An Attempt To Remember The "Grandmother's Apology."

A poem by Horace Smith


And Willie, my eldest born, is gone, you say, little Anne,
Ruddy and white, and strong on his legs, he looks like a man;
He was only fourscore years, quite young, when he died;
I ought to have gone before, but must wait for time and tide.

So Harry's wife has written; she was always an awful fool,
And Charlie was always drunk, which made our families cool;
For Willie was walking with Jenny when the moon came up the dale,
And whit, whit, whit, in the bush beside me chirrupt the nightingale.

Jenny I know had tripped, and she knew that I knew of it well.
She began to slander me. I knew, but I wouldn't tell!
And she to be slandering me, the impertinent, base little liar;
But the tongue is a fire, as you know, my dear, the tongue is a fire.

And the parson made it his text last week; and he said likewise,
That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies;
That a downright hearty good falsehood doesn't so very much matter,
But a lie which is half a truth is worse than one that is flatter.

Then Willie and Jenny turned in the sweet moonshine,
And he said to me through his tears, "Let your good name be mine,"
"And what do I care for Jane." She was never over-wise,
Never the wife for Willie: thank God that I keep my eyes.

"Marry you, Willie!" said I, and I thought my heart would break,
"But a man cannot marry his grandmother, so there must be some mistake."
But he turned and clasped me in his arms, and answered, "No, love, no!
Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years ago!"

So Willie and I were wedded, though clearly against the law,
And the ringers rang with a will, and Willie's gloves were straw;
But the first that ever I bear was dead before it was born--
For Willie I cannot weep, life is flower and thorn.

Pattering over the boards, my Annie, an Annie like you,
Pattering over the boards, and Charlie and Harry too;
Pattering over the boards of our beautiful little cot,
And I'm not exactly certain whether they died or not.

And yet I know of a truth, there is none of them left alive,
For Willie went at eighty, and Harry at ninety-five;
And Charlie at threescore years, aye! or more than that I'll be sworn,
And that very remarkable infant that died before it was born.

So Willie has gone, my beauty, the eldest that bears the name,
It's a soothing thought--"In a hundred years it'll be all the same."
"Here's a leg for a babe of a week," says doctor, in some surprise,
But fetch me my glasses, Annie, I'm thankful I keep my eyes.

AIR--"Three Fishers went Sailing."

Three attorneys came sailing down Chancery Lane,
Down Chancery Lane e'er the courts had sat;
They thought of the leaders they ought to retain,
But the Junior Bar, oh, they thought not of that;
For serjeants get work and Q.C.'s too,
And solicitors' sons-in-law frequently do,
While the Junior Bar is moaning.

Three juniors sat up in Crown Office Row,
In Crown Office Row e'er the courts had sat,
They saw the solicitors passing below,
And the briefs that were rolled up so tidy and fat,
For serjeants get work, etc.

Three briefs were delivered to Jones, Q.C,
To Jones, Q.C., e'er the courts had sat;
And the juniors weeping, and wringing their paws,
Remarked that their business seemed uncommon flat;
For Serjeants get work and Q.C.'s too,
But as for the rest it's a regular "do,"
And the Junior Bar is moaning.

Air--"Give that Wreath to Me"

("Farewell, Manchester").


Give that brief to me,
Without so much bother;
Never let it be
Given to another.
Why this coy resistance?
Wherefore keep such distance?
Why hesitate so long to give that brief to me?


Should'st thou ever find
Any counsel willing
To conduct thy case
For one pound one shilling;
Scorn such vulgar tricks, love;
One pound three and six, love,
Is the proper thing,--then give that brief to me.


Should thy case turn out
Hopeless and delusive,
Still I'd rave and shout,
Using terms abusive.
Truth and sense might perish,
Still thy cause I'd cherish,
Hallow'd by thy gold,--then give that brief to me.


Should the learned judge
Sit on me like fury,
Still I'd never budge--
There's the British Jury!
Should that stay prove rotten,
Bowen, Brett, and Cotton {143}
Would upset them all,--then give that brief to me.

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