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any change of scene or any variety in the
dull routine of my life, I became more
attached to them day by day; and day by day
I grew prematurely older, and became a man,
in mind at least, long before my time.

I drew a likeness of Salome in crayons,
though it was not till after several failures
that I succeeded in catching the strange
beauty of her smile. This portrait I hung in
my bedroom, facing the east; so that the
earliest rays of the rising sun might fall upon
it; and, illumined thus gloriously, I have
gazed on it in silence many an hour.


God lays his burthen on each back:
               But who
What is within the pack
               May know?

Low bow'd his head, even lower than was need,
    For all his Atlas weight;
Bow'd with men's scorn, and with his own sad heed
    Of what might be the freight

'Neath which so painfully his being creep'd:
    "Was it a heritage,
Growth of his fathers' sins on him upheap'd?
    Or his own sinful wage?"

Ask'd he of lawgiver and sage and priest,
    Of all the esteem'd and wise;
And gat no answer. Nay! not even the least
    From worshipp'd Beauty's eyes.

Not that they spake not. Some said, It was nought,
    There was no hump at all;
And some thatIt was nothing which he sought
    The why such did befall;

Some laugh'd; and some long visages did pull;
    Some knew not what he meant;
But the Belov├Ęd was so pitiful
    He cursed her as he went.

Some bade him quit vain inquest, and delight
    Each sense with pleasant things;
And some swore 'twas the sign that Heaven would blight
    His highest imagings;

And some, An operation would remove
    The mere excrescent flesh;
While others, Pruning it would only prove
    How fast 'twould grow afresh;

And some, who cited law and gospel, laid
    New heaviness on his neck;
Let him that hath, have ever more, they said,
    And let the wreek'd bear wreck!

Yet after every check, repulse, and scoff,
    He ask'd again, again,
What is this burthen? Can none take it off?
    Is there no end of pain?

Flung back on his own soul, what he inquired
    Was hardly, sadly taught;
With desperate travail he at length acquired
    Something of what he sought.

He found there was a meaning: that was much:
    He trusted God was Good,
These thoughts made patience earnest; out of such
    He earn'd some spirit-food,

And grew: for all the evil hump remain'd,
    Like Sindbad's Man o' the Sea:
Only he had no hope to be unchain'd;
    How from himself get free?

At last came Time, who from the chrysalis
    Brings forth the rainbow'd fly;
Of Time he ask'd, What was this weight of his?
    And Time gave full reply.

Time mask'd as Death, yet smiling, did unpack
    The worn man's crushing load:
Two wings sprang forth; high o'er the cloudy wrack
The Angel, whom men call'd That Poor Hunchback,
    Through farthest heavens rode.

So, looking westward yestereve, I knew
    A figure of warm cloud:
A very humpback till his load he threw,
    As Lazarus left his shroud.



The feeling may be one of pure cockneyism,
as puerile as when one sees a ship on the sea
for the first time, but I cannot help it; I have
a pleasure, almost infantine, when I remind
myself that I am no longer performing a trite
steam-boat voyage on the Thames, the Seine,
the Rhine, the Scheldt, or the Straits of Dover,
but that I am in verity journeying on the
bosom of the Baltic; that we have left the
coast of Denmark far behind; that that low
long strip of land yonder cingling the horizon
is the Swedish island of Gothland, and that,
by to-morrow at daybreak, we may expect to
enter the Gulf of Finland.

Dear reader, if you are, as I hope, a lover of
the story-books, would not your heart sing,
and your soul be gladdenedwould not you
clap your hands for joyay, at fifty years of
age, and in High Change, if you were to be
told some fine morning that the story-books
had come True, every one of them? That a
livery-stable keeper's horse in Barbican had
that morning put out the eye of a calender,
son of a king, with a whisk of his tail; that
Mr. Mitchell, of the Zoological Society, had just
received a fine roc per Peninsular and Oriental
Company's steamer; that there were
excursions every day from the Waterloo
station to the Valley of Diamonds; that Mr.
Farrance, of Spring Garden (supposing that
eminent pastrycooking firm to have an
individual entity), had been sentenced to death
for making cream tarts without pepper, but
had been respited on the discovery that he
was the long-lost prince Mouredden Hassan;
that several giants had been slain in Wales
by Lieutenant-general Jack; that the Forty
Thieves were to be tried at the next session
of the Central Criminal Court; that a genii
had issued from the smoke of a saucepan at
Mr. Simpson's fish ordinary, in Billingsgate;
that the Prince of Wales had awakened a
beautiful princess, who had been asleep, with
all her household, in an enchanted palace in

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