13 SEPTEMBER 1873, Page 20


Diversions of the Echo Club. (J. C. Hotten.)—We do not know what the authorship of this little volume may bo. The title-page describes it as " a companion to the Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table ';" an am- biguous phrase, which suggests the pen of Mr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, but may mean something quite different. But whosever the pen may be, it is certainly a clever one. The "Echo Club" consists of certain literary friends who meet together and amuse themselves with criticism on the style of contemporary poets, great and small, embodying their criticism in "echoes." Not to parody particular poems, but to imitate the general style and tone of thought, not to travesty, but to copy, with just no much exaggeration in the colour and the attitude as will show the purpose, is the writer's aim. Most jeer d'esprit of the kind are farces, this is, so to speak, a comedy. They remind one of Aristophanes when he chooses to do a bit of Euripidean chorus, not wholly

in mockery, which he often uses, but seriously, till the jester's• impulse overcomes him and he bursts into a laugh. The success of the "echoes " is very various. Of the merits of some we do not pretend to judge, not knowing anything of the original voices. Others—notably, we think, those of Tennyson—are failures. The more pronounced the tone of the original, the more felicitously imitative the reply. What could be more like the original rush of Mr. Swinburne's song than the

following?— "Tug Ur OF MACARONI.

" As a wave that steals when the winds are stormy From creek to cove of the curving shore, Buffeted, blown, and broken before me,

As a dove that dips in the dark of maples Scattered and spread to its sunlit core : To sip the sweetness of shelter and shade, I kneel in thy nimbus, 0 noon of Naples, I bathe in thine beauty, by thee embayed.

" What is it ails me that I should sing of her ?

The queen of the flashes and flames that were ! Yea, I have felt the shuddering sting of her, The flower-sweet throat and the hands of her !

I have swayed and sung to the sound of her psalters, I have danced her dances of dizzy delight, I have hallowed mine hair to the horns of her altars, Between the nightingale's song and the night ! What is it, Queen, that now I should do for thee?

What is it now I should ask at thine bands?

Blow of the trumpets thine children once blew for thee ?

Break from thino feet and thine bosom the bands ?

Nay, as sweet as the songs of Leone Leon!, And gay as her garments of gem-sprinkled gold, She gives me mellifluous, mild macaroni, The choice of her children when cheeses are old!

"And over me hover, as if by the wings of it, Frayed in the furnace by flame that is fleet, The curious coils and the strenuous strings of it, Dropping, diminishing down, as I eat : Lo I and the beautiful Queen, as she brings of it, Lifts me the links of the limitless chain, Bidding mine mouth chant the splendidest things of it, Out of the wealth of my wonderful brain!

"Behold! I have done it : my stomach is smitten With sweets of the surfeit her hands have unrolled.

Italia, mine cheeks with thine kisses are bitten:

I am broken with beauty, stabbed, slaughtered, and sold!

No man of thy millions is more macaronied, Save mighty Blazed, than musical Me:

The souls of the Ages shall stand as astonled,

And faint in the flame I am fanning for thee!"

And this might very well be added to Colonel Hay's " Pike Ballads ":—

"Bla BILL.

" There's them that eats till they're bustin; And then, that drinks till they're blind, And them that's snuffin' and spooney, But the best of all to my mind (And I've been around in my time, boys, And cavorted with any you like), Was Big Bill, that lived in the slashes, We called him Big Bill o' Pike.

"If he put his hand to his bowie Or scratched the scruff of his neck, You could only tell by waitin'

To see if you bled a peck :

And the way he fired 'twas lovely!

Nobody knowed which was dead, Till Big Bill grinned, and the stiff' un Tumbled over onto his head!

" At school he killed his master ; Courtin', he killed seven more: And the hearse was always a-waitin' A little ways from his door.

There wasn't much growth in the count,

As the census returns will show.

But we had Big Bill we was proud of, And that was enough to grow.

"And now Big Bill is an angel,—

Damn me, it makes me cry !

Jist when he was rampin' the roughest, The poor fellow had to die.

A thievin' and eneakin' Yankee Got the start on our blessed Bill, And there's no one to do our killin, And nobody left to kill!"

We wish that we had space for more quotations, but must content our- solves with mentioning the " Echoes" of Jean Ingelow, Longfellow, and Bryant as remarkably good. But nothing is better than that of Mr. Joacquin Miller, whose success on this side of tho Atlantic is not a little astonishing to his compatriots. Here is one stanza of it:—

" No soul to be seen ; but a basin stood On the bench, with a mess of dubious food, Stringy and doughy and lumpy and thick, As the clay are flame has turned it to brick. I gobbled it up with a furious fire,

A prairie squall of hungry desire, And strength came back: when, lo! a scream Closed my stomach and burst my dream. She stood before me, as lithe and tall As a musqueet-bush on the Pintos wall, Fierce as the Zuni panther's leap, Fair as the slim Apache sheep.•

A lariat draped her broad brown hips, As she stood and glared with parted lips, While piercing stitches and maddening shoots Ran through my body, from brain to boots, I would have clasped her, but are I could, She Haug back her hair's tempestuous hood, And screamed, in a voice like a tiger-cat's "You've gone and ett up my pizen for rats?" My blood grew limp and my hair grew hard As the steely tail of the desert pard: I sank at her feet, convulsed and pale, And kissed in anguish her brown toe-natl."