Thursday, August 14, 2014

My beautiful! my beautiful!

'Arab's Farewell to his Horse'



Transcription

Arab's Farewell to his Horse.

PRICE ONE PENNY.

Copies of this popular production can always be had in
the Poet's box




My beautiful! my beautiful! that standest meekly by,
With thy proudly arch'd and glossy neck, and dark and fiery
eye,
Fret not to roam the desert now with all thy winged speed,
I may not mount on thee again-thou art sold, my Arab
steed.




Fret not with that impatient hoof, snuff not the breezy wind,
The further that thou fliest now, so far am I behind.
The stranger hath thy bridle rein-thy master hath his gold-
Fleet limbed and beautiful, farewell, thou'rt sold, my steed,
thou'rt sold.
Farewell, these free untired limbs full many a mile must
roam,
To reach the chill and wintry sky which clouds the stran-
ger's home.




Some other hand, less fond, must now thy corn and bed
prepare-
The silky mane I braided once must be another's care.
The morning sun shall dawn again, but never more with thee
Shall I gallop through the desert paths where we were wont
to be.
Evening shall darken on the earth, and o'er the sandy plain,
Some other steed, with slower step, shall bear me home
again.




Yes, thou must go, the wild free breeze, the brilliant sun
and sky,
Thy master's home, from all of these my exiled one must fly.
Thy proud dark eye will grow less proud, thy step become
less fleet,
And vainly shalt thou arch thy neck thy master's hand to
meet.
Only in sleep shall I behold that dark eye glancing bright;
Only in sleep shall hear again that step so firm and light;
And when I raise my dreaming arm to check and cheer thy
speed,
Then must I startling wake to feel thou'rt sold, my Arab
steed.




Ah! rudely then, unseen by me, some cruel hand may chide,
Till foam-wreathes lie, like crested waves, along thy panting
side,
And the rich blood that is in thee swells in thy indignant
pain,
Till careless eyes, which rest on thee, may count each started
vein.




Will they ill-use thee? If I thought-but no it cannot be-
Thou art so swift yet easy curbed, so gentle yet so free.
And yet, if haply when thou'rt gone, my lonely heart should
yearn,
Can the hand which casts thee from it now command thee
to return?
Return, alas! my Arab steed, what shall thy master do,
When thou who wert his all of joy hath vanished from his
view;
When the dim distance cheats mine eye, and, through the
gathering tears,
Thy bright form for a moment like the false mirage appears,
Slow and unmounted will I roam, with weary foot alone,
Where with fleet step and joyous bound thou oft has borne
me on.




And sitting down by that green well I'll pause and sadly
think,
It was here he bowed his glossy neck when last I saw him
drink.
When last I saw thee drink? Away! the fevered dream is
o'er,
I could not live a day and know that we should meet no
more.




They tempted me, my beautiful! for hunger' s power is strong,
They tempted me, my beautiful! but I have loved too long.
Who said that I'd giv'n thee up, who said that thou wert
sold?
'Tis false, 'tis false, my Arab steed, I fling them back their
gold;
Thus, thus, I leap upon thy back and scour the distant plains,
Away! who overtakes us now shall claim thee for his pains!







Commentary

This ballad begins: 'My beautiful! my beautiful! that standest meekly by, / With thy proudly arch'd and glossy neck, and dark and fiery eye'. This broadside was priced at one penny and published on Saturday, 5th June 1869. It was published by the Poet's Box, (probably Glasgow) but the town of publication has been obscured.




Although it is not attributed on the broadside, this poem was written by Caroline Norton (1808-77). Norton was the granddaughter of playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816). Her first published poetry appeared in 1829 and as a result she became a successful magazine editor. She found further fame as a political poet and pamphleteer, but also a certain amount of notoriety when it was alleged that she had been having an affair with the Whig Home Secretary Lord Melbourne. The claims were made by Norton's husband, a Tory who was known to be violent toward her. Norton's unhappy marriage influenced her political activism, which contributed to the Marriage and Law Act of 1857.




The Poet?s Box in Glasgow operated from 1849 to 1911. Matthew Leitch was the proprietor at 6 St. Andrew Lane?s, a narrow street on the south side of Gallowgate, from 1850 to 1858. His son William Munsie Leitch worked at the same address from 1859 to 1865 and at varous addresses in London Street until 1911. Many of the broadsides published by the Glasgow Poet?s Box were dated and some carried advertisements, not just for printed items but also for shoe blacking and ?soap for lovers?! Like the other ?boxes? in Dundee and Edinburgh, the Glasgow one sold love songs, sea shanties, parodies and dialogues. It is not clear what the connection between the different Poet?s Boxes were. They almost certainly sold each other?s sheets. It is known that John Sanderson in Edinburgh often wrote to the Leitches in Glasgow for songs and that later his brother Charles obtained copies of songs from the Dundee Poet?s Box. There was also a Poet?s Box in Belfast from 1846 to 1856 at the address of the printer James Moore, and one in Paisley in the early 1850s owned by William Anderson.




Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.




BLOGGER'S NOTE. I decided to leave these rather boring notes attached, because? I was so intrigued by? all the? question marks. I suppose they were meant to represent some? other kind of punctuation mark, but I can't quite? figure out which one. My favorite passage is:

Many of the broadsides published by the Glasgow Poet?s Box were dated and some carried advertisements, not just for printed items but also for shoe blacking and ?soap for lovers?! Like the other ?boxes? in Dundee and Edinburgh, the Glasgow one sold love songs, sea shanties, parodies and dialogues


"Soap for lovers?!". These people were obviously well ahead of their time.

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