The Bijou

The Bijou;

or Annual of Literature and the Arts

compiled by William Fraser

London: William Pickering,


A Lament for the Decline of Chivalry
By Thomas Hood, Esq.
Well hast thou cried, departed Burke, 1
All chivalrous romantic work, 2
Is ended now and past! — 3
That iron age — which some have thought 4
Of mettle rather overwrought — 5
Is now all over- cast! 6

Aye, — where are those heroic knights 7
Of old — those armadillos wights 8
Who wore the plated vest, — 9
Great Charlemagne, and all his peers 10
Are cold — enjoying with their spears 11
An everlasting rest! — 12

The bold King Arthur sleepeth sound, 13
So sleep his knights who gave that Round 14

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Old Table such eclat! 15
Oh Time has pluck'd the plumy brow! 16
And none engage at turneys now 17
But those who go to law! 18

No Percy branch now perserveres 19
Like those of old in breaking spears — 20
The name is now a lie! — 21
Surgeons, alone, by any chance, 22
Are all that ever couch a lance 23
To couch a body's eye! 24

Alas! for Lion- Hearted Dick, 25
That cut the Moslems to the quick, 26
His weapon lies in peace, — 27
Oh, it would warm them in a trice, 28
If they could only have a spice 29
Of his old mace in Greece! 30

The fam'd Rinaldo lies a- cold, 31
And Tancred too, and Godfrey bold, 32

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That scal'd the holy wall! 33
No Saracen meets Paladin, 34
We hear of no great Saladin, 35
But only grow the small! 36

Our Cressy's too have dwindled since 37
To penny things — at our Black Prince 38
Historic pens would scoff — 39
The only one we moderns had 40
Was nothing but a Sandwich lad, 41
And measles took him off! — 42

Where are those old and feudal clans, 43
Their pikes, and bills, and partizans 44
Their hauberks — jerkins — buffs? 45
A battle was a battle then, 46
A breathing piece of work — but men 47
Fight now — with powder puffs! 48

The curtal- axe is out of date! 49
The good old cross- bow bends — to Fate, 50
'Tis gone — the archer's craft! 51
No tough arm bends the springing yew, 52
And jolly draymen ride, in lieu 53
Of Death, upon the shaft. — 54

The spear — the gallant tilter's pride 55
The rusty spear is laid aside, 56

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Oh spits now domineer! — 57
The coar of mail is left alone, — 58
And where is chain- armour gone? 59
Go ask at Brighton Pier. 60

We fight in ropes and not in lists, 61
Bestowing hand- cuffs with our fists, 62
A low and vulgar art! — 63
No man is overthrown — 64
A tilt! — It is a thing unknown — 65
Except upon a cart. 66

The spear — the gallant tilter's pride 67
The rusty spear is laid aside, 68
Oh spits now domineer! — 69
The coar of mail is left alone, — 70
And where is chain- armour gone? 71
Go ask at Brighton Pier. 72

Mehtinks I see the bounding barb, 73
Clad like his Chief in steely garb, 74
For warding steel's appliance! — 75
Methinks I hear the trumpet stir! 76
'Tis but the guard to Exeter, 77
That bugles the "Defiance!" 78

In cavils when will cavaliers 79
Set ringing helmets by the ears, 80
And scatter plumes about? 81
Or blood — if they are in the vein? 82
That tap will never run again — 83
Alas the Casque is out! 84

No iron- crackling now is scor'd 85
By dint of battle- axe or sword, 86

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To find a vital place — 87
Though certain Doctors still pretend 88
Awhile, before they kill a friend, 89
To labout through his case. 90

Farewell, then, ancient men of might! 91
Crusader! errant squire, and knoght! 92
Our coats and customs soften, — 93
To rise would only make ye weep — 94
Sleep on, in rusty iron sleep. 95
As in a safety- coffin! 96
from The Bijou, 1828, pp. 76-79
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