From St. Mark to St. Lawrence -- from the Rialto to the Escurial -- from one Peninsula to another!-- it is but a hop, step, and jump -- your toe at Genoa, your heel at Marseilles, and a good hearty spring pops you down at once in the very heart of Old Castille. That Sir Peregrine Ingoldsby, then a young man, was at Madrid soon after the peace of Ryswick there is extant a long correspondence of his to prove. Various passages in it countenance the supposition that his tour was partly undertaken for political purposes; and this opinion is much strengthened by certain allusions in several of his letters addressed, in after life, to his friend, Sir Horace Mann, then acting in the capacity of Envoy to the Court of Tuscany. Although the Knight spent several months in Spain, and visited many of her principal cities, there is no proof of his having actually 'seen Seville,' beyond the internal evidence incidentally supplied by the following legend. The events to which it alludes were, of course, of a much earlier date, though the genealogical records of the 'Kings of both the Indies' have been in vain consulted for the purpose of fixing their precise date, and even Mr. Simpkinson's research has failed to determine which of the royal stock rejoicing in the name of Ferdinand is the hero of the legend. The conglomeration of Christian names usual in the families of the haute noblesse of Spain adds to the difficulty; not that this inconvenient accumulation of prefixes is peculiar to the country in question, witness my excellent friend Field-Marshal Count Herman Karl Heinrich Socrates von der Nodgerrie zü Pfefferkorn, whose appellations puzzled the recording clerk of one of our Courts lately,-- and that not a little.
That a splendid specimen of the genus Homo, species Monk, flourished in the earlier moiety of the 15th century, under the appellation of Torquemada, is notorious,-- and this fact might seem to establish the era of the story; but then his name was John -- not Dominic -- though be was a Dominican, and hence the mistake, if any, may perhaps have originated -- but then again the Spanish Queen to whom he was Confessor was called Isabella, and not Blanche -- it is a puzzling affair altogether.
From his own silence on the subject it may well be doubted whether the worthy transcriber knew himself the date of the transactions he has recorded; the authenticity of the details, however, cannot be well called in question.-- Be this as it may, I shall make no further question, but at once introduce my 'pensive public' to,
THE AUTO-DA-FÉ: A LEGEND OF SPAIN.
With a moody air, from morn till noon,
King Ferdinand paces the royal saloon;
From morn till eve
He does nothing but grieve;
Sighings and sobbings his midriff heave,
And he wipes his eyes with his ermined sleeve,
And he presses his feverish hand to his brow,
And he frowns and he looks I can't tell you how;
And the Spanish Grandees,
In their degrees,
Are whispering about in twos and in threes,
And there is not a man of them seems at his ease,
But they gaze on the monarch, as watching what he does,
With their very long whiskers, and longer Toledos.
Don Gaspar, Don Gusman, Don Juan, Don Diego,
Don Gomez, Don Pedro, Don Blas, Don Rodrigo,
Don Jerome, Don Giacomo join Don Alphonso
In making inquiries
Of grave Don Ramirez,
The Chamberlain, what it is makes him take on so;
A Monarch so great that the soundest opinions
Maintain the sun can't set throughout his dominions.
But grave Don Ramirez
In guessing no nigher is
Than the other grave Dons who propound these inquiries;
When, pausing at length, as beginning to tire, his
Majesty beckons, with stately civility,
To Señor Don Lewis
Who in birth, wealth, and consequence second to few is,
And Señor Don Manuel, Count de Pacheco,
A lineal descendant from King Pharaoh Neco,
Both Knights of the Golden Fleece, highborn Hidalgos,
With whom e'en the King himself quite as a 'pal' goes.
'Don Lewis,' says he,
'Just listen to me;
And you, Count Pacheco,-- I think that we three
On matters of state, for the most part agree,--
Now you both of you know
That some six years ago,
Being then, for a King, no indifferent Beau,
At the altar I took, like my forbears of old,
The Peninsula's paragon,
Fair Blanche of Aragon,
For better, for worse, and to have and to hold --
And you're fully aware,
When the matter took air,
How they shouted, and fired the great guns in the Square,
Cried 'Viva!'-- and rung all the bells in the steeple,
And all that sort of thing
The mob do when a King
Brings a Queen-Consort home for the good of his people.
'Well!-- six years and a day
Have flitted away
Since that blessed event, yet I'm sorry to say --
In fact it's the principal cause of my pain --
I don't see any signs of an Infant of Spain!--
Now I want to ask you,
And Counsellors sage -- what the deuce shall I do?--
The State -- don't you see?-- hey?-- an heir to the throne --
Every monarch, you know, should have one of his own --
Disputed succession -- hey?-- terrible Go!--
Hum -- hey?-- Old fellows -- you see!-- don't you know?
Now Reader, dear,
If you've ever been near
Enough to a Court to encounter a Peer
When his principal tenant's gone off in arrear,
And his brewer has sent in a long bill for beer,
And his butcher and baker, with faces austere,
Ask him to clear
Off, for furnish'd good cheer,
Bills, they say, 'have been standing for more than a year,'
And the tailor and shoemaker also appear
With their 'little account'
Of 'trifling amount,'
For Wellingtons, waistcoats, pea-jackets, and -- gear
Which to name in society's thought rather queer,--
While Drummond's chief clerk, with his pen in his ear,
And a kind of a sneer, says,'We've no effects here!'
-- Or if ever you've seen An Alderman keen
After turtle, peep into a silver tureen,
In search of the fat call'd par excellence 'green.'
When there's none of the meat left -- not even the lean!--
-- Or if ever you've witness'd the face of a sailor
Return'd from a voyage, and escaped from a gale, or
Poeticè 'Boreas,' that 'blustering railer,'
To find that his wife, when he hastens to 'hail' her,
Has just run away with his cash -- and a tailor --
If one of these cases you've ever survey'd,
You'll, without my aid,
To yourself have portray'd
The beautiful mystification display'd,
And the puzzled expression of manner and air
Exhibited now by the dignified pair,
When thus unexpectedly ask'd to declare
Their opinions as Councillors, several and joint,
On so delicate, grave, and important a point.
Señor Don Lewis
At length forced a smile 'twixt the prim and the grim,
And look'd at Pacheco -- Pacheco at him --
Then, making a rev'rence, and dropping his eyes,
Cough'd, hemm'd, and deliver'd himself in this wise:
'My Liege!-- unaccustom'd as I am to speaking
In public -- an art I'm remarkably weak in --
I feel I should be -- quite unworthy the name
Of a man and a Spaniard--and highly to blame,
Were there not in my breast
What--can't be exprest,--
And can therefore,-- your Majesty,-- only be guess'd --
-- What I mean to say is -- since your Majesty deigns
To ask my advice on your welfare -- and Spain's,--
And on that of your Majesty's Bride -- that is, Wife --
It's the -- as I may say -- proudest day of my life!
But as to the point -- on a subject so nice
It's a delicate matter to give one's advice,
When one don't clearly view
The best mode of proceeding,-- or know what to do:
My decided opinion, however, is this,
And I fearlessly say that you can't do amiss,
If, with all that fine tact
Both to think and to act,
In which all know your Majesty so much excels --
You are graciously pleased to -- ask somebody else!'
Here the noble Grandee
Made that sort of congée,
Which, as Hill used to say, 'I once happen'd to see'
The great Indian conjuror, Ramo Samee,
Make, while swallowing what all thought a regular choker,
Viz. a small sword as long and as stiff as a poker.
Then the Count de Pacheco, Whose turn 'twas to speak o-
mitting all preface, exclaim'd with devotion,
'Sire, I beg leave to second Don Lewis's motion!'
Now a monarch of Spain
Of course could not deign
To expostulate, argue, or, much less, complain
Of an answer thus giv'n, or to ask them again;
So he merely observ'd, with an air of disdain,
'Well, Gentlemen,-- since you both shrink from the task
Of advising your Sovereign -- pray whom shall I ask?'
Each felt the rub,
And in Spain, not a Sub,
Much less an Hidalgo, can stomach a snub,
So the noses of these Castilian Grandees
Rise at once in an angle of several degrees,
Till the under-lip's almost becoming the upper,
Each perceptibly grows, too, more stiff in the crupper;
Their right hands rest
On the left side the breast
While the hilts of their swords, by their left hands deprest
Make the ends of their scabbards to cock up behind,
Till they're quite horizontal instead of inclined,
And Don Lewis, with scarce an attempt to disguise
The disgust he experiences, gravely replies,
'Sire, ask the Archbishop -- his Grace of Toledo!--
He understands these things much better than we do!'
-- Pauca Verba!-- enough,
Each turns off in a huff
This twirling his moustache, that fingering his ruff,
Like a blue-bottle fly on a rather large scale,
With a rather large corking-pin stuck through his tail
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
King Ferdinand paces the Royal saloon,
With a moody brow, and he looks like a 'Spoon,'
And all the Court Nobles, who form the ring,
Have a spoony appearance, of course, like the King,
All of them eyeing King Ferdinand
As he goes up and down, with his watch in his hand,
Which he claps to his ear as he walks to and fro,--
'What is it can make the Archbishop so slow?'
Hark!-- at last there's a sound in the courtyard below,
Where the Beefeaters all are drawn up in a row,--
I would say the 'Guards' for in Spain they're in chief eaters
Of omelettes and garlick, and can't be call'd Beefeaters,
In fact, of the few
Individuals I knew
Who ever had happened to travel in Spain,
There has scarce been a person who did not complain
Of their cookery and dishes as all bad in grain,
And no one I'm sure will deny it who's tried a
Vile compound they have that's called Olla podrida.
(This, by-the-bye 's a mere rhyme to the eye,
For in Spanish the i is pronounced like an e,
And they've not quite our mode of pronouncing the d.
In Castille, for instance, it's given through the teeth,
And what we call Madrid they sound more like Madreeth),
Of course you will see in a moment they've no men
That all correspond with our Beefeating Yeomen;
So call them 'Walloons,' or whatever you please,
By their rattles and slaps they're not 'standing at ease,'
But, beyond all disputing,
Engaged in saluting,
Some very great person among the Grandees;--
Here a Gentleman Usher walks in and declares,
'His Grace the Archbishop's a-coming up stairs!'
The most Reverend Don Garcilasso Quevedo
Was just at this time, as he
Now held the Primacy,
(Always attached to the see of Toledo,)
A man of great worship officii virtute
Versed in all that pertains to a Counsellor's duty,
Well skill'd to combine
Civil law with divine;
As a statesman, inferior to none in that line;
As an orator, too,
He was equall'd by few;
Uniting, in short, in tongue, head-piece, and pen,
The very great power of three very great men,
Talleyrand,-- who will never drive down Piccadily more
To the Travellers' Club-House!-- Charles Phillips -- and Phillimore.
Not only at home
But even at Rome
There was not a Prelate among them could cope
With the Primate of Spain in the eyes of the Pope.
(The Conclave was full, and they'd not a spare hat, or he
'd long since been Cardinal, Legate à latere,
A dignity fairly his due, without flattery,
So much he excited among all beholders
Their marvel to see
At his age -- thirty-three
Such a very old head on such very young shoulders.)
No wonder the King, then, in this his distress,
Should send for so sage an adviser express,
Who, you'll readily guess,
Could not do less
Than start off at once, without stopping to dress,
In his haste to get Majesty out of a mess.
His Grace the Archbishop comes up the back way --
Set apart for such Nobles as have the entrée,
Viz. Grandees of the first class, both cleric and lay --
Walks up to the monarch, and makes him a bow,
As a dignified clergyman always knows how,
Then replaces the mitre at once on his brow;
For in Spain, recollect,
As a mark of respect
To the Crown, if a grandee uncovers, it's quite
As a matter of option, and not one of right;
A thing not conceded by our Royal Masters,
Who always make noblemen take off their 'castors,'
Except the heirs male
Of John Lord Kinsale,
A stalwart old Baron, who, acting as Henchman
To one of our early Kings, kill'd a big Frenchman;
A feat which his Majesty deigning to smile on,
Allow'd him thenceforward to stand with his 'tile' on;
And all his successors have kept the same privilege
Down from those barbarous times to our civil age.
Returning his bow with a slight demi-bob,
And replacing the watch in his hand in his fob,
'My Lord,' said the King, 'here's a rather tough job,
Which it seems, of a sort is,
To puzzle our Cortes,
And since it has quite flabbergasted that Diet, I
Look to your Grace with no little anxiety
Concerning a point Which has quite out of joint
Put us all with respect to the good of society:--
Your Grace is aware
That we've not got an Heir;
Now, it seems, one and all, they don't stick to declare
That of all our advisers there is not in Spain one
Can tell, like your Grace, the best way to obtain one;
So put your considering cap on -- we're curious
To learn your receipt for a Prince of Asturias.'
One without the nice tact
Of his Grace would have backt
Out at once, as the Noblemen did,-- and, in fact
He was, at the first, rather pozed how to act --
One moment -- no more!-- Bowing then as before,
He said, 'Sire, 'twere superfluous for me to acquaint
The 'Most Catholic King' in the world that a Saint
Is the usual resource In these cases,-- of course
Of your influence your Majesty well knows the force;
If I may be, therefore, allowed to suggest
The plan which occurs to my mind as the best,
Your Majesty may go
At once to St Jago,
Whom, as Spain's patron Saint, I pick out from the rest:
If your Majesty looks
Into Guthrie, or Brooks,
In all the approved Geographical books
You will find Compostella laid down in the maps
Some two hundred and sev'nty miles off; and, perhaps,
In a case so important you may not decline
A pedestrian excursion to visit his shrine;
And, Sire, should you choose
To put peas in your shoes,
The Saint, as a Gentleman, can't well refuse
So distinguish'd a Pilgrim, especially when he
Considers the boon will not cost him one penny!'
His speech ended, his Grace bow'd, and put on his mitre
As tight as before, and perhaps a thought tighter,
'Pooh! pooh!' says the King, 'I shall do no such thing!
It's nonsense,-- Old fellow -- you see -- no use talking --
The peas set apart, I abominate walking--
Such a deuced way off too -- hey?-- walk there -- what me?
Pooh!-- It's no Go, Old fellow!-- you know -- don't you see?'
'Well, Sire,' with much sweetness the Prelate replied,
'If your Majesty don't like to walk -- you can ride!
And then, if you please,
In lieu of the peas,
A small portion of horse-hair, cut fine, we'll insert,
As a substitute under your Majesty's shirt;
Then a rope round your collar instead of a laced band,--
A few nettles tuck'd into your Majesty's waistband,--
Assafoetida mixed with your bouquet and civet,
I'll warrant you'll find yourself right as a trivet!'
'Pooh! pooh! I tell you,'
Quoth the King, 'It won't do!'--
A cold perspiration began to bedew
His Majesty's cheek, and he grew in a stew,
When Jozé de Humez, the King's privy-purse-keeper,
(Many folks thought it could scarce have a worse keeper,)
Came to the rescue, and said with a smile,
'Sire, your Majesty can't go --'twould take a long while,
And you won't post it under TWO SHILLINGS A MILE!!
Twenty-seven pounds ten
To get there -- and then
Twenty-seven pounds ten more to get back agen!!!
Sire, the tottle's enormous -- you ought to be King
Of Golconda as well as the Indies, to fling
Such a vast sum away upon any such thing!'
At this second rebuff
The Archbishop look'd gruff,
And his eye glanc'd on Humez as if he'd say 'Stuff!'
But seeing the King seem'd himself in a huff,
He chang'd his demeanour, and grew smooth enough;
Then taking his chin 'twixt his finger and thumb,
As a help to reflection, gave vent to a 'Hum!'
'Twas the pause of an instant -- his eye assumed fast
That expression which says, 'Come, I've got it at last!'
'There's one plan,' he resumed, 'which with all due respect to
Your Majesty, no one, I think, can object to --
-- Since your Majesty don't like the peas in the shoe -- or to
Travel -- what say you to burning a Jew or two?
Of all cookeries, most
The Saints love a roast!
And a Jew's of all others the best dish to toast;
And then for a Cook
We have not far to look--
Father Dominic's self, Sire, your own Grand Inquisitor,
Luckily now at your Court is a visitor;
Of his Rev'rence's functions there is not one weightier
Than Heretic-burning -- in fact, 'tis his métier.
Who still follow his heels,
He has always familiars enough at his beck at home,
To pick you up Hebrews enough for a hecatomb!
And depend on it, Sire, such a glorious specific
Would make every Queen throughout Europe prolific!'
Says the King, 'That'll do!
Pooh! pooh!--burn a Jew?
Burn half a score Jews -- burn a dozen -- burn two --
Your Grace, it's a match! Burn all you can catch,
Men, women, and children -- Pooh! pooh!-- great and small --
Old clothes -- slippers -- sealing-wax -- Pooh!-- burn them all!
For once we'll be gay,
A Grand Auto-da-fé
Is much better fun than a ball or a play!'
So the warrant was made out without more delay,
Drawn, seal'd, and delivered, and
YO EL RE!
There is not a nation in Europe but labours
To toady itself and to humbug its neighbours--
'Earth has no such folks -- no folks such a city,
So great or so grand, or so fine, or so pretty,'
Said Louis Quatorze, 'As this Paris of ours!'
-- Mr. Daniell O'Connell exclaims, 'By the Pow'rs,
Ould Ireland's on all hands admitted to be
The first flow'r of the earth, and first Gim of the sea!'--
-- Mr. Bull will inform you that Neptune,-- a lad he,
With more of affection than rev'rence, styles, 'Daddy,'--
Did not scruple to 'say To Freedom, one day,'
That if ever he chang'd his aquatics for dry land,
His home should be Mr. B.'s 'Tight little Island.'--
He adds, too, that he,
The said Mr. B.,
Of all possible Frenchmen can fight any three;
That, with no greater odds, he knows well how to treat them
To meet them, defeat them, and beat them, and eat them.--
-- In Italy, too, 'tis the same to the letter;
There each Lazzarone
Will cry to his crony,
'See Naples, then die! < 1> and the sooner the better!'
The Portuguese say, as a well understood thing,
'Who has not seen Lisbon < 2> has not seen a good thing!'--
While an old Spanish proverb runs glibly as under,
'QUIEN NO HA VISTO SEVILLA
NO HA VISTO MARAVILLA!
'He who ne'er has viewed Seville has ne'er view'd a Wonder!'
And from all I can learn this is no such great blunder.
In fact, from the river,
The famed Guadalquiver,
Where many a knight's had cold steel through his liver, < 3>
The prospect is grand. The Iglesia Mayor
Has a splendid effect on the opposite shore,
With its lofty Giralda, while two or three score
Of magnificent structures around, perhaps more,
As our Irish friends have it, are there 'to the fore:'
Then the old Alcazar,
More ancient by far,
As some say, while some call it one of the palaces
Built in twelve hundred and odd by Abdalasis,
With its horse-shoe shaped arches of Arabesque tracery,
Which the architect seems to have studied to place awry,
Saracenic and rich;
And more buildings 'the which,'
As old Lily, in whom I've been looking a bit o' late,
Says, 'You'd be bored should I now recapitulate;' < 4>
In brief, then, the view
Is so fine and so new,
It would make you exclaim, 'twould so forcibly strike ye,
If a Frenchman, 'Superbe!'--if an Englishman, 'Crikey!'
Yes! thou art 'WONDERFUL!'--but oh,
'Tis sad to think, 'mid scenes so bright
As thine, fair Seville, sounds of woe,
And shrieks of pain and wild affright,
And soul-wrung groans of deep despair,
And blood, and death should mingle there!
Yes! thou art 'WONDERFUL!'-- the flames
That on thy towers reflected shine,
While earth's proud Lords and high-born Dames,
Descendants of a mighty line,
With cold unalter'd looks are by
To gaze, with an unpitying eye,
On wretches in their agony.
All speak thee 'Wonderful'-- the phrase
Befits thee well -- the fearful blaze
Of you piled faggots' lurid light,
Where writhing victims mock the sight,--
The scorch'd limb shrivelling in its chains,--
The hot blood parch'd in living veins,--
The crackling nerve -- the fearful knell
Wrung out by that remorseless bell,--
Those shouts from human fiends that swell,--
That withering scream,-- that frantic yell,--
All, Seville,-- all too truly tell
Thou art a 'Marvel'-- and a Hell!
God!-- that the worm whom thou hast made
Should thus his brother worm invade!
Count deeds like these good service done,
And deem THINE eye looks smiling on!!
Yet there at his ease, with his whole Court around him,
King Ferdinand sits 'in his Glory'-- confound him!--
Leaning back in his chair,
With a satisfied air
And enjoying the bother, the smoke and the smother,
With one knee cocked carelessly over the other;
His pouncet-box goes
To and fro at his nose,
As somewhat misliking the smell of old clothes,
And seeming to hint, by this action emphatic,
That Jews, e'en when roasted, are not aromatic;
There, too, fair Ladies
From Xeres, and Cadiz,
Catalinas, and Julias, and fair Iñesillas,
In splendid lace veils, and becoming mantillas;
Elviras, Antonias, and Claras and Floras,
And dark-eyed Jacinthas and soft Isidoras,
Are crowding the 'boxes,' and looking on coolly as
Though 'twas but one of their common tertulias,
Partaking, as usual, of wafers and ices,
Snow-water, and melons cut out into slices,
And chocolate,-- furnished at coffee-house prices;
While many a suitor,
And gay coadjutor
In the eating-and-drinking line scorns to be neuter;
One, being perhaps just return'd with his tutor
From travel in England, is tempting his 'future'
With a luxury neat as imported, 'The Pewter,'
And charming the dear Violantes and Iñeses
With a three-corner'd Sandwich, and soupcon of 'Guinness's;'
While another, from Paris but newly come back,
Hints 'the least taste in life' of the best cogniac.
Such ogling and eyeing,
In short, and such sighing
And such complimenting (one must not say l--g),
Of smart Cavaliers with each other still vying,
Mix'd up with the crying,
And groans of the dying
All hissing, and spitting, and broiling, and frying,
Form a scene which, although there can be no denying
To a bon Catholique it may prove edifying,
I doubt if a Protestant smart Beau, or merry Belle,
Might not shrink from it as somewhat too terrible.
It's a question with me if you ever survey'd a
More stern-looking mortal than old Torquemada,
Renown'd Father Dominic, famous for twisting dom-
estic and foreign necks all over Christendom;
Morescoes or Jews,
Not a penny to choose,
If a dog of a heretic dare to refuse
A glass of old port, or a slice from a griskin,
The good Padre soon would so set him a frisking,
That I would not, for -- more than I'll say -- be in his skin.
'Twas just the same thing with his own race and nation,
And Christian Dissenters of every persuasion,
Muggletonian or Quaker,
Or Jumper or Shaker,
No matter with whom in opinion partaker,
George Whitfield, John Bunyan, or Thomas Gat-acre,
They'd no better chance than a Bonze or a Fakir;
If a woman, it skill'd not -- if she did not deem as he
Bade her to deem touching Papal supremacy,
By the Pope, but he'd make her! From error awake her,
Or else -- pop her into an oven and bake her!
No one, in short, ever came half so near, as he
Did, to the full extirpation of heresy;
And if, in the times of which now I am treating,
There had been such a thing as a 'Manchester Meeting,'
'Pretty pork' he'd have made 'Moderator' and 'Minister,'
Had he but caught them on his side Cape Finisterre;--
Pye Smith, and the rest of them once in his bonfire, hence-
forth you'd have heard little more of the 'CONFERENCE.'
And -- there on the opposite side of the ring,
He, too, sits 'in his Glory,' confronting the King,
With his cast-iron countenance frowning austerely
That matched with his en bon point body but queerly,
For, though grim his visage, his person was pursy,
Belying the rumour
Of fat folks' good humour;
Above waves his banner of 'Justice and Mercy,'
Below and around stand a terrible band adding
much to the scene -- viz. The 'Holy Hermandad,'
That's 'Brotherhood,'-- each looking grave as a Grand-dad.
Within the arena
Before them is seen a
Strange, odd-looking group, each one dress'd in a garment
Not 'dandified' clearly, as certainly 'varment,'
Being all over vipers and snakes, and stuck thick
With multiplied silhouette profiles of Nick;
And a cap of the same,
All devils and flame,
Extinguisher-shaped, much like Salisbury Spire,
Except that the latter's of course somewhat higher;
A long yellow pin-a-fore
Hangs down each chin afore,
On which, ere the wearer had donn'd it, a man drew
The Scotch badge, a Saltire, or Cross of St. Andrew;
Though I fairly confess I am quite at a loss
To guess why they should choose that particular cross,
Or to make clear to you
What the Scotch had to do
At all with the business in hand,-- though it's true
That the vestment aforesaid, perhaps from its hue,
Viz. yellow, in juxta-position with blue,
(A tinge of which latter tint could but accrue
On the faces of wretches, of course, in a stew
As to what their tormentors were going to do,)
Might make people fancy, who no better knew,
They were somehow connected with Jeffrey's Review;
As it's certain that few
Things would make Father Dominic blither or happier
Than to catch hold of it, or its Chef, Macvey Napier.--
No matter for that -- my description to crown,
All the flames and the devils were turn'd upside down
On this habit, facetiously term'd San Benito,
Much like the dress suit
Of some nondescript brute
From the show-van of Wombwell, (not George,) or Polito.
And thrice happy they, < 5>
Dress'd out in this way
To appear with éclat at the Auto-da-fé,--
Thrice happy indeed whom the good luck might fall to
Of devils tail upward, and 'Fuego revolto,'
For, only see there,
In the midst of the Square,
Where, perch'd up on poles six feet high in the air
Sit, chained to the stake, some two, three, or four pair
Of wretches, whose eyes, nose, complexion, and hair
Their Jewish descent but too plainly declare,
Each clothed in a garment more frightful by far, a
Smock-frock sort of gaberdine, call'd a Samarra,
With three times the number of devils upon it,--
A proportion observed on the sugar-loaf'd bonnet,
With this farther distinction -- of mischief a proof --
That every fiend Jack stands upright on his hoof!
While the pictured flames, spread
Over body and head,
Are three times as crooked, and three times as red!
All, too, pointing upwards, as much as to say,
'Here's the real bonne bouche of the Auto-da-fé.'
With his cold, cruel smile,
Sits looking on calmly, and watching the pile,
As his hooded 'Familiars' (their names, as some tell, come
From their being so much more 'familiar' than 'welcome,')
Have, by this time, begun
To be 'poking their fun,'
And their firebrands, as if they were so many posies
Of lilies and roses,
Up to the noses
Of Lazarus Levi and Money Ben Moses;
While similar treatment is forcing out hollow moans
From Aby Ben Lasco and Ikey Ben Solomons,
Whose beards -- this a black, that inclining to grizzle --
Are smoking, and curling, and all in a fizzle;
The King, at the same time, his Dons and his visitors,
Sit, sporting smiles, like the Holy Inquisitors,--
Enough!-- no more!-- Thank Heaven, 'tis o'er
The tragedy's done! and we now draw a veil
O'er a scene which makes outraged humanity quail;
The last fire's exhausted, and spent like a rocket,
The last wretched Hebrew's burnt down in his socket!
The Barriers are open, and all, saints and sinners,
King, Court, Lords, and Commons, gone home to their dinners,
With a pleasing emotion Produced by the notion
Of having exhibited so much devotion,
All chuckling to think how the Saints are delighted
At having seen so many 'Smouches' ignited:--
All, save Privy-purse Humez,
Who sconced in his room is,
And, Cocker in hand, in his leather-backed chair,
Is puzzling to find out how much the 'affair'
(By deep calculations, the which I can't follow,) cost,--
The tottle, in short, of the whole of the Holocaust.
Perhaps you may think it a rather odd thing,
That, while talking so much of the Court and the King,
In describing the scene
Through which we've just been
I've not said one syllable as to the Queen;
Especially, too, as her Majesty's 'Whereabouts,'
All things considered, might well be thought thereabouts;
The fact was, however, although little known,
Sa Magestad had hit on a plan of her own,
And suspecting, perhaps, that an Auto alone
Might fail in securing this 'Heir to the throne,'
Had made up her mind,
Although well inclined
Towards galas and shows of no matter what kind,
For once to retire,
And bribe the Saints higher
Than merely by sitting and seeing a fire,--
A sight, after all, she did not much admire;
So she locked herself up,
Without platter or cup,
In her Oriel, resolved not take bite or sup,
Not so much as her matin-draught (our 'early purl')
Nor put on her jewels, nor e'en let the girl,
Who helped her to dress, take her hair out of curl,
But to pass the whole morning in telling her beads,
And in reading the lives of the Saints, and their deeds
And in vowing to visit, without shoes or sandals,
Their shrines, with unlimited orders for candles,
Holy water, and Masses of Mozart's and Handel's. < 6>
And many a Pater, and Ave, and Credo
Did She, and her Father Confessor, Quevedo,
(The clever Archbishop, you know, of Toledo,)
Who came, as before, at a very short warning,
Get through, without doubt, in the course of that morning;
Shut up, as they were,
With nobody there
To at all interfere with so pious a pair;
And the Saints must have been stony-hearted indeed,
If they had not allow'd all these pains to succeed.
Nay, it's not quite clear to me but their very ability
Might, Spain throughout,
Have been brought into doubt,
Had the Royal bed still remain'd cursed with sterility;
St. Jago, however, who always is jealous
In Spanish affairs as their best authors tell us,
And who, if he saw
Anything like a flaw
In Spain's welfare, would soon sing, 'Old Rose, burn the bellows!'
Set matters to rights like a King of good fellows:
By his interference,
Three-fourths of a year hence,
There was nothing but capering, dancing, and singing,
Cachucas, Boleros, and bells set a ringing,
In both the Castilles,
Rope-dancing, and tumbling, and somerset-flinging,
While ev'ry gun bang goes;
And all the way through, from Gibraltar to Biscay,
Figueras and Sherry make all the Dons frisky,
(Save Moore's 'Blake's and O'Donnell's,' who stick to the whisky;)
All the day long
The dance and the song
Continue the general joy to prolong;
And even long after the close of the day
You can hear little else but 'Hip! hip! hurray!'
The Escurial, however, is not quite so gay,
For, whether the Saint had not perfectly heard
The petition the Queen and Archbishop preferred,--
Or whether his head, from his not being used
To an Auto-da-fé, was a little confused,--
Or whether the King, in the smoke and the smother,
Got bother'd, and so made some blunder or other,
I am sure I can't say;
All I know is, that day
There must have been some mistake?-- that, I'm afraid, is
Only too clear,
Inasmuch as the dear
Royal Twins,-- though fine babies,-- proved both little Ladies!
Reader!-- Not knowing what your 'persuasion' may be,
Mahometan, Jewish, or even Parsee,
Take a little advice which may serve for all three!
First --'When you're at Rome, do as Rome does!' and note all her
Ways -- drink what She drinks! and don't turn Tee-totaller!
In Spain, raison de plus,
You must do as they do,
Inasmuch as they're all there 'at sixes and sevens,'
Just as, you know, They were some years ago,
In the days of Don Carlos and Brigadier Evans;
Don't be nice, then -- but take what they've got in their shops,
Whether griskins or sausages, ham or pork-chops!
Next -- Avoid Fancy-trousers!-- their colours and shapes
Sometimes as you see, may lead folks into scrapes!
For myself, I confess
I've but small taste for dress,
My opinion is, therefore, worth nothing -- or less --
But some friends I've consulted,-- much given to watch one's
Apparel -- do say
It's by far the best way,
And the safest, to do as Lord Brougham does -- buy Scotch ones!
I might now volunteer some advice to a King,--
Let Whigs say what they will, I shall do no such thing,
But copy my betters, and never begin
Until, like Sir Robert, 'I'm duly CALLED IN!'
1. 'Vedi Napoli e poi mori!' Back.
2. 'Quem não tem visto Lisboa Não tem visto cousa boa.' Back.
3. 'Rio verde, Rio verde, &c.'
'Glassy water, glassy water,
Down whose current clear and strong,
Chiefs, confused in mutual slaughter,
Moor and Christian, roll along.'--
Old Spanish Romance. Back.
4. Cum multis aliis quæ nunc perscribere longum est.-- Propria quæ maribus. Back.
5. O fortunati nimium sua si bona norint! Back.
6. That is, She would have ordered them -- but none are known, I fear, as his,
For Handel never wrote a Mass, and so She'd David Perez's--
Bow! wow! wow!
Fol, lol. &c. &c.'
(Posthumous Note by the Ghost of James Smith, Esq.) Back.