The Griffin

The Griffin

Bombay Gazette, 30 August 1820

We received this Review the other day from a Correspondent at Surat, who states that it was brought to him by a dirty Boy, who had picked it up under a hedge.

We cannot inform our Correspondent whether such a Book has been really published or not.

THE GRIFFIN

From the ***** Review. Published at London by Richard Paterson, & Co. 25 Long Lane, Third Edition. – with Plates.

The Work which we are about to review is reported to be the maiden effort of an Indian Subaltern’s Muse, written during the many hours of Solitude and Idleness incident to a Soldier’s life, and under the depression of much mental affliction. We did not therefore look for much erudition – indeed the nature of the Work precluded such a hope – but we expected much amusement, some novelty and some faults, nor have our critical expectations been disappointed, for we found many laughable anecdotes, many new scenes and situations and many errors. It is written in burlesque imitation (if we may use such a phrase when the thing burlesqued is in itself a Burlesque) of Lord Byron’s witty yet shamelessly indecent Don Juan; void of all its richest beauties and destitute also of its licentiousness and depravity. It purposes to relate the life and adventures of a youth sent out to India as a Cadet for the Infantry. We had seated ourselves by a comfortable fire-side, drawn close the window curtains and “while the Bubbling and loud hissing Urn sent up its steamy column,” prepared ourselves for judgment on “The Griffin.” [1]  We confess we were somewhat startled at the horrifying title under which it has been ushered into the world, and in some vexation of spirit, looked for a tale of German Horrors, a tissue of deaths heads and blue lights, groans and hollow voices, worms creeping in and worms creeping out, bleeding ghosts, seven-feet monks, gore-stained daggers and bowls of poison, but from this apprehension we were relieved by an old Indian Friend and Co-Critic, who anticipating splendid descriptions of Rajahs, Nawabs, golden Musnuds, [2]  jewel’d turbands, houdah’d Elephants, Tigers and Tyfa’s, [3]  pecks of Pagodos [4]  and lacks of Rupees, [5]  earnestly requested us to commence our labours and assured us that a Griffin was not “the fearful wild fowl,” we had imagined but merely a nom de guerre given to any European adventurer until he has passed one year of probation in the climate of the East.

Upon a production of the nature now before us, we would willingly be as little severe as our imperative duty to our Readers will permit, and though the lash might often have been bestowed, for the most palpable carelessness and want of reflection, we would have spared the rod altogether had we not been shocked by the most ridiculous anachronisms; in some places and the most servile imitation, in others, the want of unity thro’ out, and above all by the most unpardonable language in which the Author has attempted to degrade the loveliest part of Creation. That he has written these calumnies from the heart we cannot believe, and while we render this justice to his better feelings, we would warn him of his want of common benevolence, and pity the disposition that could be so palpable, so miserably prejudiced by the impulse of the moment. That there are some females even in India whose turpitude of conduct render them objects of loathing and disgust to every virtuous mind, we are not prepared to deny – but in the general Women (and particularly British Women) whether shivering in the Icy regions of the North or wasting their bloom in the land of the Sun, whether floating on the sea of affluence or stemming the rude tide of poverty, in the zenith of joy, or in the day of agony, in the pomp of Vigor, or in the hour of Death, twine round the stubborn heart of “Lordly Man,” the object of his purest passions, the sharers of his prosperity and distress, the partakers of his joy and his pain, rendering his toils a pleasure, his life a blessing and his home a Heaven!! We trust our readers will forgive us for thus trespassing the honest burst of our feelings upon their patience, but we are sure that every one who peruses that portion of the book we allude to, will join with us in condemning the acrimony which the Author has so wantonly evinced towards those whom he should have considered it his duty to have treated with kindness and his pride to have protected from insult. We trust this lecture will shew him the cruelty and malevolence of his conduct and should it awake in him those pangs of remorse which lead to reparation we shall not reget the trouble we have now taken “to probe and cure the Canker in his heart.” In the hope that such may be the effect of our animadversions we now proceed to the more pleasing part of our duty, that of bestowing praise, and in doing this, we will give our readers an outline of the story and occasional extracts that has struck us as deserving of approbation. The Poem commences with the following: –

List to a “Griffin’s” tale, ye Lords and Gentles
Into this world near Kew, his Mother brought him
Heir to no honors, holder of no rentals:
Of all his squabbling brood, his Father thought him
Fitter to rise or fall in Regimentals5
And therefore he a Foot Cadetcy bought him
And sent him furnish’d forth for “British India”
To hunt down Bajee Row [6]  and bully Scindeah. [7] 

Next follows in some very animated verses for which we have not room, an account of a dispute that had (previous to the opening of the Poem) taken place between the Parents of the Griffin, as to his destination; and the altercation ends in the usual style of all Matrimonial controversies, a few tears from the Mother gains the day.

(7)

An Indian Soldier’s life his fate decrees,
And to Leaden Hall-street [8]  he went to swear10
Allegiance to the Company – the fees
Drew many a guinea from his purse, but care
Fled from a heart so light, a mind at ease
And heedless all of when he sailed, or where,
Whether for India East or Western or Minorca15
Got a Complete fit-out from Welsh and Stalker. [9] 

(8)

And like the Koran of the great Mahomet
The fit-out was Complete, but many a good
Article, you harmlessly might take from it,
For mixed with chests and cots and clothes there stood20
Gingerbread Nuts in case you should not vomit
And Acid Essences in case you should!
Spirits sufficient for two South-Sea Whalers
And pounds of pig-tail [10]  for the civil Sailors!

After enumerating the whole of his Equipment together with taking his passage and settling with the Captain, our Author brings us to the day of his departure from town, and in our opinion beautifully describes the feelings of the youth immediately previous to quitting his home. We have only room for the burst of grief with which he commences it, and we pity the Man, who has ever been similarly situated without experiencing similar sensations.

(22)

Ah! what an hour of anguish and heart-breaking25
Is that preceding the dread word “Farewell”!
When of each dear familiar object, taking
Leave, and perchance for ever; and to dwell
On Love’s wild kiss, to feel the friendly shaking
Of the warm hand, to see the tear drop swell30
In a fond Father’s eye, mute, melancholy token
Of all that’s deeply felt, of more than can be spoken.

After some more equally excellent lines, the Poem goes on –

(54)

The month was March, so runs the tale I’m telling
Fast fell the snow and wildly howled the gale
Round the sharp corner of the modest dwelling,35
Where all was misery and moan and wail!
And whilst the family-adieu was yelling
Up to the garden wicket bowled the mail,
In passionate embrace his Parents press him
And sob in agony “God bless” “God bless him”!!40

Young Daric (such is the Griffin’s name) next bids adieu to his younger Brothers and Sister; [11]  among the latter his favourite is distinguished by the excess of her sorrow –

(57)

And Daric’s best belov’d with her pale cheek
And well he knew it was for his sake so pale
In tone so soft, so tremulously weak
Strove, while her very sobs began to fail
One last adieu, one fond farewell to speak!45
He felt the trial, felt his heart, as frail!
Then wildly struggling from her arms to sever
Prest that pale lip and left his home for ever!!

The journey to Portsmouth, together with an account of his fellow travellers is laughable enough, but we cannot stay for any extracts here, having metal more attractive to attend to. His residence at that place, his embarkation, sailing, crossing the line, &c. &c. occupy several pages and the 1st Canto ends with his arrival at Bombay.

(82)

Thus Daric left in grief the Western Isles
Where e’rst he sunn’d himself in Ladies eyes,50
In whose bright beams work all their dang’rous wiles
Their weakness, wanderings and frailties!!
Thus have I brought him many thousand miles
Panting for fame and deeds of high emprize;
For now he saw the Light House on Colaba55
Then Bombay Town, then anchored in the Harbour.

(To be Continued)

Bombay Gazette, 6 September 1820

THE GRIFFIN

From the ***** Review. Published at London by Richard Paterson, & Co. 25 Long Lane, Third Edition. – with Plates.

CANTO 2nd

(1)

Land of Muskeeto’s, Buffaloes and Bugs!
For all Commodities the great Bazar
Steeds from Arabia and from Persia Drugs
Carnelians from Cambay and other Spar
From China, Beads and Bird’s nests! Rice and Rugs5
With long, dull stupid tales from Malabar
Tales, long enough to frighten any body
Of Kotiote, Wynand and Manantoddy! [12] 

(2)

Land! whose fair fame can ne’er be unforgotten
Thou Marriage portion of the Lusian Queen [13] 10
Thou great emporium for Drugs and Cotton
With straw roof’d Bomb proofs [14]  and with grass-less green
For hospitality the proudest spot on
That side the line where charity is seen
To gild, upheld by surplices and Mitres15
Thy port so wished for by cadets and writers,

(3)

Yes thou’rt a hospitable spot Bombay!
If one could find a house to put one’s head in
And thou hast charitable homes, they say,
For Orphans who slave hard for board and bedding20
And thou hast holy people too who pray
When they’re the chief performers in a Wedding
And thou’rt a wished for port if one has not with quickness
The horrid Voy’ge performed and suffers from sea-sickness!

(4)

Sweet Isle of borrowed beauties! to whose strand25
Shoals of young husband hunting Misses rush
(In hopes of settling) with their stock in hand
Some op’ning shop with smile and leer and blush
(The most severe temptations to withstand)
Save the resistless dewy tears that gush30
Starting from some sweet Matrimonial Mercer
With face so wicked heart so pure or vice versa!!

(5)

Oh! Wealth! in this bright Island of the Sun
Where Woman’s soul is marketable stuff
Here thou’rt indeed the Calf of Babylon35
With Male and Female Worshipper’s enough,
Who to thy Golden Shrine, together run
Thro’ lane and bye-ways, light, dark, smooth, or rough
And there – steady my Muse, this language is uncharter’d,
Another theme! and shew how females hearts are barter’d!40

(6)

A Syrens voice, a Vestris Step, [15]  may choose
Her partner from the Magnates of the land
A smile a mole a dimple as their dues
May justly barter for a Merchant’s hand
Good teeth, and legs field officers may refuse45
Bad ditto, ditto, should not subs withstand
If the young rogues will barter, but if not, poor girls!
They must e’en flirt a while th’en turn Port-Admirals!

(7)

And as for ages in this husband Mart
Sixteen, bright eyes with figure good, may catch50
A Senior Merchant or a Colonels heart
The teens are all a marketable batch
But two and twenty must look dev’lish smart,
Pacheess [16]  must jump at any she can snatch
For twenty-six is woman’s climateric55
And this, Im told is still the Bombay Nerrick!!! [17] 

(9)

And Wedlock thou’rt a blissful state the Married
People swear – and therefore I beleived ’em
But Oh! I’ve seen them, tortured, fool’d and harried
By wives who of all Happiness bereaved ’em60
Who coax’d and fondled e’re their point was carried
And kissed and kissed and Judas-like deceived ’em
Danced in the sunbeam of their rank and splendour
Then left their wither’d arms for some more young Defender!

(10)

Genius of Satire Come! and with thy lash65
Gall-dipt and bold – scourge this o’er whelming pest
Bring virtue’s stainless Mirror pure, and flash
Guilt’s hot conviction in each wanton breast.
*************
*************
*************

Here follow the several stanzas, that have already received our animadversions, even those we have now extracted are illiberal, cruel and unjust, but if similarly unfounded censures from the pen of a Female, [18]  are not only tolerated but meet with approbation, if the Journal of a residence in India be allowed to float down the stream of celebrity, unanswer’d, unnoticed by any Champion of our fair Eastern exiles, we also must decline the Quixotic task; at least for the present. But to the story, after the Ship had anchor’d, the sails all furl’d, night comes on, sleep closes every eye on board except our hero’s and the men on watch; Daric paces the deck, and loses all thoughts of the present in reflections on the past, and anticipations of the eventful future. The sky was cloudless and the moon was shining in mid-heaven.

(25)

It was the hour by lovers loved so well
Gently the night breath of the dewy West,70
Curl’d the blue wave of ocean’s noiseless swell
The wild Curlew and Sea-hawk were at rest,
And quietly the vessel rose and fell
Like a rich Gem on slumb’ring maiden’s breast
Dreaming of Joys unknown, of bliss Elysian75
Soft panting to retain so warm so wild a vision.

(26)

And fancy might have deem’d the spirit of air,
Who had preserv’d them in their perils past,
Had chained the wild winds that had blown them here
To leave them to repose and peace at last;80
And in this midnight hush received the pray’r,
Of grateful man! – young Daric’s tears fell fast,
In heartfelt thankfulness he bent his knee
Then slept and dreamed of the Pagoda tree. [19] 

And while the Griffin is swinging in his hammock, the Poet takes the opportunity of describing the inhabitants of the Island. The Civil and Military personages are almost individually characterized, how truly so, we know not, the picture strikes us as being too highly colour’d and frequently so much overdrawn as nearly to approach to caricature, he then sums up the Natives in a lump,

(38)

And many the Residents of this Isle, you see85
The long debauch’d mustachio’d Moosulmaun
The Armenian so low, the ’hi-bred Portuguee,
The Dera, [20]  of other casts the scoff and scorn
The industrious, wealthy overgrown Parsee [21] 
Christs dingy worshippers [22]  in pig-sties born,90
And last the smiling Hindoo, in his Chariot rolled
Appears in state, “decked in barbaric pearl and gold” [23] 

After an enumeration of their vices, and pursuits and which he has given with disgusting minuteness, we are relieved by the approach of morning, and the description of it appears one of the Author’s best specimens of Eastern scenery, but we leave the greatest portion of it out, that it may reach with all the additional effect of novelty, those who may have witnessed and can better appreciate the local interest.

’Twas infant day! the breeze of waning night,
Fresh o’er the bosom of old ocean flew
Upwing’d the tufted Lark his herald flight95
To greet the Matin blush, whose purpling hue
In pale reflection ting’d the quiv’ring light
Of the day-star, that fading from the view
Still beam’d mid heav’ns cloudless blue the gem
Most pure, most beautiful in Morning’s Diadem!100

(44)

And ’mid the horizons azure mist, a gleam,
Of radiant glory tipped Bhowmullin’s brow, [24] 
Gilded Kurnulla with his splendid beam,
Whose funnel’d fort belonged to Bajee Row, [25] 
The golden light then kissed the Panwell stream,105
Dancing along its rippling wave, ’till now
Swift as the footsteps of an Atalanta
It play’d on Caranja, Salsette and Elephanta. [26] 

(48)

Far and more far the streaming brilliance spread
Prone in the very dust the Ghebre [27]  bowed,110
The Brahmin low salaming bent his head,
For now the Sun-god from his misty shroud
His joyeous pomp, his bright effulgence shed
And borne upon a golden breasted cloud
Pour’d his full blaze of splendour o’er the bay115
Rock’d on whose heaving bosom Daric slumb’ring lay

The Griffin now awakes and hastens with his hands full of letters of recomendation, to land at the Bundér Pier and to present these drafts on hospitality, but before he experiences how duly they are honor’d our author digresses to give an account of the Docks the Light house and the Steam Engine, conducting his hero by the cooperage, thro’ the Apollo Gate and along the Ramparts of which and the Esplanade, of the grass on the one and the perquisites of the other he gives a laughable description; at length the Griffin arrives at the Residence of a friend of his father’s the protejee of his deceased Uncle; the outline of this personage is greatly overdrawn and we trust that no one sat for the horrid likeness.

(75)

The first to whom our modest youth presented
His Bill, for hospitable treatment was
A cringing, cautious captious discontented
Wretch, yet proud as Lucifer because,120
He chanced in wealth to wallow: – I’ve repented
That thus too soon my pen his portrait draws
For it forestalls the issue of the visit,
Therefore it can’t be proper, gentle reader, is it?

(76)

“The Griffin” stalked into a long dark room,125
At whose far end he thought he could descry,
A thing that seem’d the Demon of the gloom,
Who sat with sullen brow and bloodshot eye,
Squalid as ghoul upon a new-made tomb! –
The Griffin trembled put the epistle bye130
Then made an awkward bow, blush’d, made a better,
Then hem’d and faltring how dye do Sir, gave the letter.

(77)

Gorgonius bit his lip, then broke the seal,
Not deigning to return the Lad’s salute
And this he read “My dear good Friend, I feel135
In bringing to your notice a recruit
For India’s shores, in whose success and weal
I’m interested much, being a shoot
Of my own family bush, that you will treat him
With friendly care and kindness, and complete him.140

(78)

In every thing his situation may
Require, with you he’ll find a home I know
His bills you’ll cash, and thus you will repay
Th’ attention it was in my power to shew
You, when yourself a “Griffin,” people say145
He’s like his uncle, who died long ago
A worthy officer who loved you dearly
This will suffice, adieu, believe me yours sincerely”

(79)

Rising he spoke as if in haste to go,
Well how’s your uncle? How were India Sales?150
My Uncle Sir is dead, the letter tells you so,
I never heard the price of Cotton Bales,
Cotton was dead? was it? ay, ay, I know
And if your Uncle Sir, your mem’ry fails?
No Sir, my Uncle died long since I said155
Died – did he, hum! and so you say your Uncle’s dead.

(80)

“Well, well, of course you’re in the Civil Line”
“No Sir, the Military,” hum that’s a pall,
“A Soldier! well good day, dare say you’ll shine!
Happy to see you any time you’ll call160
And Sir I hope you’ll fix a day to dine,”
Then without fixing any day at all,
With formal bow which of all speech bereft him,
He flounced into his Palankeen [28]  and, left him.

(81)

“Is this a Dream, is not this some deception,165
This was my Father’s friend, the protejee,
Of my dear uncle, and this my reception!”
Thus did with bursting bosom Daric say
That friends grew cold ne’er entered his conception,
Or Gratitude for Kindness melt away,170
Then while his wounded pride, flashed from his eye
He Gulped the rising oath and left the monster’s sty!

After meeting with various incivilities, from the different people to whom he presents his letters of introduction he at last begins to think he must quit the disgusting drudgery and is on the point of proceeding to the Tavern for a lodging, when he determines to make one more attempt, and in this one he is rewarded for all his trouble. The worthy person to whom he now introduces himself receives him in the most kind and friendly manner makes him an inmate in his happy family, consisting of his wife, her married sister and two children. As we are coming to the most interesting part of the Griffin’s life, his first love fit; and as the end of the Canto fast approaches, the Author says, speaking of “the Griffin.”

And here ’twould add an interest to my story,
If a description I could give below,
Of this young Volunteer for fame and glory175
Ladie’s (Poor things) I’m told, expect it; so
I’ll favour them with a short inventory
Of the Lads personal goods, from top to toe
Such as arms, legs and lips, and nose and eyes
Well made or ill, pretty or otherwise.180

(87)

Imprimis, that is firstly of his hair
’Twas very brown, dark brown, nay almost black
Women love black, so black we’ll call it; there
Floated no curls to grace his length of back,
Close shorn he was, because he wished to spare185
A parted lock or two for a nicknack,
These to his Friends he gave in Portsmouth harbour,
He left the rest I fancy with his Barber.

(88)

Next comes that masterpiece of man, his head! –
’Twas something like a Cocoa-nut, not dried190
And, (as a wou’d-be, modern Sappho [29]  said)
Was a very classical head out-side!
This learned dame, too learn’d, to be well-bred,
And who had not yet learnt her light to hide
Beneath a bushel, was,—Muse! fy! fy!195
We’ll find a page for Bas-blue’s [30]  by & bye.

(89)

Polish’d as Parian Marble was his forehead,
His brows were black, his eyes a sparkling grey
His nose, (a large, long nozzle is a horrid
Appendage to the human face you’ll say)200
But his was not so, his complexion florid,
His lips were like twin lotos-buds when they
Moved by young Zephyr, [31]  fresh flown from his Mother
Keep parting and meeting and kissing each other.

(90)

Those two last lines are not in proper measure205
I thought so when I wrote them, but the fact is
At present I have not sufficient leisure
To pause for Rhymes, so following the practise
Of modern Bards, instead of an Erasure
Which but a blund’ring schoolboy’s act is,210
I’ll stuff them into my “Errata Column,”
’Twill help to fill a page and swell the volume.

(91)

But to proceed, his looks, those I begun with
His body, d—m his body, let me say,
Tall was his stature, his legs he could run with,215
Not to be tedious, he was “bien forme” [32] 
And now I think his figure I have done with
Except his hands and knees and toes and they
Were long and large as nature oft confers
And so were all his young etceteras!220

(92)

But stay, I’ve come to Stanza ninety two
And my tale scarce begun, still more laconic
Must I be, for I’ve much to gabble thro’
Adventures wonderful and histrionic
Events pathetic, marches, triumphs too225
Some gallant fights, some humbug, Love Platonic,
And then to please the Sex. I’ve “cut and dried”
One Ghost, two Maniacs and a Mourning Bride!

(93)

Thus far then gentle reader, I’ve beguiled thee
And with some Satire and no Anecdotes230
Plunged in the Ocean of “Sweet Poesy”
On whose broad wave Majestic Byron floats
The huge Leviathan of Bards! – for me,
I ask not, care not for your smiles and votes
But if I sink – in gurgite nunc nanto, [33] 235
Then burn the Book – thus ends the Second Canto.

Bombay Gazette, 20 September 1820

THE GRIFFIN

From the ***** Review. Published at London by Richard Paterson, & Co. 25 Long Lane, Third Edition. – with Plates.

CANTO 3rd

We now proceed to the third portion of the work or as the author says.

(1)

Here then commences Canto third, I wonder
If I am capable of getting thro’ it?
I think ’twere wise to yield, that is knock under
I think I’d better not attempt to do it
I think I certainly shall make some blunder5
I think I then as certainly shall rue it,
Thus is my mind with dire forbodings fraught
By such profound profundity of thought.

(2)

And as a boy who shivering on the brink
Of some clear stream, his hesitation chides,10
Yet fearful of the chill he seems to shrink
Then screwing up his courage claps his sides
And dashes headlong in, so I seize pen and ink,
With desperate zeal that every fear derides
And plunging into the full tide of song15
I and the Griffin once more float along.

After a short residence in the family of which he forms a portion, the Griffins habits seem to have varied and his disposition to have become abstracted, gloomy and discontented, evincing much mental disquietude, much restlessness of body and great depression of spirits. We are in the dark about the cause of this for several pages, until the author flashes conviction of his predicament upon us in his own abrupt and outre manner. We heard little of the different personages who form the family groupe, except in general terms of praise, and little suspected that the God of the unerring Bow had been wreaking his blind Vengeance on the heart of our hero but so it proves. – His first acknowledgment of Love to the object of his affections (who by the bye is a married woman) is thus described at least as far as we dare give it.

(15)

The storm had rolled away the stars were out
And in the vaulted blue the Moon was shining
When Daric after wandering about
In pensive restlessness, was just reclining20
Upon an Ottoman, his mind devout
Touched by the heav’nly hour, to muse inclining
On nature’s works when as the fit came o’er him
Lo! Nature’s masterpiece stood full before him.

(16)

The rose of England bloom’d upon her cheek25
Her’s was the black bright eye of the Gazelle
Her hair in self-curled ringlets, dark and sleek
Rival’d the raven’s glossy plume – a spell
Lingered on every look so mild so meek,
Yet with a mind that knew its power well,30
Wit was in all her words, life in her actions,
To give the sum total of her attractions.

(17)

Upon her high majestic brow sat truth,
Unsullied honor placed his marble throne there
Her smile was innocence – Our Griffin youth,35
Felt the deep witchery, and thought alone there
Virtue’s pure shrine was fixed, and that in sooth,
The magic lamp of love – eternal shone there –
And Marion’s form he vowed, his Fane should be
Her heart the idol – he the Devotee!40

(18)

There was a narrow window close beside,
The Ottoman on which the Griffin lay,
To this he turn’d – his burning brow to hide,
And Marions footsteps hastened the same way,
Her white warm hand touched his: the fever tide45
Of passion flushed his cheek – then giving way
He wept!! She whisp ring while her own tears fell
Tell, tell me why is this – dear Daric tell. –

(19)

Yes! sweetest Lady – I must own, but this
Is folly – that this trembling heart of mine50
In secret long hath panted for the bliss,
Oh! – Lovliest Lady – can you not devine?
No – no – indeed! Lady – for one, one kiss!
One kiss, she sighed! – their quivering lips incline,
And meet – the lamp had vanished – so without it,55
I think I’d better say no more about it.
* * * * * *
* * * * * *

(24)

I wonder much how Women first was made,
Whether poor Adam’s rib was her foundation,
Or whether as I’ve often heard it said,
She sprang from a less decent situation!60
At least this much is Gospel: I’m afraid –
Man was a Monkey at his first creation,
With self-same features, reservoirs and ventages –
And all that human-animal’s appendages.

(25)

Yes! Man was like a Monkey first produced,65
(No pleasant sort of fashion to be born in)
Sporting a fine long tail with which he used,
To play, curling it round his neck, a warning
Emblem of the way he was to be noosed
But having twisted it more tight one morning,70
Than he felt pleasant – bit it off and then
Like a true Monkey wished it on again.

(26)

And pray’d rueing his fundamental rape!
To his Dear Tail once more to be united,
When lo! it rose assumed his speech and shape75
And cried “I am thine for ever”: he affrighted
Chatter’d and moe’d until the Woman Ape,
Giggled! and man (the Monkey) was delighted
But for this change so sapiently conjectured
I’ve once or twice been most severely lectured.80

(27)

And many a sly request have I received
This sad hypothesis abroad to buz not
So I will only add it is believed
That man remembering (when Wedlock was not)
How by his tail he once had been deceived85
Now sometimes fondles it and sometimes does not
Sometimes they disagree, snarl, fight, and sever
Sometimes unite again and sometimes never!!

(28)

But hold for I am straying far too wide
From my hero; I must again bring him in90
Or else my readers will begin to chide
Reviewers two will give my book a trimming
For flinging thus so oft my tale aside
Prosing about those foolish play things “Women”
And more so as important facts are pressing95
So that henceforth I must leave off digressing.

We have not time to stay with the “Griffin” any longer at the Presidency and must therefore hasten with him to busier and more interesting scenes. He sails for Panwell [34]  having received a peremptory “forthwith” upon which he lays great stress and makes many pertinent remarks.

He describes Panwell hastily and the next day at noon, under a scorching Sun and with a Guide to shew the road he starts to join his battalion at Poona:

(37)

Now from Panwell behold our Griffin jogging
Upon a tattoo pony he had bought
Wishing and singing, spouting, spurring, flogging
Until he reached the bottom of the Ghaut, [35] 100
Whose Glens are said to have bears wolves & hog in,
His roving Eye the Magic scenery caught
Mountains on mountain’s tops profusely piled
Sublimely grand, Magnificently wild!

(38)

In all the splendour of the Sun-set hour105
The wild luxuriance of the scenery glows
Queen of the Glen the Sorrowful night flower
Her honey-weeping buds around her strows
High oer the rest the Sag’s rough branches tower,
In purpled pomp the leafless Pahlass rose110
Cheemlee in variegated colours bright
Contrasted with the Mohgree’s virgin white.

(39)

Here Yellow, Crimson, pale blue Creepers twining,
From bough to bough in flowery festoon stray’d
The jungle jasmine’s starry blossom shining115
Like a pale planet mid the dark green shade!
Oh! that such fairy bower should harbour swine in,
Or that th’ envenom’d snake should here have made
His dwelling or the Panther haunt it too
Crouching beneath the feathery Bamboo!120

(40)

Here on the Breeze, the Boo Chumpah flung
Its holy perfume – there all wildly skipping
Monkeys to branch and crag with antics clung
Mocking and moeing at the Dog-wolf dipping
His murderous jaws in the pure stream that sprung125
With bubbling gush from the grey Rock – while tripping
The Beekuh came and bounded thro’ the Grot
So light, so still that Echo answer’d not.

(41)

It was the Monsoon Month when Tempests rage
And Cataracts innumerable rush130
Down the scathed slope and thro the foliage
Like tears from sorrow’s red-swoln lids that gush
Tracing deep furrows in the cheek of age
And but description’s tedious I must hush
These rhapsodies; I think we left the “Griff”135
At ges [36]  – ’twas at the Ghaut sunburnt and stiff!!

The author now takes an opportunity of describing the miseries attendant upon a first march enumerating more than we think probable tho’ certainly within bounds of possibility, Military Indians will be the best judges of this. The Griffin at last lies down in his clothes his servants and baggage not making their appearance and in a wretched choultree [37]  goes supperless to bed. With the dawn of day he ascends the Bore Ghaut, and here the poet seems to find himself upon his strong Ground for he becomes wild as the breeze that blew upon the Griffins blistered face and with enthusiastic delight sings the praises of the Dukhin or as he writes it “Deccan”.

(50)

Hail! beloved Deccan! loved so long so well
I feel my heart upon thy barrier melt,
Oh! for a plume of heavenly mould to tell
All that I feel and all that I have felt140
When as if freed from every shackling spell
Upon thy stony bosom I have dwelt
Or bounded o’er thy hills in spirit warm
Braving alike the Sunbeam and the Storm!

(51)

Hail! beloved Deccan! I have wept thee long!145
Land of my Joys, my friendships, and my love!
(Here then at least I cannot paint thee wrong)
Land of the rocky steep, the shady Grove,
And shaggy Glen, what wild Emotions throng
Upon the Mirror of my mind – I rove150
On Fancy’s pinion borne and trace again
Pleasures almost unmingled with a pain.

(52)

Yes! with a fearless heart I will discover
All my hearts feelings, warm cold, false and true
My friendships were sincere but as a lover155
I never loved as other Lovers do
I loved the midnight screaming of the Plover
The sportsman’s jovial songs, his night pranks too,
But yet past scenes are sorrowful to praise
I’ll tell you what I love in present days.160

(53)

I love to wander when the morning’s fair,
To feel the spirit of the mountain breeze
To start the wild Deer from his dewy lair
And watch him with his wanton boundings, tease
The Greyhounds yelping in the slips; to scare,165
The Ghaunt wolf from his prey – sweeter than these
With Joy’s extatic scream, the Fox to hail
Slow sneaking down the deep and rocky Dale.

(54)

And then the loosen’d Greyhounds to lay in
And see the creatures when they first catch view170
Fling on the wily Game – ourselves as keen
Delighted dashing on with wild halloo
O’er turf and rock, o’er hill and dark ravine!
To see the Boldest every turn pursue
Or catch the astonished Griffin changing colour175
Craning upon the brink of some broad nullah! [38] 

(55)

But above all I love, with well-tried spear
The Mazes of the thorny copse to thread
With madd’ning shouts the tuskied Boar to rear
To see him pause and foam and spring a head180
Then, then! to meet and check his wild career
And when the weapon true and oft has sped
To watch the Monster’s spirit, leave its home
With the last gush of mingling blood and foam!

This is all very natural, very spirited and very good and we think the freshness and life that breathe through out the Canto will be much admired; at the same time we regret that the author should have so evidently identified himself with the Griffin. An unknown writer should be aware that but little interest can by this trick be added to the story and even that little must be confined to the limited circle of his own acquaintance, and tho’ he professedly imitates Lord Byron yet this one feature might with great propriety have been omitted and the likeness preserved. [39]  Still we do not mean to censure him (the author before us) for this underhand sort of Egotism we merely express our own wishes on the subject he has much amused us and so far we are satisfied. In the course of the Journey we are taken into the caves of Karlee introduced to “the idiotic, bullet-headed Living God” at Chichore [40]  and at last brought to Poona on the evening of the 4th of November 1817. [41]  The anxiety and impatience of the troops form a good contrast to the alarm and confusion of the Ladies, whose situation and behaviour are well described – tho’ the whole of this, reminds us too much of “the scene of revelry by night in Belgium’s Capital” indeed it is almost a plagiarism. [42]  The action takes place, night comes on and victory remains with the British. Great praise is bestowed upon the Leading character on this trying occasion and if the eulogy be deserved, it almost eclipses the lustre of his political Laurels. [43]  One or two regiments are highly spoken of. It is on the day subsequent to the battle of Gunesh Kund, [44]  that the Griffin first meets with the object of his proper Love. Her appearance is most interestingly described her character exquisitely pourtrayed, the opening of his passion and her confession together with their extraordinary adventures and final disappointment, separation and misery, form one of the most pathetic Episodes we have ever read. We will not anticipate the readers delight which this affecting tale will impart, but proceed to the 4th Canto which opens with a very striking description of the Battle scene.

Bombay Gazette, 25 October 1820

THE GRIFFIN

From the ***** Review. Published at London by Richard Paterson, & Co. 25 Long Lane, Third Edition. – with Plates.

CANTO 4th

That we may not make this extraordinary tale, appear more unconnected than it really is (and that to a very considerable degree) we must apprize the Reader, that “the Griffin” after wandering over the field of battle (alluding to the Victory of Kirkee) writes an account of it and his feelings on the occasion to his friends, and here the Poet has made a sad jumble of the ideas that then pressed upon his mind and his subsequent reflections, for while he is scribbling to his relatives about the Action he tells them that it is Early Day and that his “favorite Planet is alone shining upon” him, and then likens it to the “false Beacon” that ultimately deluded him, this is one of the many inadvertencies with which the Poem abounds, but his lines on the occasion are forcible, and deserve approbation. Alluding to the Morning Star “shining singly in the dark vault of heaven” and growing “paler and yet more pale” until at last extinguished by the rising Sun, he says.

So, mid the darkness of misfortune’s night
The Phantom star of Hope shines doubly bright
Unchilled by coming danger – still its ray,
Gleams in the troubled breast, doubt and dismay,
Glide o’er it shadowless – till truth’s broad glare5
Dims its last weakling, fitful gleam
And thus yon ling’ring planet, melts in air
Quench’d by the God of light’s resistless beam!
So ’mid the fullness of Hope’s warmest dream
Conviction dashed me darkling into sorrow’s stream!!10

We strongly disapprove of this change of Metre and altho’ it may have been a relief to the Author, which he has taken advantage of the Griffin’s letter to introduce yet (if we may be allowed the Expression) it breaks the Rhythm of our feelings – it puts us out of the beaten path upon which we had so long travelled – it is like getting into a shuffling trot after a delightful canter, it actually made our Indian Co-critic change his position, by taking one foot from the Fender, and throwing his right leg over his left; this was a grievance for a gouty man – he felt it and was for some time sorely displeased with the Author – tho’ we pointed out to him that the lines were good & many of them exceedingly energetic, as we proved to him in the continuation of the Epistle. – The following passage is well wrought up, it describes the battle-ground – which

––– the apathetic Coonbee [45]  sees.
Strewn with war’s victims, festering in the breeze,
In ghastly heaps lay friend and foe together –
Their sleep, the sleep of death, their bed the gore-stained heather.
The ashy cheek – the eye-ball fixed and dim –15
The mutilated corpse, the shattered limb,
The writhing warrior; the expiring steed
The bloodless dead, the bleeding left to bleed –
The gaudy trappings of the Lordly slain
The humbler vestments of their faithful train –20
In dust and gore, the sun’s bright beams disclose
Whilst on the fairy breath of morning rose
Man’s murmur’d groan, Woman’s wild shriek of woe,
The mingled death-pang of the high-born and the low!

But as we disapprove almost as much as our friend of this variegated metre in a regular Poem we shall not quote further from this letter but proceed to what are deemed by far the most interesting and best written portion of the Book, it is the whole account of his Entanglement with the chosen mistress of his soul, it breathes throughout an impassioned tenderness, a voluptuousness of feeling, a luxuriance and glowing richness of imagery, at the same time mingled with such paroxysms of mental agony and suffering, that remind us forcibly of the chastened elegance and fancy of Moore, the saddening touches of Montgomery, the love-breathing tenderness of Campbell, and the fearful sublimity and pathos of Lord Byron. [46]  After this we have found great difficulty in withstanding the temptation of giving the whole of this beautiful epistle, but it has been suggested to us that by this copiously extracting the sweets of the Book, we are not acting with that justice to the sale of the Work, which we are most anxious to do, and therefore we will content ourselves here by giving our readers two of his little sonnets; [47]  one on the departure of his Love which runs thus –

Sweet Lady! grief's unbidden tear,25
Glistens upon thy cheek of bloom,
Like morning dew-drop cold and clear,
Upon the nestling Cushat’s plume –
When day-spring’s breath hath waked the dove
Unheeded trickles off the dew –30
When flattery’s sigh hath kindled love –
Will not thy tear then vanish too?
Remember’st thou, that balmy night,
When I my tale of passion pleaded,
When both were breathless, with delight,35
And felt that none e’er felt as we did?
And since no hour of love like this,
Wilt thou thy sex’s steps pursuing,
Change my ideal world of bliss
To one dark penal orb of ruin?40
Thy breast had been my wild hope’s shrine
Had fate not cast her, thraldom round me,
Thou know’st, I dared not breathe “Be mine”
While withering in the Bond that bound me!
Yet were I free! the purpling tide,45
That warms my heart, should flow for thee
For thee, my monitress, – my guide,
Bright star of my idolatry.
Yes, at thy bidding I would bow
Teach my proud soul to kneel before thee50
Or tho’ my heart were bleeding, vow,
To cease to Love and to Adore thee;
To Dream not we have ever met,
To give not one wild thought to thee
And madly struggle to forget55
Thy more than Woman’s witchery.
That Witchery was ever new
Varying as varied feelings met
Thy blushing Cheek, thine eye of blue
Shamed the young Rose and violet60
Upon thy cold white breast reclining
Thy shadowy locks of golden glow
Glitter’d like pallid sunbeams shining
On hillocks of fresh fallen snow.
And now thou ’rt gone One tear drop shed!65
Grieved not thy Soul, when it was starting?
But go, Sweet maid, my heart hath bled
Too much ere this to break at parting,
Darkling I’ll wander thro’ the Gloom
That shrouds my Path, and give in Death70
When Lifes last pang shall seal my Doom
Daric’s last sigh to Carineth.

The novelty of the simile in the last stanza but one, equals the felicity of expression by which it is conveyed. The other and only sonnet for which we can now afford room is a beautiful thing. We know not how any one could have written with such feeling and force without having experienced the agony it depicts, it looks too much like reality, too like the disappointment of Juvenile passion, for fiction, and appears to have been composed while the heart was actually, bleeding from the effects of the scene described. In an unguarded moment Carineth (who is the Lady in question) had consented to an interview with the Griffin when all the family had retired to rest. The day proceeding, he had found means to communicate to her that an invincible obstacle prevented their Union, but its nature is not very clear it leads however to their separation immediately after this midnight assignation, the issue of which we are obliged to guess at, from this beautiful delineation of early impressions.

Yes! I have passed an hour of madness
An hour of such delirious joy
That not an age of Grief and sadness75
The fond remembrance can destroy,
T’ was holy midnight, calm and still,
The moonbeam slept upon the hill,
‘Neath the shade of the Cypress tree
I couched in wild Expectancy.80
She came! fearful and trembling o’er the path she flew,
With paly cheek, and bosom glistening with Dew!
And to my Arms she sprung, and panted
Quick as the new-caught cushat-Dove
And o’er her as I hung enchanted85
I whispered “Fly with me my Love,”
With me to live with me to die
In Love’s unshackled Liberty.
Her bosom rose with hastier swell
As if in agony it rose and fell90
Like the waves of stormy Ocean!
Trembling she gasped in wild Emotion,
And cease! she cried, is this thy faith? could you ensnare me
Not thus! clasp me not thus, Oh! God, in pity spare me!
Alone she stood! her tears fast falling,95
In joy’s sweet flow, bedew’d the sod
For from a trial so appalling
Spotless she stood – I thank my God!
There was but one cloud in the sky
And it was white as maiden’s breast100
To the cold moon she raised her Eye
And while her soft warm lip I prest
Yon solitary cloud she said
(And as she spoke my bosom bled)
Yon snowy cloud, pure thro’ it be105
Emblems my fault, my frailty!
My every Act and thought, till this unholy meeting given
Were, holy, calm and passionless, and pure as cloudless heaven.
She speaks not now – Again she spoke not
But prone to Earth in death she fell110
My heart’s throb ceased, but yet it broke not
Without a groan I gaz’d – A spell
Bound every sense save sight alone,
I was a bloodless, tearless stone
Oh! not for Elysium would I be115
Again that living mockery!
The cloud sailed past the moon, whose ray
Fell on her bosom as she lay
Methought it heav’d, it heaved by Heaven! could Fate such bosoms sever?
She rose! one Kiss – one last long Kiss! we parted then for Ever!! 120
T’ was in this very path I met her
T’ was on this very spot we stood
And Oh! if ever I forget her
May every hope of future good
Of Bliss hereafter, Fortune, Fame125
And ev’ry joy mankind can claim
Fade from my Grasp – as shadows flee,
May Life’s dull cup be filled by thee
Thou Loved one of my Soul! and let each deeper draught contain
The bitterest dregs of misery, and agonizing pain!!130

But to proceed with the business of the Poem after describing the plain of Kirkee (we suppose) with great accuracy, at all events with elaborate minuteness, where the Heathenish names of Parbuttee, Gunness-Kund, Singhur and Pair shaunee, [48]  shine thro’ several stanzas in huge Capitals, he again touches upon some of the events of the Battle, places the conduct of one or two Officers in rather a ridiculous point of view and then describes a scene as is almost unworthy of belief. The sharers in the Glory of the Day are shewn pouring forth with the dawn of Light, for the purpose of being present while the Official account of the Action is preparing in order to secure honorable mention of their individual merit! Pro pudor! [49]  but true or not, let the author speak for himself.

Fierce at the bait, like the tame fish in tanks,
The morning subsequent to these events,
Crowds of young candidates for Order-thanks, [50] 
Rushed to the deed describing chieftain’s tents.
(While notes were penned, (merely as Lady-pranks)135
Hinting at smiles for hoped-for compliments)
The Chief, poor man, so rude and loud the din,
Knew not with whose encomiums to begin.
Some tried with wit, self-praises to recite,
Others despising grin and joke and laugh,140
Complained aloud and fierce, in case they might
Be only half-applauded, or not half,
And some demanded Mention as a right
Because “they volunteer’d to act as staff”
These claims, the chieftain pain’d and puzzled too145
He could be Just, but Justice would not do!
And so he put them all in ev’ry one,
Except the Commissary and Paymaster,
And they were on bad terms and could not run
To bellow their own Eulogies, but faster150
Than starveling ducks, the praise-robbed rogues began
To cackle forth this cause of their disaster,
But this I trust is false – who for a quarrel
Would steal a Subaltern’s first bit of Laurel [51] 
And with what Babel honors Kirkee glows –155
Servants, Officers, Lascars, Ladies mix
With the first occupants, bugs, buffaloes,
Tattoos, donkies, pig-scavengers and ticks,
These forced from their abodes with oaths and blows
Where’r the intruders chuse their homes to fix –160
The luckiest Ladies (altho’ oil’d and smutty)
Slept on the shrines of Luckshmee and Gunputty. [52] 

The Griffin is now ordered off to join a force expected from the Eastward, and in order to lose no time, he determines to travel by night, in his palankeen. This is another gross inadvertency, for our Indian friend at our elbow tells us (with great semblance of being correct) that no Subalterns of so short a standing can afford such an expensive mode of travelling and moreover the attempt to go unguarded at such a time, and in such a place would be impracticable. Our Author however, flings aside all these difficulties, shuts his hero up in his Indian Sedan and thus describes its luxuries – he says it is disgusting when

Starting to dawk [53]  it on a journey, quite full,
Of a late dinner which you’ve eat with zest,
Sweet sleep as if determined to be spiteful,165
Scorning, one moment on your lids to rest,
Dashing along on horseback is delightful
But palankeening it I do detest,
Where you have all the rumbling, jumbling, sickness
And noise of a mail-coach without its quickness!170
And then the horrid stench of the Mussaul, [54] 
The fetid volume of its vapour, blown in
To your travelling box; the scream and squall
Of wrangling Bearers whose more tedious moaning,
And groans monotonous disgusting, fall175
Upon the wearied senses like the moaning
Of tortur’d victims; who at last debark us
With fev’rish head-ache, cramp’d and smoke-dried carcase.

We were now in hopes of being introduced into the Camp of the 4th division of the Army, but immediately on the Griffin’s arrival at Seroor, he meets with a couple of whom he had some knowledge whilst in England, and with this Lady and Gentleman a most improbable tale is connected; it is of an interesting nature, tho’ too full of German devilry – we will not spoil the interest by garbled extracts, but content ourselves with a description of this married pair –

“I hate a dumpy Woman,” says my model, [55] 
Alias Don Juan – so did I until,180
Janet, I first beheld – she used to toddle,
Along so prettily. – Methinks I still,
Can see her fitful fashionable waddle,
Her sidling swoops and twists ineffable,
All, (tho’ the Dandies may delightful vote ’em)185
Like the last ling’ring twirls of a tetotum!
Yet still her face, by Heaven I may not scan it,
She glistened amid society’s dull,
Joyless Hemisphere – a lovely planet,
Gazed at by all – for she was beautiful –190
Even now thy very image warms me Janet.
Her spouse was like the Brahmin’s sacred Bull,
That roams their streets, now petted and now scorned
Fat, foolish, over fed, hunch-backed and horned!
Peter his name was – ugly – short and mean195
Followed all tastes fantastical and new,
His Epauletted coat was bottle-green,
Turn’d up with black, fantastically too,
His face the colour of the scarlet bean,
His sleepy eye, a dull cold fishy blue,200
His mouth, that forth mephitic odours flung,
Was like a bull dog’s, somewhat under-hung!
Oh! that such form should have been prostituted
On Mammon’s shrine – ’twas by her sire’s decree,
That wedlocks holy rites were thus polluted,205
Linking this lump of carrion with thee!!
Wed him she should – for he was rich reputed,
And was of Rank too (Rank enough!) and she
Was forced to listen to the vile proposal
Of this unholy gormandizing lozel! [56] 210
What but hot drugs or philtre-draughts could melt,
Her heart this bullock of a man to bless,
And how could Janet’s gentle spirit have dwelt
With such a bolting-hutch of beastliness,
’Twas Hope! The Enchantress Hope, alone she felt,215
Her daily-growing horror could repress,
Yes, of her Wrongs, Hope was the Angel pleader,
To this disgusting, bloated, garbage-feeder.
Fair Hope! imagination's sweetest child,
The primal light that decks the infant feature,220
In youth’s bright day-spring warm and wild,
Of Manhood’s darkling path the phantom meteor,
Gilding old age’s steps with radiance mild,
The Talismanic charm of that poor creature,
A maid of forty! who all fascinating225
Aims, till death breaks the spell, at captivating!
Bright star of this dark world of misery
Twin bud of holy charity and Faith
That cheers afflictions deep drawn sigh
That floats upon the good mans latest Breath230
That fires the Martyr’s, Patriots, glazing Eye
And like a halo crests their bed of Death
How few, alas! by that false Beacon driven
Ever realise their Visionary Heaven!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
In canto second stanza ninety two235
I promised you Platonic Love and fighting
And Humbug – All of which in order due
I have most faithfully pourtrayed and quite in
The style of sublimity and pathos too
Of my great model’s fashionable writing240
Yes Humbug, Love Platonic, Fights I’ve stated
And they shall here be recapitulated.
Platonic Love was Marions! (this with Pride)
(Howe’er ye Lady-puritans may scoff it)
I will prove: – first by the Lamp’s flame that died,245
And by th’ unwitness’d Deed of course I profit –
But (Mark now my non sequitur) they tried,
And Doctors Commons [57]  could make nothing of it,
If after this, ye Marions fame despise
Tell me from what Platonic Love can rise.250
I asked this Question once before and then
A modern Pamela [58]  who shall be nameless
Described it as a thing, for shameless men
To make Infatuated Girls as shameless –
A sweet insidious Sin, she called it when255
First tasted and it palled not, nor grew tameless!
I wonder from what Tutors and what College
This Girl got so much Love – Platonic knowledge?!
But Pamela reminds me of my pledge
Given some time ago. I’ll now redeem it –260
I knew that I should find a space to wedge
Her portrait in, and if the world esteem it
A caricature – or if they should alledge
The painting coarse, si felis ipse fremit, [59] 
Find out th’ original, if you say then,265
I’ve not done justice, faith, I’ll try again!
Yet, stay before the painting is began –
Ladies! I pray you be – attentive, take not
The picture for yourselves – ’tis meant for one,
Whom I’ve mentioned before, and if I make not270
The likeness good or if’t be so ill done
That every would be Pamela it shake not
I’ll write no more and for the present trash
Give back the book, and I’ll new-twist my Lash! –
Now for my Task – now Pamela attend –275
The lash is lifted! by Heav’n I’ll not spare it –
And recollect my Greek and Latin friend
Thou hast no other Bas-bleu friend to share it –
Yet should the Scourge its thirsty thong extend
Then the pure Dame whom the cap fits must wear it,280
Or in the language of the Danish Prince
Hamlet I speak of – “Let the galled Jade wince.” [60] 
Her hair was dark – her brow of iv’ry framed,
Her nose crooked (so was her whole demeanour)
Her eye was black as death and in it flamed285
The unhallow’d glances of a Messalina. [61] 
Her mouth was rather small and people blamed
Her spouse because she did not keep it cleaner,
Who, as Gourmand’s love game, p’rhaps thought it gave her
Breath, a more piquant, alias, carrion flavour.290
Next to describe her figure – its dimension,
Was really majestic – whilst her mind
Was like her pocket, often in suspension,
Open for receipts of every kind –
Blessed with the faculty of great retention295
Scandal and loans once in, were ne’er resigned,
And she was, to pourtray her likeness quicker
Rather addicted to lying and to liquor!
Her Parents had been Proud, but Fate humbled ’em
To keep a school, and while o’er scholars heads300
Learning’s leaves rustled, Pamela too fumbled ’em
She comb’d and washed the Urchins, made their beds
And for aught I know very often tumbled e’m
How fortunate! that mid these romps pacific
And study – her mind only proved prolific!305
* * * * * * * * * * * *

The rest is not worthy of our Author and we willingly pass over it, and bring our readers acquainted with some of the Operations of the 4th Division of the Army among which the Battle, of Ashtee shines conspicuous. [62]  The 5th Canto thus commences descriptive of its Leader.

Bombay Gazette, 6 December 1820

GREAT FOLKS, and the GRIFFIN.
or
Paradise and the Peri at Bombay [63] 

One night a Griffin near a Fête,
Not at it stood disconsolate,
And as he listen’d to the sounds,
Of revelry and notes that thrill,
And caught the Echo of the Hounds,5
In the light Dance and gay Quadrille,
He sighed to think his humble station,
Debarred him from the Recreation!
How happy exclaimed this child of Air [64] 
Are the fortunate fellows invited there,10
’Mid Belles that flutter and flirt and fall,
Tho’ at Bachelor’s Tables the wines I’ve wasted,
And the Soup of each Mess I have often tasted,
One Soup-ticket [65]  here were worth them all –
Tho’ luscious the cheer at cool Sion,15
With the Lady-less homes at Mazagon,
Tho’ the prawns at Mahim can never pall,
Tho’ smart are the jokes at Non-Parell, [66] 
And merry mess songs my cares dispell,
Yet oh! ’tis only these Lads can tell,20
How one Fete-ticket outshines them all.
Go, palankeen it from Town as far,
As the point (Lovers Leap) at Malabar,
Round by the Breach to the Bendee Bazar, [67] 
And at every Bachelor’s cottage call,25
Tho’ the fruits be delicious the wine-draughts Nectar,
And the fare of each, fit for an India Director,
One hour at a Fete is worth them all!
A Gay young Dandy – who the dancing,
Had just left to loose his stays,30
Stood at the Ball-room door and chancing,
To catch the Moaning Griffin’s gaze,
As the night Breeze across him blew,
He caught his spirit-murmurings too –
“Lad of a bold but luckless line,35
(Yawning, he said) one chance is thine,
Ladies of Ton [68]  have here agreed,
The Poor in purse are poor in spirit,
And have in Charity decreed,
That Want of Wealth is want of Merit!40
And now alone they stoop to prize,
As Gentlemen and patronize,
All, at each gay “At Home” and “Fete,”
(Receiving them with welcome warm),
Who, wear of Fashion’s latest Date,45
The ELIGIBLE UNIFORM!!
Go seek it – from those lovely faces,
I may not, dare not, longer stay,”
Then begged the Youth to tie his laces,
Half-shut his Eyes and lounged away,50
Swift as the Deckan Hunters ride,
O’ver rocky hill and nullah’d [69]  dale,
To pierce the foamy Wild Boar’s hide –
Faster than Maids deserted, rail,
Quicker than Modern female Pride,55
Bridles at hint of crim-con. tale,
The Griffin home flew fleet as thought,
Hope was his Bosom’s Guest and he,
For one night unrepining sought,
The Couch of cold celibacy!60
And whither, he said, when Morning broke,
Shall I rove to find this Magical cloak.
I know that deep Yellow on collars & cuffs,
Is the Martial Array of the “Gallant Toughs”     E. R. [70] 
That the proud Grenadiers are deck’d with pale Red,65
Apt Emblem of Scenes where they’ve conquer’d & bled
That the Second shine bright in Silver & blue,
True type of their worth and fidelity too,
That the Sables were ne’er to a foe known to quail, [71]      3rd
When they fling their black Banner abroad to the Gale70
And prouder they step at the loud Battle cry,
As their signal of Death or of Victory!
Fair Silver and white I could gaily display,     4th
Or vaunt in the hues of the smart Popinjay,     5th
Or down Fashions stream float in paly Buff,     6th75
Or flutter in Pea-green and Sphinxes enough,     7th
Or shine in the plumes of the proud Pompadours,     8th
Or mingle my red with the Yellow-faced corps,     9th 10th
But to all the same cold neglect appears,
And ne’er in gay parties have mingled one,80
From the Brickdust sleeves of the Grenadiers,
To the Blue of the Light Battalion!
And as he mused an order came,
Worded with due precision,
To join “Forthwith” and share the fame,85
Of the “Gallant Fourth Division” –
He blest the Omen and he turned,
His thought to Military Duties,
And while his Soul for Glory burned,
He left “the Isle of Borrowed Beauties” [72] 90
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The Morning mist lay fleecy and low,
And clothed each hill in a veil of Snow,
The Day-springs blushes now faintly spread,
Distinct was the tramp of Martial tread,
The COLUMN moved on in silence profound,95
And still by the Fog are the Mountains hid,
When borne on the Gale came a startling sound,
Like the fall of clay on a coffin Lid!!
As freshened the Breeze, it seemed more near,
It is heard by the Advanced Hircarrahs, [73] 100
Pass the signal to HALT said the CHIEF, for I hear
The sounds of the Foes Nagaras!! [74] 
And yonder they rest, on yon mountain Crest
With streamers and Banners floating
And each Column rears its Aftaubgeers [75] 105
Their Chieftains of Rank denoting
So bold the Foe looks on yon rock-cover’d height
’Twere a pity to baulk him if willing to fight
Send the Horse on our flank, if to stand he presumes
With orders to touch him and ruffle his plumes!110
The mandate was issued – was heard – was obey’d
Not an instant that chivalrous Leader delay’d
Ev’ry Eye in the Force saw his hurricane Course
When he rushed like a shaft from the Bow
Like a meteor flash, was his spirited dash115
As he falcon-like flew at the Foe!!
Foremost and singly he hurried on
His untried followers outspeeding
And the mountain’s base he swiftly won
His menacing Foe unheeding –120
Now up the rugged ascent he spur’d –
At once a myriad matchlocks flash
And the cool-aimed Volley is plainly heard
As the Bullets around him pash!! –
“Oh God! he must die,” was the fearful cry125
As, veiled him, the sulphury shroud –
When lo! thro' smoke unscathed he broke,
Like the bolt from a thunder cloud!
Will the recreants stand for his single Blade
By, heaven! they waver – they turn – they flee! –130
And their life-blood purples the dewy glade
And the Hero returns with Victory!! –
As the Griffin gazed his ardent spirit
Envied the Victor his wreath of Merit
’Tis, Glory he said with exulting tone135
’Tis Glory alone I must covet
Apparel’d in Honor, my dress must be known
And the Ladies (God bless them) must love it!!
Then he shared the proud honours of each battle day
And covered with Glory, went off to Bombay.140
He came and sure of success, he cries,
Give me the soft light of Ladies Eyes
And their lips of melting coral
See here is my pass which civility buys
For Oh! if an uniform only, they prize145
It must be an uniform covered with Laurel!!
He failed! he failed! the Dandy warm
Said, when he heard his story
“Tho’ Valour hath changed thy uniform
And gilded it with Glory150
Yet this, by Great Folks is forgot
Unnoticed still you’ll fret
Depend upon it you are not
An Eligible yet!”
His first bold dash at High Life failed155
He joined his Brother-miserables
At Morn and Evening Drillings toiled
At Mid-day sought the Bomb-proof stables
Then the Esplanade at cool sun-set
Where oft the Ladies of the Isle160
Glide by in Landau, Barouchette
All giggle, smirk and smile!
Thence by the Cooperage he roves
Now seeks the saluting Battery
That breezy spot, where Woman loves165
To list to Lover’s flattery! [76] 
He gazed on the moon in the vaulted blue
As o’er the broad Bay, it quivering threw
On the rippling Current hurrying by its momentary kiss
Like the fitful light of maiden’s Eye Bright’ning the Tear of Bliss!!170
T’was a scene so pure and calm, the swell
Of the heaving tide alone was heard
Save a warm, whisper’d fond farewell
As passing Lovers breathed the word
So soft those farewells were bequeathed175
They seemed the night-wind’s aspirations,
Or Peri’s sigh for Freedom breathed
On the blue Ocean’s undulations!
As he wandered home his thoughts returned
To his state so lone, so unsupported –180
He saw his young merit o’erlooked and spurned
By the Butterfly Beings he courted –
Not one of the Crowd, who had passed him now
Had thrown him a smile or a distant Bow –
Oh! little he knew that Women look shy185
At a name without Fashion to back it
Or ne’er would have thought that a female Eye
Would beam on a subaltern’s jacket!!
Poor fluttering things said the Griffin then
Flirting at Ball-rooms, coquetting at Chapel190
How can ye hope to be honor’d by men
Who d—’d mankind for an apple!
Tho’ lovely ye shine in nature’s parterre
The sweetest, the fairest of flow’r-buds there
Yet oh! on your hearts deny it who will195
The Trail of the Serpent is visible still!!
Just then upon the Dusty way
Shot by, like flight of falling star,
With furious haste, half blind and gray,
A Dirzee in his Rankurah [77] 200
Drawn by a Brute embossed with foam,
Driving with insolence Parseeical, [78] 
Carrying his Master’s jacket home,
In this abominable Vehicle,
The Coat with bright Embroidery stiff,205
Was tied up in a handkerchief,
And from one corner peeped a cuff!
The Griffin beheld it “Enough” Enough,
I have it! tis mine he exclaimed with a laugh,
Those blue facings make it intelligible,210
Yes, the Magical uniform’s that of the Staff,
And He, on the Staff is an ELIGIBLE!!
Scarce had a single fortnight flown,
Ere in the wished for Dress he shone,
And lo! ere he had shone three weeks,215
A card his company bespeaks,
This from a married Female sent
Whose house was famed for merriment
A noted Belle a lovely Dancer!
He kissed the Card then framed his answer220
And as he penned it blushed to think
What lots of Ladies he should see
And that at last he’d broke the link
That bound him in Obscurity!
The Hour arrived with Hope elated225
He went in staff dress decorated
But ah! even now his hopes were vain
Tho’ he saw the party assembled plain
Close round the phalanx of men he hovered
One glimpse of a Shawl to find there230
Till the company sat and then he discovered
That none but Bachelors dined there!!
Disgusted he left the lady-less table
Dejected, and Dull and miserable
Again his hand the Dandy caught235
And mutter’d with a laugh
You see Fete-Tickets can’t be bought
By facings of the staff
The Great Folks (Ladies) scorn your lot
Unnoticed still you’ll fret240
Depend upon it you are not
An Eligible yet.

To be continued in our next.

Bombay Gazette, 27 December 1820

THE GRIFFIN

From the ***** Review. Published at London by Richard Paterson, & Co. 26 Long Lane.

CANTO 6th

We feel that we have not done justice to the many interesting scenes in the 5th Canto, but our brains became so bewilder’d with the voluminous and minute details of the marchings and countermarchings of the 4th Division of the Army that we feel anxious, (probably as much so as many of the gallant fellows of that Force) to quit “the pomp and circumstance of Glorious War” [79]  for the more ignoble (certainly and as certainly more rational) enjoyment, of social Life in Cantonments, tho’ into what Cantonment the Author brings us we are at a loss to discover; we have the choice of three, Poonah, Seroor and Sholapoor, [80]  and here again he begins to splash about his personalities with his usual non-chalance and satirical effect we wish he had avoided this – the objects thus satirized may possibly be the mere creatures of his imagination but to us they appear to issue so fresh in feature and with such undoubted impress of real Life that we feel them pass current with us and we stamp’d them accordingly, as genuine. For instance, who could not at the moment of perusal embody and fill up the figure of which he has given us the following most ridiculous outline, who could not fancy he saw the Tarantula bitten Maniac as distinctly before him, as he seems to have danced from the coinage of the Author’s brain? By the way we must inform our readers that the Griffin is attending a Ball as a spectator and after deriving much amusement from the Extraordinary steps some of the party took, to hop into the Good Graces of their smiling Partners he saunters towards the top of the room.

17

And all were hopping now, as if half frantic,
When thro’ the mazes of the Dance his Eye,
Fell on Pomponious [81]  – a dull, pedantic,
Moon-eyed Surveyor – distant, cold and sly –
In soul a pigmy – but in height gigantic,5
His Dress – but that does not much signify –
His mind, stuffed full of Mathematic parings –
Sines, co-sines, Angles, distances and bearings –

18

And with pale quiv’ring lip and eye all stare,
Goes, one, two, three, hop, round the room, advancing,10
As stiff, precise and formal as a pair,
Of Galvinized compasses, learning Dancing,
Foots ev’ry step with problematic care,
(Euclid and Hutton’s rules [82]  before him glancing)
And as if going on a field survey,15
Starts on his Geometrical Ballet

19

Fixes his dark dull eye, upon the floor,
His base line carefully to mensurate,
Then off he setts – Hill, Vallies crosses o’er,
In Hands across – Protracts, “en pirouette”20
Smirking “glissees en avant” to explore,
And chaussees back again to ruminate,
With the “poussette” the country round surveys,
And takes his “Angles” in “La chaine Anglaise”

A whole multitude of characters all equally pourtrayed are presented to us from this Ball room but we have not time to make more extracts from the pages devoted to this Belle assemblee; yet here once more and once for all we must declare most positivily our utter indignation at the style in which he ridicules our fair countrywomen, it is most undignified it is most ungenerous, who with the spirit of a man can help deprecating such sentiments and remarks as the following, and they seem to have been excited only by the very common and every day occurrence, of a Lady jilting him.

41

Woman! e’en with whose tear drops mischiefs trickle,25
With full but sin-full heart and empty mind,
Woman, uncertain, wandering, frail, and fickle,
Causelessly fond or false, or cold, or kind,
Whose hearts feathers of Gold, alone can tickle;
To modest worth and pure affection blind30
They fling aside all female inclinations,
Woo salaries and marry situations!

42

Woman! the very mention brings the spleen
They are as I have told you o’er and o’er,
At twenty, Angels; such they have ever been;35
Devils at forty, Beldams at fourscore
But at each age, twixt eighty and eighteen
Man is their prey. They wheedle, rave, implore
With paint and patches, mine him surreptiously
And if these fail, they then attack him viciously!40

43

Woman! to whom we owe our primal fall
Woman who risked man’s happiness, to try,
A pippin’s flavour, I’ll describe ye, all;
And first, the maiden, with bright laughing Eye
(Whose pray’r’s a partner, and whose heav’n’s a ball,)45
Pants for Quadrilles, and for a waltz would die,
Spurns the warm heart, unless with Rank it glitter
And lives a life of trifle, talk and titter!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *

He then proceeds in a strain of irony and sarcasm that we must not quote, and comes at last to.

The Buxom widow who when reft by Heaven
Of the first partner to her bosom given.50

47

Lays him in Earth’s cold lap and feigns to shed
One tear in sorrow for his fate, and slow
She quits the Grave, with sunken, drooping head
And all the solemn mockery of Woe!!
Returned! impatient once again to tread55
The maze of Joy, too pleasant to forego
Shines in her silks and laces, crapes and beads,
Coquets in tell-tale black and flirts in weeds.

48

Still, whilst she, outward, mourns her husbands fate
’Ere the blind worm hath batten’d on its fare60
The pitied widow secretly elate
Gives ev’ry charm exposed to every stare
Sighs, for another and a younger mate
And spurning decency’s delay and care
And every pang that virtuous love disquiets65
Leaps to another’s Arms and there she riots!!

But we will not continue this unpardonable language this gross dereliction of man’s first Duty, and gladly do we turn to a letter which the Griffin writes to his friends in Europe; to us, it comes with all the advantage of novelty and even to those acquainted with similar scenes it must bear the stamp of life and spirit, it describes his maiden march with the Army.

52

The stars are forth! the infant Day unborn!
And death, like silence o’er the camp prevailing!
When deep the drum roles, loudly clangs the horn
And dire confusion ev’ry sense assailing70
Scares sleep from all, – officers dress and yawn –
Soldiers their tents are striking females railing
And whilst devout ones are their Matins hymning
Some knock about their tent pegs and their Women!

53

Here squabbling, fighting some, with Babel, clatter75
The dire effects of darkness and disputes!
All aid the wild uproar – Hindoo, Mahratta
Parwaree, Moslem, Dera, [83]  Vet’rans, Recruits!
There round straw fires, dark groups of females chatter
Squat on their hams and smoke their own cheroots80
Whilst Tattoos, Children, Bullocks, Asses, straying
Are neighing, screaming, belowing and braying!

54

Away then moves the line, and when the flush
Of day spring mantles o’er the plain, we course –
A Fox! halloo! by Heaven! what a brush!85
Off the keen Grey hounds and the spirited Horse,
After the wily vermin boldly rush.
Keener than all the sportsman roaring hoarse,
To cheer the Dogs, heedless of thorns and stones,
Safe as to Head he fearless risks his Bones.90

55

The march is ended. – Tents pitch’d, and a throng,
Of hungry young fellows bawling for food,
“Here, messman, bring breakfast, pray don’t, be long.”
“Have lots of Kedjeree I beg you would”
“The fish well grilled – the tea too cursed strong.”95
“And ev’ry thing dev’lish nice and d–d good!”
And having settled this important matter
They talk of steps expected, and half Batta! [84] 

56

And not of Prize money – no, not a word!
For tho’ our gallant fellows well have won it100
And sacrificed their youth and health – and heard
How much they fairly may expect upon it
No hand to make e’en dividends is stirred
And they who ought to do it, seem to shun it!!
Look back to Amulnair, Bhurtpore and Curry105
You’ll find Prize agents seldom in a hurry [85] 

57

They dine then sleep and then Queen Mab, to spite,
The Commissary, with rich contracts, mocks his,
Grasp, sends the young Warrior to the fight,
Annoys the Chaplain with new paradoxes,110
Halloo’s in Huntsmen’s Ears, who thro’ the night,
With visionary Dogs chace phantom foxes,
Scares the dull spouse with Wife and Babes eleven,
And gives to panting youth all but his Heaven,

----------

We have already given so much room to this Tale, or as it might be more properly term’d “Sketches of Indian Characters.” That we must conclude our remarks some what abruptly tho’ not more so than the Author finishes his story – Accompanied however with a threat of resuming his labours at some future opportunity. Before we close this review we cannot resist the temptation of giving our Readers the description of his (we say his because the Author most blameably, identifies himself with his Hero, but we mean Daric’s) parting scene with Carineth – How different from the calm chaste and beautiful one in the assignation of the 4th Canto – it forms an admirable contrast to that moonlight interview where every word breathed holy love and every embrace was but a pledge of purity and truth. Here all is doubt, jealousy passion and dismay; the creator of all this mischief is of course a woman – whom he thus describes.

91

Bold in her look, – imposing in her carriage,115
A forward miss – the belle of every Beau,
Her Aim each rival Beauty to disparage,
She fell in Love – at least she fancied so,
And gained – ’twas all she gained too, by her marriage
“L’utile secret, de menter apropos” [86] 120
A business of much nicety and peril,
And luckily their marriage bed was steril,

92

* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *
They were unfruitful! save in propagating
Discord – Deep streams flow silent o’er the sand
But shallow Rivulets, like women gabbling125
Are found out by their brawling and their babbling.

93

Oh ! for Joves power one day and I would take her
(The heartless, wanton, mischief making thing,
Down to Tartarean Gulfs – and she should slake her,
Venom’d thirst, like the Paphlagonian King, [87] 130
For half Eternity: and then I’d make her,
To the bleak rock of scandal, shriek and cling
A Petticoat Prometheus, and give her,
Malice – her bosom fiend, to gnaw her liver! [88] 

94

Babille was like the missionary’s snake [89] 135
That shone most brilliant in the night – whose rattle
Seem’d as if sent by Providence to shake
As a warning, for unsuspecting cattle
To heed their steps – and many a heart-ache
Hath been prevented by her truthless tattle140
For nought this woman-Serpent took delight in,
But flirting, fibbing, scandal and back biting.

95

Her bloom, hair teeth and neck, struck Daric’s senses,
But soon the youth recover’d, from the shock
For he found out (how I’lle not say – but hence his145
Disgust) they were at bed-time under lock
And key – with all her little prominences!!
Her nick name was “the Talking shuttle cock,”
For what with Pads and Ostrich plumes together,
She hopped about a room all cork and feather!150

We do not admire the lengthened detail which this little Expose of personal duplicity (if we may so term it,) occasions – it is one of the many labour’d and tediously spun-out descriptions with which the Poem abounds. – Soon after the rupture between Babille and the Griffin, Carineth, who had watched the progress of the Amour, now treats him with marked reserve and almost merited Contempt – This renders him truly wretched, – at length on the approach of the time when he is ordered way, she after repeated solicitations, grants a final interview, which occasions the following (in our opinion) highly poetical stanzas and we think they will be much admired as the faithful transcript of youthful feelings – perhaps the Author romances a little too much, yet we do not know that we can justly accuse him of hyperbole, when we reflect that his hero after this interview, is left, to wander thro’ the world the victim of a hopeless passion – a prey to miserable and vain regret whilst the object of his affections, enters the pale of matrimony “almost unsought and totally unwoo’d.” [90] 

But the reader shall judge for himself. The Griffin thus tells his tale of the preceding night’s occurrences.

98

Yes! let me weep! – my dream of Pride hath flown,
The Bubble of my hope hath burst! for me.
All is cold, dark and desolate – I stand alone,
In the wide world deserted, scorned by thee,
By thee, for whom I could without a groan,155
Have peril’d Death’s extremest Agony –
Death on the rack – Death in the Gulfy Deep,
Death any-where for thee! Let, let me weep!

99

Still let me weep! – for thy loved presence grieve
No more may look upon that face of thine,160
I may not from thy deep-blue Eye receive,
Hope, Love and Bliss! – nor feel thee, calm, recline,
Thy Cheek upon my breast, with ev’ry heave,
Of thy warm bosom answering to mine!
No never more on me thy smile may beam!165
Tis vanish’d gone, gone like a noiseless dream!

100

And what a parting scene was ours – I flew,
With mingled pain and rapture to the spot,
And there she stood! damp with the cold night dew,
And trembling with Emotion! I forgot,170
The dreadful Cause of meeting – I but knew,
That she was with me – Why? I heeded not,
And pray’d and wept in Love’s irresolution,
Till from my touch she shrank as from pollution!

101

A bolt of ice shot thro my limbs – in vain,175
My eyes in silence sought for Explanation
But with a look of beautiful disdain
She bade me quit the parasite prostration,
(Oh! God! forefend such hour should come again!)
And with a with’ring sneer of indignation,180
Laughed me to scorn – spurned at my bended knee,
And mocked me with imputed perjury.

102

“And go! she cried! ’twould now be weak to rail
Or sigh for one, who would that sigh deride
Who, in, the hour of parting, moan, and wail185
Flew to another shrine and knelt and sighed
And woo’d a face of Smiles (that scarce could veil
The Swelter’d Venom of unhallow’d Pride)!
And scaled, reckless of the World’s hate and hiss
In mis’ry’s hour, his Pinnacle of Bliss.190

103

Yes thou hast ascended to the high, top
Gallant of your Joy – and scorned the flood,
That flowed beneath – but go! Vows will not stop
Those who before the Gale of Fortune scud – !!”
And then, she wept! she wept and every drop195
Wrung from my bursting bosom tears of blood,
Whose purple tide, as fast and full they, drip,
Gush’d from my heart and bubbled o’er my lip!

We must here take our leave of the Author with mingled censure and praise. Upon the whole we have been well pleased with him and shall be glad to see him come again before us – when we Shall take an opportunity of pointing out the most glaring defects of his Style, and expose to the world the plagiarisms of which he has been guilty. This threat we are sure will not deter him from his purpose of publishing his conclusion of his Tale at the same time it may induce him to be more cautious. We were rejoiced to see some symptoms of amendment in his Anti-woman Mania and as his present work closes with it we shall also make it the Finale of our Review.

111

Tho’ young men have been caution’d o’er and o’er,
And shewn, how miserable a husband’s course is200
That, marrying is but laying up a store,
Of doubts and fears and cares – the constant sources
Of evils that upon them ceaseless pour,
(Including crim-cons, discords and divorces)
Yet after all this warning and admonishing,205
That so many should marry is astonishing

112

Why will they not list to the Bard, who swears,
Women are rakes at heart [91]  – why not reflect
Upon the myriad wily toils and snares
Which all man’s wisdom seldom can detect,210
Thus jilting too, (their cradle-study) bears
A venerable date – I recollect,
The trick play’d “Merlin” by his mistress “Vivian”
A legend faded almost to oblivion – [92] 

113

I’ll take the trouble therefore of relating,215
The dreadful lot of this renowned magician,
Whose sudden absence caused so much debating
Whose voice, at length was heard (so says Tradition)
To issue from a hawthorn execrating
His lady, as the course of his perdition220
To whom he gave a necromantic Charm,
And she, poor thing, thought there could be no harm,

114

In trying its effects, to charm, her Lover,
Who as the talismanic words, she spoke
Began to roar, and scream and squall, above her225
Embowel’d in a bramble by the joke!
Without one chance of getting from his cover
Because the majic spell could not be broke
The dame was sorry, sighed, then rubb’d her forehead,
And left poor Merlin, upon thorns! how horrid! –230

115

And here you’ll meet with Vivian’s ev’ry day,
Under the modern names of Jane or Emma,
Who just would treat you in the Merlin way,
And not another female would condemn her
Let me then caution Bach’lors of Bombay235
Lest they fall in a similar dilemma,
And heedless of our Presidency Custom
Flirt with young Girls, admire, and love and trust them.

116

Girls are like many animals, gregarious
This is to say, they (generally speaking)240
Flock together; modes of life are various
And tho’ with all their gigling, frisking, freaking
Their chance of settling, always is precarious.
Yet if some dame well-skilled in husband-seeking
Takes a young Belle, beneath her wing specifically245
She then proceeds to business scientifically –

117

First she pretends most warmly to approve her,
Connexions, conduct, features, style and gait,
Next by some artful and expert manoeuvre
She lures a gilded gudgeon to the Bait –250
Then gives her oppotunities to improve her,
Nibble – leaves them together tête à tête
And drawing thus the world’s remarks upon her
Touches (if not his heart) at least his honour!!

118

And I would now advise each Benedick, [93] 255
Since Marriage is the Lottery of Life,
Not to stand shilly-shally, but be quick,
When once he has determined on a wife,
And from the Market Covey heedless pick,
The gayest Bird – if this produces strife,260
Dame Fortune takes the blame, at least she’ll share it
But they who wait and weigh but grin & bear it!

119

LADIES! one word I must confess I feel,
That I have lectured you with some severity,
That my remarks were rather ungenteel265
Bord’ring sometimes on rudeness and temerity
But still I may not now retract, your weal
Was the cause of this too sincere sincerity
And as I’ve probed the Canker in your heart
I’ll give you some Advice before we part.270

120

Trust not the chance of Bachelors inveigling
By well timed tears by shriek or fit or faint
Nor try to captivate by frisk or wriggling
Or lure them to your toils by patch or paint
Cease above all your flirting, leering, giggling275
Or else your Character may get a taint
For levity of Conduct gives a handle
For all the most abominable Scandal!

121

Therefore ye must be cautious – as I’ve hinted,
Particularly in your dress which ought,280
Not to be worn so miserably stinted,
Exposing Ancles, Calves, Arms, Necks, in short
Covering so little that if a man squinted,
He might – but hold – Dames may be better taught
By reading oer the Speech of Duke Aranza, [94] 285
Whose name assists me to conclude the Stanza,

122

There you may see a modest Dame apparel! [95] 
And here my story ceases, and the tissue
Of my tale, shall most certainly be carol’d
Whene’er my Lordly model deigns to issue290
His two expected Canto’s of Childe Harold, [96] 
Till when I now most cordially wish you
Farewell! Reader! I here must say “Good night t’ye”
Ladies Adieu! Valete ac plaudite!! [97] 

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: An imperfect recollection of Cowper’s ‘The Winter Evening’: ‘And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn / Throws up a steamy column’ (William Cowper, The Task: A Poem in Six Books (London, 1785), p. 139). BACK

[2] EDITOR'S NOTE: Thrones or seats made of cushions. BACK

[3] EDITOR'S NOTE: The word is uncommon; probably ‘taif’, a ghost. BACK

[4] EDITOR'S NOTE: Gold coins. BACK

[5] EDITOR'S NOTE: A lakh is equivalent to one hundred thousand. BACK

[6] EDITOR'S NOTE: Baji Rao II of Poona (1775-1852), Peshwa (first minister) to the Raja of Satara and nominal head of the Maratha Confederacy, an erstwhile ally of the British, was deposed in 1818 following the defeat of Maratha forces at the battle of Kirkee the previous year. BACK

[7] EDITOR'S NOTE: Daulat Rao Sindhia (1779-1827), ruler of the Maratha state of Gwalior. BACK

[8] EDITOR'S NOTE: Leadenhall Street, then site of the headquarters of the East India Company. BACK

[9] EDITOR'S NOTE: Welsh, Stalker and Welsh, of 143 Leadenhall Street, advertised their willingness to ‘SUPPLY, on the very best Terms, every Kind of GOODS, necessary for the Equipment of GENTLEMEN going to INDIA’ (European Magazine and London Review, Vol 44 (Jul-Dec 1803), back matter). BACK

[10] EDITOR'S NOTE: Tobacco. BACK

[11] EDITOR'S NOTE: The sense appears to demand the plural ‘Sisters’ here, but the copytext clearly indicates a singular noun. Such discrepancies are not further noted. BACK

[12] EDITOR'S NOTE: Locations in the Malabar area of south-western India. BACK

[13] EDITOR'S NOTE: Bombay became a British possession in 1661, part of Catherine of Braganza’s dowry on her marriage to Charles II. BACK

[14] EDITOR'S NOTE: Fortified buildings. BACK

[15] EDITOR'S NOTE: In Greek mythology, the Sirens lived on an island in the Mediterranean sea; their songs attracted passing sailors, who were shipwrecked on the island’s rocky shores. The dancer Auguste Vestris, a member of the renowned Vestris family of actors and dancers, had at this time lately retired from performance in Paris and London. BACK

[16] EDITOR'S NOTE: Twenty-five. BACK

[17] EDITOR'S NOTE: Tariff, market rate. BACK

[18] EDITOR'S NOTE: Maria Graham had in 1812 described the women of Bombay as ‘under-bred and over-dressed, and, with the exception of one or two, very ignorant’ (Journal of a Residence in India, 2nd edn (Edinburgh: Constable, 1813), p. 28). BACK

[19] EDITOR'S NOTE: Though there are several varieties of trees and shrubs known as ‘pagoda trees’, the primary reference here is to the pagoda, a ‘gold or silver coin of higher denomination than the rupee’ (OED); the mythical pagoda tree signified for British colonizers of the eighteenth century the potential wealth to be gained in India. Compare, for example, the protagonist of The Grand Master: ‘Filling his knapsack with rupees, / Or fruit from the pagoda trees’ (Quiz, Grand Master, p. 13). BACK

[20] EDITOR'S NOTE: Dher, an individual of low caste. BACK

[21] EDITOR'S NOTE: The small Parsi community of Bombay became successful in the fields of commerce and finance during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. BACK

[22] EDITOR'S NOTE: A sizable Christian population was part of the Portuguese legacy in Bombay, descended from Portuguese migrants or indigenous converts. They were mainly of the lower classes, and were the despair of contemporary missionaries who considered them ‘but indifferent Christians’ who ‘retain in their houses many symbols of the Hindoo mythology, and enter indiscriminately into the pernicious usages of a deplorable superstition’ (Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1819, pp. 27-8). BACK

[23] EDITOR'S NOTE: Milton, Paradise Lost Book II. BACK

[24] EDITOR'S NOTE: A contemporary traveller writes of ‘that extraordinary-looking object, Bhow-mullen rock, which rises, nearly perpendicular, to an immense height, while its centre is rent by an enormous chasm. It towers above the surrounding mountains in a stupendous and romantic form’ (John B. Seeley, The Wonders of Elora; or, The Narrative of a Journey, 2nd edn (London, 1825), p. 35). BACK

[25] EDITOR'S NOTE: The hill-fort of Karnala, also known as Funnell Hill, was part of the territory held by the Maratha ruler Baji Rao II until it was captured by Colonel David Prother in January 1818. BACK

[26] EDITOR'S NOTE: The mythological Greek hunter Atalanta, noted for her swiftness as a runner, would not marry any man who could not defeat her in a race. Bombay (Mumbai) is located on the island of Salsette; Karanja (or Uran island) and Elephanta are also part of the complex of islands in and around the harbour. BACK

[27] EDITOR'S NOTE: A Zoroastrian, or fire-worshipper. BACK

[28] EDITOR'S NOTE: A covered litter carried by bearers. BACK

[29] EDITOR'S NOTE: A Greek poet of the seventh century. The ‘learned dame’ who is her namesake may be a reference to Mary Robinson (c. 1758-1800), a well-educated, feminist writer and poet who attained celebrity and notoriety for her liaison with the Prince of Wales; she was known as the ‘English Sappho’. See Mary Robinson: Selected Poems, ed. Judith Pascoe (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview, 2000), p. 149. BACK

[30] EDITOR'S NOTE: The intellectual ‘Bluestocking’ circle of the later eighteenth century included both male and female writers, but the term was eventually reserved for educated women writers. BACK

[31] EDITOR'S NOTE: In Greek mythology, Zephyr is god of the west wind; his mother was Eos, goddess of the dawn. BACK

[32] EDITOR'S NOTE: Well-fashioned, although ‘bien formé’ is unexpected in this context, and probably arrived at through a calque of ‘well formed’. BACK

[33] EDITOR'S NOTE: Now having floated into the whirlpool. BACK

[34] EDITOR'S NOTE: East of Bombay. BACK

[35] EDITOR'S NOTE: Mountain pass. The Bore Ghaut (as it is identified later) between Bombay and Poona was a well-known landmark. BACK

[36] EDITOR'S NOTE: Possibly a typo for ‘yes’. BACK

[37] EDITOR'S NOTE: Travellers’ lodging. BACK

[38] EDITOR'S NOTE: A steep valley or watercourse. BACK

[39] EDITOR'S NOTE: As Byron complained in the preface to the fourth canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1818), the parallels between him and his protagonist, and the reading public’s identification of one with the other, rendered futile his half-hearted attempts to make ‘a distinction between the author and the pilgrim’ (Byron: Poetical Works, ed. Frederick Page, rev. John Jump (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1970), p. 226. BACK

[40] EDITOR'S NOTE: The village of Chinchoor was ‘the residence of and … belongs to a person, who, enjoying the distinction of an hereditary incarnation of the Hindoo deity Gunesh, is … known by the appellation of Living God’ (John Clunes, Itinerary and Directory for Western India (Calcutta: Bishop’s College Press, 1826), p. 10). BACK

[41] EDITOR'S NOTE: That is, the day before the battle of Kirkee (Khadki). Sushma Varma’s account notes the ‘unusual tumult and commotion’ in the city of Poona before Baji Rao’s forces attacked ‘the British camp of Khadki from the plain of Ganesh Khind. Thus started the war’ (Mountstuart Elphinstone in Maharashtra 1801-1827: A Study of the Territories Conquered from the Peshwas (Calcutta: KP Bagchi, 1981), pp. 64, 65). BACK

[42] EDITOR'S NOTE: ‘There was a sound of revelry by night / And Belgium’s capital had gather’d then…’ (Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto III, in Byron: Poetical Works, p. 212). BACK

[43] EDITOR'S NOTE: Probably a reference to Mountstuart Elphinstone, Resident at Poona 1811-1819, who narrowly escaped an attack by the Peshwa’s forces on the Residency in the opening stages of the battle, and took part in the subsequent action alongside Colonel Burr; in the aftermath of the Peshwa’s defeat he oversaw the administration of the Deccan, publishing his Report on the Territories Conquered from the Paishwa in 1821. Morris’s personal and public writings (see introduction) demonstrate his regard for Elphinstone. BACK

[44] EDITOR'S NOTE: See n. 41 above. BACK

[45] EDITOR'S NOTE: One of a caste group of cultivators or agricultural labourers (kunbis). BACK

[46] EDITOR'S NOTE: Thomas Moore (1779-1852), whose Irish Melodies provided the models for some of Morris’s hunting poems in the Oriental Sporting Magazine; James Montgomery (1771-1854), a poet and writer of hymns; Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), a poet best known for his long poem The Pleasures of Hope (1799); George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824), whose Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-1818) and early cantos of Don Juan (1819-1824) served as source-texts for aspects of ‘The Griffin’. BACK

[47] EDITOR'S NOTE: This word appears clearly in the text, but the lines to which it refers are organized as four 8-line stanzas. BACK

[48] EDITOR'S NOTE: The placenames listed include a hill named for the goddess Parbuttee (Parvati), the hill and fort of Singhur, the plain of Gunness-Kund (Ganesh Khind), and Paishaunee (Pashan) village. BACK

[49] EDITOR'S NOTE: For shame! BACK

[50] EDITOR'S NOTE: That is, seeking to be mentioned in orders in recognition of their actions during the battle. BACK

[51] EDITOR'S NOTE: Roman symbol of victory. BACK

[52] EDITOR'S NOTE: The Hindu goddess Lakshmi and the elephant-headed god known also as Ganesha. BACK

[53] EDITOR'S NOTE: Dawk (dāk) refers to ‘transport by relays of men and horses’ (Hobson-Jobson), but is more usually found in the context of the postal system by which letters were thus delivered. BACK

[54] EDITOR'S NOTE: A torch, carried by a bearer alongside the palanquin. BACK

[55] EDITOR'S NOTE: Byron, Don Juan, Canto I, stanza 61 (Byron: Poetical Works, p. 644). BACK

[56] EDITOR'S NOTE: A losel, or lozel, is a worthless person, a scoundrel (OED). BACK

[57] EDITOR'S NOTE: The law courts in London dealing with matrimonial cases, among other matters. BACK

[58] EDITOR'S NOTE: The heroine of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela: or, Virtue Rewarded (1st pub. 1740) was a servant who maintained her ‘virtue’ by resisting the advances of her employer, Mr. B; her steadfastness was eventually rewarded with marriage to him. BACK

[59] EDITOR'S NOTE: A possible translation is ‘if the cat itself growls’ – this would require the nominative ‘feles’ rather than the genitive ‘felis’, but the text is clear at this point. BACK

[60] EDITOR'S NOTE: Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 2. BACK

[61] EDITOR'S NOTE: Valeria Messalina (d. 48 AD), executed for conspiring against her husband, the Roman emperor Claudius. BACK

[62] EDITOR'S NOTE: Baji Rao was defeated by East India Company forces at the battle of Ashti in February 1818, and surrendered some months later. BACK

[63] EDITOR'S NOTE: The Peri, a spirit in Persian mythology, is represented in Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh (1817) as yearning for entry to Heaven; ‘Paradise and the Peri’ constitutes one of the three sections of the poem. BACK

[64] AUTHOR'S NOTE: I hope this will not be deemed a misnomer for one who is obliged to get fat upon promises! BACK

[65] AUTHOR'S NOTE: A very expressive term for an invitation to Dinner! BACK

[66] EDITOR'S NOTE: Sion, Mazagon and Mahim all refer to locations around Bombay; the village of Parell may have given its name to the bungalow named ‘Non Parell’, one-time residence of Sir John Malcolm (1769-1833), then political agent in Central India and later Governor of Bombay. See James Douglas, A Book of Bombay (Bombay: Bombay Gazette Steam Press, 1883), p. 346. BACK

[67] EDITOR'S NOTE: In central Bombay. BACK

[68] EDITOR'S NOTE: The elite of society. BACK

[69] EDITOR'S NOTE: See n. 38 above. BACK

[70] EDITOR'S NOTE: European Regiment. This and the marginal numbers opposite the following lines (all authorial paratexts) identify the regiments whose colours are referenced in the text. BACK

[71] AUTHOR'S NOTE: The third Regiment is know by every Sepoy as the Kallee Pultun [black regiment] from their black facings, – BACK

[72] AUTHOR'S NOTE: Bombay, so called by the author of the “Griffin”. BACK

[73] EDITOR'S NOTE: In this context spies or scouts; more usually messengers. BACK

[74] AUTHOR'S NOTE: There is an Anachronism here for which an Apology is due. The sound of the Nagaras and the sight of the streamers, and Flags were mentioned by the Gallant officer who fought and won the Battle of Ashtee, while “the brilliant charge of the Auxiliary Horse” took place some time previous near to Seroor and there are many eye witnesses who can vouch for the truth of the incident here alluded to, as well as the successful issue of that intrepid attack. [Brigadier General Lionel Smith, the officer commanding the East India Company forces at the battle of Ashta, mentions the sound of the enemy nagaras, or drums, in his dispatch of 21 February 1818 (Asiatic Journal, August 1818, p. 198).] BACK

[75] EDITOR'S NOTE: Āftāb gīr, a sunshade. British lore regarding these encounters includes an incident where Baji Rao required an ‘aftabgeer, or skreen from the sun’ to be taken down ‘otherwise the English would send a cannon ball through it’. See James Grant Duff, A History of the Mahrattas, vol. 3 (London, 1826), p. 438. BACK

[76] EDITOR'S NOTE: Daric’s activities of the day take place around the Fort area of Bombay, headquarters of the East India Company’s military and civil operations in the Presidency. BACK

[77] AUTHOR'S NOTE: A Tailor-like sort of conveyance that few residents in Bombay have not had cause to execrate. BACK

[78] AUTHOR'S NOTE: I believe this comparison will need no comment. [Presumably Morris expected his readers to share his opinion of Parsis. One of his ‘Observer’ columns refers to a correspondent named ‘A GRIFFIN’ who was cheated by his ‘Parsee Servant’ (‘Observer VIII, Bombay Gazette, 18 November 1818).] BACK

[79] EDITOR'S NOTE: Shakespeare, Othello Act 3, Scene 3. BACK

[80] EDITOR'S NOTE: All provincial military stations located at varying, but in each case considerable, distances from Bombay. BACK

[81] EDITOR'S NOTE: His occupation as a surveyor suggests that Pomponious is named for the Roman geographer Pomponius Mela (fl. c.43 AD). BACK

[82] EDITOR'S NOTE: Euclid of Alexandria, whose work forms the basis for the discipline of geometry. Charles Hutton, A Course of Mathematics …for the use of the gentleman cadets in the Royal Military Academy At Woolwich (London: Robinson, 1798) went through several editions in the first half of the nineteenth century. BACK

[83] EDITOR'S NOTE: Religious (Hindu, Muslim) or caste (Parwari, dher) groups within the army; Maratha soldiers recruited from the area of Western India surrounding Bombay. BACK

[84] EDITOR'S NOTE: The East India Company’s army was paid ‘batta’, or field allowance, when on active service; and received half that allowance when in cantonments. BACK

[85] EDITOR'S NOTE: Prize Committees’ tardiness in the calculation and payment of prize money due to individuals after specific campaigns or victories was a perennial cause of complaint. Ten days later, the Bombay Courier printed a letter citing these lines (stanza 56), and demanding answers: ‘Will none of the Prize Agents alluded to, take the trouble of refuting an assertion so openly proclaimed? Is nothing to be done with all the lacs of rupees realized by the Army during the late War? Why, Mr. Editor, I understand a Subaltern’s share will amount to some thousands – a sum that might make many a melancholy rogue almost an Eligible, who now languishes in the gloom of obscurity and debt’ (13 January 1821). The letter is signed ‘Expectans’, datelined Poonah, 7 January 1821, and includes the same quotation from Burns favoured by ‘Curioso’ (Bombay Gazette, 27 September 1820), whose letter is reprinted below. Either or both might be the work of an interested reader, or the work of Morris himself. BACK

[86] EDITOR'S NOTE: ‘L’utile secret que mentir à propos!’ (Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur (1644), Act 2, Scene 6). Babille has learned what Corneille’s protagonist Dorante terms the useful secret of lying. BACK

[87] AUTHOR'S NOTE: Tantalus. [A figure of Greek mythology, whose fate was to have the water for which he thirsted always recede beyond his reach.] BACK

[88] EDITOR'S NOTE: In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods, and was chained to a rock in consequence while an eagle fed on his liver every day. BACK

[89] AUTHOR'S NOTE: We killed a grey serpent which glitter’d in the Dark and emitted a rattling sound evidently intended by providence to warn other animals of its approach. Campbell’s missionaries travels in South Africa [See John Campbell, Travels in South Africa (London, 1815), p. 36]. BACK

[90] EDITOR'S NOTE: The phrase in quotation marks echoes the words used to describe the same episode in ‘To C— B—’ – ‘Leapt to another’s arms – unsought – unwooed’ – and has not been further identified. BACK

[91] EDITOR'S NOTE: ‘Men some to business, some to pleasure take; / But every woman is at heart a rake’, Alexander Pope, ‘An Epistle to A Lady’ (1735), ll. 215-216 (Alexander Pope: Selected Poetry, ed. Pat Rogers (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998), p. 112). BACK

[92] AUTHOR'S NOTE: Related in Dunlop’s history of fiction. [John Dunlop, The History of Fiction, vol. 1 (Edinburgh: 1814), p. 181; Morris conveys the substance of Dunlop’s account of the fate of Merlin, drawn from Arthurian romances, in ll. 218-230 below.] BACK

[93] EDITOR'S NOTE: The Shakespearean character whose late conversion to the idea of marriage is the culmination of the Beatrice and Benedick sub-plot of As You Like It. BACK

[94] EDITOR'S NOTE: In John Tobin’s play The Honey Moon (London, 1805), Duke Aranza marries Juliana, a woman who is of the view that ‘Man was born to wait / On woman, and attend her sov’reign pleasure!’ (18). Tricked by him into believing that he has married under false pretences, and is without rank or means, she agrees to abide with him for a month in poverty, and thereby undergoes a ‘metamorphosis’, coming to believe that ‘modesty, in deed, in word, and thought, / Is the prime grace of woman; and with that, / More than by frowning looks and saucy speeches, / She may persuade the man that rightly loves her; / Whom she was ne’er intended to command’ (71). BACK

[95] EDITOR'S NOTE: Act III of The Honey Moon includes the following speech by Duke Aranza on women’s dress: ‘I’ll have no glittering gewgaws stuck about you, / To stretch the gaping eyes of ideot wonder, / And make men stare upon a piece of earth / As on the star-wrought firmament – no feathers / To wave as streamers to your vanity – / Nor cumbrous silk, that, with its rustling sound, / Makes proud the flesh that bears it. She’s adorn’d / Amply, that in her husband’s eye looks lovely – / The truest mirror that an honest wife / Can see her beauty in!’ (55). BACK

[96] EDITOR'S NOTE: The final canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage had been published in 1818. BACK

[97] EDITOR'S NOTE: ‘Farewell and applaud’ – the concluding words of Roman comedies. BACK

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