes,
Renown'd afar for curing men sick, --
Queen's Serjeant Barham with his bums
And tipstaves, coif, and wig forensic
(He lost, unless Sir Richard lies, his
Life at the famous 'Black Assizes').

Room! Room! for great Cecil! -- place, place, for his Dame! --
Room! Room! for Southampton -- for Sidney, whose name
As a Preux Chevalier, in the records of Fame,
'Beats Banagher' -- e'en now his praises, we all sing 'em,
Knight, Poet, Gentleman! -- Room! for Sage Walsingham!

Room! for Lord Hunsdon! -- for Sussex! -- for Rawleigh! --
For INGOLDSBY!! Oh! it's enough to appal ye!
Dear me! how they call!
How they squall! how they bawl!
This dame has lost her shoe -- that one her shawl --
My lord's got a tumble -- my lady a fall!
Now a Hall! a Hall! A Brawl! a Brawl!
Here's my Lord Keeper Hatton, so stately and tall!
Has led out Lady Hunsdon to open the Ball.

Fiddlers! Fiddlers! fiddle away!
Resin your catgut! fiddle and play!
A roundelay! Fiddle away!
Obey! obey! -- hear what they all say.
Hip! -- Music Nosey! -- play up there!! -- play!
Never was anything half so gay
As Sir Christopher Hatton's grand holiday!

The clock strikes twelve! -- Who cares for the clock?
Who cares for-----Hark! -- What a loud Single-knock!
Dear me! dear me! Who can it be? --
Why, who can be coming at this time of night,
With a knock like that honest folk to affright! --
'Affright?' -- yes, affright! -- there are many who mock
At fear, and in danger stand firm as a rock,
Whom the roar of the battle-field never could shock,
Yet quail at the sound of a vile 'Single knock!'
Hark! -- what can the Porter be thinking of? -- What! --
If the booby has not let him in I'll be shot! --
Dear me! how hot The room's all at once got! --
And what rings through the roof? --
It's the sound of a hoof!
It's some donkey a-coming up-stairs at full trot!
Stay! -- the folding-doors open! the leaves are thrown back,
And in dances a tall Figurant -- ALL IN BLACK!!
Gracious me, what an entrechat! Oh, what a bound!
Then with what an aplomb he comes down to the ground!
Look there! look there! Now he's up in the air!
Now he's here! now he's there! -- now he's no one knows where! --
See! see! -- he's kick'd over a table and chair!
There they go! -- all the strawberries, flowers, and sweet herbs,
Turn'd o'er and o'er Down on the floor,
Ev'ry caper he cuts oversets or disturbs
All the 'Keen's Seedlings,' and 'Wilmot's Superbs'!
There's a pirouette! -- we're
All a great deal too near!
A ring! -- give him room or he'll 'shin' you -- stand clear!
There's a spring again! -- oh! 'tis quite frightful! -- oh dear!
His toe's broke the top of the glass chandelier!!

Now he's down again -- look at the eongees and bows
And salaams which he makes to the Dame of the House,
Lady Alice, the noble Lord Treasurer's spouse!
Come, now we shall view A grand pas de deux
Perform'd in the very first style by these two.
-- But no! -- she recoils -- she could scarce look more pale if
Instead of a Beau's 'twas the bow of a Bailiff! --
He holds out his hand -- she declines it, and draws
Back her own -- see! -- he grasps it with horrid black claws,
Like the short, sharp, strong nails of a Polar Bear's paws!!

Then she 'scream'd such a scream!'
Such another, I deem,
As, long after, Miss Mary Brown scream'd in her dream.
Well she might! for 'twas shrewdly remark'd by her Page,
A sharp little boy about twelve years of age,
Who was standing close by When she utter'd her cry,
That the whole of her arm shrivell'd up, and grew dry,
While the fingers and thumb of the hand he had got
In his clutches became on the instant RED HOT!!

Now he whirls and he twirls,
Through the girls and their curls,
And their rouge, and their feathers, and diamonds, and pearls;
Now high, -- now low, -- Now fast, and now slow,
In terrible circumgyration they go;
The flame-colour'd Belle and her coffee-faced Beau!
Up they go once! and up they go twice! --
Round the hall! -- round the hall! -- and now up they go thrice!
Now one grand pirouette, the performance to crown!
Now again they go UP!! -- and they NEVER COME DOWN!!!

The thunder roars! And the rain it pours!
And the lightning comes in through the windows and doors!
Then more calling, and bawling,
And squalling, and falling,
Oh! what a fearful 'stramash' they are all in!
Out they all sally, The whole corps de ballet --
Some dash down Holborn-hill into the valley,
Where stagnates Fleet Ditch at the end of Harp Alley,
Some t'other way, with a speed quite amazing,
Nor pause to take breath till they get beyond Gray's Inn.
In every sense of the word, such a rout of it,
Never was made in London, or out of it!

When they came the next day to examine the scene,
There was scarcely a vestige of all that had been;
The beautiful tapestry blue, red, and green,
Was all blacken'd and scorch'd, and look'd dirty and mean.
All the crockery broken, dish, plate, and tureen!
While those who look'd up could perceive in the roof,
One very large hole in the shape of a hoof!
Of poor Lady Hatton, it's needless to say,
No traces have ever been found to this day,
Or the terrible dancer who whisk'd her away;
But out in the court-yard -- and just in that part
Where the pump stands -- lay bleeding a LARGE HUMAN HEART,
And sundry large stains Of blood and of brains,
Which had not been wash'd off notwithstanding the rains,
Appear'd on the wood, and the handle and chains,
As if somebody's head, with a very hard thump,
Had been recently knock'd on the top of the pump.
That pump is no more! -- that of which you've just read, --
But they've put a new iron one up in its stead,
And still, it is said, At that 'small hour' so dread,
When all sober people are cosy in bed,
There may sometimes be seen on a moonshiny night,
Standing close by the new pump a Lady in White,
Who keeps pumping away with, 'twould seem, all her might,
Though never a drop comes her pains to requite!
And hence many passengers now are debarr'd
From proceeding at nightfall through Bleeding-Heart Yard!

MORAL

Fair ladies, attend! And if you've a 'friend
At Court,' don't attempt to bamboozle or trick her!
-- Don't meddle with negus, or any mix'd liquor! --
Don't dabble in 'Magic!' my story has shown
How wrong 'tis to use any charms but your own!

Young Gentleman, too, may, I think, take a hint
Of the same kind, from what I've here ventured to print.
All Conjuring's bad! they may get in a scrape,
Before they're aware, and whatever its shape,
They may find it no easy affair to escape.
It's not everybody that comes off so well
From legerdemain tricks as Mr. Brunel.

Don't dance with a Stranger who looks like a Guy,
And when dancing don't cut your capers too high!
Depend on't the fault's in Your method of waltzing,
If ever you kick out the candles -- don't try!

At a ball or a play, Or any soiree,
When a petit souper constitutes the 'Apres,'
If strawb'ries and cream with CHAMPAGNE form a part,
Take care of your HEAD -- and take care of your HEART!

If you want a new house For yourself and your spouse,
Buy, or build one, -- and honestly pay, every brick, for it!
Don't be so green as to go to Old Nick for it --
-- Go to George Robins -- he'll find you 'a perch'
(Dulce Domum's his word) without robbing the Church.

The last piece of advice which I'd have you regard
Is, 'Don't go of a night into Bleeding-Heart Yard,'
It's a dark, little, dirty, black, ill-looking square,
With queer people about, and unless you take care,
You may find when your pocket's clean'd out and left bare,
That the iron one is not the only 'PUMP' there!





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