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Ngamihi; or The Maori Chief's Daughter

Chapter XXXVI. Extraordinary Poetry

page 147

Chapter XXXVI. Extraordinary Poetry.

"I Can only find two pieces here," said the Doctor, after turning over his papers, "but they will do as a sample If you bear in mind the clouded state of the unfortunate author's brain, you will find it easy to excuse the rambling sentiments that are expressed in the following effusion. This piece was recited at an entertainment in aid of a building fund, and commences with a verse of an old Scotch song."

The Doctor after looking round, commenced to read:—

"'Green grow the rashes, O,
Green grow the rashes, O,
The wisest man the warl e'er saw,
He dearly loved the lasses, O.' (Burns.)

"Old Solomam was right, and liked a ladies' spree,
  A stunning example for the I.O.G.T.,
Let's mingle mirth with earnest in a precept handy,
  Stick to the girls, and fun, and leave alone the brandy.
The human mind is not a dungeon cell
  Of gloomy air, nor yet a mental hell
Of self-inflicted punishmeut, the ring,
  Divine of God's own voice sounds, 'Dance and Sing.
'There is a time for love' and kindly glee,

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  Leading to 'matching and hutching,' d'ye see?
Thus fulfilling that pleasant Divine Command,
  'Increase and multiply' in this goodly land.
Here's S——and G——full of fun to the brim,
  But both 'rather stout,' for the part of Slim Jim,
Here too's the whiskerless phiz of young Kelly,
  Quite fit to enact either Sall, Sue, or Nelly.
Our scenery is first-class, and on his flute,
  Blunt is first fiddle, for our painter is cute;
Then we have Mapston, bold Cramb and Deacon,
  Each in his own way a hardy beacon.
Nothing cures dulness like a musician,
  And Hagarty here will be head physician,
Why this is far better than soaking and drinking,
  Till your eyes are blood shot, and your breath is quite stinking.
Then give us, amateurs, your charming smiles,
  Assist us, fair ones! with your kindly wiles,
And I'll be sworn the Eden Good Templars' spree,
  Will end this night 'wi' muckle, mirth and glee.'"

"The man that wrote that had something in his brain besides madness," remarked Mr. Munroe. "You have still another piece, Doctor?"

"Yes; this is a prologue spoken at theatrical performance in the asylum:—

'Ha! ha! my boys! here's a hubaboo,
  A jolly good play at Toronoo,
Charles Twelth was mad—so are we,
  There's a royal example d'ye see.
Everybody is mad at times,
  Poets are cranky in their rhymes,
And fair ladies—when madly in love,
  Coo like a demented turtle dove.
A very little touched does not much matter—
  Tradesmen are often as mad as a hatter;
page 149 Then for good fellowship, let's all be mad,
  A grave face to-night shows a solemn cad.
'Poor Tom's a'cold' was once the madman's doom,
  The horrid day of chains and dungeon gloom
Is past, a kinder treatment reigns, plays, music, mirth, and laughter,
Dancing with fair young girls, and no sermons, or soda water
Then let us be happy together, and not care one rap
  For critics, or dunders, but give three loud cheers for Snap,'
And I am sure we must succeed, for I see angels—hush,
  Their eyes directed to the stage, must make the boldest blush.
I feel so bashful when I stand in presence of the fair,
  It makes my heart go pit-a-pat—I must have some fresh air;
Now do be lenient to us, and treat us not as boors,
  You know we're not professionals, only poor amateurs
Good music you will have to-night, before you sup,
  Our band it is Al—Blunt, my boy, strike up.'"

"Well done, Doctor!" said Mr. Munroe, "I don't pretend to be a great judge of poetry, but I think that is very fair for a lunatic. But are you sure that a lunatic really composed it?"

"Yes, I am quite sure of that fact."

"Did the poor man recover Ms reason?" asked Mrs. Munroe.

"I believe he did, and received his liberty too, but unfortunately he was sent back again."

The next morning Captain Snell informed me that he intended to relieve me of some of my duties in consequence of Lieutenant Lovelock's arrival. As my arm was far from well this information was very acceptable. I then went round to Captain Wilson's quarters and found him prepared for a walk.

page 150

"I was just going out, Douglas, for my constitutional, and if you have time, I would like the support of your arm—your good arm I mean. The other one is not of much account yet I suppose."

"Well, no," I replied, "but I hope it will he all right in a few days."

We strolled leisurely along in the direction of the forest, and at length sat down under the shade of some large rata trees.