Thanks for your question. I do get a huge kick out of the Victorians
and this is as Victorian as it gets.
Anlon-ga has provided some very good background information on
McDonald Clarke. After extensive searching, I was unable to find this
particular poem on the web. However, I was able to locate a print
copy. As McDonald Clarke died in 1842, Im able to transcribe the poem
because the work is in the public domain.
*s denote italics
DEATH in DISGUISE
Boys let loose from School A skaiting frolic SamSub, the genius
Orva, his cousin and sweetheart Dawn of Affection Love scene by
moonlight on the rivers side Aunt Pats tea party Laugh at old
Puddy the sottish Pedagogue Subs elevation to fame and rank,
distinction in the Senate, and battle field. Description of his
marriage with his young Cousin Dizziness of high stations Sudden
fall to drunkenness and disgrace His ribbons changed for rags
Young wife turned from a palace to a poor house Sick mother and
starving children Bleak winds blowing the rain on their bed of straw
Father found frozen to death with a stone for his pillow, and his
white hairs covered with dirt Satan peeps in at the window and
whispers with a sneer So much for wine!
The school is out wild hurrahs
Are heard from a merry mouth,
That laugh at old Puds leathern laws
Happy boys the sun is south,
Through the blue sky the winds are blowing
Joyous as an Irish glee,
And they are all hurrah a-going
Tom and Bob and Do take me,
Says a little chap with a chubby nose,
That looks, poor fellow, almost froze;
Well come along dont be late
Well all have a studding-sail skate
Give him in the snow a roll,
Or hell surely freeze, poor soul
Thats your sort how do you feel?
Let us have a hearty squeel,
Nee-e nee-e, hurrah, old Pud,
Were the boys of Boston blood,
Were the chaps for roaring fun
Another round upon the run,
Louder than a battle gun,
All together, every one,
Hurrah, hurrah slick as mud,
Who cares now for poor old Pud;
Old Mr. Puddledy is so fuddled see,
He doesnt know, what hed be at;
He is a pedagogue, who sees the ready grog,
With his read eyes, half buttoned in fat.
Tom, or Dicky, do pick up his hat,
Help old Pud, out of the mud,
Give him a kick, and then well scud
Hurrah for the boys of Boston blood.
Thus shouted Sam, the soul of the scene,
In his breeches of blue, and jacket of green.
And hes the merriest fellow of all,
Has the swiftest skait, and the highest ball,
When they wheel on the ice, or are off on the grass,
As winter, or summer, across the earth pass.
And he never was seen at the foot of his class,
Or heard to sing out to some dance, you ass
Oh little Sam Sub is a splendid boy,
His name makes his mothers heart tremble with joy,
Tho his father says nothing, Im sure hes proud,
For the strongest emotions are scarce ever loud;
May the blessing of God on that little boy light,
He whispers his prayers over every night,
Is up with the very first glimmer of day,
And has always his lesson before hes at play.
Theres a dear little girl with a delicate face,
Who always is seen too, in the *high* place;
Her seat at school is the nearest to Sam,
She turns up her nose at him but its a sham.
She already is versed in the womanly art,
Of hiding in frowns, the fire of her heart;
She loves him a thousand times best of them all,
Who are swift on the skait, or are strong with the ball.
Oh the sweet little sinner, look ladies, look,
She peeps at him now from the edge of her book
Whilst the blood of her body rose to her brow,
Ha, ha! Sam has just caught her, I vow;
As she hides her face in her apron poor thing,
How much of misfortune that fond peep will bring.
* * *
The winter is gone and behind the old fence
Where I saw heaps of snow but a few weeks since,
Theres a winding line of pale green grass,
And the birds sing there as the south winds pass.
Hush didnt you hear a soft voice call,
Orva asks him to help her over the wall,
For she doesnt on Sam *now* turn up her nose
Hes kissed off the frost from her lips I spose
Well, bless their young hearts, they are Cousins, and should
Love each other, and always be modest and good.
* * *
Ten years are gone and oer their souls
The freshet of first affection rolls,
Bearing on its burning wave,
Hopes that will quench, but in the grave,
And passions, whose delicious strife,
May sweep away the flowers of life,
And leave the thorn of memory there,
Mid the still winter of Despair.
They stand upon the rivers bank
After the evening sunbeams sank
Fondly lingering arm in arm,
Beneath the twilights pensive charm.
They think, and talk, of faded years,
Until their eyes are flushed with tears,
And whilst their spirits glance the scenes,
Her head upon his bosom leans.
Cousin, dont you always feel,
*This* hours influence oer you steal
With a spell, that makes the sadning heart,
Forget awhile its earthly part,
And long to rise above the light,
That gleams in front of coming night,
To that pure world whose fadeless bliss
Is so faintly shadowed forth in this.
And dont you dearly love to stand,
At twilight on the oceans sand,
To look out on its misty verge,
And see the bashful moon emerge,
Like love upon the waves of life
Charming its sorrow and its strife
Whilst thoughts of death and and
Cousin, dear, give me your hand.
Do you *love* me do you oh
I feel I feel it must be so
I see your soul melt through your eyes,
And answer me in fond replies,
But ah forgive me if I doubt
Ive seen the light of love put out
By the wild cloud that sometimes lies
So darkly in those kind, kind eyes.
Nonsense Orva how you talk,
Come let us lengthen, love, our walk,
Youve been so little out of late,
Your minds in a very nervous state
A kiss is budding on your lip,
Lets have it now a skip, a skip,
Just as old Puddy used to do,
When he was getting all so blue
Ah Cousin, pray dont pull me so,
I am unwisely sad I know;
For something on my spirit weighs,
That whispers, these are precise days,
And will soon, too soon be gone,
Whilst frightful ones, are frowning on,
To go down in ghastly clouds and tears,
And leave me 'mid the darkning years.
Cod-fish and cold 'taters psho,
Youre as blue as girls without a beau,
Come let us take a Shakers dance,
Over, over to our Aunts;
Dearest ducky, when were there
Well loll in the wide rocking chair,
Whilst we have a roaring song,
And a dish of her sublime souchong.
And then, dear, for a joyous tale,
Enough to make old Nick turn pale,
Of days when we were both at school,
And I was such a jealous fool
As to think, cause you turned up your nose,
And ogled all the other beaux,
You didnt care for your poor Cous,
But you lied as Love most always does.
And then well have a homespun laugh,
About that literary calf,
Our poor old master, Mr. Pud,
Who used to tumble in the mud,
And bump his nose upon the rock,
And break his bottle with the knock,
And when I went to help him up,
Would give a terrible hiccup:
Off you lit-tle ras-cal, off
Ble-ss me what a-a co-u-gh.
Cough with a vengeance, poor old Pud,
But see, dear Siryoure in the mud,
You must have caught your cough within
The shadow of a glass of gin.
Cousin youre enough to make
A martyr titter, at the stake
And youre enough to charm Despair
From torturing his spirit there;
That lofty brow, those loving eyes
Soft as the summers sweet moonrise,
Tell of intellect, and home, and peace,
And innocence, that can never cease.
* * *
Ten dim years are gone, since they,
Have waited for their wedding day.
The thought of thats enough Im sure,
To keep the earthliest passions pure;
For he, who chooses in his youth,
Some girl of gentleness and truth,
If that love doesnt keep him chaste,
His heart has early run to waste.
By the candles and the cannons light,
Fame read his name, and owned its might.
For Sam has stood in the Senate Hall,
And proud eyes have been seen to fall.
And when war arose in gloom,
And flourished oer the grave, her plume,
None, a ruddier sword did wield
Mid the dark flash of the battle field.
That name is like the morning star,
High up in heaven, and hailed afar,
A beacon mid the moral storm,
When foul Energies round a nation form,
Whilst treasonous Intellect essays
To blind Virtue, with its lightning blaze,
And the minds thunder, crush each heart,
That would scorn to act a traitors part.
That name rings loud from North to South,
Melts on admiring womans mouth,
Tolls in muffled Envys ear,
Like the bell that stirs a heros bier
In drawing-room, and half-shouted oer,
And every body seems to feel
His brain is strong, if it dont reel.
In the midst of all this glare of Fame,
He turns fondly to a gentle name,
Wrote in his prayer-book long ago
His heart beats quick, his cheeks a-glow,
But fades, as his eye begins to fill
For tears burst forth without the will,
As he gazed through those delicious tears,
At the name that charmed his boyish years.
He thinks how much he owes that name,
How, through life, each nobler aim,
Each prouder impulse of his heart,
Has had with its dear sound, a part
It has kept each selfish passion just,
Chilled the blasting flame of lust
Bid him feel how *she* would thrill with shame,
Should *he* ever dishonor his high name.
He gazes till it scarce appears
Through the bright mist of raptures tears,
Writes it fondly on another leaf,
Swears that reason must be deaf,
Every manlier feeling lost,
And his name by Honours finger crossed,
Ere he forgets the tender oath,
That soon shall seal the fate of both.
* * *
Her lip loses its voluptuous dye,
A cloud steals oer her vivid eye
A tear starts to its trembling lid
And is left to disappear, unhid
Her head droops down upon his breast
And to his beating heart is pressed,
Whilst his lip sinks on hers and there
They melt, in pleasures silent prayer.
Ah why, when joy is half in bloom,
Is the human heart so weighed with gloom
Why, when love and peace unite,
And woman sees her sweetest night,
Stealing so slowly on, to hide
The bliss for which her soul has sighed
Why then should hope be quenched in fears
And her soul dimd with boding tears?
The lamb on yonder sea-girt height,
Where the summer sunbeams flash so bright,
Where white flowers by the black rocks grow,
And fruits are clustering all a-glow,
Why turns it from the tempting grass
That droops there in one lavish mass,
The precipice is calm but oh,
A storm of waters howls below.
The prayer was buried in the kiss,
That embalmed the holiest hour of bliss.
They leaned upon the broken wall
She said t was silly, after all,
Whilst her pale face kindled to a blush
To let such rough forebodings brush
The bloom from the sweet thought, that they
In each others arms, should thenceforce pray.
Oh Cousin, how often in the days
When fate held you from my doating gaze,
And I have had, for *years* alone
The memory of your *voices* tone
To make the voice of absence, not
So wearisome in every spot
Where I couldnt hear it talk of you,
Who to me was hope and memory too
How oft in those times have I said
Whilst singing on my sleepless bed,
Oh, were we but beneath on roof,
Where I could have but daily proof
That you had not forgotten me,
And could I but your kind face see,
And join with you in evening prayer,
I could *almost* bear a rivals there.
And though I saw you smile on her
Yet even *that* should not deter
My heart from praying for your weal,
Altho I knew you loved, a deal,
A great deal better her, than me,
Yet still it would be bliss to see
You sometimes also smile on one,
Whod forgive you all the ill youd done.
And often, when the waning moon
Has chilled the warm white clouds of June,
I have got up from my bed,
And against the window leaned my head,
Wondering if *you* too, ever stole
Whole nights from sleep, with heart and soul
To think, would there ever come a night
When *youd* put out my bed-room light.
He presses her white brow, and smiles
To see her eyes, so like a childs,
As innocent and sorrowless,
Alasthat *he* should make them less,
That he, so soon should cloud with fears
The beauty of their wedded years,
Bring the woman that adored him so,
To worse than even the widows woe.
* * *
The summer moon with all her light
Smiles softly on their nuptial night;
Their favorite clergyman attends
With two or three congenial friends,
With blushing smiles, and starting tears,
The playmate of her virgin years,
Him she loved when hope had fled,
Kisses her tears, and holds her head.
Theyve prayed and approach the sacred Pile,
Move up the dimly lighted aisle,
And by that summer evening light,
Swear to hate the wrong, to hold the right
To love through every altering scene
When heaven is stormy or serene,
Whilst Death and Hell were witness there
And God came down to hear them swear.
* * *
The light of love was darkened soon
A cloud came oer their honey moon
Possession half put out the fire,
That softly flashes through desire,
And that young bride, whose bosom swelled
With passions, truth so long had held,
Found she had kept them warm, and chaste,
For him, who sickened with the taste.
Oh! there is a poisonous thought,
That makes the youth it preys on, short,
The bitterest feeling of the whole
That can curdle a true doating soul
It is to find too late too late,
That we have madly mixed our fate,
Wasted hopes, too pure for earth,
With one, who never knew our worth.
Homes sunshine was fast going down
The gorgeous shadow of Renown
Darkened the beauty of loves bower,
Whilst memory, with her moon-beam hour,
Was all the light that that sad bride
Had to sooth her, when Hope shriekd, and died
And memorys brightness makes more drear
The mind that gropes, from year to year.
The worthless husband, soon is caught
By hearts, whose blood is sold and bought
Prides scavengers, who clear the road,
To guilty Grandeurs mean abode,
Who sneak behind the heels of Fame,
Licking the dirt off of a name,
And if they are not stretched by law,
Live long, to bawl in Fames hurrah.
She sent her sister, Flattery, and
The Ennobled Tipplers of the land
Who by the cheated world are thought
To do as great men always ought;
But in the noon of Fortune basked,
As their vice, a damask curtain maskd,
Sent him a gilded card, to meet
Friendship and Honour, and to eat.
These dazzling dinner parties came,
As often as the shout of Fame,
He staggered back at dead of night
A mist across his spirits light,
And found his weary wife awake,
With lids that veiled her bosoms ache,
And a pale babe upon that breast
Doomed no more, on earth, to rest.
Home had lost its early charm
Around it spread a dismal calm
On the hearth there was an empty chair
A fathers seat was seldom there;
But if, perhaps, he chanced to spend
An evening with his gentlest Friend,
And the little one, that pressed her knee,
Domestic Love twas not for thee.
That pensive wife in vain might look,
To win him from his envied book,
That little one, got but a slap,
If she stole upon her fathers lap
Ambitions icy touch could shove
Away, the soft warm hand of love,
He, who was clasped to a Nations breast,
Scowled, when homes to his was pressed.
The pinnacles of Fate the heights
Whereon an eagle spirit lights,
Are edged with icicles and snow,
Round which the eternal sunbeams glow;
But *there* that suns imperial blaze
Falls feeble as the sick moons rays,
Whilst on the little valleys side,
The simple flowers of love, abide.
Woman if thou wouldst be blest,
Let not thy virgin wishes rest
On him, who kneels at Grandeurs shrine
His heart is not for God or thine
The withering lust of wealth and power
Glares baleful oer his darkning hour,
And he will spring from that bent knee,
To coldly turn from heaven and thee.
Late and later out at night,
His brow is dark, his lip is white,
He carries on that clouded brow,
No summer calm of kindness now;
The wintry winds of Fame have beat
Thereon with all their blasting sleet,
Whilst her lightnings only make the gloom,
Dark as his own damning doom.
Often, and oftener with his breath
Mixes the steam of moral death,
From which his home in horror shrinks
Rumor mutters low, he drinks
But Fame with her false blast, can drown
And long keep Public clamor down,
The vices of her Pets increase,
Whilst sneaking interest whispers peace.
Heaven! and has he lost thy helm
Will Luxurys ruddy waves soon whelm,
Hurl his great name on ruins rock
And strip his Household with the shock
Has he his bridal oath forgot,
The widows and the orphans lot,
The helpless anguish of their tone,
As they drift this wintry world alone.
The memory of that blissful night,
Has faded like the Summers light
The playmate of his purer days,
Whose young cheek blushed so, with his praise,
Whose love, with reason will endure,
For she loved him, when alone, and poor
That kind devoted one, would start
If *now* she could but see his heart.
* * *
Ten blacker years are gone alas
I saw a blasted form just pass
That bloated face, that beastly eye,
That greasy hat, stuck on awry,
That livid mouth, loud curses stretch,
Shame who can be the hideous wretch
The ghost of Grandeur, with a frown,
Droppd a rotten wreath and looked down,
Avenging God and can it be
Him, who once stood so near to thee
The man whom Genius glorified,
A Nation looked up to with pride,
Rank Talent Virtue Wealth combined
To make the Lordliest of mankind
And now is Grandeurs voice so mute,
That Earth may hear each blackguards hoot?
* * *
Where is she, the pure, the fair,
Who came, his place of light, to share,
Who, when a child, so often played
With him beneath the Summers shade
Ah kind inquirer hear, and start
The Winter of the human heart
Has stripd off all loves summer leaves
Look, where that worse than widow, grieves.
Look at yonder crumbling hut,
Whose broken door with boards is shut,
Through each patched and dirty pane,
The wind blows in the bleak night rain,
See the lean little ones crawl round
The cold scant embers on the ground,
Whilst the sick mother on her straw
Sighs Babes what are you crying for?
For bread for bread Oh mother sure
You cannot be so very poor,
That youll let us all day sit,
Oh mother dear, without a bit.
* * *
God have mercy on their orphan years
I can see to write no more, for tears,
Soon round them Guilts pale Fiends will twine,
Whilst Hell sneers and whispers *Wine*.
Hush what noise is that without
Didnt you hear a vulgar shout?
Look from the window who is there
A livid wretch, whose thin white hair
Withered early, with deserved despair
Is tangled oer a splendid brow,
Gaze is *he* so altered now?
You cannot through its wrinkles trace
The immortal lines of mental grace.
The faded head rests on a stone
Leaves and sand are round it blown
No pitying hand is there to place
A veil oer that insulted face,
But a wild group of dirty boys,
In an ear, that cannot heed their noise,
Hoot, drunken booby, lift your head:
Ah why abuse the friendless dead?
Death in Disguise: a Temperance Poem, by McDonald Clarke. Boston:
B.B. Mussey, 1833.
Searched several library OPACs for McDonald Clarkes works. Found a
print copy and went from there.
As youre probably already aware, some of the spelling and punctuation
from these older poems can often be dubious as best and this one is no
exception. Ive endeavored to transcribe it closely as possible to the
original text, but if you have questions about a particular word,
phrase (or in general), please ask for clarification before rating my
answer and Ill do my best to assist you.