Another Edition of Edwin and Angelina
From a Collector’s Portfolio
Fair Angeline at school was found,
Established in a Square—
The middle of that square was round,
And fifteen trees grew there.
Fair Angelina’s sire could prove—
Twelve thousand pounds in store:
Then Ensign Edwin fell in love,
And sighed a week or more.
He hired a chaise in Wimpole-street,
Their ’lopement to begin;
(This chaise had four wheels, and a seat
To sit upon within.)
They stopped some sparrow-grass to take
With chickens at the Bell Inn,
At Stamford, where men cheeses make,
Near Stilton, where they sell ’em.
Baldock and Biggleswade they pass’d,
They drove old Bugden through;
Chang’d horses at the Boar Inn last—
The Black Boar, not the Blue.
They saw a gold and purple cloud
Float on the mountain’s ridge,
And counted mile-stones on the road
That leads to Boroughbridge.
Then Ensign Edwin look’d about,
And dropp’d the right-hand glass—
He sigh’d so loud, it seem’d no doubt
A breeze from Boreass.
Fair Angelina’s words were soft
As curdled milk and honey:
“Why sighs my swain,” says she, “so oft?”
Says he—“I have no money.
From Wimpole-street to Wetherby
Four horses too much cost, for
Blind Cupid cannot post-boy be,
Nor Hymen pay the ostler.
Venus of Med’cis only drives
Two turtles in her chair,
And he who for a Venus strives
Needs but a chaise and pair.”
Fair Angelina’s eyes dropp’d dew—
“It never shall be said,
That only with a chaise and two
I ran away to wed.
Miss Deidamia Dawson has
Three ponies to her tandem,
And shall she boast that I, alas!
Rode with two hacks at random?
Open the door—let down the step—
Our parting Fate decrees here—
I’ll go home to Papa’s own Rep—
Ository of teas, sir!”
Then spoke the Ensign of the Guards—
(The Guards wear blue and buff)—
“If this is all that love rewards,
We’ll not go on to Brough.
When bills are due and bankers stop,
A free man may be flurried.
But he who weds can only hope
To bury or be buried.”
Then spoke the bold Postillion,
Right gaily answer’d he,
“John Perkins never yet look’d on
A lady’s tears to see.
Captains and squires I’ve gone before,
And lords too, all my life;
And till I hold the reins no more,
I need not fear a wife.
Now, Lady, I’m no boasting elf,
My name is honest John;
I’ll go to Gretna-green myself!”
Said Angeline—“Drive on!”
Now, lords and ladies, please to heed
The moral of my verse;
Let him who means a trip to Tweed
Put money in his purse:
And, fairest ladies, if you pray
To ’scape the wide world’s laughter,
Be gentle on your bridal-day,
And never scold till after.
- I have consulted Bryant and Milles on this erudite line, and conclude it must refer to the Lombard-system of squaring a circle. The fifteen trees must imply some mystical way of multiplying the three trees with which eastern poets compose a nuptial bower. ↩
- In the Walpolian edition of this ballad, sold at a late auction for £168, it is printed “for more,” which I take to be the true reading. ↩
- Here is an error of the press. I read, “They stopp’d asparagus to take.” Malone. I read it “a pair of grouse,” which is preferable. Warburton. ↩
- Neither Gough, Stowe, nor Pennant, give any information respecting the signs at these places: nor can I guess why the hero and heroine particularly preferred the Black Boar. Perhaps as a Boar’s head was anciently a sign of enmity, which made the guests look blue, a Blue Boar might be deemed an ill-omened sign-post. Bentley. ↩
- I can find no precedent for thus spelling and accenting Boreas. Johnson.—My learned friend is mistaken. Bore æs or ass here signifies Bored brass, or a trumpet. Such compounds of English and Latin are not unfrequent among our older poets, and even yeomen formerly wrote among their items of farming expenses, Ex vuius Cart-saddlevs ivd. Malone. ↩
- As the scene lies in Yorkshire, there is great local propriety in this comparison to curdled milk. The ballad abounds in fine circumstantial strokes. T. Warton. I think the lactantial part of the simile inaccurate. Curdled milk is whey. Johnson. ↩
- This is a strange poetical licence taken to mispronounce a word of five syllables, and reminds me of a school-boy who wrote Pharmacopœia, Farm a crop of ye. ↩
- Vide Shakspeare and Scottish Minstrelsy.
“Let never a man a wooing wend
Who hath not things three,
A purse of gold, a heart of love,
And routh of constancy.” ↩