In those days, a joke would lead the perpetrator to the gibbet, and a pun was so highly penal—as, perhaps, it ought to be—that a dull dog who had dropped one by mistake, was called upon to find heavy securities for his good behaviour.
Stephen Basdeo is a historian and writer based in Leeds, UK.
During the sixteenth century a new genre of popular literature arrived in England. Adapted from literature that was flourishing in Spain, a stream of printed books and pamphlets shined a light on the seedy underworld in England’s capital city. The genre — Rogue Literature.
Written in Early Modern English, The Black Dogge of Newgate begins as a long poem and was allegedly written by one Luke Hutton (d.1598). Hutton was a highwayman who robbed someone on St Luke’s Day in 1598, was captured, and subsequently hanged. It was said that ‘he feared not men nor laws’.
Thomas Hood (1799–1845) was born in London and, his father being a bookseller, grew up around books. He went on to become a poet, novelist, and satirist. Most famous for his poetry, William Michael Rossetti in 1903 declared him “the finest English poet” between the generations of Shelley and Tennyson.” Although by their nature pandemics are very serious affairs, this particular short story takes a somewhat lighter approach to portraying a pandemic.
For the majority of their history the Egyptians were polytheistic; Yet in the illustrious history of the Egyptian people there was a very brief time period in which the ruling class enforced monotheism at the behest of a religiously fundamentalist pharaoh.
While the Spirit within me awakens to song, The strain, lovely Freedom! to thee shall belong ; Where’er thou art fetter’d, where’er thou art free, While I waken the lyre, it shall […]
His style reminds us of Cooper’s most approved nautical fictions, rather than of the coarse and vulgar “yarns” so tediously spun by Captain Marryat. He introduces us to scenes and adventures of stirring and painful interest.
A page of his book an echo to the tablet of his memory; and hence does he occasionally detail minutely those feelings and passions which the generality of authors usually express in one word.
The following poem was written by Charles Cole and originally appeared in A Poetical Address to his Grace the Duke of Wellington (1835). It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
The Political notions of the poet must not be judged by this Song. In condemning the conduct of an individual, who betrayed a woman to her enemies, he does not vituperate the subsequent measures which were necessarily adopted with regard to that noble personage: he simply anathematizes the name of a wretch, whose heart, devoid of all kind feelings of gratitude—of respect—and of pity, was corrupted by gold, and rendered subservient to the designs of his employers.
Victor Hugo’s poem ‘Poland’ was originally written in 1833 and published in Les Chants des Crepuscules. It was later translated into English by George W.M. Reynolds in Songs of Twilight (1836), which has recently been published as a single volume, transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
Eugene Sue’s “Mysteries of the People” (1848): “The Poniard’s Hilt” and the Arrival of Feudalism in France | Stephen Basdeo
By Stephen Basdeo, a writer and historian based in Leeds, United Kingdom. This article follows on from previous posts on Eugene Sue’s epic socialist novel Mysteries of the People. In 1848 Karl […]
‘Lines Written on a Ball at the Hotel-de-Ville was written by Victor Hugo in 1833 and published in Les Chants du Crepuscule (1835). It was then translated by George W.M. Reynolds and published in Songs of Twilight (1836).
With hideous face, and tuneless note, A ballad-singer strains his throat; Roars out the life of Betty Saunders, With Turpin Dick, and Molly Flanders; Tells many woeful tragic stories, Recorded of our British worthies.
In this book, therefore—small though it be when compared with the vast magnitude of its subject—there are a thousand discrepancies—lustre and obscurity, which pervade all we see, and all we conceive in this age of twilight, which envelope our political theories, our religious opinions, our domestic life, and which are even discovered in the histories we write of others, as well as in those of ourselves.
The following poem appeared in Victor Hugo’s Chants des Crepuscules (1835) and was translated by G.W.M. Reynolds. It celebrates Napoleon’s son, Napoleon, who died too young and had no contact with father after the emperor was exiled to St Helena.
Lucretius’s description of the symptoms are terrifying: fever, red eyes, sweating blood and coughing up yellow spittle.
This pro-democracy poem titled ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ was written by William Jones in 1875 and published in the socialist People’s Advocate newspaper.
In the midst of this wreck of ancient books and utensils, with a gravity equal to Marius among the ruins of Carthage, sat a large black cat.
British Library Selects Reynolds’s News and Miscellany for Inclusion in Digital Archive | Stephen Basdeo
“The British Library would like to archive your website in the UK Web Archive and to make it publicly available … It contains specially selected websites that represent different aspects of UK heritage.”
“People in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath.”
‘Bridal Festivity’ was written by Victor Hugo in August 1832 and published in his Chants des Crepuscules. The poem itself takes a somewhat dark turn towards the end, as readers will see. Perhaps this was an allegory on the dangers that awaited the French ruling classes
Charles Swain’s poem ‘If thou hast lost a friend’ appeared in the London Journal in 1853 and has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo
The following poem, titled ‘The Sea’, was written by G.W.M. Reynolds and first appeared in the London Journal in 1845. It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.